Your safety comes first. We have converted our face-to-face courses to virtual workshops . Visit our covid-19 page for more information.

Project 260 – A prisons workforce capacity and capability project 

Jonathon Woolfrey CPHR, Managing Director, Talenting

“The project epitomised what good human resource strategy can achieve – a healthier, capable, and more engaged workforce."

The Western Australian Department of Corrective Services had multifaceted demand factors placing a significant strain on its workforce. A large portion of the $1 billion total expenditure per annum was due to employment costs, exacerbated by overtime and employee stress-related factors, creating inefficiency in the workforce in excess of $30 million per annum.

Jonathon Woolfrey designed, planned and implemented a prison officer recruitment project that incorporated other important priorities, including an attraction strategy to create a strong candidate pool, and a diversity focus to attract women and Indigenous people.

Working closely with the recruitment team, he redesigned the selection process to help identify a new kind of prison officer, whose skills would align with the rehabilitation focus, whilst maintaining the security and safety aspects. 


In addition to maximising internal resources, a hybrid model in partnership with an external organisation led to cost savings of approximately $4.8m, and a more efficient and effective recruitment process.

Formal applications for prison officer roles more than tripled, with 1900 applications assessed across the state. Average hire cost dropped to $2,600 compared to an interstate benchmark of $7,000.

"The project epitomised what good human resource strategy can achieve − that is, a healthier, capable and more engaged workforce, with significantly reduced costs for the organisation. And in this example, it's the people of Western Australia who reap the rewards," says Jonathon.

This was first published in the March 2018 issue of the HRM magazine.