Late last year, we were really pleased to announce that Pick Everard will be playing an integral role in the design of four new prisons for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in Yorkshire, the North West and the South East.

This appointment follows the successful delivery of common designs at HMP Five Wells and Glen Parva, but our working relationship with the MoJ spans decades.

One of the largest projects undertaken for the government office was HMP Oakwood, a scheme we were appointed to via the contractors. This was a Category B prison that was being designed without operator involvement, and as such had to align closely with current standards so that any operator would be able to take on the facility. A huge amount of R&D went into this development, which ultimately created a high-quality living and working environment for 2,000 prisoners delivered across 17 separate BREEAM Excellent buildings. These designs made significant improvements in staffing efficiencies and reduced health and safety risks to staff and prisoners and was delivered both ahead of time and within budget.

Our most recent work for the MoJ at HMP Five Wells has seen national industry recognition, winning in several categories in 2020’s Offsite Construction Awards and picked up the Digital Construction Excellence Award at the Construction News Awards just two months later.

Going beyond the delivery of the works appointed, our multi-disciplinary approach and in-house expertise perfectly places us as a trusted advisor to the client. And after so many years working with the MoJ, we are not only experts in our various disciplines, but in the MOJ and its supply chain too. Our team has a deep understanding of the MoJ’s approach and vision, and why it needs to take certain approaches allowing us to work cohesively in conjunction with our client to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Throughout our entire relationship with the MoJ we have ensured a flexible attitude to work, making sure that we align ourselves as closely as possible to their core values and approaches. A big part of this new appointment will be around continuous improvement, making sure that we are pushed to develop designs and improve wherever possible as we move forwards through design stages.

Our appointments have been via contractors over recent years, so we are delighted that the work for these next four prison sites sees us employed directly via SCAPE’s Consultancy, operating under Perfect Circle’s unique collaboration. It is the first MoJ client design appointment of this scale and will allow us to have much more control over the designs produced, ensuring that they are perfectly aligned to the client’s needs and vision for its future prison estate.

As we look to the future of our work with the MoJ, we will be developing reference prison designs as well as delivering site specific designs for each location. Our designs will introduce further opportunities to implement modern methods of construction and aim to meet ambitious new sustainability targets in support of achieving a net zero carbon estate.

And after more than 20 years working with the Ministry of Justice, here’s to 20 more.