13 March 2017

Case study


DHL’s in-prison warehouse & storage workshops provide meaningful experience and support offenders into work with us, our supply chain, and elsewhere.


Since 2008 DHL, along with Booker Direct, has been responsible for the procurement, transport, picking, packing, and delivery of offenders’ weekly ‘canteen’ (items offenders can buy for themselves in prison) for all HM Prison Service-run prisons in England and Wales, as well as one private prison. DHL supports this by running 16 warehouses throughout England, all located within prison walls, in all categories of prison. Currently this contract, held with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), employs 320 staff and 800 offenders.

Simon Potter, Vice President Public Sector and Envirosolutions, DHL:

Offender rehabilitation has always been a key pillar of our relationship with NOMS. With DHL and Booker employing 800 of the 10,000 offenders employed in prison workshops throughout England and Wales, we are playing a leading role in this and will continue to do so.

The induction to working within a DHL prison warehouse mirrors as much as possible the experience of an employee outside prison, to provide a meaningful experience. Warehouse workers receive an overview of DHL as a company, training and coaching on risk assessments and safe working, and a contract which sets out their terms of employment. This includes expected behaviours, working hours, and targets they can hit to receive a bonus. Daily and weekly briefs with the team are commonplace to ensure everyone is aware of targets and areas of focus for the week.

There are many different job roles available, from picking and packing orders, processing orders on a computer system, goods in and replenishment, and despatch.  KPIs including the accuracy of the order, the availability of the product, and on-time deliveries are set to reflect the environment post-release.

Paul joined the team at HMP Leyhill in December 2015. When he started he was working on picking orders, but he worked very well and quickly progressed through to packing, confirmation, tilling, replenishment and goods-in and finally to despatch, which was his final area of responsibility. He worked closely with the DHL team leader and soon took additional responsibilities including inducting new workers and training them in the standard operating processes and work instructions for their roles. Due to Paul’s experience and positive work behaviour he went on to complete a NVQ Level 2 in warehousing and distribution which gave him a nationally recognised qualification to aid with his employment search upon release.

As part of DHL’s on-going commitment to reducing re-offending we work closely with prisons and other organisations, such as Prospects. Together we identify potential employees who have worked well within the DHL Retail warehouse, gained the NVQ qualification and have either previous experience or an interest in working within Logistics upon their release. Prospects ensures that candidates are ready for release by coaching them with their CV writing and interview techniques, and DHL support this with a small group of managers that attend regular mock interview sessions at the establishment to test the offenders’ techniques and abilities.

Last year we were made aware of a job opportunity in the Leicester area with one of our nominated suppliers, and Paul was nominated as a good candidate for the role. He was coached by Prospects and attended a mock interview, after which the employer, Cofresh, offered Paul a formal interview ahead of his release. Paul did not disappoint: he listened to Prospects’ advice, researched the company ahead of the interview, and sold himself well. He was offered a few weeks of work experience until the role began in 2017, and they are now looking to offer him a full-time role. Paul has expressed his gratitude to us, Prospects, and the employer many times.

We are currently working with our wider customers to offer offenders employment opportunities on release. We support potential employers with organising job interviews prior to release, and help them tackle the challenges and misconceptions of engaging with a prison and with offenders for the first time. The experience has been very rewarding and we look forward to helping many more offenders in the future.

Quote from Warehouse Manager:

“Paul was always conscientious, always punctual, and polite to all.  He helped whoever and wherever he could, nothing was too much for him and he enjoyed the responsibility of despatch area. He ensured that the team left behind after his release had all the up to date information, and he even worked right up until the day before release.”