Ministry of Justice offender tagging contract could top £3.5bn

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is on the hunt for new electronic monitoring technology and services as its current contracts with G4S and Serco come to an end.

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is on the hunt for new electronic monitoring technology and services as its current contracts with G4S and Serco come to an end.

It is looking to award a contract ranging between £699 million and £3.53 billion over a period of six to nine years, for services to monitor people who have been given a community order, a court bail order or have been released on licence.

G4S and Serco have been providing electronic monitoring services in England and Wales under eight-year contracts for a total of £749.2 million, according to a parliamentary answer from Kenneth Clarke, secretary of state for Justice, in June 2011.

In a parliamentary answer the following month, Jonathan Djanogly, parliamentary under secretary of state for HM Courts Service and Legal Aid, said that the annual value of the MoJ's electronic monitoring contract was £121 million.

In its tender notice, MoJ said it was looking for a monitoring service, which includes the processing centre, related hardware and software and field operators. The supplier of this would also act as the service and systems integrator. The initial length of this contract would be for six years, with an option to extend by another three years.

It is also looking for suppliers of monitoring and mapping software applications, monitoring hardware (such as anklets and handheld monitoring devices) firmware and software and a GSM network. These contracts would be for an initial three years, with an option to extend by a further three years.

However, the MoJ has also reserved the right to not award any contracts for the supply of a network (which is valued at between £12 million and £108 million) depending on the outcome of the government's Public Sector Network competition. It may instead obtain network services via the future PSN framework agreement, it said.

"In the event that any part of the solution, for any of the lots, is based upon standard components which are available through Government framework agreements, the authority reserves the right to either directly procure, or require the successful supplier to procure such items under the terms of the government framework agreement," the MoJ added.

The MoJ's electronic monitoring service currently monitors around 25,000 people at any one time, using only radio frequency technology.

In the 2010/11 financial year, 116,000 people were monitored in total. This figure had increased by nine percent from the previous year, and the MoJ expects the number to increase over the life of the proposed contract.

Serco (total contract value of £324.9 million) and G4S (£424.3 million) were both awarded two-year contract extensions worth £70 million and £50 million, respectively, in 2009. The contracts are due to end March 2012.