The five smaller prison schemes set to replace the three giant “titan prisons” look set to be procured through PFI.
The news pours cold water on hopes from members of the Strategic Alliance framework that the new 1,500-person prisons would be delivered through an existing framework.
But individual members said they were “excited” about the proposal however the prisons are procured.
Chris Booton, director of Strategic Alliance member Wates said using the existing framework would have been the quickest way for the government to get the prisons built, but welcomed the prospect of five big new tenders.
He said: “Delivering them through the framework is probably the fastest way, and that would create jobs now. We have shown that we can take it from the idea to the planning and then on site in a dramatically reduced time.”
Carillion and Interserve both said scrapping the three 2,500-person titan prisons presented opportunities for contractors.
But a senior source at one of the contractors in the Alliance said procuring the prisons through PFI demonstrated that the government was not serious about creating jobs. “It will be 18 months at least before we see anything on these projects if they are procured in this way,” he said.
Jack Straw, said the Ministry of Justice was seeking to secure sites at Park West in Dagenham, Essex and at Runwell in Kent.