HRM and Teamwork Within the Context of Change: An Analysis of the Implementational Impact of Theoretical Constructs on the Prison Service Organisation, Linking Healthcare With the Disciplines of Security and Control

International Journal of Applied Public Sector Management (ISSN: 1742-2655) Volume 1 Issue 2

Derrick Walker
Training Manager, HM Prison, Nottingham


Nottingham Prison underwent dramatic organisational change when in 1997 its role was changed from a training prison with a small Healthcare department, into a Local community prison, taking prisoners who were remanded into custody by the courts. The Healthcare Manager and his deputy were studying for academic qualifications in management, employing a strategy of integrating management theory and concepts with practice on a daily operational basis. The Prison Inspectorate carried out a full inspection of Nottingham in 1997, and while there were inevitable areas of concern, the healthcare department was praised for examples of good practice.

Fundamental to the success of a four year strategy aimed at producing a practicable benchmark for healthcare provision in a local community prison was the formation and development of teamwork within the healthcare department of Nottingham Prison, which is examined in this paper in the context of human resource management.

Table 1. HMP Nottingham . Before and after change in role.

HM Prison Nottingham

Pre 1997

1997 – 2000

HMP Nottingham was, until 1997, a relatively sleepy little ‘Lifer' prison with 200 long-term prisoners.

The healthcare department consisted of a part time doctor, a healthcare manager and a small healthcare staff of three.

Staff and inmates had known each other a long time and there was generally a good working relationship between them.

Many staff know inmates by their first names and vice versa.

In 1996, Nottingham was almost rebuilt and became a Local community prison, taking in prisoners who were remanded into custody by the courts.

The number of inmates rose to 500, including 200 unconvicted remands and 100 life-sentenced prisoners.

The staffing compliment in Healthcare quadrupled to include healthcare officers and nurses recruited from the NHS. The nurses had no experience of prisons, prison staff or prisoners.

The new healthcare team progressed through all the normal and expected transformational changes that new teams experience.

Source: Walker (2000)

Prisoners are a transient population and tend to spend only a short time in local prisons before being transferred to training prisons, or returning to their community. The time in custody may be the rare occasion that a prisoner has regular contact with healthcare services and this opportunity should be taken to offer high quality healthcare with a view to improving the prisoner's health and more general outlook on life and health. Patients in a Local prison tend to have different health needs to the general population outside, in particular a high incidence of drug abuse and misuse, and mental health problems.

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