British multinational Serco has now officially opened for business in New Zealand (a reader just informed me that Serco was already in the country in the 1990s). With Serco’s behaviour in Australia under intense scrutiny – is the company being continually rewarded for failure? – this official PR statement from the country’s Department of Corrections is almost comical. Good luck, New Zealand:
In the early hours of Sunday (1 May) morning, the Department of Corrections… successfully handed over the management of what was Auckland Central Remand Prison to Serco New Zealand.
This is a significant step in the transition to contract management of what is now called Mt Eden Corrections Facility.
Transitioning a working prison to new management is a complex process that has to be carefully managed between both parties. This was achieved smoothly, reflecting the successful partnership between the Department and Serco. People from both organisations have worked closely together over the last few months to ensure that this handover could be effected without issue.
“I am looking forward to seeing the relationship between Serco and the Department deliver world class – potentially world leading – custodial services that will have significant flow on benefits for the community. Our contract with Serco demands a high standard of performance and I know that staff now working for Serco will help manage the prison effectively and meet the standards expected.
“I am very proud of the Corrections staff on site who have worked through a challenging time, many of whom have now commenced their new roles with Serco.
“Even though many of our staff will no longer be working for us, under contract management of the prison they will still be an important part of New Zealand’s corrections system and will be contributing to the core goals of ensuring public safety and reducing re-offending.
“We expect Serco to operate the prison differently from the way the Department operates a public prison. Serco’s different approach will provide an opportunity to inject new ideas and new innovations into the corrections sector to enhance public safety, improve rehabilitation and lower costs.
“The objective is to use private sector innovation and international experience to improve quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness across the whole New Zealand corrections system. We are introducing contract management to provide real benefits for the community over the long term, particularly in relation to achieving a reduction in re-offending.