Large rise in PFI contract for HMP Peterborough

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The PFI contract for HMP Peterborough has escalated from £845.5 million to £973.6 million.

The prison, run by Sodexo, is the only one in the UK which is mixed sex, although no contact is allowed between men and women.

HMP Peterborough

HMP Peterborough

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the contract has been “subject to significant change” since being agreed in 2003. This was predominantly due to the construction, design, finance and operation of the new house block – which is an additional 292 places – being added to the contract for 15 years. The male side was also reconfigured in 2018 and made into a permanent Category B establishment.

The MoJ added that there were extra construction and operational costs each year due to new inmates having more complex needs than the prisoners at the time the original contract was agreed. The most well-known example of a PFI contract locally is the one agreed for Peterborough City Hospital, which opened in November 2010 at a cost of £289 million.

However, the huge scale of PFI repayments quickly became apparent, with the 33-year contract potentially costing taxpayers £2 billion.

The hospital in Bretton has regularly required government bailouts to fund the annual deficit caused by the PFI repayments, while there have several problems with the building itself.

In 2015, hospital bosses refused to pay £1.4 million to their PFI provider Peterborough (Progress Health) in a row over fire safety standards.

In March 2016 Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service issued an enforcement notice against the hospital due to defects which increased the risk of a fire spreading.

This led to two years of works which were funded by the PFI provider before the enforcement notice was lifted.

Last year, the hospital renegotiated its PFI contract but refused to reveal what changes had been made.

A spokeswoman for the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said as the contract is commercially sensitive it would need the permission from the PFI providers to reveal the changes, but that the providers would not give their permission.

Nationally, JPIMedia Investigations has discovered that restrictive contracts are leaving many authorities facing eye-watering costs for basic maintenance jobs. Examples include a school charged £25,471 for three parasols, a hospital billed £5,334 for a new sink and a police force which paid £884 for a chair.

Some of the UK’s other costly PFI schemes uncovered by JPIMedia’s investigation team

SCOTLAND

An NHS maternity unit in Dumfries (the former Cresswell building) is set to cost taxpayers £65 million despite closing after just 16 years. A project to give it a new use as an outpatient facility has been hit by delays and construction work has yet to start.

SUSSEX

One of four custody suites built as part of a £341 million, 30-year contract has been mothballed by Sussex Police. It cost £11.6 million in 2018/19 to pay for the building and running of the four suites, including the one in Chichester which is no longer being used.

PORTSMOUTH

A deal to upgrade the Queen Alexandra Hospital has rocketed up by £700 million after the scheme had to be renegotiated following the collapse of contractors Carillion.The deal will now cost more than £1.7 billion in total.

ROADS

Costs to maintain a 66-mile stretch of highway in the north have soared by almost £280 million.

Highways England has come under fire for a 30-year deal with a private firm to manage the A19 Dishforth to Tyne Tunnel route after the huge rise in costs.

SHEFFIELD

The overall cost of an NHS hospital wing in Sheffield has shot up by £6 million despite it having to close for nearly a year because of fire safety concerns. Northern General Hospital’s Sir Robert Hadfield wing was built in 2007, meaning that a building that cost £25 million to construct will end up costing the taxpayer some £122 million.