Group beat Galliford Try and Interserve consortium bids to bag London and Liverpool jails job

The long-awaited contract for two PFI prisons in London and Liverpool has been awarded to the Serco-led consortium, which includes contractor Skanska.

The group has been named preferred bidder to build and operate the new jails at Belmarsh West and Maghull, beating competition from G4S with Galliford Try and Kalyx with Interserve. The combined contract value is thought to be around £600m over 26 years.

The announcement comes after a long wait for the bidding teams, which were originally expecting to hear who had won the contract in February.

Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2010, with completion in the second half of 2011. The new facility at Belmarsh will hold up to 900 male prisoners while at Maghull, there will be space for 800.

Christopher Hyman, chief executive of Serco, said: “We are committed to providing safe, secure and cost effective regimes and offender accommodation that reduces reoffending and which support offenders in leading more fulfilling lives once they have been released.

“Governments around the world are facing increasing justice and homeland security challenges, and we are seeing significant opportunities to use our skills to support them.”