News comes as justice secretary confirms sites for four new prisons

Mace has bagged the project delivery partner role on the Ministry of Justice’s new build prison programme, part of its £1.3bn revamp of the country’s ageing prison estate, Building has learned.

The firm is understood to have beaten Turner & Townsend, Mott MacDonald, Aecom and Jacobs to the client-side role, joining already appointed firms cost consultant WT Partnership and design advisor Bryden Wood.

The five bidders were all on the national multi-disciplinary lot of the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) current consultancy framework, awarded in 2014.

The news comes as the justice secretary Liz Truss today confirmed four prisons to be built in England and Wales - in Full Sutton in Yorkshire; Hindley in Wigan; Rochester in Kent and Port Talbot in South Wales.

Plans for a radical overhaul of the prison estate were first put forward by former justice secretary Michael Gove last July before he was booted out by Theresa May after the EU referendum.

Gove originally planned for the department to build nine new prisons - five during the life of the current parliament and four shortly after – to replace the country’s aging Victorian prisons which would be closed and sold off for redevelopment.

Under Gove’s replacement Liz Truss the government published a white paper in November committed to spending £1.3bn to build up to 10,000 new adult prison places and close prisons in a poor condition, such as the notorious Pentonville prison, which once hosted George Best. It is understood that the MoJ now plans to build six new prisons and is looking to appoint three contractors to the construction of them.

The government last year closed the infamous women’s prison Holloway and opened a new prison HMP Berwyn near Wrexham in Wales in February.

In December the MoJ applied for planning permission to redevelop the sites of Midlands prisons HMP Wellingborough and YOI Glen Parva and this month applied to demolish the existing buildings on the site of HMP Wellingborough.

The government’s new Prison and Courts Bill also passed its second reading in the House of Commons earlier this week and is now in the committee stage.

The Ministry of Justice was unavailable for comment and Mace declined to comment.