The Ministry of Justice has created a new government-owned facilities management company to take over the work from collapsed outsourcing firm Carillion.
The department announced the creation of Gov Facility Services Limited, to take over the work that Carillion did, including cleaning, reactive maintenance, landscaping and planned building repair work, at 52 prison sites across England.
Carillion closed on 15 January after the company was unable to agree new financing with creditors, and the MoJ said that, as part of government’s robust contingency plans, a new facilities management company has been created.
Pay and conditions for the 1,000 workers transferred to the new firm have been maintained, according to the department.
MoJ permanent secretary Richard Heaton, who told MPs last week that the department had contingency plans in place for the failure of Carillion, said that the MoJ’s priority was to ensure continuity of service.
“This means the work that was undertaken by Carillion will move to a new government-owned company set up for this purpose,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the Carillion staff who are moving across into the new company, and reassure them that their jobs are secure. The vital work they do to maintain and improve our prisons is greatly valued and appreciated.”
The government company has been formed and it will take responsibility for the prison facilities management (FM) services as soon as the formal transfer of staff has occurred. It will also be working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a stable service which retains skilled and knowledgeable staff working on the FM contracts.
According to the department, there have so far been no disruptions to prison maintenance due to previous planning and preparation for the transition to the Gov Facility Services company.
Following the collapse of Carillion, which had around 450 government contracts in areas such as constructing the High Speed 2 rail link and providing school meals as well as maintaining prisons, it was revealed Whitehall’s crown commercial representative for the company “rotated off” the now-collapsed government contractor last summer.
Civil service chief executive John Manzoni admitted that the post had lain vacant despite the company issuing two profit warnings since last July.