Where We Are

In 11 prisons across England and Wales

HMP & YOI Bronzefield

HMP & YOI Bronzefield is a dynamic and forward-thinking women’s prison which accommodates a diverse and complex population of women from courts across the South of England.

Bronzefield’s whole purpose is to ‘change lives for the better’ and our contact centre exemplifies that exact ethos, by providing real life work experience that prepares residents for employment upon release.

The contact centre team are reliable, self-motivated and have a professional attitude to their work. Katie, our Team Manager, is very experienced and knowledgeable, and provides intensive support to enable the team to really excel in their roles.

As soon as you walk into the contact centre there is a different atmosphere, it no longer feels or looks like you are in a prison. The most common comment is that ‘it just feels like a call centre’, which has always been our aim. We have a kitchen area to make hot drinks, a break area with sofas and a TV and a digital wallboard to give live updates showcasing team progress. Motivation is key.

There is healthy competition among the residents to see who can get the most transfers or get the most productive hours with incentives running all the time.

HMP Lowdham Grange

HMP Lowdham Grange is a privately contracted prison operated and managed by Serco since it opened in 1988 on behalf of Her Majesty’s Prison Service. It is a category B training prison accommodating adult male offenders aged 21 and over with sentences over four years and with at least 12 months to serve. It has a maximum capacity of 920.

HMP Lowdham Grange has not been identified as a Resettlement Prison, but remains focussed on ensuring that it is a place of work, where real employability skills are learned and education is available for all. The call centre performs well and is firmly embedded, where there is a real priority to provide meaningful employment whilst in custody. This is coupled with a longer-term goal to give team members the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that will enhance their prospects for release.

“What pleases me when you walk into the call centres at Lowdham or Dovegate is that you see people behaving professionally. Should that be a surprise? No not really, but when you go back to that environmental piece where you’ve got competing gangs, drugs issues, mental health issues and suddenly you’ve got this oasis of calmness, this oasis of professionalism where guys are interfacing and interacting with members of the public, speaking in a very eloquent and professional way.”

Wyn Jones, Operations Director, Serco Custodial Services

HMP Berwyn

Berwyn is the largest prison in England and Wales and is the second largest prison in Europe. Built on a very clear rehabilitative vision, people here are not called prisoners, they are men (or residents now), they live in rooms, on communities, rather than in cells on wings. The concept of Berwyn is based on the ‘principles of normality’ – a theory first raised by Nelson Mandela after his treatment in prison.

Berwyn is still in its infancy and developing but our contact centre is firmly established as a beacon of hope and good practice. The contact centre looks exactly as it would outside and the work expectations are the same. If the team work hard and achieve targets they are rewarded like any other job.

For some, they have never worked before and this is a first. It is a disciplined, high-pressure environment with high expectations, where the men are expected to attend on time, follow instructions and work to challenging targets. The agents are developing skills and a work ethic that will serve them well on release from prison.

HMP High Down

High Down is an adult male Local Category B men’s prison, with a capacity of 1,112.

High Down is an adult male Local Category B men’s prison, with a capacity of 1,112.

Unlike other workshops in the prison, the contact centre operates throughout the day, replicating that of a real working environment. The skills the team learn are extensive and transferrable, not only for employment on release but to help them during their current sentence. The nature of the work challenges their mindset and encourages them to rethink how they behave and react to others around them.

Relationships have been key to the success at High Down, especially with the support of the Head of Reducing Reoffending, which has enabled us to keep a consistent and stable workforce. Agents in the contact centre are given the chance to undertake a level 2 NVQ Customer Service course. This gives them the opportunity to increase their knowledge and put that into practice in a real-life working environment, building their confidence engaging with members of the public.

Opportunities for progression are provided at High Down, with the chance to become a peer-to-peer trainer. This increases their responsibility and enables them to provide quality training to new starters.

Our Contact Centres

Richard rowley

Richard Rowley is the Managing Director at Census Life and is responsible for all criminal justice work the social enterprise undertakes. 

Richard has over 20 years’ experience of working with voluntary, public and private sector organisations in the criminal justice arena and still retains the same desire to support people to become the very best they can be. 

Richard is also very proud to be a Trustee for POPS (Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group) in Manchester. 

On the off-chance he is away from work, you’ll find Richard watching football, cooking and spending time with his family – not necessarily in that order!

Kelly Carrel

Kelly Carrel is the Chief Executive of Census Life and is responsible for leading the strategic direction and overall effectiveness of the organisation.

 Kelly has over 20 years’ experience of working within the Customer Management sector and, over the past 7 years, has used this experience to provide meaningful work experience and relevant training to those farthest from the job market.

Most specifically Kelly is focussed on individuals serving custodial sentences, and working with them during this period to ensure they have opportunities for employment on release. Passionate about pursuing social mobility, through the route of employment, this is the key driver of the work for Kelly and her team.

Outside of the office, Kelly enjoys travelling, martial arts & air acrobatics along with spending time with friends and family.

The Census story

Census Group was founded in 2013 by Ian and Kelly Carrel, following their respective careers working in large scale in-house and outsourced contact centre operations both in the UK and overseas.

In 2010 Criminal Record Bureau (now DBS) background checking was becoming ever more prevalent, regardless of whether the role required it. The founders recognised there was an urgent need to address the issues highlighted by this process, as more contact centre agents were losing roles across the industry with a ‘blanket’ approach being applied to every adverse CRB check. This experience in contact centre environments highlighted a significant frustration – having to let well-trained, enthusiastic staff go when their checks returned showing previous criminal convictions. With attrition rates in the industry reaching levels of >25% we knew we could develop an incredibly competent workforce that would also have a wider impact on society

Through our corporate social responsibility strategy we have consistently reinvested profits, to go the extra mile and support colleagues as they leave prison and reintegrate back into our communities. To make this much more fundamental to our work we have developed Census Life, our not-for-profit social enterprise.