Tag Archives: Ministry of Justice

Daniel Sanzeri joins team at BSIA-led intelligence initiative SaferCash

British Security Industry Association (BSIA)-led intelligence initiative SaferCash has appointed Daniel Sanzeri as its new national higher police analyst.

Sanzeri has worked in various intelligence-driven roles for over a decade and joins the SaferCash team from the West Midlands Police. Having worked for Staffordshire Police as a senior force intelligence analyst, Sanzeri managed both strategic and tactical intelligence as well as the delivery of detailed analysis for business change.


Daniel Sanzeri: joining the team at SaferCash

Sanzeri’s intelligence career began in Training Standards. He was one of the first analysts assigned to the Claims Management Regulator – a unit in the Ministry of Justice and now part of the Financial Conduct Authority –  and rose through the ranks to senior roles within major UK law firms as legal director for intelligence focusing in particular on counter fraud.

Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Daniel as he joins SaferCash. His experience of working directly to disrupt several serious and organised criminal networks which cause harm to communities and businesses alike is going to be vital for SaferCash as we focus on disrupting what many perceive to be ‘victimless’ crimes. I wish Daniel every success in his new role and very much look forward to working with him.”

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Apollo set to showcase new SOTERIA Dimension solution at Security Essen 2018

Apollo Fire Detectors, the specialist designer and manufacturer of high quality fire detection equipment, will be showcasing its latest Test Set and SOTERIA Dimension, the latest addition to the SOTERIA range, at Security Essen 2018.

A full demonstration of the new Apollo Test Set – a portable testing device designed to help commissioning and system maintenance engineers – will be on display at Stand 6A58 in Hall 6 of Messe Essen.


Apollo’s Test Set

“We’re very excited to be able to showcase our innovative Test Set at Security Essen this year,” enthused Ed Browning, sales and marketing director at Apollo. “We’ll be setting up a range of Apollo fire detectors, wired into a loop, in order to demonstrate the fault-finding capabilities of our Test Set live on the stand.”

The Apollo Test Set guarantees that the correct loop configuration is in place before an active control panel is installed and has the ability to interrogate and control all units connected to the device, either as individual units or complete circuits. The Test Set boasts a user-friendly touch screen display and is compatible with all Apollo analogue addressable protocols – ie XP95, Discovery and CoreProtocol.

In addition to the Test Set demonstration, Apollo will be showcasing the most recent addition to the SOTERIA range – SOTERIA Dimension and Dimension Specialist. These state-of-the-art fire detection devices use new optical sensing technology in a ‘virtual sensing chamber’. The flush-fitting detector combines functionality and style, and is designed to fit perfectly in locations with the most demanding aesthetic requirements.


SOTERIA Dimension

The SOTERIA Dimension Specialist detector also features an anti-ligature metal faceplate and tamper-resistant screws. It has been tested and approved for anti-ligature certification to TS001 and meets the Ministry of Justice’s specifications STD/E/SPEC/038. This detector offers greater resilience against interference or damage and is ideal for prisons, custodial suites and healthcare establishments.

*For more information visit https://www.apollo-fire.co.uk/

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UK’s biggest prison now on verge of full capacity

The biggest prison in the UK should reach full capacity pretty soon, with construction work on track to end this month and allow the opening of the third and final wing. The first prisoners were moved to HMP Berwyn in Wrexham on 28 February and into Bala wing, with this wing and its cousins collectively designed to house 702 prisoners.

The second wing, designated Alwen, opened in May, with Ministry of Justice (MoJ) bosses confirming the third and final wing, Ceiriog, is on schedule to open this month, bringing the total capacity of adult male offenders to 2,106 – 500 inmates more than the biggest current prison in England and Wales was built to hold.

The majority will be Category C prisoners, meaning that they’ve been assessed as having a lower likelihood of escaping, though some Category B prisoners could also be accommodated.

Governor Russ Trent has explained that his emphasis is on rehabilitation, with staff calling the prisoners ‘men’ who will have ‘rooms’ rather than cells.

The construction of HMP Berwyn began in May 2015 and will cost £250 million.


Reductions in overcrowding

The Government has pledged to spend £1.3 billion on new prisons. After the riots in HMP Birmingham last year, Justice Secretary Liz Truss said the new prison in Wales ‘will help to reduce overcrowding across the estate’. Nine more new prisons are expected to be built, with five set to be opened by 2020.

Binns Fencing won the order to supply and install almost 2 km of 5.2 metre-high prison-standard secure perimeter fencing for the Wrexham ‘super prison’. Manufacturer Zaun supplied the MoJ-approved prison posts and fencing mesh.

Binns has proposed a new model of perimeter security and PIDs procurement and delivery, whereby it offers a single point of contact for the complete perimeter security package, providing greater opportunity for innovation, in turn reducing complexity and the need for managing multiple contractors.

The company believes this could offer significant cost savings on PIDs cable installation as well as both contract and project management costs.

HMP Berwyn is already anticipated to be the cheapest prison to run per prisoner in England and Wales.. It’s expected to run at £14,000 per head per year, including overheads, compared with £40,170 at HMP Parc in Bridgend, which was built under the Government’s Private Finance Initiative and is operated by G4S.

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Ministry of Justice approves Zaun Group companies to supply prison fencing

Zaun Group companies have been appointed to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) approved supplier and installer list of fencing materials.

The MoJ published a framework contract for the supply of fencing materials on 2 June inviting tenders and requests to participate.

It has now concluded its selection process, including financial audits and sample installations for inspection and testing by MoJ personnel.


Both Zaun Limited and Binns Fencing have been appointed to the framework as approved suppliers of permanent and temporary galvanised steel fence posts and welded steel fence mesh, while Binns is also an approved installer.

The approvals apply to MoJ prison fencing throughout the UK, including those in Northern Ireland.

Electric fence first for UAE military base

Zaun has also installed a ‘first of its kind’ electric fence in the United Arab Emirates.

The Crown Prince wanted an electric fence to protect a military base in Abu Dhabi.

Electric fencing can provide security and protection of perimeters around key strategic and infrastructure sites. The installation of an electric fence combined with a secure fencing system creates a very powerful psychological and physical barrier for would-be trespassers and criminals to overcome. Electric fences offer high impact resistance and an effective deterrent.


Zaun electric fencing has been designed to give trespassers a shock, providing a remarkably high level of boundary and perimeter security.

Zaun first set up an office in the UAE in the Emirates Tower in Dubai in 2012 and has now established a company in the Free Trade Zone.

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£850 million spent on managing foreign national offenders in UK during 2013-2014 but Home Office making “slower progress than expected” states NAO

Despite increased resources and the introduction of tougher powers, the Home Office has made “slower progress than expected” in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries.

Today’s report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) highlights the fact that the number of foreign national offenders in prison and the numbers deported from the UK have remained broadly unchanged since 2006.

Across that period, the number of foreign nationals in prison in the UK increased slightly (by 4%) from 10,231 to 10,649 despite a ten-fold rise in the number of Home Office staff working on foreign national offender casework.

In the wake of an initial surge in the numbers removed from 2,856 in 2006-2007 to 5,613 in 2008-2009 (following the problems in 2006 when the Home Office discovered that 1,013 foreign national offenders had been released without being considered for deportation), removal numbers have now declined to 5,097 in 2013-2014.

With regard to prevention and early action, according to the NAO “the Government did relatively little” before December 2012 to tackle the problem of potential foreign national offenders entering the UK. A new 2013 Action Plan focused efforts on this aspect of prevention but, suggests the NAO, it lacks “a structured and informed approach”.

The Home Office is looking at better use of intelligence databases and has changed its immigration rules, but progress in modernising its border information system – designated the Warnings Index – has been slow. Indeed, the NAO estimates that £70 million could be saved every year if all early identification opportunities were duly seized and acted upon.

Despite increased resources and tougher powers, the Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries

Despite increased resources and tougher powers, the Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries

Barriers to removal are “considerable”

Today’s NAO report recognises that the barriers to foreign national offender removals are “considerable”. These barriers include foreign national offenders exploiting legal and medical obstacles to their removal. However, the spending watchdog identifies measures and opportunities for making progress which are not being maximised.

An analysis of 1,453 failed removals in 2013-2014 indicates that at least one third might have been avoided through “better co-ordination of the bodies involved” and “fewer administrative errors”.

Following a change of approach from April 2013 onwards, all foreign national offenders are now considered for deportation. This has increased removal numbers from 4,722 in 2012-2013 to 5,097 in 2013-2014.

The time taken to deport foreign national offenders has also reduced from an average of 369 days in 2012-2013 to 319 days come 2013-2014. However, according to the NAO, delays in starting cases and an over-reliance on form-filling mean that there remains “considerable scope” for speeding up the process.

Greater use of early removal schemes could also save money. The NAO estimates that the 37% of foreign national offenders who left as part of the Early Removal Scheme in 2013-2014 saved £27.5 million by reducing the average number of days spent in prison by 146.

The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice do not use cost data to manage foreign national offenders, but the NAO estimates that, during 2013-2014, public bodies spent no less than £850 million on managing and removing these offenders. That figure equates to around £70,000 per offender.

The NAO states that, since 2006, the Home Office has made “limited progress” in removing foreign national offenders who’ve completed their sentences. By the end of March this year, more than one-in-six foreign national offenders living in the community (760, in fact) had absconded. This figure represents a rise of 6% since 2010.

Furthermore, 395 absconders have been missing since before 2010. 58 of them are designated ‘high harm individuals’.

Despite the 2006 crisis, the Home Office did not keep records of foreign national offenders released without consideration for deportation before January 2009. The Department estimates that 151 such offenders have been released without consideration since that point in time.

Amyas Morse: head of the National Audit Office

Amyas Morse: head of the National Audit Office

Commenting on today’s report, Amyas Morse – head of the National Audit Office – stated: “It’s no easy matter to manage foreign national offenders in the UK and to deport those who have completed their sentences. However, too little progress has been made, despite the increased resources and effort devoted to this problem.”

Morse added: “The Government’s focus on preventative measures and early action is promising, but it has only just started to exploit these options. The Government needs to build on the momentum of its recent Action Plan, in particular taking advantage of relatively inexpensive and straightforward opportunities to make progress.”

Foreign national offenders in the UK: the top line statistics

Foreign national offenders in England and Wales serving in prison and living in the community after prison pending removal action (as at the end of March 2014)

Foreign national offenders removed from the UK (during 2013-2014)

£850 million
The NAO’s estimate of public spending on managing and removing foreign national offenders (during 2013-2014)

Foreign nationals in the prison estate in England and Wales as at 31 March 2014 (of whom 2,600 were on remand or not sentenced)

Proportion of arrested foreign nationals on which police carried out an overseas criminal record check through the ACPO Criminal Records Office (2013-2014)

1 in 25
Foreign national offender files arriving at the Home Office to start processing for removal which have sufficient identity documents

Number of days (on average) foreign national offenders are removed from the UK after the end of their sentence in 2013-2014

Prison days saved (on average) as a result of foreign national offenders being removed as part of early removal schemes in 2013-2014

Proportion of foreign national offenders removed from the UK which were part of early removal schemes (2013-2014)

Foreign national offenders living in the community pending removal at the end of March 2014

1 in 6
Foreign national offenders living in the community that had absconded at the end of March 2014

Departmental estimate of foreign national offenders released from prison without being considered for deportation (January 2009-March 2014)

Comment from the Committee of Public Accounts

The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted to Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may think fit”.

Margaret Hodge MP – current chair of the Committee of Public Accounts – has commented on the NAO report.

“The Committee of Public Accounts has said that deporting foreign national offenders would be the best way of reducing the cost of the prison system,” declared Hodge, “and yet the Government’s performance in reducing the number of foreign national prisoners continues to be frustratingly poor. I’m astounded that the number of foreign nationals in prisons has increased to 10,649 since 2006 and that, of those released, 760 currently waiting to be deported have disappeared and around 150 are thought not to have been considered for deportation.”

The MP continued: “It’s appalling that only 30% of potential foreign national offenders in custody were searched on immigration databases to see if they had committed crimes overseas.”

Margaret Hodge MP

Margaret Hodge MP

In addition, Hodge said: “All this is despite the ten-fold increase in the number of officials working to deport foreign national offenders, from fewer than 100 officials to over 900, and an estimated £850 million of taxpayers’ money spent on managing and removing foreign national offenders in 2013-2014. It beggars belief that the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are managing the removal of foreign national offenders without knowing basic costs and how best to target their resources.”

As far as Hodge is concerned: “Government is not helping itself. The continued use of outdated IT and too much reliance on form-filling means that crucial checks and information gathering are not happening at the right time. Given its poor track record, Government will need to take huge strides in order to improve its management of foreign national offenders through its still-evolving 2013 cross-Government Action Plan.”

Officials from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are due to appear before the Committee on 5 November.

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Repeated security failings lead to £180,000 fine for Ministry of Justice

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served a £180,000 penalty on the Ministry of Justice over serious failings in the way prisons in England and Wales have been handling people’s information.

The penalty follows the loss of a back-up hard drive at HMP Erlestoke Prison, Wiltshire in May 2013. The hard drive contained sensitive and confidential information about 2,935 prisoners, including details of links to organised crime, health information, histories of drug misuse and material about victims and visitors. The device was not encrypted.

The incident followed a similar case in October 2011 when the ICO was alerted to the loss of another unencrypted hard drive containing the details of 16,000 prisoners serving time at HMP High Down Prison in Surrey.

In response to the first incident, in May 2012 the prison service provided new hard drives to all of the 75 prisons across England and Wales still using back-up hard drives in this way. These devices were able to encrypt the information stored on them. However, the ICO’s investigation into this latest incident found that the prison service didn’t realise that the encryption option on the new hard drives needed to be turned on to work correctly.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served a £180,000 penalty on the Ministry of Justice over serious failings in the way prisons in England and Wales have been handling people’s information

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served a £180,000 penalty on the Ministry of Justice over serious failings in the way prisons in England and Wales have been handling people’s information

The end result was that highly sensitive information was insecurely handled by prisons across England and Wales for over a year, in turn leading to the latest data loss at HMP Erlestoke. If the hard drives in both of these cases had been encrypted then the information would have remained secure despite their loss.

Highly sensitive information insecurely handled

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley commented: “The fact that a Government department with security oversight for prisons can supply equipment to 75 prisons throughout England and Wales without properly understanding, let alone telling them how to use it beggars belief. The result was that highly sensitive information about prisoners and vulnerable members of the public, including victims, was insecurely handled for over a year. This failure to provide clear oversight was only addressed when a further serious breach occurred and the devices were finally set up correctly.”

Eckersley continued: “This is simply not good enough. We expect Government departments to be an example of Best Practice when it comes to looking after people’s information. We hope this penalty sends a clear message that organisations must not only have the right equipment available to keep people’s information secure, but must also understand how to use it.”

Working with the National Offenders and Management Service, the Ministry of Justice has now taken action to ensure all of the hard drives being used by prisons are securely encrypted.

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G4S issues update on electronic monitoring contracts

G4S plc has issued the following update in relation to billings made for electronic monitoring services provided by G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd in England and Wales between 2005 and 2013.

In June 2013, G4S plc engaged the international law firm Linklaters LLP to perform an independent review into the conduct of G4S employees in relation to billing under the electronic monitoring contract, and to assess whether there was any evidence of dishonesty or criminal conduct.

As part of its ongoing review, Linklaters has conducted an extensive search and review of e-mails and numerous interviews with relevant employees and has not identified any evidence of dishonesty or criminal conduct by any employee of G4S in relation to the billing arrangements under the electronic monitoring contracts.

The review has confirmed that, in certain circumstances, G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd wrongly considered itself to be contractually entitled to bill for monitoring services when equipment had not been fitted or after it had been removed.

Ashley Almanza: Group CEO at G4S

Ashley Almanza: Group CEO at G4S

This billing practice, which the company believes was confined to the electronic monitoring contract for England and Wales, was not consistent with the contract or G4S’ values. The company has apologised to the Ministry of Justice and issued credit notes totalling £23.3 million for amounts incorrectly billed between 2005 and May 2013.

A further credit note of £0.8 million will be issued for billings for the period from June 2013 to date.

These credit notes are issued against outstanding sums on these contracts and are covered by an impairment provision made in the Group’s half-year results. In addition, G4S has incurred external investigation costs of around £2 million.

Audit in relation to billings

The Ministry of Justice is conducting an audit in relation to electronic monitoring billings and the company’s assessment of these matters and the credit notes may not agree with the Ministry’s audit findings. Once those findings are available, G4S will work with the Ministry of Justice to resolve any outstanding matters.

G4S continues to provide close support for the reviews being conducted by the Cabinet Office and the Ministry into other G4S contracts with the UK Government. While these reviews are not yet complete, no evidence has been identified by the company (or brought to the company’s attention) which indicates that the billing procedures on the electronic monitoring contract have been applied to any other G4S contracts.

G4S has taken action to renew management, reinforce its corporate values and strengthen risk management and controls. Since 1 June, the company has made important changes to its senior management team, including the appointment of a new CEO, a new CFO and a new regional CEO for its UK businesses, and has also appointed an experienced Deloitte partner to the newly-created position of group head of risk and programme assureance.

The executive previously responsible for the UK businesses (including electronic monitoring) is no longer working at G4S.

Further organisational and process changes are being implemented to strengthen customer focus, governance and contract management and control. Taken together with the significant changes to its Board composition, G4S is well advanced in a programme of fundamental corporate renewal.

Comment from G4S on the Linklaters findings

Commenting on Linklaters’ findings, Ashley Almanza (G4S’s Group CEO) said: “Our announcement today follows months of intensive work by an independent law firm and external accountants. It’s an important step in setting this matter straight and restoring the trust which has been earned by our many thousands of committed and hard-working employees over many years.

“The way in which this contract was managed was not consistent with our values or our approach to dealing with customers. Simply put, it was unacceptable and we have apologised to the Ministry of Justice.

“As part of a wider programme of corporate renewal, we have changed the leadership of our UK business and we are putting in place enhanced risk management and contract controls. We remain committed to working with the Ministry of Justice and the UK Government to resolve this matter, and to providing enhanced oversight of service delivery and contract performance.”

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NAO publishes Memorandum for Parliament on electronic monitoring contracts

The National Audit Office has published a Memorandum for Parliament setting out the events surrounding the Ministry of Justice’s process in 2013 to retender its electronic monitoring contracts, currently with private contractors G4S and Serco, and its subsequent decision to commission a forensic audit of the contracts by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Today’s report also covers the main findings of that audit.

Following completion of the PwC forensic audit, the Department is in dispute with G4S and Serco over the amount of money by which the Department may have been overcharged for electronic monitoring services under the current contracts.

Both contractors are also now subject to a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

The National Audit Office has published a memorandum for Parliament setting out the events surrounding the Ministry of Justice’s process in 2013 to retender its electronic monitoring contracts

The National Audit Office has published a Memorandum for Parliament setting out the events surrounding the Ministry of Justice’s process in 2013 to retender its electronic monitoring contracts

The Department believes that both providers charged for work that had not taken place in a way that was outside what was set out in the contracts for the electronic monitoring of offenders.

PwC’s estimate is that the potential overcharge by both providers in total may amount to tens of millions of pounds.

Examples of disputed billing practices

The NAO’s report includes examples of disputed billing practices which show that, in some instances, both contractors were charging the Department for monitoring fees for months or years after electronic monitoring activity had ceased, over similar timescales where electronic monitoring never occurred and multiple times for the same individual if that person was subject to more than one electronic monitoring order concurrently.

Both contractors have said that, in their view, such charging was in line with the terms of the contract.

G4S has since stated, however, that it now views that interpretation as inappropriate. The company has said that it intends to offer the Ministry £23.3 million in credit notes in respect of issues it has identified to date.

Serco has stated that it will refund any amounts that it agrees represents overcharging.

The Department has not currently agreed to any refund offers made by the providers.

The NAO does not draw any conclusions on contractual interpretation.

Read the full report issued by the National Audit Office

About the National Audit Office

The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of Government.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Amyas Morse, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 860 staff.

The C&AG certifies the accounts of all Government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively and with economy.

Its studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. The NAO’s recommendations and reports on good practice help Government improve public services, while its work led to audited savings of almost £1.2 billion in 2012.

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