In the Media

'Brain drain' warning for UK prisons

PUBLISHED October 8, 2011

Private jails target experienced public staff A former head of the Prison Service is to become a consultant to one of the private companies running Britain's jails as part of what unions fear is a "brain drain" of public sector talent. The recruitment of Martin Narey, the government's adoption "tsar", by G4S is seen as part of an aggressive recruitment campaign by the private sector in recent months. G4S has already recruited Narey's successor at the Prison Service, Phil Wheatley, while Interserve has recruited Andrew Bridges, the former head of the Probation Inspectorate. Narey, who will retain his role as ministerial adviser on adoption, will advise G4S for 20 days a year on improving decency standards in its adult jails and encouraging a more child-sensitive environment in its young offender institutions. He pledged his role would not stop him from speaking out on prison issues. Shaun Williamson of the Prison Governors' Association said Narey's move would encourage a further "haemorrhaging" of prison staff to the private sector. "We don't believe we should be making money out of incarcerating individuals," he said. The government is subjecting eight jails to a competitive tendering process, following the privatisation of Birmingham prison two months ago. Harry Fletcher of the probation staff union Napo warned privatisation would backfire. "The introduction of competition and the driving down of terms and conditions demoralises the public sector and is likely to lead to more reoffending and more victims." Prisons and probation Public sector cuts Jamie Doward Tracy McVeigh © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds