Operational Support Grade
Operational Support Grade – HMP Cookham Wood (Prison Support Role) – 78895
Overview of the job
DBS is required.
It takes teamwork to support our prisons.
As an Operational Support Grade, you will look after the day-to-day running of a busy prison, working in a close-knit team to carry out a range of support services – this is not a ‘desk based’ job, the OSG role is active and may involve walking, climbing stairs and some manual handling, you will be doing everything from patrol and gate duties, to managing deliveries, supervising visitors, and monitoring phone calls and CCTV. You will work a variety of shifts including nights to keep things running. Unlike our prison officers, your contact with offenders is limited, although depending on the particular prison you may interact with offenders occasionally.
You don’t need any qualifications to do this job. Helping to keep a prison running smoothly and safely requires good judgement, common sense, responsibility and, above all, teamwork.
In addition to your base pay, you will receive:
- annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after 10 years’ service (calculated on a pro-rata basis)
- 9 days bank, public and privilege holidays
- access to a paid Level 2 apprenticeship in customer service
- access to the generous Civil Service pension scheme
- season ticket loans, retail discounts, an Employee Assistance Programme and a Cycle to Work scheme
National – £25,626
The salary figures quoted are for a 37 hour working week inclusive of 20% unsocial hours working allowance which is included in the salary to reflect the requirement to work nights, evening and weekend shifts
You will work an average of 37 hours per week and this will include working night shifts, evenings, weekends and Bank/Public holidays (these days are added to your holiday allowance) on a rolling shift pattern. The frequency of night shifts will vary for each Establishment and can be discussed at interview. For an example of the shift times that you could be working please visit our website
Responsibilities, activities and duties
You will be flexibly deployed to perform operational roles across the prison as required. Responsibilities, activities and duties are likely to include:
- gate/portal duties:ensure the secure entry and exit of staff, visitors, vehicles; carry out searches of staff, prisoners, visitors, contractors and vehicles; issue and collect staff keys/radios
- control room:operate the establishment radio system and monitor CCTV ensuring all suspicious activities are reported
- visits:book visits; identify and process visitors on their arrival, escort them if required
- censors/correspondence:monitor/log mail and report any illicit or contraband items, maintaining the preservation of evidence
- night duties:ensure cell doors are locked/secure and all prisoners are safely accounted for
- reception:assist in supporting appropriate tasks in reception; photograph prisoners; collate documentation for the property process; search/x-ray incoming prisoner property and parcels; receive items for prisoners and check all seals are intact on property storage
- prisoner supervision:supervise prisoners as required; undertake prisoner clothing/property exchange and assist officers with free flow movement
- food delivery:food trolley delivery and collection, which may involve the use of an electric tug vehicle
- driving duties:transport prisoners and their escort to their destination in the cellular vehicle; collect mail from local sorting office
- phone calls:monitor the Personal Identification Number (PIN) system, maintaining the log of PIN Phone requests from prisoners; complete all relevant paperwork keeping an audit trail of conversations; check that legal numbers are registered solicitors
- procedures and protocol: understand and conform to national and local policies, responding appropriately to invoke emergency procedures and the actions required in relation to incidents
How to apply
- Tell us about yourself
Click apply and fill in your personal details on our application form
- Take a short online test
When you apply, you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to take our online test. This is a behaviour-based assessment that assesses whether you have the right natural strengths and behavioural preferences to become an Operational Support Grade. You will complete a series of mini-tasks that are designed to elicit your natural behavioural preferences (e.g. how you naturally tend to make decisions). Whilst the tasks themselves aren’t set in the context of the role, they are designed to observe the behaviours that are most important for the role. This will take around 40 minutes to complete, but there is no time limit.
You don’t need to be a gamer to do well on this test. We’re just looking for your natural ability to succeed in the role.
Before you take the test you will have the opportunity to practice and prepare for the real test. You will receive information and a link to access this and the actual test once you apply.
If you pass the test, we’ll invite you for an interview.
At the interview we will assess you against the following Success Profile behaviours –
- Communicating and Influencing
- Delivering at Pace
- Managing a Quality Service
- Working Together
The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviours and experience. It will provide the ideal opportunity to tell us more about yourself, your work history or personal experiences, so we can get to know you better and assess how you will be suited to prison work. Your Strengths will also be assessed at interview but these are not shared in advance.
Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are taking measures to ensure both candidate and staff safety, as a result, some prisons will be conducting live video interviews. All details will be sent to you before your interview.
For more information please visit our website
Job offers: ‘merit’ vacancy
This is a ‘merit’ job vacancy. If you are successful at the interview you will be added to a merit list based on your score.
When all applicants have completed the assessment, the prison will make job offers to those with the highest scores first when positions become available.
You can stay on the merit list for 12 months. After this, you’ll need to apply again.
If your application is unsuccessful at the sift/Interview stage, a six month waiting period will be applied during which time you will not be allowed to submit any further applications for Operational Support Grade positions.
The jobholder must be able to fulfil all spoken aspects of the role with confidence in English or (when specified in Wales) Welsh.
In addition you will receive 20% unsocial working allowance which is included to reflect the requirement to work nights, evenings and weekend shifts. The allowance has been included in the salary figures quoted.
Working for the Civil Service
A Great Place to Work for Veterans’
The ‘Making the Civil Service a Great Place to work for veterans’ initiative includes a guaranteed interview scheme to those who meet the minimum criteria to provide eligible former members of the Armed Forces with opportunities to secure rewarding jobs. Allowing veterans to continue to serve their country, and to bring highly skilled individuals with a broad range of experience into the Civil Service in an environment, which recognises and values your previous service in the Armed Forces.
For further details about the initiative and eligibility requirements visit:
The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.
We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order
1- To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail Mojemail@example.com);
2- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (firstname.lastname@example.org);
3- To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)
We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As a Disability Confident employer, MoJ are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. MoJ are able to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns.
You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. If you need additional help completing the application form, please contact the SSCL Recruitment Enquiries Team.
Working Arrangements & Further Information
Some of MoJ’s, including NOMS, terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.
Standard working hours for this post are 37 hours per week excluding breaks which are unpaid.
The holiday year runs from 1 March. If you work a non standard work pattern your leave entitlement may be expressed in either hours or days as appropriate. Leave entitlement is calculated on a pro-rata basis and you will be advised of your actual entitlement on appointment. If you were appointed internally and your leave was previously calculated in days, this will continue to be the case.
Bank, Public and Privilege Holidays
You are entitled to 9 days (66 hours 36 minutes) in recognition of bank, public and privilege holidays. These hours are added to your annual leave allowance. There is a requirement to work some public and bank holidays subject to your shift pattern and the operational needs of the establishment.
The Civil Service offers a choice of two pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.
Work Life Balance
The Prison Service is keen to encourage alternative working arrangements. Work life balance provides greater opportunities for staff to work more flexibly wherever managers and establishments can accommodate requests to do so. The Prison Service offers flexible working subject to completion of a satisfactory probationary period and NVQ.
Season Ticket Advance
After two months’ service, you’ll be eligible to apply for a season ticket advance to purchase a quarterly or longer-period season ticket for travel between home and your place of work.
In addition to the individual induction programme which will be delivered at the Establishment and will include security and diversity training you will be required to attend a two week training course which will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to effectively carry out your duties.
The Prison Service is committed to staff development and offers a range of training and development opportunities, including areas such as Equality and Diversity, Dealing with Challenging Behaviour, Suicide Prevention and Anti Bullying Programmes.
There are opportunities to access promotion programmes and the Prison Service provide a variety of training appropriate to individual posts.
All candidates are subject to security and identity checks prior to taking up post
All external candidates are subject to 6 months probation. Internal candidates are subject to probation if they have not already served a probationary period within NOMS
All staff are required to declare whether they are a member of a group or organisation which the Prison Service considers to be racist.