HC Deb 14 January 1993 vol 216 cc798-9W
Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a further statement on prison education.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Stretford(Mr. Lloyd) on 8 December, col. 555.

Kent county council has since been granted leave to apply for judicial review of decisions that were taken related to the competitive tendering of prison education. The action is due to be heard in the High Court next month. To avoid prejudicing the outcome of these proceedings and to ensure continuity of education provision in prisons, after 1 April 1993, the prison service has today written to local education authorities and colleges and institutions of further education which currently provide education in prisons. The letter invites them to continue to provide education services in prison establishments on the present basis of remuneration until 31 August 1993, by when the current action and any related legal proceedings should have been resolved.

It remains the Government's intention to ensure quality and value for money in the future provision of prison education through competition and to let contracts on this basis as soon as is practicable. Accordingly, if local education authorities and colleges and institutions of further education are either unwilling or unable to continue to provide these services on the present terms until 31 August 1993, contracts will be let on the basis of the current competition from 1 April 1993. Otherwise, and subject, of course, to the outcome of the hearing, it is the intention to let such contracts from 1 September 1993.

Mr. Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 11 January,Official Report, column 597, if he will list the 30 private sector organisations which have bid to provide prison education services in 1993–94.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

No. I do not believe it is right to provide individual details of the tenderers bidding to provide future educational services to prison establishments in England and Wales while the competition is still running and decisions on the placing of contracts have yet to be taken. It could commercially disadvantage the Home Office in its negotiations and there is no expectation or understanding on the part of tenderers that the information should be made public.