Tussell Briefing: MoJ offers £1.8B for prison transport & more stories

Welcome to the second instalment of our Tussell Briefing series, covering the top stories in public procurement from the last few weeks.

1. MoJ begins renewal of top prison transport contracts

Earlier in March, the Ministry of Justice announced its intention to tender for the next generation of its Prison Escort & Custody Services contracts, seeking suppliers to transport people between prisons and court appearances. The department published a £1.8B Prior Information Notice (PIN) inviting expressions of interest from potential suppliers – the third largest PIN or tender ever published by the MoJ.  

Current contracts for these services are held by top outsourcers Serco and GEOAmey. These have not been without controversy, with Serco accused of misreporting their records back in 2013.

2. Deloitte awarded £6M to advise on Iranian bank trial

Tussell has uncovered that Deloitte was awarded a £6M contract in 2016 to advise HM Treasury on their on-going legal dispute with Bank Mellat of Iran, despite simultaneously working for the bank. The contract, featured in the Evening Standard last week, was quietly published by the Crown Commercial Service nearly two years after it was first awarded.

Bank Mellat are seeking $4B of damages from the Treasury for losses supposedly incurred as a result of sanctions placed on the bank in 2009.

3. Search for overseas doctors could cost NHS £100M

Nine different suppliers have been listed on a £100M framework agreement established by NHS England to recruit GPs from overseas. The notice estimates that up to 3,000 GPs could be recruited through the contract, which puts the potential cost per GP at £33,000.

Recruitment in the NHS is a big business: since the start of 2015, NHS organisations have established recruitment frameworks with an estimated value of £768M. These have been issued by organisations such NHS National Services Scotland and Business Services Organisation (Northern Ireland)

4. Stansted takes on competitors with transformation plan

Stansted Airport are looking for construction contractors to work on a major transformation programme, publishing a Prior Information Notice (PIN) worth £340M. Plans include the development of a new Arrivals building and redesign of the existing Departures building at the airport. This is by far the largest PIN or tender ever published by Stansted. Is this their response to Heathrow’s third runway gaining approval?

5. Questions over impact of Uber on driverless car market

Consultancy firm WSP picked up a £85k award from Highways England for research into the impact of “new mobility business models”, such as ridesharing and carsharing, on the market for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). The research contract is to assist the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, which was established by David Cameron’s government in 2015 to support the market for CAVs and develop government policy. This is the first award ever issued relating to the centre.

Whilst there have been few public sector contracts relating to driverless cars overall, three have been published by Highways England alone in recent months. Interest in the technology is clearly growing.

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