Skip to main content

Prison Service: Recruitment

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps are being taken by his Department to improve the recruitment and retention of staff to HM Prison Service. (204285)

In general, retention within the public sector Prison Service is comparatively high. Excluding retirements, the average leaving rate across all grades of staff between April 2007 and March 2008 was 6.3 per cent. This is consistent with the rates for the past seven years.

In areas where recruitment and retention are more difficult, higher starting salaries may be offered. Local pay allowances also operate across much of the south-east of England.

Action has been taken recently to respond to the substantial increase in demand for prison officers, generated in particular by the National Offender Management Service's prison capacity building programme. A national prison officer recruitment campaign started on 7 January. It employed a major national advertising campaign, aimed at attracting a much wider range of applicants than had been achieved previously. It also created a new recruitment process, which reducing the time between application and appointment, introduced online application and sifting; and enabled more comprehensive information to be generated, on which to base selection decisions. Over 40,000 applications have been received to date.