HC Deb 08 June 2004 vol 422 cc329-30W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the performance testing programme for prisons will continue in its current form under the National Offender Management Service. [168397]

Paul Goggins

Market testing is only one mechanism for ensuring contestability, but it will remain an important one. As it will be some time before we can introduce full contestability through the regional offender managers' commissioning role it is likely that, in the short term, the majority of contracts with the public sector prisons will be agreed on a national basis.

We expect the first market tests to begin in 2005–06. No decisions have yet been reached on how many prisons will be market tested in the first year, or how the competitions will be structured