New joiners and King Charles’ coronation: Prison service CEO Amy Rees looks back at the highlights of a busy year

The head of HMPPS reflects on the hope and glory brought to 2023 by the country’s prison staff, if not by the Welsh rugby team
King Charles coronation procession. Photo: PA/Alamy

By CSW staff

19 Dec 2023


Tell us three words that sum up your 2023...  

2023 has certainly been a busy year! Looking back and thinking of words to sum it up, the three that come to mind are: faith, hope and glory. 

...And why you chose those words   

Faith – we have faced some real challenges this year with the population in the adult male prisons, high probation caseloads and staffing issues so having faith in my senior leadership team and staff group and faith in our approach to managing these situations has been hugely important for me. 

Hope – we saw record numbers of new staff join HMPPS in 2023 through our biggest ever recruitment campaign. They will make a huge difference in helping strengthen our prison, probation and youth custody services and they truly are a bright hope for the future. 

Glory – because our staff group continue to make me enormously proud through the professionalism and commitment they demonstrate every day in delivering their extraordinary roles. Seeing this first hand, whether on a visit to a probation office or during a high-profile event such as the coronation of King Charles III (where HMPPS staff took part in the procession), is absolutely the best part of my job. I am personally very grateful to everyone in HMPPS for their service. 

As a personal aside I also had huge amounts of faith and hope in the Wales rugby team winning this year’s world cup but alas glory was not to be! 

What are your organisational and personal priorities for 2024?   

My overarching priority for 2024 will be to continue to ensure everything we do across HMPPS is in service of our staff working at the frontline – enabling us to deliver the best services, protect the public and reduce reoffending.  

In terms of a specific personal priority, I have a keen interest in improving reading levels amongst people in prison. 

What’s your favourite festive treat, and what makes you say: ‘Bah, humbug’?   

Now this is an easy question! Chocolate Yule Log is always top of my shopping list for festive treats, I just have to hide it from the rest of the family to make sure I get some! And I can quite honestly say nothing makes me say ‘Bah, humbug’. I love the festive season and all its traditions, though we do have a strict rule in our house about not starting on decorations or Christmas music before 1 December. 

This is part of CSW's annual perm secs roundup. Read all the entries to the 2023 roundup here

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