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Best

HMPPS Staff Awards

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service

Every year, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service organises and runs the Prison Officer of the Year and the Probation Awards which recognise the work of some of its 40,000 employees. Finalists must be at or below first line management grade to ensure those getting awarded are operational rather than managerial staff. 


There are seven categories plus a team of the year and a lifetime achievement in each awards scheme, which run on consecutive nights. In 2017, the Changing Lives trophy was added, a new category nominated by those in custody and on probation, giving them the chance to say ‘thank you’ to people who have changed their lives. But there were also subtle changes to the other categories to reflect HMPPS’ mission statement of ‘preventing victims by changing lives’ and its values: humanity, purpose, together and decency. 


Bespoke posters featuring previous finalists, articles on the service’s intranet and tweets were used to encourage nominations. All the promotional materials were also produced in Welsh.


Nominations are first sifted locally, then regionally, ensuring that prison governors and heads of probation are involved in the decision-making process. The final decisions are made by a judging panel comprising senior staff.

A Facebook group for the finalists allow them to ask any questions, get to know each other and meet the events team before the awards. In the run up to the ceremonies, a video is produced of each finalist (46 in total) as well as ten images apiece. These are used internally and externally both before and after the awards. And Cover it live is an initiative to create a ‘live’ feeling to the awards, so that family and friends can send in support messages through the day. Social media is used to announce the results during the evening ceremony, driving further engagement with staff and stakeholders.


The judges described this as ‘an awards event that celebrated the positive work of people in an organisation that is undervalued and underfunded, a modest budget delivered a joyous event.’ The panel particularly liked the decision to engage prisoners, probationers and their families in the staff nominations, describing it as ‘brave and enlightened