Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DURHAM TIMES to 80360 or email us
G4S opts not to enter into bid to run North-East jail
THE private company at the centre of the Olympics security fiasco has opted not to bid to take over the running of a North-East prison.
G4S had been widely expected to bid for a £340m Government contract to manage Durham Prison for 15 years.
It had recruited David Thompson, until recently governor at the high-security Frankland Prison, to spearhead a bid for Durham and Acklington and Castington prisons, both in Northumberland .
However, The Northern Echo understands a bid for Durham was never formally submitted, the Ministry of Justice having limited the number of prisons any one organisation could bid for.
A G4S spokeswoman said: “I can confirm G4S was never bidding to run Durham Prison.” She declined to comment further.
The news emerged as the Ministry of Justice confirmed the process of choosing new operators for nine prisons had been delayed.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “The evaluation of the competition bids for nine prisons has taken longer than we initially expected.
“We need to wait for Parliament to return from the summer recess before the next stage of the process.”
Allowing private companies to run prisons has been hugely controversial. US-based MTC, support services organisation Amey, outsourcing firm Serco and French catering and facilities management company Sodexo have been linked with Durham.
A public-private bid from Interserve and the Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust was also expected.
Roberta Blackman-Woods, Durham City’s MP, said: “I will be extremely relieved if G4S decides not to bid for the running of Durham Prison.
“However, I will not be entirely happy until all potential private providers are out of the process.
“Hopefully, the recent revelations about security at the Olympics will be a wake-up call to the Government that the private sector cannot always deliver a better service than the public sector and I hope that this will be properly taken into account when awarding the contract to run the prison.”