Outsourcer Serco has been tasked with managing an Australian remand centre housing hundreds of prisoners, in a deal worth 115m Australian dollars (£61m).
The public sector contractor will manage the centre for at least seven years, with a five-year extension option.
Serco’s contract win marks a continuation of its plan to expand abroad while public sector tender opportunities in the UK dry up. It has been pushing the strategy several years now, and 80 per cent of its contract wins in the last two years were outside the UK.
Last week, CEO of competitor Capita, Jonathan Lewis, said Brexit was behind a recent “massive reduction in the amount of work that's come for tender”.
Serco did, however, win its largest ever contract in January, a decade-long £1.9bn deal to provide accommodation and support for asylum seekers across the UK.
The Adelaide remand centre in south Australia houses 274 prisoners, but Serco’s contract also involves upgrading the facility so it accommodates more people.
Chief executive Rupert Soames said: “The contract expands what is traditionally undertaken in remand and focusses on providing a broad range of reintegration support services to all prisoners from the very start of the process.”
It is the second major deal Serco has inked down-under this year, after the firm was last month tasked with providing healthcare for around 80,000 members of the Australian army for the next six years, in a deal worth 1.01bn Australian dollars.
The role of public sector outsourcers has come under fresh scrutiny in recent days as Serco’s competitor Interserve went into administration after shareholders refused to back a plan to alleviate hundreds-of-millions of pounds of debt which would have practically wiped out their stake in the company.