The Whole Process Detailed

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anewstart
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The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86329Post anewstart
Sat Oct 11, 2014 3:18 pm

This isn't intended to be definitive, it’s simply an amalgamation of the information I received or found out during my application process and if it helps any others understand what is going on or prevents people having to ask a question that’s been asked 50 times before then it’s served its purpose.

Personal Security – DO NOT POST YOUR REAL NAME OR PRISON NAME ON THIS FORUM FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY, IT’S BETTER TO BE SAFE.

Online POST
Simple maths & English timed tests, if you fail these then either something is wrong with your computer, their marking has gone wrong or it’s been so long that you used maths or English that you’ve forgotten the basics! All kidding aside, there is some ‘logical’ thinking and reasoning required so don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail, just try again.

Pre – RAD (Before the RAD)

Movies – ‘Screwed’, & ‘Starred’
TV – Porridge (None of these are super realistic but more so for UK than ‘Prison Break’, ‘Orange is the new black’ or some other non-UK sources! It’s not necessary to watch any, sometimes people ask, so hence the small list).

Clothing – No specifics, I’d recommend smart casual, not a suit or nightclub wear AND don’t forget sports clothing and trainers for the fitness element.

Documentation – Make sure you take all available documentation they list, driving licence, passport, council tax bill, utility bills, birth certificates, bank statement etc (more rather than less).
You’ll have a ‘medical’ at some stage at the RAD where you’ll be weighed, height measured and have a quick eyesight test. You’ll be asked standard medical questions, ie.any medication, operations, issues, etc and don’t forget, be honest as they will check with your Dr and lying isn’t a good sign for this job!

Fitness
1) You have to complete a ‘bleep’ test (look it up on Google or YouTube if you don’t know what that is) and although I downloaded a couple of smartphone apps to ‘help’ me with the practice it really comes down to this: measure out 15 meters between 2 points, now jog between them for the next 5 minutes, starting at a very slow jog (fast walk) and building up slowly so that for the last minute you’re jogging (running) like you would on a 5K or a marathon, not running for the bus speed. The slight spanner in this is that at each marker (every 15 metres you have to stop, wait for the ‘beep’ and then go to the other one, stop, wait, etc) which means you’re not running constantly for the 4-5 minutes it takes. However, if you can run at a ‘normal’ jogging speed for 5 minutes on a pavement/track/machine you should be more than OK.
2) There’s also an ‘agility’ test which involves running around a slalom course within a set time, try not to be picked first and see how ‘fast’ the first person goes and hear their time, then run as fast as you need to without messing up the course or falling over!
3) There’s a ‘squeeze’ test, it’s easy but squeezing a tennis ball or those weird ‘wrist exerciser spring things’ may help you if you have ‘weak’ hands / fingers.
4) There’s a push – pull test on a machine I’d never seen before and to be honest anyone who fails that has obviously never picked up or pulled anything in their life or is a waif like model.
5) Finally there’s the riot shield test where you hold a riot shield at a particular angle, once again, should be easy.

Maths & English
1) These are two paper versions of the POST you took online, they are shorter but just as easy and presumably to make sure you took the online test and not a more intelligent friend or relative.
2) They provide pen, pencil, sharpener, calculator and scrap paper; you cannot bring anything in to the room with you.
3) My suggestion, go through the test answering what you can easily before going back to any that give you any trouble; if you have the time when finished then go back to the beginning and cover the answers with scrap paper and write your answer again, check your second answer is the same as the first.

Roleplay / Scenarios
This is the part of the RAD that most people seem to have trouble with and I think it’s because you can’t really practice as such. There are 5 ‘scenarios’ and you will have 10 minutes in each scenario (but don’t look at your watch, let the scenario develop, someone will knock on the door when you have to finish).
There seems to be some discrepancy about the nature of the roleplays, I was told they would not be ‘prison’ based and they were all ‘prison’ based (which worried me as I knew/know zero prison procedures but it didn’t matter to be honest) whilst others on different RADS do appear to have had ‘non-prison’ based roleplays. However, genuinely don’t worry if you were expecting one ‘style’ and it turns out to be the other, remember, you’re trying to find out about the person in front of you and the tests are designed to see how you ‘react’.
You’ll be given 5-10 minutes to read 5 ‘files’ which contain information about the 5 people you’re going to be seeing and general rules about the ‘scenarios’. You’ll then have a few minutes in-between each scenario with the next persons file, just to refresh your memory. To be honest, try to remember their name, close family relationships (kids, siblings, parents) and that’s all you really need to get going, if that.
There is a DVD on the internet that ‘claims’ to help with prison officer scenario roleplays but I’ve never heard any positive comments about it, personally I passed first time with no practice but just keeping in mind the following (in no particular order): Make and keep eye contact, nod your head appropriately to indicate you’re listening to them (active listening), use open hand gestures, sympathise, empathise, build rapport, use phrases along the lines of “you sound upset”, “help me to understand”, “tell me what happened”, “I’ll see what I can do” and don’t say “calm down” or “I promise”. Suspend judgement, this means don’t jump to conclusions, the person will tell you what you need to know if you ask open questions. Challenge language that is discrimatory (racist, homophobic,religious, etc), don’t discuss specific officers or prisoners, if someone ‘gets in your face’ don’t back down, don’t step back (until they step back first), be firm in your tone of voice and conviction but don’t raise your voice or shout, if you don’t know something then say so but also say you’ll try to find out, don’t raise your hands above your shoulders, try to treat them fairly and don’t get bogged down on one aspect of the scenario, in all of mine there was always a reason for the ‘apparent’ behaviour, be it medical, childhood abuse, etc.

Now, I know that a lot of people reading the above paragraph will think that I’m some Guardian reading liberal who’s looking to mollycoddle prisoners (offenders) and generally nothing could be further from the truth BUT there are three important reasons why what I’ve written is relevant to you (I believe):

(1) These are (some of but not all of) the things that the people watching the video (yes, you are being recorded) want to see you do in order for them to pass you on the role plays.
(2) Being able to do these things (to one degree or another) will make your life as a prison officer generally easier.
(3) “Treat others as you’d like them to treat you” isn’t a bad rule to live your life by; remember, being deprived of their liberty by being in prison is their punishment, it’s a prison officers job to ensure they remain there, follow the rules and hopefully come out as better people, we’re not there to punish them.

Remember to use appropriate body language (open non-threatening hands), listening to what is said and asking questions, being non-judgemental.

The scenarios are a personality type test but they don't expect perfection to start with, they just want to see you're in the right direction'ish.

Post - RAD (After the RAD)
• The result can come through the next day or many weeks later, there’s no rhyme or reason
• Check your SPAM email folder every day, the results can end up there
• If you fail a part of the RAD then Shared Services will contact you regarding a retake but you can always give them a call
• If you passed, congratulations, you now have to wait for the vetting & references to get done, this can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on multiple factors.
• Do NOT hand in your notice yet, because of the time it can take to ‘vet’ you etc what generally happens is that you’ll receive the a call where someone will discuss with you notice periods etc so that they can match up training start dates so that you have as little ‘unemployed’ time as possible.

DBS / CRB Checks – There seems to be some disparity over when these are required, usually if you’ve applied solely to a Adult prison it won’t be required (but it still might for some reason

Self-Employed?
If you are then you’ll be emailed (and posted I seem to remember) a few forms to fill in regarding this. You can email or post them back, I emailed and they ‘lost’ them the first time round. If you post anything I’d recommend registered or signed for postage, yes it costs more but less chance of it getting ‘lost’.

Shared Services
This is the ‘Personnel’ / ‘Human Resources’ section of NOMS (the Prison Service) and I found that whilst (if you’re polite) they try to be helpful a lot of the time they can’t really tell you anything beyond at what process your application is at.
The best telephone number (I couldn’t find another) is 0845 010 3508 (about 5p a minute I believe from landlines and a LOT more from mobiles!) and their telephone lines are open 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, personally I found ringing just after 8am was best as I didn’t spend ages being told that ‘your call is important to us’ as happened when I called around 11am one day (32 minutes on hold before a 2 minute conversation!).

Remember, check your spam folder, emails regarding your job application will come from various email addresses so you do need to check daily.

Vetting Completed
You should receive an email with attachments (and the same by post) which will contain your contract, details about your first week at your prison, uniform sheet, and various other forms that need filling in and returning by post; once again I recommend registered / signed for postage to reduce ‘lost’ letters!

Training
You start to get paid from the first day of your training.

Training takes 8 weeks, 1 week at the prison you’ve been allocated to, followed by 6 weeks at Newbold Revel (or possibly another training establishment but Newbold is the main one) followed by 1 week again at the prison you’ve been allocated to where you’ll shadow an officer for a week before starting on your own (so to speak).

The 6 weeks at Newbold (or other) is residential Monday through to Friday (with an early finish around lunchtime on Friday so you can beat the traffic home) with all food etc provided (there’s an excellent separate post here which may be a little out of date but the general details are still good http://www.prisonofficer.org.uk/viewtop ... vel#p61258 just about Newbold. You cannot stay Friday or Saturday night but if you live 100+ miles away you can arrive and stay Sunday evening.

You can claim reasonable travel expenses (fuel, rail tickets, etc) after you’ve incurred them through a computer system at your training and apparently they’ll be paid within a couple of weeks. You will also receive (if you qualify to arrive on a Sunday) £26 as no meals are available onsite and apparently you also receive £5 per night Mon-Thu whilst away from home.

You will be expected to complete a NVQ within your probationary year but you’ll find out all about that at training etc and it should be nothing to worry about.

Rota / Working Shifts (credit to Wyer)
The only thing I have to add to this is that apparently there are ‘some’ night shifts you’ll be expected to do (I’ve read 1 week in 20 or so) but if you did a week of nights you then (apparently) get the next week off!

Different prisons have different shifts but in a nut shell they all work around the same kind of hours.

You will work an average of 39 hours over a set amount of weeks which depends on your shift pattern.
Lets say you are working on a 20 week shift pattern, 1 week u might work 35 hrs, the next 45 but over the 20 weeks you will of worked an avg of 39 hrs a week.

The shifts are based on

E - Early 0700 - 1300
Main - All day 0700 - 1700
Late - Afternoon start, evening finish norm 1300-2100
A - All f**king day and evening norm 07-2100

Start and finish times may vary.

Overtime – You choose initially 37-41 hours per week and that’s about it. You may be asked to do extra shifts (or time) for ‘time-off-in-lieu’ but apparently actual paid overtime is pretty rare.

Swapping Shifts – Apparently you can swap shifts with other officers.


That just about wraps it up, I knew nothing about this process 2 months ago and what is written here is the combined ‘wisdom’ of various individuals who answered my many questions, people who’d written previous posts and my own personal experience. I can’t guarantee anything but I hope the information is useful and I'd like to thank all the people who've helped me in the last couple of months.

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Asahi
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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86330Post Asahi
Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Hi, that's my first message even I've been reading for a while.

Thanks anewstart for this topic and all the other contributions.

I'm more or less on your some position, around 40 yrs old, getting 40k 10/12 years ago and now if I'm lucky 25/28k working at least 50hours.
I've been always responsible for at least 15 employees (42 on the last job), too much pressure, no good life balance and not enough money to justify all this things. So I've decided to try to change completely my career, find something a bit more executive and possibly I like. I've many friends doing this job even if in a different country (I believe you can hear my accent even through the laptop :) ) and I think I'm a bit (not fully) aware of what to expect.

I did apply for 3 different locations (youth, A and mix), I passed all the 3 POST and I've been invited for the RAD, I will decide the date as soon I get in with all the documents.

1) I have a first question: I received all the paperwork to be filled and printed. Do I need to fill, print and bring with me the Security questionnaire or do I need to send it by email before?

2) I'm 3.50 on long sight (myopia) and a bit of astigmatism (0.50/0.75), would I be ok?

Many thanks in advance

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86333Post Zagadka84
Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:51 pm

Excellent post mate.

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86334Post anewstart
Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:11 am

Well hopefully it'll be useful to people in the future.

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86337Post anewstart
Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:26 am

Asahi wrote:Hi, that's my first message even I've been reading for a while.

Thanks anewstart for this topic and all the other contributions.

I'm more or less on your some position, around 40 yrs old, getting 40k 10/12 years ago and now if I'm lucky 25/28k working at least 50hours.
I've been always responsible for at least 15 employees (42 on the last job), too much pressure, no good life balance and not enough money to justify all this things. So I've decided to try to change completely my career, find something a bit more executive and possibly I like. I've many friends doing this job even if in a different country (I believe you can hear my accent even through the laptop :) ) and I think I'm a bit (not fully) aware of what to expect.

I did apply for 3 different locations (youth, A and mix), I passed all the 3 POST and I've been invited for the RAD, I will decide the date as soon I get in with all the documents.

1) I have a first question: I received all the paperwork to be filled and printed. Do I need to fill, print and bring with me the Security questionnaire or do I need to send it by email before?

2) I'm 3.50 on long sight (myopia) and a bit of astigmatism (0.50/0.75), would I be ok?

Many thanks in advance

Hi Asahi,

First of all, thanks for your words and isn't it annoying how our earnings have decreased since our youth!

Anyway, with regards to your questions, please keep in mind I'm an 'amateur', I'm not even a prison officer yet, let alone someone making the 'decisions' but as far as I'm aware / experienced or can remember, (Question 1) - Fill, print and bring Security Questionnaire and counter-signatory form (with photos statemented and signed on back) to the RAD, (Question 2) - I believe as long as you have glasses (maybe contact lenses?) prescribed and wear them then it shouldn't be a problem, after all, very few people get to our age without needing glasses for something :slbg:

Good luck on the RAD and in your future.

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86340Post Big Daddy
Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:06 am

Great post mate, I'm at roughly the same stage of recruitment as you are, but it's a very interesting and detailed post and I'm sure it will help many many people that are at the beginning or even half way through the process.

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86342Post anewstart
Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:37 am

Cheers MikeJohn, feels like a long old process doesn't it!

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86343Post Big Daddy
Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:00 pm

Certainly does mate, hard to believe it was 2 years ago I had my RAD down at Holloway, now I've got 3 weeks until my 'Provisional' start date, the waiting for my checks to come through part is awful!!

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86344Post anewstart
Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:53 pm

Blimey, a 2 year old RAD, that is a long time!

Are you at Newbold on the 3rd then?

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86345Post Big Daddy
Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:22 pm

Looks like I'll be starting my POELT on the 10th, my email says 'As you know there are several security vetting and pre-employment checks that we need to complete, but subject to successful completion of these we agreed (considering your notice period) a start date for you at ********** on 3 November 2014. As discussed you will complete one week induction in the prison and then a further 6 weeks on your POELT (Prison Officer Entry Level Training) which will therefore start on (day and date) at (Training venue).' The thing is, if I was to do 1 week at my establishment, 3 weeks training, 1 week then 3 again, the last week of training would be Christmas week, unless I will be doing 1 week at establishment then a full 6 weeks training?!? Guess I'll have to wait for my checks to come back for proper confirmation

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86346Post anewstart
Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:14 pm

Well, may your checks come back quickly!

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86351Post Big Daddy
Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:53 am

Received and email today to say my checks are complete, I have replied regarding my availability/notice period then should hear later today regarding them releasing my contract/offer letter. What...a...relief!!!

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86352Post anewstart
Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:21 am

Excellent, good news for a Monday morning!
I had that news last Wednesday, still awaiting contract/uniform request etc, was told about a week, hopefully in next few days.

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86353Post PAW16
Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:30 am

I phoned shared services up on Friday and they said my vetting is now complete so my application will now be sent to allocations... I guess this is the stage when I get my email! This wait is so painful!

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Re: The Whole Process Detailed

Post: # 86354Post anewstart
Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:41 am

I think it's so 'painful' because it's several elements (POST, RAD & Vetting) that are spaced out (time wise) which makes it feel like it just keeps going without you having a definite job!

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