Customer Specialist - HMP Chelmsford Prison Library - Working for Essex
Salary: Up to £24,309 per annum (FTE)
Closing date: 29 May 2023
Location: Chelmsford
Hours: Part-time
Req ID: 12569
Role: Libraries and Registration Services
About the role

Customer Specialist - HMP Chelmsford Prison Library

Fixed Term, Part Time

Up to £24,309 per annum (FTE)

Location: Chelmsford

Working Style: Fixed-base worker

Please note that this is a fixed term contract opportunity for a period of 12 months. This role is a part time annualised hours position working 40 hours per year, the pro rata salary will be £504 per year. There may be the opportunity to do additional hours over and above the 40 hours outside of the contracted hours.

The Role

Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a very successful track record of delivering transformational change. ECC anticipated change was needed in the public sector and has worked to deliver better quality at lower cost. We have an ambitious transformation agenda – one with the scope to reach every part of the council. We are changing the way we think, the way we work, and the ways in which we deliver our services. We are committed to becoming a place where individuals, partners and communities feel proud to play their role and genuinely want to belong. We’re immensely proud of our flexible working options.

The Opportunity

The Customer Specialist will support the delivery of a prison library service within the unique environment of HMP/YOI Chelmsford.

Working as part of a dynamic team to deliver library, administrative and support activities, they will proactively be managing workload, taking initiative, and using personal judgement to resolve internal and external customer issues.

The successful candidate will demonstrate an enthusiastic approach in encouraging prisoners to enjoy reading, show empathy, have strong personal integrity and diligence, be committed to providing great customer service and be keen to make a difference.

The role is physically demanding as it involves visiting each wing across the prison estate to move stock to and from the library (trollies are provided).


  • Support the Prison Library Supervisor to deliver a library service to HMP/YOI as laid out in the Service Level Agreement, together with added value activities such as Storybook Dads, Reading Ahead and Family Library Times, which support improved literacy, health and wellbeing and family cohesion.
  • Provide effective, high-quality support, advice, and guidance to Prisoner Orderlies on basic library procedures.
  • Responsible for dealing with subject knowledge-based queries and activities.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues, to drive the delivery of productivity and continuous improvement across customer processes.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues to understand customer needs, resolving them promptly and providing them with a service they value.
  • Collate relevant information from a variety of sources to ensure that complex enquiries or customer complaints can be resolved in a timely fashion.
  • Responsible for delivering against team objectives to meet deadlines and targets, in support of the wider customer vision.

The Experience You Will Bring

  • Ability to develop skills and knowledge in role
  • Confident, assertive, and emotionally resilient, whilst maintaining empathy for the library customers who may have complex needs including poor mental health, low levels of literacy and challenging behaviour
  • Good communication skills with the ability to de-escalate concerns
  • Ability to undertake all aspects of the role, including distribution of library books across all wings and floors. The prison is a Victorian building and there are a number of steps and heavy doors, with no lifts
  • Demonstrable experience and competence of MS Office and their practical application, with the ability to use computerised systems with a high level of speed and accuracy
  • Previous experience of operating electronic or hard copy filing systems
  • Ability to be flexible to respond to a rapidly changing environment, tenacious and with a determination to find solutions to problems
  • Library experience is desirable although not essential as full training will be given.
  • Experience of working with offenders is desirable

To read more about us please visit: Climate, Environment and Customer Services

Why Essex?

Essex County Council has a location to be proud of. Our 1,300 square miles stretch from Constable Country to the Thames Estuary, from the dynamic M11 corridor to the traditional seaside resorts of Clacton and Walton. England’s oldest town, Colchester, and two of its newest – Basildon and Harlow – are right here. Along with the City of Chelmsford, the county town, they form our major population centres. It means real choice and makes Essex the ideal place for your career. Read more about us here.

Essex County Council is proud to be a Disability Confident Leader. We’re committed to interview all disabled applicants who choose to apply under our Job Interview Scheme if they meet the minimum requirements of the job. Please speak to our Recruiters if you require any reasonable adjustments during the process.

We’re also committed to interview all veterans and care leavers, who meet the minimum requirements of the role for which they are applying.

What you should do next

If you are interested in finding out more about this role, we would love to hear from you. Please apply via the Working for Essex website.

As part of employment with Essex County Council (ECC) should your role require a DBS check you will be required to register with the DBS update service. The DBS update service ensures all registered DBS certificates are kept up to date and allows authorised parties to view the status of your certificate. This is an annual subscription, and you will be responsible for ensuring this is maintained. For further information on the DBS update service please go to

Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.

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If you have queries on this role or require anything further, please email Laura.O’

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