The prison service is reviewing its procurement strategy and restructuring the senior team behind its £2.3bn building programme in a bid to cut costs, it has emerged

Senior civil servant John Aspinall was drafted in late last year to spearhead an efficiency drive in its expansion programme. As new head of capacity, he is charged with reducing spending in the service by 10-20%.

The supply chain is included in the cost-cutting regime, although it is unclear exactly how firms will be affected.

The prison service said it was looking for greater “quality, timing certainty and efficiency” as well as cash savings.

The government plans to provide 17,000 extra prison places by 2014 and hopes to build three super-size titan prisons, each designed to hold 2,500 inmates.

One of the titan jails will be in service by 2012, with a further two expected to be built by 2014.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that a procurement review was under way and said it was expected to finish in the next two months.

Building understands that some contractors have written to the Ministry of Justice requesting meetings to clarify what the cuts will mean for the construction industry.

In December, the Ministry of Justice’s commercial processes were slammed in an Office of Government Commerce report, which said its commercial operations were “devolved and inconsistent”.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said “some restructuring” was going on but no firm decisions had yet been made.