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Prisons: Contracts

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 205270, tabled on 4 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 November 2018 to Question 194129 on Prisons: Contracts, what steps he is taking to ensure transparency in the assessment of (a) quality and (b) value for money of potential operators’ bids compared to the public-sector benchmark.

Answered on

14 January 2019

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has recently launched a competition to establish a framework of prison operators, from which the operators of the new prisons at Wellingborough and Glen Parva will be selected.

The competition will use a ‘public sector benchmark’, against which the quality and cost of potential operators’ bids will be assessed. The public sector benchmark was developed in consultation with subject matter experts across HMPPS and directly informed the delivery requirements including cost and quality thresholds that form part of the draft contractual documentation for the competition. Where bids received do not meet these thresholds, there will be no contract award and the public sector will act as the provider.

The MoJ will, in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations and relevant Government policies, take into consideration the past record and performance of companies involved in the tender process before considering any bids. We will make sure that the tender process ensures that the companies bidding for any of the contracts to operate new prisons have the capability, credibility, legitimacy and capacity to run the contracts effectively. The evaluation methodology included in the framework competition documentation has been designed to establish the most robust bids based on published quality, value and affordability criteria, and compared to a public sector comparator for each call off contract. Following the conclusion of the tender process any contract awarded will be published.