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Serco run HMP Fosse Way officially opens

Published: 30 Jun 2023

Serco, the international provider of services to Governments, is pleased to announce that HMP Fosse Way, Britain’s latest ‘smart’ prison, has been officially opened by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk KC MP accompanied by Minister of State, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP.

Serco was awarded the £300m contract to run His Majesty’s Prison and Young Offender Institute (HMP & YOI) Fosse Way, following a competitive tender in March 2022 by the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The prison is a new build Category ‘C’ resettlement prison near Leicester, which will house up to 1,715 prisoners. 

Serco is responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of the prison and is recruiting a new workforce of around 600 employees from the Leicestershire and Midlands catchment areas.

As a resettlement prison, HMP & YOI Fosse Way will have a strong focus on rehabilitation with an emphasis on safety, security and decency and will have a range of fully integrated services designed to reduce re-offending and prepare prisoners for release and transition back into the community. 

Prisoners at HMP Fosse Way will spend their time in prison constructively learning new skills and getting trained in vital industries so they can find work immediately when back in the community and plug labour shortages. 

The prison has 24 workshops, and a large number of classrooms, that will rehabilitate offenders by training them and prisoners will learn a wide variety of skills from learning how to drive construction vehicles, to producing music and constructing concrete components and lighting equipment that can be used in future prison builds. 

Some of the organisations that will provide these skills include: 

  • The Prison Opticians Trust, where prisoners will learn to manufacture glasses, optical retail and laboratory skills and qualifications;

  • PCE Ltd. and Designplan Lighting where they will gain factory standard skills and experience and learn about building products for future prisons and for upgrading current prisons;

  • Combat2Coffee – where prisoners can attain Level 2 in Barista Training;

  • NAADUK – Air Conditioning and duct cleaning qualifications; there is a significant national labour gap in this market;

  • Milton Keynes College – where prisoners will learn and gain diplomas and qualifications in plastering, civil engineering and groundworks and carpentry.

The Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, said: “HMP Fosse Way is a key example of this Government’s plan to create secure and modern prisons that cut crime and protect the public.  Its opening means we have now built more than 5,000 of the 20,000 places promised through our £4bn expansion plans and are a quarter of the way toward completion of  the biggest since the Victorian era.  Its cutting edge design will help rehabilitate prisoners and protect the public, while also boosting the local economy by creating 1,100 jobs and investing £180m in the area.” 

Anthony Kirby, Serco Chief Executive, UK & Europe, said: “Serco is proud to have been awarded the contract to manage HMP Fosse Way for the next ten years.  We have a strong track record of running safe, secure prisons in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and we have put together a first-class management team to run the prison, are recruiting and training around 600 people from the local community and setting up a series of industry partnerships that will all make a significant impact on prisoner rehabilitation.”

Wyn Jones, the Prison Director, said: “I am confident that HMP Fosse Way will be a safe, secure prison that will reduce re-offending and prepare prisoners for release and transition back into the community.  Since we were awarded the contact last year, we have been working hard to recruit a first-class team of officers and support team, drawing on our experience of running other prisons across the UK as well as recruiting several hundred people from the local community.  Everyone here is looking forward to running a prison that everyone can be proud of.”

Designed throughout with cutting-edge technology, HMP Fosse Way is also Britain’s latest ‘smart’ prison – utilising the latest designs and innovations to protect the public and rehabilitate offenders: 

  • Smart design to phase out crime behind bars – offenders will be housed in accommodation with wider, shorter corridors and fewer prisoners on each wing so frontline staff can see all cells and offenders quickly at any one time. Cells will have ultra-secure, bar-less windows to help to put an end to illegal drugs, phones and weapons into jails 

  • Smart technology to rehabilitate offenders – prisoners will have in-cell devices to access education and learning from inside their cell, kitted out with stringent and robust security to ensure they are not abused, and cutting-edge body scanners will prevent contraband from creating disruption on the wings 

  • Smart in its approach to getting offenders into jobs – working in direct partnership with local employers to offer on-the-job training places through release on temporary licence.  A total of 71 ex-offenders and prisoners on temporary release from other prisons were also employed in the construction of the jail, learning skills such as bricklaying, carpentry, plastering and roofing. 

 Notes to editors 

  • Construction of HMP Fosse Way began in August 2020. The first prisoner arrived on May 29, 2023. 

  • The name was selected by the local community and reflects the history of the local area – the Fosse Way is a Roman road that runs through Leicestershire.