Member - Volunteers needed on Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) at: HMP Belmarsh HMP/YOI Isis HMP Thameside

Body: Independent Monitoring Board (IMB)
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sectors: Judicial, Prison & Policing, Prison & Policing, Regulation
Location: HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, Thamesmead, London SE28 0EB. HMP/YOI Isis, Western Way, Thamesmead, London, SE28 0NZ. HMP Thameside, Griffin Manor Way, London SE28 0FJ
Skills required: Regulation
Number of Vacancies: IMB Belmarsh up to 4 vacancies. IMB Isis up to 4 vacancies. IMB Thameside up to 6 vacancies.
Remuneration: Unremunerated though reasonable expenses will be re-imbursed.
Time Requirements: Approx. 2 to 3 visits per month although this may be slightly higher during the first year of training. This can be flexible depending on the needs of the Board and the individual. Each Board also meets regularly, once per month and members do need to attend at least nine meetings a year. The Board meeting times for each IMB are set out below: Belmarsh The board meeting is held on the first Thursday of each month and lasts for the morning. Isis The board meeting is held on the third Wednesday of each month from 1.00pm to about 4.00pm. Thameside The board meeting is held on the second Wednesday of the month at 10.30am and lasts approximately 2 hours.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    20/03/2022 at 00:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Vacancy Description

Applicants do not need any special qualifications or experience as we will provide all necessary training and support.  Candidates need to be over 18 years of age and live within an hour’s travelling time of the establishment they are applying to.  You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, possess effective communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement.

Person Specification

We are currently looking for new volunteers to join the Independent Monitoring  Boards at HMP Belmarsh, HMP/YOI Isis and HMP Thameside helping to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained.

Additional Information

HMP Belmarsh

HMP Belmarsh is a category A men’s prison, and a core local prison within the high security estate. It primarily serves the Central Criminal Court and magistrates’ courts in south-east London and parts of Essex, as well as holding high security risk prisoners on remand and awaiting trial.  Prisoners of all categories may be housed in Belmarsh.

Given the complex nature of the prison, visits by Board members normally last for at least half a day.

Please be aware that following any recommendation for appointment, it is necessary to obtain Counter Terrorism Clearance.  This can take some months to process, so the whole recruitment exercise can take up to a year before final approval of appointment.


HMP/YOI Isis opened in July 2010. It is a public sector training prison for convicted men.  In 2020 the prison started to implement The Young Adult Strategy, moving to being a prison for young adults between 18 and 21 years, and category C adults up to 25 years. In December 2021, the proportion of prisoners between 18 and 25 was over 90%.  The prison is situated in Thamesmead, in south-east London. The operational capacity is 614.

Prisoners are accommodated in two houseblocks, Thames and Meridian, each comprising a central hub and four spurs. Each spur can accommodate over 70 prisoners. Each spur has a servery, and outside each is an exercise yard with fitness equipment. Each houseblock has a laundry, operated by laundry orderlies.

In a block opposite the house blocks is the Academy, with 19 classrooms; the Skill Zone, with six workshops; the library; the healthcare unit and the multi-faith suite. Separately, there is a well-equipped gym, able to accommodate 40 prisoners; a cardiovascular studio; an indoor sports hall and two outdoor astro-turf pitches. The kitchen is managed by Mitie, with a workforce that includes prisoners.

 The Independent Monitoring Board at Isis

As a general rule the time commitment is:

  • Attendance at the Board meeting as detailed above. The Board meeting is the only time the Board are all together and have the opportunity to talk to each other.  Attendance in person is very important.
  • Members participate in a rota for undertaking IMB duties. This means that every four to five weeks a member is on rota to either report on conditions and activities in the prison or to try and resolve applications submitted by prisoners.  Once the training period has been completed, the time requirement is the equivalent of 1 to 1.5 days each month. Though the visits can be for short periods over two or three days.  How a member deploys their time is to a great extent up to them, but there are a number of constraints:
  • It is not possible to visit the prison in the evening after 6.00p.m.
  • Office based staff, who might provide information on for example sentence plans, categorisation or property do not work at weekend. Though some IMB duties can be completed at the weekend it is not possible for all duties to be completed at the weekend.
  • During a new member’s induction/training period they will need to be able to be a bit more flexible because they will need to shadow experienced members and attend training provided by the prison. The more flexible a new member can be during this period the more quickly they will complete their induction.


HMP Thameside

HMP Thameside is a privately operated Reception and Resettlement Cat B/C prison managed under contract to Serco Group plc. It opened in 2012 and as such is reasonably well equipped with good accommodation and facilities in comparison with older prisons.

Being a ‘local’ prison which primarily serves London courts, the average length of stay is short (around 34 days). Approximately two thirds of the prisoners are on remand with the remaining one third convicted and in the last six months of their sentence. Having such a transient population brings its own challenges in relation to monitoring according to the IMB brief of fairness, humanity and preparation for release. Because Thameside is a privately run prison, it is even more crucial to have an Independent Monitoring Board to ensure that the prison delivers agreed standards of care.

Inside every prison, there is an IMB – a group of ordinary members of the public doing an extraordinary job.  IMB members are independent, unpaid and complete an average of 2-3 visits per month depending on the needs of the Board and the individual.  Members are the eyes and ears of Ministers and monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained.

Your background can be as a student, a person of working age or retired.  We welcome applications from people over 18 and are particularly keen to hear from those of working age and individuals from black and minority ethnic communities, since these groups are under-represented on existing Boards.  The role is about fairness and decency and is always rewarding, educational and challenging.

Please click on to find out how being an IMB member can benefit you.  Visit and view the short film ‘Joining the Independent Monitoring Board’ and hear current IMB members talking about their role.

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