The Department of Corrections today announced that global service provision company Serco has been selected to manage Mt Eden/Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) from next year.
Finance, Systems and Infrastructure General Manager John Bole says that it is Government policy to use the private sector to inject new ideas into the prison system.
“Serco was selected after a robust two-stage procurement process, with probity assurance provided by Audit New Zealand,” says Mr Bole.
“The Department received three good quality responses to its Request for Proposal (RFP) and these were extensively evaluated. Serco’s proposal provided the best value for money, as well as the opportunity to inject significant innovation into the wider prison system.
“Department representatives also visited Serco operated prisons and were impressed with what they saw. Serco operates six adult prisons and two youth offender centres in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Mr Bole says the partnership is expected to improve rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.
“The shape and intention of our partnership with Serco, has not been done before. The contract has a range of incentives and penalties written into it, which will provide certainty and goal setting for both parties.”
Mr Bole says the prison will still operate within the current Corrections framework and all prisoners will remain the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.
“Serco will have to comply with all relevant New Zealand legislation and international obligations. A prison monitor will be employed by the Department and based at the prison to monitor its day-to-day management.
“Prisoners will also have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsmen and Corrections' Chief Executive.”
Mr Bole says that the Department is working closely with affected staff at the site to ensure as many of them remain in employment as possible – either with Serco, the Department or elsewhere.
“Mt Eden/ACRP staff will have the first opportunity to seek employment with Serco.”
The contract is expected to be signed by 31 January 2011 and following a phased hand-over, Serco will take full responsibility for the site by 1 August 2011.
Notes to Reporters
ACRP was under private management between 2000 and 2005.
The size and location of Mt Eden-ACRP, as well as the new facilities being built, combine to make this prison an appropriate site for contract management.
Out of the 21 prisons that will exist in the future only two privately managed prisons are proposed, Mt Eden/ACRP and the proposed men’s prison at Wiri, Auckland which will be procured through a custodial Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Mt Eden/ACRP site has some unique characteristics. It is located in the centre of a major city and is both a major interface for police and courts, and a major transit hub for Prison Services (particularly for the Northern Region). It is the main reception prison for newly remanded male prisoners in the Auckland area and as such is a very busy site with high levels of movement. Because it is primarily a remand facility, the rehabilitative services are generally short-term. Replacement of the old Mt Eden facility has been underway since 2008. Serco will be managing a site that will comprise the current ACRP and new facilities which are in the final stages of redevelopment.
The Government has an overarching objective of securing better value for money in the public service. One approach to this is innovation in the way public assets are procured and public services managed and delivered. This project is one of two departmental projects underway using an alternative method of procurement – partnering with the private sector – to achieve improvements in service delivery and better value for money. The other being the new men’s prison at Wiri in South Auckland, which is being procured through a full custodial Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The two projects are important elements of “The Way Forward”, the Department’s performance improvement programme. The expectation is that both will bring innovation and efficiencies not already inherent in the existing service provision that the Department can learn from. By delivering benefits to the wider prison network the projects are major catalysts for driving through fundamental changes to Prison Services.
A robust two stage procurement process (Request for Information and Request for Proposal) has been followed, with probity assurance provided by Audit New Zealand. Following the Request for Information (RFI) four respondents were short-listed. Subsequently one respondent withdrew from the process and three good quality proposals were received to the Request for Proposal (RFP).
The RFP was designed with an outcomes focus in mind and described the Department’s expectations and objectives of the Project. The evaluation criteria were designed to assess the capability and capacity of respondents to provide the required level and quality of services as well as demonstrate value for money. Three proposals of good quality were received from the three tendering respondents.
Improving outcomes for Maori will be measured using the same metrics and targets that apply to the prisoner population overall. Serco intends to establish a governance arrangement for Mt Eden/ACRP prison which will include mana whenua representation.
Serco is a large global company with operations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America.
Serco operates four adult prisons in the UK (under contract to the Ministry of Justice’s National Offender Management Service and the Scottish Prison Service). Serco also runs two youth offender facilities in the UK. In addition, Serco operate two prisons in Australia (Acacia Prison in Western Australia and Borallon Correctional Centre in Queensland). Serco also manages 22 immigration detention facilities in Australia.
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