G4S Justice Prisoner Transport

A compelling example of team culture driving performance.

TAFE G4S Justice Prisoner Transport’s Leader Denis Price was appointed in 2013 as General Manager, G4S is a global security organisation and in Victoria they are the sole provider of prisoner transport in the state. The environment he walked into was described internally as toxic, they were experiencing high staff turnover, low morale, and disengagement amongst the team.

In 2018 Denis reached out to Leading Teams facilitator, Simon Fletcher to help in changing the environment and culture of the organisation.

Initially when Simon started with G4S he described GM Denis Price as a leader who felt like he had to take the responsibility for the business on his own and shielded his team from any pressure he was getting from higher up. He got feedback from the team that they knew he was doing this, and this behaviour made them feel like
he didn’t trust them or that he didn’t think they could help. While Denis’ intention was to make their lives easier by not ‘bothering’ them, he realised that he had a team of invested people that he could utilise to improve the performance of the team.

Key Moments

The Leading Teams program began with the Management Team. In the initial sessions there was a realization that management had been accepting poor performance/behaviours. I remember Denis coming to me after the session saying, “we are going to have to make some changes, aren’t we?”. My response was – “but who is responsible for that? Is it their fault or do the leaders need to take some responsibility?”

To his credit Denis took full responsibility and ownership and did a performance evaluation of the team and one of the key metrics that he noticed was a large discrepancy in kilometres travelled between officers. Management realised this had occurred because some of the teams were always available and willing to “do a bit extra” when it was needed and others would push back, be hard to deal with or say no. The outcome of this was management would always go to the same people as they knew that would get a positive response and this had created the gap in distance.

He shared this discrepancy with the team and was clear to say that it wasn’t their fault – he was taking responsibility for this, but he needed them to know that things were going to change – he wanted to even out the workload.

This caused some issues amongst the staff with some team members not being happy that they were now being asked to pull their weight. This was a catalyst for change.

Change In Leadership

After working with the Management Team for a while Leading Teams then started work with the Level 4 Officers – these officers had been given a promotion (a change of title and a little extra money some years earlier), but it had been given mainly based on tenure.

We made the decision that leadership would have to be earned through behaviour and performance and started to properly review the Level 4’s. Simon remembers in one of the early sessions ‘one of the ‘real’ Leaders said “our role is to train out the bad habits that have been formed over the last few years and stop new people from being infected.” She also said “I would love to get to work, jump in the truck and not even look at the partner list for the day and know that it’s going to be a good day no matter who jumps in next to me. Currently, I look at the list and instantly know if it’s going to be a good or bad day.”

More Ownership & Empowerment

Simon saw an enormous change in Denis as the leader as he now saw and understood the value of relationships as well as engaging/empowering his staff, sharing his own challenges, and using them as a sounding board/solution giver.

The Level 4’s started to take on more responsibility out in the field and in the recruitment and induction of new staff. They started to review each other and came up with a name change – they would become Team Leaders. Denis started having weekly meetings with the Team Leaders to discuss upcoming issues and challenges and they worked together to solve them. This was anything from procedures to roadworks, even allowing the Team Leaders in on meetings with G4S Executives when they came out to the depot. Through this process along with support from management some Level 4’s didn’t become Team Leaders. Some accepted this and others pushed back and ultimately some people exited the business.


They have created a “scoreboard’ in their training room that is constantly updated and reflects their KPI’s as well as their Trademark and Agreed Behaviours. The team started to exceed targets and have received bonuses from their state contracts which led to less pressure from G4S management. Staff turnover rates have decreased by over 200% since 2018 and the number of service deliver failures has dropped to a quarter of its previous total. Denis is also now a shining example of great leadership at GM meetings at HQ.

Learn more about this transformation and see real life improvement in your team contact Leading Teams today.

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