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Prison Custody Officer (PCO)

Job Introduction

Great Prison Custody Officers (PCOs) are key to the smooth running of our prisons.  They have an important role to play in supporting prisoners with their rehabilitation and creating a positive and safe environment. 

What makes a great PCO?

We’re looking for people who will be a natural fit for the job.  Background and experience are not important. It’s the kind of person you are that matters. We can teach you the rest.

Are you responsible, reliable and good at building trust with others?

Are you the sort of person who:

✓           Is reliable, true to your word and can always be depended on to get things done?

✓           Always treats others fairly and with respect?  Are you able to see past bad behaviour and start each day afresh?

✓           Is quick to notice things, such as changes in people’s moods or when something isn’t quite right?

✓           Is consistent – people know where they stand with you.  Do you stick to the important rules (or if not you have very good reasons not to)?

✓           Can easily connect and talk to all sorts of people from different backgrounds on their level?

✓           Is straightforward and ‘tell it as it is’?

✓           Helps others out including helping people find ways to help themselves?

✓           Keeps calm under pressure

Exciting new approach to our comprehensive programme

Exciting opportunity for all newly recruited Prison Custody Officers.  You will be trained in line with the Custody and Detention Officer level 3 apprenticeship standard. This programme will provide you with the technical knowledge, skills, behaviours and on the job support to be an effective Prison Custody Officer.

  • Not yet qualified in English & Maths? Our new approach will give you the support to achieve this for the duration of the programme.
  • You will complete an evidence portfolio that will show you have met the requirements of the standard.
  • Your first 9 weeks will be a mixture of on and off the job training followed by the remainder of the programme putting your newly found skills, knowledge and behaviours into practice within the establishment
  • You will receive fantastic support by monthly one to one reviews with your nominated line managers to support, monitor and review your progress.

Role Responsibility

What’s the job like?

You might be working on a main wing with a team of other PCOs responsible for prisoners.  Your role will involve everything from managing the regular prison routines, (locking & unlocking, supervising meals and recreation time to escorting people to prison work and education). You’ll need to deal with the more challenging aspects of prison life such as abusive and violent behaviour. You’ll be working with all sorts of prisoners including those on long sentences, people convicted of serious crime and vulnerable individuals.

Why be a PCO?

People enjoy it for many reasons.  Some enjoy the variety and challenge of working with very different people and dealing with all sorts of issues. Others get a buzz from seeing the prisoners improve and progress (however small the changes). 

Many PCOs appreciate the security and stability of the regular work routines. Others appreciate shift patterns, which allow them flexibility to carry out their responsibilities outside of work.

The Ideal Candidate

No previous experience required

Our great PCOs come to us with all kinds of work and life experience. Some have worked in retail, healthcare, call centers and as taxi drivers. Others are ex-military, police and security services personnel. The work you’ve done before doesn't matter. What matters is that you’re ‘made of the right stuff’ – the rest you will learn during our intensive 9-week training course and then in the job with the support of experienced colleagues.

Recruitment process:

  • Full completion of application form on Sodexo careers website by 22nd July 2018
  • Fitness test (Bleep Test requiring level 5.4 to pass): Monday 6th, Wednesday 8th, Saturday 11th or Monday 13th August 2018
  • Face to Face Interview: 20th to 29th August 2018
  • Start Date of course: 15th October 2018 (9 weeks training)

Package Description

Starting salary of £20,761.08 pa. Salary then rises to £21,261.08 upon completion of 6 month probation period.

Excellent benefits including free onsite parking, shopping discounts, pension and 28 days holiday.  39 hour shift pattern working week, including evenings, weekends, nights and bank holidays.

Please note: initial communication will be via email, please monitor your junk and spam folders to ensure you are aware of next stage requirements.

About the Company

Sodexo Justice Services has been operating in the United Kingdom since 1993. We operate five prisons in the UK and have a reputation for operating excellent, ethical, innovative and rehabilitative services. Our vision is to become a strategic partner of our clients by designing, managing and delivering quality of life services which make a meaningful difference to offenders by changing lives for the better.

HMP Northumberland is the newest addition to the SJS estate.  With up to 1348 offenders in our care, we aim to support their rehabilitation by providing real work and education opportunities which match those available in the community.

In the UK and Ireland, Sodexo employs some 35,000 employees to deliver integrated facilities management services to clients at over 2,000 locations in the corporate, healthcare, education, leisure, defence and justice sectors. With an annual turnover of over £1bn, we provide everything from catering, cleaning and reception to security, laboratory and grounds maintenance services, enabling our clients to focus on their core business.

We are building on our support to the Armed Forces community through the development of specific pathways within our recruitment process to  support ex-forces personnel and reservists, those applying for jobs with us who meet the ideal candidate criteria for the role advertised are guaranteed to progress to the selection process.

Sodexo and our clients are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults within a regulated activity. Certain roles will require applicants to undergo screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and/ or Disclosure Scotland.

Please note all roles within Sodexo Justice are subject to security and recruitment checks which may include a Social Media Check. You will also be asked to provide 3 years’ worth of references and request employment history details from the HMRC.

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