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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 16, 2009: Prisons: Public Or Private?

The Ministry of Justice has today announced competitions for the management of five prisons: Birmingham, Buckley Hall, Doncaster, Featherstone 2 and Wellingborough. Public, private and third sector providers will have the opportunity to compete for all five establishments.

Buckley Hall and Doncaster are to be re-competed as their current contracts are coming to an end. Birmingham and Wellingborough are both public sector prisons and will be market tested for the first time. Featherstone 2 is an expansion of Featherstone prison and requires a contract to operate.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced on 27 April 2009 plans to ensure that prison and probation services work as efficiently and effectively as possible. The government argues that competition is a proven mechanism to improve performance and price, and public prisons have improved in the face of competition, and that it will also ensure the best use of taxpayers' money.

The competitive tendering of prisons has led to cost savings of between 10 and 22 per cent according to a Department of Trade and Industry report in 2005. The report also found that where competition has been introduced in one area, it can lead to savings in others through the transfer of best practice.

It has led to service improvement across the board, including in the public sector with leaner management structures, reduced sickness leave and a more mobile workforce.

As part of the market-testing programme, the National Offender Management Service has set up a Public Sector Bids Unit under a senior Prison Service manager to lead the development of bids on behalf of public sector prisons and to ensure that the public sector is able to submit a strong competitive bid.

Public sector prisons make up around 90 per cent of the prisons estate – two new public sector prisons are planned over the next three years: Isis at Belmarsh and Bure, a former RAF base.

Birmingham and Wellingborough prisons are currently managed by the public sector. Birmingham is a Category B local prison, Wellingborough is a Category C training prison.

Buckley Hall is managed by the public sector while Doncaster is currently managed by Serco. Both prisons have been previously competed and their contracts are approaching expiry. Buckley Hall is a Category C training prison, HMP and YOI Doncaster is a Category B local prison.

A new prison is currently under construction near to Featherstone prison, Wolverhampton and the competition will decide who will manage the prison when it is complete. The name for this prison will be announced in due course, in the meantime it is known as Featherstone 2. It will be a category C prison.