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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

March 22, 2005: ‘Contestability’ In Kent Prisons

Home Office Minister for Correctional Services and Reducing Re-offending Paul Goggins today announced a competition to operate a cluster of three Kent prisons. As part of its contestability agenda, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is to invite bids from all sectors to manage the three public-sector operated prisons on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent: HM Prisons Elmley, Standford Hill and Swaleside.

Elmley is a male local prison serving the Kent area; Standford Hill is a Category D male open prison; and Swaleside is a Category B male training prison. Notices to seek expressions of interest will be issued next month and formal invitations to tender will be issued in the summer. A decision on the preferred bidder to run the three prisons is expected by Spring 2006.

The Carter report “Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime”, published in January 2004, recommended that contestability should be introduced across the whole of the prison and probation estate. The Government’s response was set out in the report “Reducing Crime, Changing Lives".

From the Home Office perspective, the process is aimed at driving up standards and encouraging imaginative approaches to managing offenders in custody and developing links with interventions in the community. Paul Goggins denied that the agenda was fundamentally about privatisation:

“… we are confident this competition will attract high quality bids from a range of existing and potential new providers. The roll-out of the two-tier workforce code of practice, announced last week by the Prime Minister, will apply to NOMS. This will produce a level playing field for the contest as all bidders will face the same market conditions and will need to focus on quality rather than cost. This is not about privatisation or reducing costs but rather providing best quality and value for money in the supervision, punishment and care of offenders.”

NOMS Chief Executive Martin Narey also made his stance clear:

“Competition between the private and public sector in running prisons has been key to improving the effectiveness, and particularly the decency of all prisons, particularly those in the public sector."

“I recognise there will be some anxiety among staff in the Isle of Sheppey prisons about this competition but the extension of the two tier workforce code of practice to NOMS, which Paul Goggins has announced, means that only the quality of bids and their capacity to reduce re-offending will determine who wins this competition. I know the Director General of the Prison Service will be determined to demonstrate that the public sector can meet any challenge from the private or not for profit sector.”

Bidders will be invited to bid for the cluster of prisons rather than individual prisons to provide a better opportunity to deliver end to end offender management. The three prisons have been chosen for the competition because they each serve a different purpose. The Code of Practice on the two tier workforce aims to provide that where public sector employees are transferred to contracted suppliers, those suppliers will be obliged to recruit new staff on terms and conditions comparable to those of the staff transferred.