The Financial Times reports that the Ministry of Justice will put prison maintenance contracts out to tender 'within days'.
The contracts, worth an estimated £100m per year, will cover activities such as cleaning, waste management and grounds maintenance at 117 prisons across England and Wales. According to the paper the country will be divided into four contract areas, with any one bidder being allowed to win up to two of the areas.
The move comes on the back of yesterday's announcement that electronic monitoring contracts will be transferred on an interim basis from G4S and Serco to Capita in the new year. G4S and Capita are currently under Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation over allegations that they overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts.
The Financial Times reported last month that ministers were becoming worried about the ongoing fall-out of the SFO investigations. As the paper notes today:
'Ministers have been caught between public pressure to clamp down on G4S and Serco after several botched contracts and government reliance on the companies as two of the biggest contractors.'