Alan joined the Prison Service in 1983 from Edinburgh University as an assistant governor serving initially at Her Majesty’s Young Offender Institute, Wellingborough, in Northamptonshire. After serving five years there in a number of roles he was posted to HMP Gartree in Leicestershire, where he remained for two years. He then went on become deputy governor of HMP Haverigg in Cumbria, later moving to HMP Preston in Lancashire to perform the same role before being promoted to governor there in 1996.
Alan then Governed HMP Wymott before becoming the area manager for the South West with responsibility for the 13 establishments in Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon. In 2010, he returned to the North West, taking responsibility for the 13 establishments across Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside and Cheshire. He is the Public Sector Prisons strategic lead for decency and SRO for the national roll out of “Five Minute Intervention”.