The Scottish Prison Service operates in a fascinating, complex and rapidly changing environment and our vision is to help build a safer Scotland by unlocking potential and transforming lives. This means we’re committed to nurturing and investing in our greatest strength and resource – People.

We employ a diverse range of people; each contributing their own unique experiences and skills to enhance the service we deliver and your SPS experience will be both challenging and rewarding.

  • Do you want to help transform the lives of offenders and help build a safer Scotland?
  • Do you want to work in a fascinating, complex and rapidly changing environment where no two days are the same?
  • Do you want to experience a challenging, but rewarding, role?
  • Do you want to achieve a nationally recognised qualification?
  • Do you want to develop yourself both professionally and as a person?


If so, then this is the role for you!  There are exciting opportunities to join the team in HMP&YOI Grampian as an Operations Officer and more information can be found below.


The role of a Prison Officer

As you embark on a career as a Prison Officer, you will join the SPS as an Operations Officer.  In this role you will be responsible for the overall functioning and security of the establishment, working as part of a team and carrying out roles such as:

  • Patrol: observing and monitoring the security and behaviour of people in custody, identifying and responding to breaches and security and order.
  • Reception: managing the entry and discharge of offenders from prison, assessing the needs of individual offenders and ensuring the correct procedures are followed.
  • Electronic Control Room (ECR): responsibility for the movement and security of staff and prisoners throughout the prison establishment.
  • Front of House: ensuring a high level of security and customer service as the first point of contact for staff and visitors entering the prison establishment.
  • Visits: responsibility for the security and order of prisoner visit sessions through effective observation and searching.


During your first year as an Operations Officer, you will work towards and achieve an SVQ Level 3 in Custodial Care. This is a nationally recognised award offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in partnership with the Scottish Prison Service.

The SVQ in Custodial Care is a work-based qualification which assesses the skills and knowledge which people have and need to perform their job role effectively. 

On successful completion of the qualification, you may wish to consider promotion within the SPS to Residential Officer, Officer Instructor/Vocational Training Instructor, or First Line Manager. Promotion opportunities are subject to organisational requirements and are conducted through competitive internal selection processes.

For further information on the above, please click the button below.

Apply now

Recruitment and Selection Process

The recruitment and selection process is designed to deliver Prison Officers who demonstrate the key skills and behaviours required to be effective members of our professional team.  The recruitment process consist of four assessments which are designed to assess you against the following essential requirements;

  • Experience in a people facing environment, demonstrating strong interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent communications skills and team working abilities.
  • An awareness of and commitment to the SPS Vision and Values.
  • Resilience demonstrated through patience and considerate interactions.


Stage 1:  Online Application

The process begins with an online application form which gathers information about you, including your motivation and the skills and experience you will bring to the job.  Your application will be checked to ensure it is fully completed and that you are eligible to apply.  While completing your application, please ensure that all the necessary information is completed and you are maximising the word count available.


Stage 2:  Testing & Awareness Session

  • Psychometric Testing: you will be invited to complete two timed ability tests (verbal and numerical).
  • Awareness Session: this does not form part of the assessment process and is designed to give you an insight into the SPS and the role of the Prison Officer.


Stage 3:  Application Form Assessment

If you are successful at psychometric testing, we will assess and score the evidence and examples that you provided in your application.  It is important that you structure your examples using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action & Result) model, paying particular attention to your actions throughout.


Stage 4:  Assessment Day

Competency Based Interview:  you will be interviewed by SPS managers during which you will be assessed against the requirements of the role.  This is your opportunity to evidence your skills and experience.

Fitness Test:  you are required to take part in and pass a fitness test.  This consists of;

  • aerobic run: 600m on a treadmill
  • upper body strength: on a dyno machine and must achieve 34kg
  • grip strength: both dominant and non-dominant hands
  • shield hold: 60 seconds


Stage 5:  Pre-employment Checks

  • Employer and character reference checks
  • Disclosure Scotland checks
  • Pre-employment medical assessment
  • Substance misuse testing
  • Social media vetting


Stage 6:  Assignment Process

All applicants for the role of Prison Officer in Grampian will be fast-tracked through the above selection process with the view to being assigned, if successful, in February 2019.

For further information on the process, please click here.

If you have any questions in relation to the selection process for Prison Officer (HMP&YOI Grampian) then please contact Robbie Mason, Acting Resourcing Manager on

Check your eligibility to apply

Pay, Pension & Annual Leave

Market Supplement

New Operations Officer Recruits into HMP&YOI Grampian will receive a market supplement which brings the total pay to £20,000 per annum

Relocation Grant

Newly recruited Operations Officers who live more than 30 miles from HMP&YOI Grampian may be eligible for a relocation grant of £2,500.

Pay Progression

The pay points support a pay progression arrangement whereby, subject to an acceptable level of performance, an employee’s salary may increase year-on-year.  The highest pay point in a pay band represents the pay band maxima at which pay progression within the pay bands end.



Pay Band

Pay Point








C (Operations Officer)





D (Residential Officer)





E (First Line Manager)






Salary points are reviewed from 1 April each year.


Pension Options

The SPS is a Civil Service employer and we offer a choice of two high quality pension schemes, allowing you flexibility to choose the pension arrangements that suit you best:  

  1. The ALPHA scheme which is a defined benefit career average scheme. If you decide to join our highly rated ALPHA Pension Scheme, you will pay a low level contribution of 4.6% of your pensionable earnings, with SPS paying employer contributions on your behalf.  
  2. The PARTNERSHIP scheme which is a money purchase stakeholder arrangement. If you decide to join our PARTNERSHIP Pension Scheme, we will pay employer contributions based on your age that range from 8% to 14.75% of your pensionable earnings.  You are not required to pay a personal contribution. However, if you do make personal contributions, we will match this with an additional employer contribution up to a maximum of 3% of your pensionable earnings.  


As well as retirement benefits both schemes include ill health, life cover and family benefits.

If you have worked for a civil service employer before you may be able to continue with membership of your previous scheme.

New staff members will be sent full details of the schemes they are eligible to join before being asked to make a decision.

Annual Leave

The SPS has a generous annual leave allowance.  The annual leave year runs from 1 February to 31 January. 



Year 1 to 5 inclusive

34 days

Year 6 onwards

42 days

Your annual leave entitlement includes 12 days public and privilege days, including St. Andrews day.  Annual leave is calculated on a pro-rata basis for part time staff.

Further details of both schemes

Family Friendly Policies

We understand the importance of good work-life balance and we recognise that your personal circumstances may change over time.  We offer a range of option to help you achieve the right work-life balance, such as flexible working, part-time working and career breaks.

Maternity, Paternity and Adoption

We are committed to supporting you throughout any period of pregnancy or adoption, and in your responsibilities as a parent, offering generous support and maternity and paternity leave arrangements (above the statutory minimum), while continuing to recognise the positive contribution you make.

Childcare Vouchers

The childcare voucher scheme can help working parents make savings as well as making it easier to budget for childcare.  As a working parent, you may save in the region on £1,000 per annum.

Special Leave

Special leave allows staff members to apply for time off in addition to annual leave in certain circumstances.  Special leave can be granted with or without pay.

Employee Discounts Scheme

We offer a range of value benefits to employees, discounts, offers and great savings on leisure, shopping, health and much more.

Health and Wellbeing

Sick Leave Provision

We provide paid leave during absence.  Sick leave on full pay may be granted for up to 6 months of any 12 month period and thereafter sick leave o half pay, subject to a maximum of 12 months’ sick leave in any 4 year period.

Eye Care Plan

We provide free eyesight tests for staff and where prescription spectacles are needed for particular work tasks, you can choose from a range of styles without charge.

Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP)

Balancing the demands of work and your personal life is not always easy.  Our Employee Assistance Programme is a free confidential 24 hour service providing specialist support and information for you and your immediate family on life management, health information and personal support for the time when you need it most.

Lifestyle Screening

To promote and encourage healthy lifestyles SPS have introduced health screening for staff once every three years.


HMP&YOI Grampian offers a free staff gymnasium on site.

Car Parking Facilities

HMP&YOI Grampian has free staff parking and cycling facilities.