At HMP Oakwood we aim to inspire, motivate and guide prisoners to become the best they can be. We offer state of the art facilities, full time employment, programmes and access to physical health and wellbeing initiatives.The 'TripAdvisor' version, published by the Independent Monitoring Boards, tells a slightly different story which is much more interesting to those of us who share an interest in all things procurement. Forget the fact that this is yet another 'could do better' report for G4S and the exemplary procurement of MoJ - let's just give them a break. Think of it as if you were asked to advise on the procurement of new hotel services.
Let's look at some of the issues which were found by the Independent Monitoring Board but recast as if they were written about a hotel as opposed to a prison:
- Should the first who have the pleasure of testing a new services be some of those who will be your more regular guests occupying the most expensive rooms?
- Would you think it was appropriate to deprive the first guests of essentials, such as toilet paper?
- Do you think it would be acceptable to advertise free access to all parts of the hotel, including the Executive Lounge, and then say, "ah but not just yet"?
- Would you expect food to be prepared in a temporary kitchen?
- Would you find it acceptable that the design prohibited staff from being contactable throughout the whole hotel, particularly in the event of an emergency, and have to pay an additional £400k to have those basic communications?
- Would you expect guests to be satisfied with poor TV signal reception?
- Would you find it acceptable to only have a centrally controlled heating system which meant that it was impossible to control the temperature in different guest rooms?
- Would you expect guests to be happy with an off-site fitness suite?
- Would you find it acceptable to have no locks on either staff or guest toilets?
- Would you be happy if shower areas did not offer privacy?
- Would you find it acceptable for guests to easily access from other competitors offers which you wanted to prohibit access to (in the prison situation, drugs and mobile phones being passed over the fence)?
- Would you be happy if the hotel staff hadn't previous experience of working within a hotel environment?
If you were discussing the procurement of a new hotel, indeed a flagship new hotel, I suspect you would not consider that to be a good case study. How on earth did it go so badly wrong with HMP Oakwood? What procurement risk assessment was carried out and how were the risks managed? Something seems to have gone seriously wrong, or have I just missed the point?