Revealed: the top contractors for Ministry of Justice

ISG was the biggest contractor by spend for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the latest financial year, Construction News can reveal.

CN obtained data on the MoJ’s spending in 2022/23 under the Freedom of Information Act. The spend includes that by HM Courts & Tribunals Service and HM Prison and Probation Service, as well as the MoJ directly.

Over the year, the department paid ISG Construction some £94.6m, which was £11m more than it spent with Lendlease Construction – the MoJ’s biggest contractor during the previous financial year.

In March, ISG landed a £61m upgrade scheme at HMP Birmingham to refurbish 300 prison cells at the category B facility. It won a place on the department’s £2.5bn constructor-services framework during the same month.

Alongside Wates, Kier and Laing O’Rourke, ISG is also a member of a £1bn prison alliancing arrangement.

ISG declined to comment on its place in the ranking. In a statement after its appointment to the Birmingham prison job, its sector director for justice, Alister McNeil, said: “Our longstanding partnership with the MoJ is built on trust, knowledge and aligned goals, and has driven a wide range of rehabilitation and upskilling initiatives that mutually benefit the vision and values of both our organisations.

“In many areas, the MoJ is at the vanguard of some of the most progressive and innovative approaches to estate-optimisation strategies, and it’s through enlightened clients that our entire industry directly benefits and advances.”

The department has pushed the use of modular construction methods on its projects in recent years – which is reflected in its increased spending in this area.

Modular specialists Algeco UK, which received £21.8m during the year from the department, and Reds10, which received £10.7m, are placed seventh and eighth in the table respectively. Algeco secured a contract to supply units to HMP Norwich in March.

Kier Construction, which was the top construction supplier to the MoJ in 2020/21, as well as in both the 2019 and 2020 calendar years, only made it to 12th place on the 2022/23 table. The contractor earned just £673,202, despite being part of the £1bn alliance during the period. Laing O’Rourke, also in the alliance, was not listed among the top suppliers.

CN contacted Kier for comment.

In May, the government revealed that the MoJ might need to spend more on remediating buildings after surveys found that reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete may be present in six court buildings. It said it was trying to assess how many prisons also contained the material, which was widely used in postwar construction but has now reached the end of its lifespan.

Top 12 for 2022/23 financial year
Contractor Spend
1 ISG Construction £94,550,725
2 Lendlease Construction £83,449,352
3 Wates Construction £70,538,861
4 Vinci Construction UK £44,626,124
5 Galliford Try Construction £40,862,778
6 Tilbury Douglas Construction £28,413,498
7 Ageco UK £21,846,700
8 Reds10 £10,724,281
9 Extraspace Solutions £9,608,256
10 Henry Boot Construction £6,536,596
11 Galliford Try Construction £5,711,513
12 Kier Construction £673,202


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