HL Deb 08 November 1999 vol 606 cc115-6WA
The Earl of Listowel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether there are any nationally recognised preparatory training schemes for those who work in:

  • (a) the prison service;
  • (b) hostels for the homeless; and
  • (c) residential schools, and, if not, why not. [HL4380]

Lord Bassam of Brighton:

The prison service

All newly recruited prison officers attend an 11-week initial training course which provides the underpinning knowledge to enable them to attain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), level 2, in custodial care within two years. Existing civil servants, experienced managers or graduates may be appointed to the Prison Service via a number of fast track schemes. Appointment to a governor grade in each of the schemes is only possible after an intense period of initial training followed by the achievement of formal accreditation.

Induction and development training for administrative staff is delivered locally within each prison establishment, or headquarters group, which allows the specific needs of the individual to be assessed and met in the most appropriate way.

Hostels for the homeless

There are several national recognised qualifications, including NVQs, designed for people working in supported housing, including hostels for the homeless. There are also many other NVQs and other nationally recognised qualifications which are relevant but not specific to those working hostels, such as caring for people with mental or physical health or substance abuse problems. Training towards these qualifications is the responsibility of individual employers.

Residential schools

The Department for Education and Employment encourages participation in training for those employed in maintained and independent residential (boarding) schools and provides financial support for training offered by the Boarding Schools Association. This training, for pastoral and welfare staff, culminates in two certificated qualifications both validated by the Roehampton Institute.