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Work on the Transformation Programme's exemplar project has ended, and these pages are no longer being updated. Visit the Digital Transformation page for the latest information.

Exemplar number 24 Prison visit booking

1.5 million prison visits booked online every year


Live. Service is in use in 95 Category B prisons, including Youth and Women’s.


  • Service standardised across pilot prisons
  • User research done for male Category B and below, Youth, Women’s, High Security Estate (Category A) and Contracted Out prisons
  • Live performance dashboard released
  • Passed live Digital by Default Service Standard assessment
  • Live service released
  • 100,000 prison visit bookings submitted since the release of the public beta


  • Developing a standard process for booking visits across all prisons
  • Integrating the new service with existing online booking systems


  • Continuously improve live service based on user feedback
  • Improve response times through full integration with existing booking systems
Screenshot of Beta start page, May 2014
Beta start page, May 2014

Live service performance

Digital take-up

Bookings made using the digital service

Bookings made using the digital service

User satisfaction

Completion rate

Proportion of users who start and complete their application using the digital service

Proportion of users who start and complete their application using the digital service

Digital strategy statement

…our single biggest transactional service, which at the moment is a phone- or email-based, manual data entry system.

Scope of exemplar

Different prisons book visits in different ways. It is mostly done by phone or email and often requires family members to spend a long time getting through on the phone. A digital channel will cut administrative costs to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and make the process easier for families — encouraging more to visit — and more efficient for professional visitors.

Digital inclusion

GDS has mapped the exemplars against the digital inclusion scale to help show where these services may be difficult for some people to use. See the rating for Prison Visit booking