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Prison Service: Labour Turnover

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 22053, tabled on 27 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps he has taken to improve staff retention in the prison service.

Answered on

6 March 2020

We want prison officers to have a long and successful career within HM Prison and Probation Service. We have recruited some 4,200 more prison officers over the past three years and we are working hard to retain our staff, investing in additional pay, training and the tools staff need to do their jobs safely.

There has been a specific focus on improving the induction processes that aim to ease the transition into the prison officer job whilst also providing care and support for new recruits and the offer of additional training. These interventions are intended to reduce staff turnover in the early stages of employment.

The Prison Officer Entry Level Training has recently been redeveloped into an apprenticeship that will launch in Summer 2020. The apprenticeship aims to improve retention and build a portfolio of experience through on-site training and reflective learning over a longer period.

All staff have access to services including 24/7 counselling, trauma support and occupational health assessments. In addition, there is work being undertaken directly with Governors to address local issues that will support experienced staff and new recruits to remain in the service.

Staff are provided with the appropriate equipment and training to enable them to maintain a safe and secure work place and to create an environment which is rewarding to work in and which promotes the values needed to rehabilitate offenders. This includes the introduction of introduce body-worn cameras, police-style restraints and PAVA incapacitant spray.

For sites where the local labour/employment market make it hard to recruit and retain staff, market supplements (regional adjustments and weightings) are used together with a tailored approach to recruitment advertising to ensure that we are competitive in the local labour market.