https://prisonjobs.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/15/the-recruitment-assessment-day-rad-is-changing-to-the-assessment-recruitment-centre-arc/

The Recruitment Assessment Day (RAD) is changing to the Assessment & Recruitment Centre (ARC)

Confident CEO greets potential employee before job interview. The interviewee's back is to the camera.

We’re constantly improving our recruitment process so we can make it more efficient and effective for our applicants. We're changing the Recruitment Assessment Days, also known as RAD, to the Assessment & Recruitment Centre (ARC).

This will only affect new applicants who’ve applied from the 15 October 2018. Anyone who has applied before this date will still be invited to a RAD once they’ve passed the initial online tests.

Some things will remain the same, as the ARC will still assess whether you have the abilities, behaviours, strengths and fitness to become an effective prison officer.

This blog post will outline the most important changes from the RAD to the ARC.

What should I expect at the Assessment & Recruitment Centre?

The ARC will begin with an introductory briefing session where you’ll be given information about the day - this is your chance to ask any questions you may have. There will also be a debrief at the end of the day for any remaining questions and for you to have the chance to feedback on your experience.

The ARC will be roughly broken down into the following assessments:

  •      Medical Assessment (15 minutes)
  •      Fitness Test (30 minutes)
  •      English Test (30 minutes)
  •      Numeracy Test (5 minutes)
  •      Role plays (35 minutes)
  •      Interview (30 minutes)

What changes are happening?

Introducing an interview

We’re now introducing a one-on-one interview at the ARC. This is a strengths-based interview and will last for 30 minutes.

We want to know why you want to be a prison officer, what your strengths are and what interests you, rather than assessing your past-experiences. We’ll also assess your ability to speak and understand English as this is a Government requirement in public-facing jobs.

Receiving your results

Previously, it could take up to 5 days for you to receive your RAD results. Now, you’ll know whether or not you’ve been successful or unsuccessful at the end of the assessment day.

You’ll then be emailed with a breakdown of your results in due course.

Ordering your uniform

We actually get asked about uniform a lot on this blog. Before, you’d only order your uniform nearer your start date. Now, you’ll fill out your uniform form at the ARC because you find out immediately whether or not you’ve been successful or unsuccessful on the day.

This also gives you the chance to ask the assessment staff any questions you may have about uniform.

How do I prepare for the interview?

No specific preparation is required, but you might find it helpful to consider why you would like to be a prison officer and reflect on your strengths before attending the ARC. We’re interested in finding out what motivates you to work in the prison service.

What should I bring with me to the ARC?

You’ll need to bring the following documents with you on the day of your ARC:

  •      Proof of right to work
  •      Proof of ID
  •      Proof of address
  •      Completed pre-fitness health questionnaire

Please refer to your invite email for guidance on which documents are acceptable. This will help to ensure that your pre-employment checks are completed as quickly as possible, if you’re allocated to a vacancy.

Please note that if you’ve applied under a merit recruitment campaign, your documentation will be checked, but you will not progress through to pre-employment checks until you’ve been allocated to a vacancy. For more information on merit campaigns, take a look at our vetting blog post.

Will I still have to do a medical assessment?

You’ll still be required to take part in a medical assessment carried out by a trained nurse to check that you’re safely able to take part in the fitness test during the ARC. The medical assessment will involve an eye test, a hearing test and a basic health screening (including blood pressure check). This is the first part of a two-stage health screening.

The second stage is an online health questionnaire which, depending on your responses, could lead to either a face-to-face or telephone appointment to discuss any disclosed medical conditions.

What happens if I fail the ARC?

If you are unsuccessful at your ARC and would still like to become a prison officer, you'll need to wait 6 months before you can reapply for the same or a different prison.

You'd might also like to take a look at other roles within HMPPS, such as the operational support grade job, where you’d play a crucial part in keeping prisons safe and running smoothly.

For more information on the ARC, please go to our recruitment website.

84 comments

  1. Comment by Andrew Codling posted on

    I’d be interested to know whether if you hold a current RAD pass whether it’s now invalid and you’d now need to attend an ARC or whether the RAD is still valid for the 12 months for any new vacancies?

    • Replies to Andrew Codling>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Andrew,

      Your current RAD accreditation is still valid for 12 months. The change from RAD to ARC will only affect you if you make a new application to become a prison officer

      Thanks, Helena

      • Replies to Helena>

        Comment by Syed posted on

        Hi Helena,

        I passed my RAD in July 2018 and I applied for a prison closer to home on 7 November 2018. Would I be able to transfer my RAD over for this or would I need to do the ARC as the communication which I’ve received from Shared Service is that there isn’t enough spaces for me to take the ARC currently.
        Please can you advise?
        Thank you
        Syed

        • Replies to Syed>

          Comment by Helena posted on

          Hi Syed,

          You can transfer a live RAD accreditation to a new prison application (if you’ve applied after 15 October, which you have) and have passed the online test for the new application. This means if you’ve passed the test, you won’t need to complete another ARC.

          However, can I please ask for more information? Have you been offered and accepted a job offer from your July RAD, or are you on a merit list?

          Thanks, Helena

          • Replies to Helena>

            Comment by Syed posted on

            Hi Helena,

            I am currently on a merit list for two prison officer positions at two establishments.

            Regards,

            Syed

          • Replies to Syed>

            Comment by Helena posted on

            Hi Syed,

            Thanks for providing us with more information. You can mirror your RAD results over to your new ARC, without having to attend another ARC. You’ll then need to wait to see if you’re given an offer to either of the prison officer job applications.

            Thanks, Helena

  2. Comment by Shannon posted on

    Hello
    Due to the changes would you still possibly be able to transfer your RAD results as you would have been able to previously or would you have to go through the ARC?
    I’m curious as now there doesn’t seem to be anymore RAD tests how will it be possible to be successful if all new vacancies will be assessed under ARC and you can’t transfer your RAD.
    It seems as if all previous candidates who have passed RAD like myself have to remain on the merit list and if any vacancies come up we will have to go through an assessment day again. Slightly unfair.

    Thanks

  3. Comment by Olivia posted on

    I applied and scheduled my assessment day before October 15th and my assessment day is on 21st October, does that mean I will be attending the RAD rather than the ARC?

    • Replies to Olivia>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Olivia,

      As you’ve booked your assessment centre before 15 October, you’ll be completing the RAD. Those who have applied and booked their assessment centre after the 15 October will then complete an ARC rather than a RAD.

      Thanks, Helena

  4. Comment by Allana posted on

    Hi,

    Can you confirm if the distance required to run for the bleep test is 20m and not 15m?

    Thanks
    Allana

    • Replies to Allana>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Allana,

      At the ARC the bleep test will still require reaching level 5.4, which is 525 metres between the two markers that are placed 15 metres apart (as per the practise videos).

      Emily

  5. Comment by Joseph Houghton posted on

    Hi,

    I have passed the RAD back in July, do I still need to do the ARC? I have applied for a new Prison Officer Job should I do the ARC as well.

    • Replies to Joseph Houghton>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Joseph,

      Any live RAD accreditations can be mirrored across to an ARC, as long as you've completed the online test for the new job application.

      Thanks

      Emily

  6. Comment by Perry posted on

    Hi.
    I passed the online test a couple of days ago and received an email saying that I have passed but there is no space at the recruitment center, followed by a message saying thank you for your application.
    Does this mean that I’ll have to re-apply further down the line? There are many PO jobs still listed on the recruitment page.

    Thanks
    Perry

  7. Comment by Sam posted on

    Hi. I passed my online tests and was told there are no open spaces available for ARC at this time, here is the email they sent.
    We are pleased to inform that you have successfully passed the Online Test.

    Due to a large number of applications, there are currently no open spaces available for the Assessment and Recruitment Centre (ARC) at this time.

    We are currently looking to increase the number of available slots in the near future and will be in touch as soon spaces become available.

    We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your interest in the prison service.

    Will they defiantly contact me to schedule a day or am I clinging onto false hope?

    • Replies to Sam>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Sam

      As you have passed the online test you will be contacted to take part in the next step of the assessment process.

      Unfortunately I cannot guarantee when this may be - but please keep an eye out on your emails.

      Thanks

      Emily

  8. Comment by Bryan posted on

    Would being on blood thinning medication prevent my passing a medical?

  9. Comment by Allana posted on

    HI,

    As i am travelling from overseas do i need to provide a copy of my health records and bring them with me so they are available at the ARC?
    Thanks

    • Replies to Allana>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Allana,

      Yes, as part of your email invite to ARC you’ll be told what documents you’ll need to bring on the day. Please make sure you bring all these documents along with you.

      If you’ve lived or have been living overseas for more than 6 months in the past 3 years you’ll also need to provide an overseas police check if you’re successful.

      Thanks, Helena

  10. Comment by Maria posted on

    I would like check, do I still need to provide right to the evidence even if I live and work in UK for 11 years, I now after 5 years you are treated as permanent resident, I wouldn't want to take the tests before I am sure that I got all the documents needed.
    Many thanks Maria

  11. Comment by Rob posted on

    Hi does anyone know what the pass mark is on the exercises please. Once you have been to the arc centre. Please could you advise me

    • Replies to Rob>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Rob,

      I’m afraid I can’t discuss specific scores about your ARC on this public blog. If you’ve failed the fitness test you’ll be invited back to try again. If you’ve failed any other element of the ARC you’ll need to wait 6 months before reapplying.

      Please keep an eye on both the recruitment portal and emails.

      Thanks, Helena

  12. Comment by Ian Skillcorn posted on

    Hi
    Hope you can help I am trying to download the pdf for the medical form to take with me to my ARC but the link isn't working.

    Thanks
    Ian Skillcorn

    • Replies to Ian Skillcorn>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Ian,

      Please check your emails as I believe a medical form has been sent to you directly.

      Thanks, Helena

  13. Comment by Rik posted on

    I've passed my online assessments and am now waiting for a date for ARC. What is the rough waiting time for this assessment? I got to request the time off from my current job to attend just want to be ready for it!
    I appreciate that Christmas is coming up and its going to be delayed for this reason.

    • Replies to Rik>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Rik,

      You’ll be given a selection of dates and locations for the ARC, so you can book onto a day that best suits you. Please keep an eye out on your emails and portal for information on when to book your ARC.

      Thanks, Helena

  14. Comment by Bogdan posted on

    Hello ,

    Did somebody know when the new available dates will come up at ARC. I passed my test online on 5th November , emailed to recruitment office 2 times and they don’t know nothing.
    I believe due to Christmas period will start from January onwards ?

    Many thanks
    Bogdan

    • Replies to Bogdan>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Bogdan,

      It’s likely that you’ll be invited to attend your ARC after Christmas. New dates will become available soon so please keep an eye on both your portal and emails.

      Thanks, Helena

      • Replies to Helena>

        Comment by Bogdan posted on

        Thank you very much Helena for your answer and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  15. Comment by Robert posted on

    Can you use a calculator for the Numeracy Test at the ARC?

    • Replies to Robert>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Robert,

      Yes, you’ll be able to use a calculator for the Numeracy Test.

      Thanks, Helena

  16. Comment by Samd posted on

    I attended my ARC a few weeks back and was lucky enough to of passed, I was emailed my score but was just wondering if any body knows what the score is out of/ maximum score?

    I just want to know as i am now on a merit list but without knowing what my score is out of I cant workout where abouts I would be on the list.

  17. Comment by Sarah posted on

    Is the only assessment centre Manchester now? Is Newbold no longer an option?

  18. Comment by Valerie posted on

    I think, like Samd, most of us who have passed our Arc, now have no idea of the scoring system, so are unable to work out if we have completed the tasks well.
    If we knew what the scores actually meant, it would be helpful; are you marked on the individual strengths (I believe there are 7) or is the overall score just out of 100 and therefore a percentage?

  19. Comment by shivon upton posted on

    where are the ARC centres located

    • Replies to shivon upton>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Shivon,

      We have assessment and recruitment centres across the whole of the UK.

      The location you’re taking your ARC might not necessary be the same location you do your POELT. For both ARC and POELT we have to allocate people to the spaces we have available, but we always try to take into consideration your location, the prison you’ve applied to and your personal circumstances.

      Thanks, Helena

  20. Comment by Bogdan posted on

    Happy New Year

    Now that New Year has gone , do someone knows when the ARC dates will be available ?

    Many thanks

    Bogdan

  21. Comment by shivon upton posted on

    A FRIEND OF MINE WAS CALLED TO AN ASSESSMENT but it was in Manchester, he lives in Warwickshire and he could not afford to travel that far as he is in receipt of benefits, I wondered if there were assessment centres nearer to him that he could attend?? The vacancy he was interested in was in Redditch/Bromsgrove prison

    • Replies to shivon upton>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Shivon,

      Your friend is able to claim back travel expenses, please tell him to contact the prison he’s applied to for more details.

      Thanks, Helena

  22. Comment by Kishan posted on

    Hi,

    Are you allowed taking notes with you on the day?

    Kind Regards

    Kishan

    • Replies to Kishan>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Kishan,

      I've looked into this for you and no I’m afraid you won’t be able to bring notes in with you to the ARC.

      Thanks,

      Emily

  23. Comment by Vincent posted on

    Hi Helena,

    I noticed in previous comments that you have said we should receive a choice of dates and locations for our ARC day. I received a selection of dates but only at York which is a 268 mile round trip. Is there a process where I can apply for a closer venue?

  24. Comment by Bogdan posted on

    Hi again ,

    We are on 15th January and still no updates regarding the ARC available dates.
    Did someone has some new information.
    Passed my test on 5th November . Received answer on this blog it will be soon , after Christmas, but nothing atm.

    How long is it take ?

    Many thanks

    Bogdan

  25. Comment by Stacey posted on

    Hi.

    What is the pass mark for the ARC? I am aware the scoring system is out of 100 however; could you confirm what the pass mark is out of 100?

    Regards.

  26. Comment by Chintan posted on

    I saw a vacancy online as a prison officer and I excitingly applied for the position. And I was asked to take online test. I wondered how effective response is because that was very quick. I started doing research of assesment and interviews. I passed the test way before deadline finishes. But after the test,2 months ago, I received an email saying there is not any any slots available in the assesment centre. I wondered if that vacancy was ever existed really. I know alot of other candidates are on Merit and waiting for the vacancy. But do you still advertise the position even knowing it can be filled up by candidates on merit. Bit difficult to understand.

    • Replies to Chintan>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Chintan,

      The online test is the first step in the application process. Please see this website for a breakdown on the application process: https://prisonandprobationjobs.gov.uk/prison-officer/tips-for-applying/

      It explains that you'll receive your test results immediately.

      If successful, the next stage in the process is being invited to the Assessment & Recruitment Centre (ARC). However, we are currently experiencing a lot of applications so there is currently a delay in offering candidates a place in the ARC.

      The ARC is not the same as a vacancy - it's the next stage in the assessment - so please keep an eye out on your emails as you'll be notified as soon as a slot for the ARC becomes available.

      We do run ongoing recruitment in prisons where we need to maintain a merit list to meet our recruitment requirements. Please refer to this blog post as it explains more: https://prisonjobs.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/10/top-10-faqs-on-prison-officer-recruitment-you-asked-we-answered/

  27. Comment by Jason posted on

    Hi,

    Today I have unfortunately been informed that yesterdays recent attendance at the ARC was unsuccessful. Your blog article above seems to be inaccurate in relation to what really occurs:-

    BLOG ARTICLE
    Receiving your results
    Previously, it could take up to 5 days for you to receive your RAD results. Now, you’ll know whether or not you’ve been successful or unsuccessful at the end of the assessment day.

    REALITY
    This is not true, results were given the following day.

    BLOG ARTICLE
    You’ll then be emailed with a breakdown of your results in due course.

    REALITY
    This is not true, have been informed that it is not possible to receive feedback on the reason for failure.

    Blog also states you can reapply in 6 months but what is the point if you don't know why you failed in the first place?

    Also, there seems to be a lack of knowledge around the ARC process in general. A lot of answers to questions on this blog and other areas of this website contain answers along the lines of not knowing the answer.

    In relation to a specific question about the pass mark , in fact one in your top 10
    (https://prisonjobs.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/10/top-10-faqs-on-prison-officer-recruitment-you-asked-we-answered/#comment-1542)

    A section of the answer
    "I'm afraid we also don't know what the average score or the pass mark is for the ARC"

    I hope someone somewhere knows the pass mark as somehow people are passing or failing on some form of measurement.

    • Replies to Jason>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Jason

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear of your news.

      Candidates are meant to receive their results on the same day of their ARC. However, for a variety of reasons there may be the occasion where this isn’t always possible. If so, we do aim to provide results soon after.

      You are right in that candidates are not given individual feedback and you won’t be told specifically if you’ve failed a role play or the interview, as the scores aren’t calculated in that way. But, you should receive a table with your scores from the assessment via email (which is what we mean when we say you’ll be emailed with a breakdown of your scores) – can you please confirm if you’ve received this email?

      HMPPS recruitment team do indeed have information on candidates’ scores and know the pass mark but I’m afraid as blog moderators we do not have this information. But, HMPPS recruitment are currently working on improving this system so candidates can get a more personalised breakdown of their performance at the ARC.

      Thanks for your feedback, it’s valuable to us and it helps us improve the recruitment process.

      Thanks

      Emily

  28. Comment by Kat posted on

    I have my ARC training shortly. I live far away from the training centre and will have to get train, tube and over night hotel. Can I claim my travel back through expenses?

    Many thanks.

    • Replies to Kat>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Kat,

      Yes, you’ll be able to claim expenses on your travel, please contact your Assessment and Recruitment Centre (ARC) to find out how.

      I’m afraid you won’t be able to claim expenses for a hotel.

      Thanks, Helena

  29. Comment by E McCann posted on

    I passed my RAD day at Newbold Revel last May, but was then told there were no vacancies in the prison that I had originally applied to even though it was this prison advertising in the first place. So I was put on hold and heard nothing, so I applied to another prison and passed online, only to be told I have to redo my ARC day (as it is now known) yet I was originally told that my RAD pass was valid for 12 months. I am now told there are no spaces at the moment to redo it so I am totally frustrated.
    Is this also part of our training? To test our patience!

    • Replies to E McCann>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi,

      We’re very sorry you’re experiencing this. Your RAD accreditation is valid for 12 months, therefore you can transfer this over to your new application rather than having to complete an ARC.

      Please ring the SSCL Recruitment Centre on 0845 241 5358 to transfer your RAD accreditation across.

      Thanks, Helena

  30. Comment by Kaitlin posted on

    Hi,
    I completed the old Recruitment Assessment Day in November 2018 and passed. I am aware that that the scores go onto a merit list and so forth. But I have not heard anything since passing. Am I waiting to be given a provisional offer of employment? or is there a step that I am missing.
    Thanks

    • Replies to Kaitlin>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Kaitlin,

      Please can I ask if you’ve been told you’re on the merit list for your chosen prison?

      Usually after passing the Recruitment Assessment Day (RAD) you’ll be provided with a provisional offer, depending on the prison you’ve applied for, then you’ll go straight through to your pre-employment checks (vetting) - or you’ll be informed that you’ve been put on a merit list.

      Please check both your emails and recruitment portal.

      Thanks, Helena

      • Replies to Helena>

        Comment by Kaitlin Harkins posted on

        I have been told that my details have been put on an accreditation list in the same email that my assessment day results came on but other than that I have heard nothing else. Just worried that I have either missed something or is it just that I need to wait?
        Thanks
        Kaitlin

        • Replies to Kaitlin Harkins>

          Comment by Helena posted on

          Hi Kaitlin,

          Once all applicants have completed their ARC, the prison will then begin to make job offers to those on the merit list once a position becomes available over the 12 months period. So for now, please keep an eye on your recruitment portal and emails.

          Thanks, Helena

  31. Comment by Shelby Grossett posted on

    Hi Helena

    I passed a RAD last year in Aug and was offered a position that I passed all the security checks but ended up withdrawing that application as a prison closer to home had just started recruiting. I am now on the merit list for the second prison but in the interim the recruiting process went from the RAD to ARC. It has been a few months since being told that I am on the merit list and I haven't heard anything further. Is it possible that having passed RAD and not having done the ARC has dropped my standing on the list.

    Kind regards
    Shelby

    • Replies to Shelby Grossett>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Shelby,

      No, completing a RAD rather than an ARC will not affect your position on the merit list. You can remain on the merit list for up to 12 months, as soon as a vacancy becomes available you’ll be contacted.

      Thanks, Helena

  32. Comment by Paul posted on

    Attended Newbold yesterday to complete the fitness and medical assessment which i was unable to complete in York due to lack of facilities. I was given forms to claim back my travel expenses but must of left them at the centre are these held anywhere online and would it possible to get a link to them thanks.

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by Helena posted on

      Hi Paul,

      Sorry for the delay in our response - we’ve been looking into this for you. We’ll send you a new form by email.

      Thanks, Helena

      • Replies to Helena>

        Comment by Paul Casey posted on

        Hi thanks its ok i found it in a different folder a few weeks later and all sorted now.

  33. Comment by Rebecca posted on

    Hello
    I passed my RAD last may
    I since had a start date for April 15th for my training
    I have had a an email saying I need to redo my fitness test as it will expire during my training, I have booked this the week before I’m due to start
    If I fail this (which hoping I won’t) will I then not be able to start my training on that date?
    Thanks
    Rebecca

    • Replies to Rebecca>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Rebecca,
      You’ll need to pass the fitness test before you start your POELT. If you fail your fitness test then your start date will be delayed. You can fail your fitness test up to a total of 3 times - unfortunately after that you won’t have passed the ARC.
      Thanks, Emily

  34. Comment by Kay Boakes posted on

    Hi,
    I passed the assessment at the ARC in Manchester on November 18, I have been put on the merit list for 3 prisons in the north of England, I have received a email yesterday saying I am still on the merit list and will be contacted if a vacancy becomes available. I know there was a poelt course started in January so this should of finished by now, does this mean they run courses concurrently and hopefully a position maybe soon

    Thanks Kay

    • Replies to Kay Boakes>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Kay

      Yes, we run regular POELTS so you don't need to worry about that. Should you receive an offer you'll be invited to book onto the next available POELT course.

      Thanks

      Emily

  35. Comment by Michael Thubron posted on

    Hi Helena , I passed my RAD may 2018 and I’m on the merit list for HMP Holme house and all the HMP Durham prisons I was just wondering is it normal to wait this long ( nearly 10 months ) or could I still be offered a placement before it runs out again in may? Thanks in advance for any information.

    • Replies to Michael Thubron>

      Comment by Emily posted on

      Hi Michael,

      As per our other posts on the blog, you can remain on the merit list for up to 12 months.

      However, whilst we endeavour to provide job offers I'm afraid it's not guaranteed as it depends on available vacancies and your position on the merit list (the higher your score at the RAD, the higher you are in the merit list).

      As soon as a vacancy becomes available for you, you’ll be contacted so please keep an eye on your email and recruitment portal.

      You can also apply to as many prisons as you like and transfer your RAD results across whilst you wait.

      Thanks, Emily

  36. Comment by Darryl posted on

    Hi

    I am on a merit system is there a way I can change onto the pass system

  37. Comment by Fred Candace posted on

    HMP Bristol advertised a pass campaign, I passed my ARC only to be offered a merit. Well, that's fair, the annoying thing was that same advert ran again after the former expired for another pass campaign, why is this the case?