Report on The Procurement of Custodail services for The DCMF Prisons at Bridgend and Fazakerley

In the weeks either side of Christmas 1995 the contracts for the design, construction, management and financing for two persons at Bridgend and Fazakerley were completed. A consortium of Group 4 and Tarmac were awarded the contract for the provision of 600 Category B prisoner places at Fazakerley on Merseyside and the Securicor, Siefert and W S Atkins consortium with joint venture construction partners Costain and Skanska were awarded the contract for 800 Category B prisoner places at Bridgend in South Wales. The 1,400 new places created by the private sector will help to accommodate the expected growth in the prison population in areas where is continued pressure on available prison places.

This represents a milestone in the evolution of the PFI. The two prison transactions are ground breaking projects, being the first major "bricks and mortar" style projects to be delivered under the PFI. These are many more such projects in the pipeline.

Bridgend and Fazakerley have seemed a long time in the making, both to those immersed in the procurement and to those waiting for evidence to show that PFI can deliver. In all they have taken 17 months from the first Invitation To Tender (ITT) in July 1994 to "Spades in the ground". Considering the inherent complexity of the service this represents a considerable achievement for all parties involved.

The third DCMF prison at Lowdham Grange is currently in procurement and is expected to achieve financial close within 9 months from the beginning of the procurement process, roughly half the time taken for Bridgend and Fazakerley. This should be followed by a fourth this year, subject to acquiring the site and obtaining outline planning. There will also be smaller projects such energy supplies, prison hospitals and IT provision. Major refurbishments are also possibility.