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Senior Policy Advisor, Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody

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Location : Leeds , London
Salary : £ 30,989 - £ 47,591
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2020-07-10
Date Posted : 2020-06-28
Reference : 35288  

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity

MoJ Band B – Senior Policy Advisor, Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody

Location: London or Leeds, with the option to work remotely for part of the week.

Posts offered on full-time, part-time or job-share basis

Number of posts: 1

About the post

This is an exciting opportunity to work across government to prevent deaths – both self-inflicted and natural – in all forms of state custody, from prisons to secure health settings, policy custody and immigration detention. The role is Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody. The Council brings together Ministers, senior officials, experts and practitioners in the field. This extended, cross-sector approach to deaths in custody allows for better learning and sharing of lessons across custodial agencies.

The shared purpose of the Ministerial Council is to bring about a continuing and sustained reduction in the number and rate of deaths in all forms of state custody in England and Wales. The main tiers of the Ministerial Council are the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody (MBDC) and Independent Advisory Panel (IAP).

The Ministerial Board meets three to four times a year and is co-chaired by the Minister of State for Justice, Minister of State for Crime and Policing and Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. It includes senior leaders from operational and policy functions, scrutiny bodies, and charities. It sets priorities for departments and agencies to make policy and operational changes to prevent deaths, and holds them to account through a shared work plan.

The IAP is a cross-departmental Arms-Length Body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Department of Health & Social Care. The role of the IAP is to provide independent advice and expertise on preventing deaths in custody to Ministers, senior operational leads and to the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody. It is chaired by Juliet Lyon, formerly director of the Prison Reform Trust, and has five other public appointees:

  • Professor Seena Fazel (Oxford University)
  • Professor Jenny Shaw (Manchester University)
  • Deborah Coles (Director of INQUEST)
  • John Wadham (Chair of the UK National Preventative Mechanism)
  • Jenny Talbot (Prison Reform Trust)

For more information about the IAP visit www.iapondeathsincustody.org.

As a Senior Policy Advisor, the postholder will be responsible for leading the research and policy work of the Board and the IAP. This is a unique role which combines providing advice to Ministers and supporting an expert arms-length body that is independent of Government, working collaboratively across three departments and four agencies (prisons, police forces, immigration detention centres, and secure health settings). The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with leading sector experts to carry forward work to prevent state custody deaths and must be collaborative, a thorough researcher and an excellent drafter, capable of bringing together complex information from multiple evidence sources to reach clear conclusions and make persuasive recommendations.

The team is jointly funded and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care. The team is hosted by the Ministry of Justice and sits in the Arm’s Length Bodies Performance, Sponsorship and Intelligence Division within the Prison Policy Directorate.                                                                                  

Main Activities / Responsibilities

The job holder will be required to undertake the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Leading on supporting Juliet Lyon and fellow members of the IAP to develop research and evidence to inform advice to Ministers and departments on how to prevent deaths in custody. This will involve leading on the drafting of advice for ministers and senior officials, research reports and briefings, select committee evidence and ministerial correspondence. Examples of existing and previous IAP projects include major reviews seeking views from men and women in prison about how to prevent deaths, work with magistrates to increase use of mental health treatment in the community rather than custody, and research on natural deaths in custody.
  • Working in collaboration across MoJ, the Home Office and DHSC to develop work supporting policy and operational priorities across departments and agencies to prevent deaths in custody. Examples of Board priorities to date include reforms to treatment of those detained in police custody and improvements to the support offered to bereaved families whose loved ones have died in custody.
  • Wider activity to support the work of the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody, including support to deliver high-quality Ministerial Board meetings and materials.

Management of Resources


Candidate requirements

In your application, you will need to demonstrate how you meet the following Civil Service behaviours:

  • Seeing the bigger picture

We want someone with the ability to bring together views and perspectives of a range of partners and stakeholders to gain a wider picture of the landscape surrounding the policy area and an understanding of how their role supports MoJ wider HMG objectives.

  • Making effective decisions

We are looking for candidates who are able to confidently use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice. They should be able to carefully consider alternative options, implications and risks of decisions.

  • Communicating and influencing

We want someone to lead cross-departmental teams from the front and take opportunities to communicate priorities with clarity, conviction and enthusiasm, helping to clarify goals and activities and the links between these and other departmental priorities.

  • Delivering at pace

We want someone that is able to take responsibility for the delegated work areas to deliver the expected outcomes on time and to a high standard; to be able to plan ahead as well as reprioritise at short notice.

Desirable criteria:

  • Knowledge or experience of policy or operational processes for keeping people safe in custodial settings such as prisons, police custody, immigration detention or secure health settings.
  • Knowledge or experience of human rights law and wider frameworks.

At interview, as well as assessing the above behaviours, we will also ask questions to understand your strengths.

If a high number of applications are received we will sift application forms on the ‘seeing the bigger picture’ behaviour.

You can find out more about behaviours and strengths by looking at the Civil Service Success Profiles guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/success-profiles



If you would like further information about the roles, please contact: Piers.barber1@justice.gov.uk

The successful candidates are expected to be able to take up posts as soon as possible, and, if joining from another Civil Service post, agreement with his/her current line management. The posts are available on promotion as well as level transfer.

For those candidates who successfully meet the job criteria but are not assigned to the initial posts, a merit/reserve list will be kept open for 12 months.

Selection Process: application form, CV and interview

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