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Policy Adviser

Category : Government
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Location : Leeds , London
Salary : £ 24,002 - £ 38,373
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2020-07-20
Date Posted : 2020-07-05
Reference : 35445  

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


The Prison Policy Directorate sits within the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for advising ministers on all aspects of prison policy. Our key priorities include reducing the number of prisoners who reoffend on release from prison, ensuring that prisons are safe and secure, developing a comprehensive strategy for the future of the prison estate, and the recruitment and training of the prison workforce. Other important work includes the scrutiny of prison performance and developing policy that supports the effective management of Foreign National Offenders and other specific cohorts of prisoners.

We are recruiting at least one HEO policy adviser to work in the Prisoner Outcomes, Resettlement and Reoffending Division. Reoffending costs society an estimated £18bn annually, and our division is at the heart of the government’s efforts to address this, by supporting offenders to rehabilitate and integrate into society. This not only transforms lives, it also reduces reoffending by breaking the cycle of crime and protects the public by preventing the creation of future victims.

We work strategically across government to achieve this through our reducing reoffending strategy, and identify and pursue opportunities to improve the social inclusion of people leaving prison. We ensure that prisoners can access a purposeful and rehabilitative regime by improving the quality of prison education and ensuring it meets the varying needs of different cohorts of prisoners, and that they can access employment and accommodation upon release.

We are looking for individuals who are interested in the issues set out above, ambitious about improving outcomes for prisoners and pride themselves on producing high-quality work, to fill the priority policy adviser role. Previous civil service experience is not necessary and we welcome applications from individuals from a range of backgrounds.

Reflecting the fast-paced nature of the team‚Äôs work, this role will work flexibly across the breadth of the division‚Äôs remit ‚Äď covering foreign national offenders, prisoner cohorts, reducing reoffending, prisoner education, employment & financial support and prison leavers ‚Äď on high priority issues. This role will provide a variety of opportunities across the team‚Äôs high-profile and interesting work. You should be able to grasp new issues quickly, be keen to work collaboratively with others and enthusiastic about change.

We are a friendly, enthusiastic and collaborative team with a strong emphasis on ensuring team members feel happy, supported and engaged in their work. We are keen to make a difference, working closely with partners and supporting everyone to play their part to improve prisons and the outcomes for prisoners. We have a strong commitment to personal and career development, helping everyone to grow and fulfil their potential.

Essential Skills 

Thinking strategically 

We want someone who is willing to work with others to think beyond what already exists. Who will question what we want, objectively consider evidence of what works and can think about what could be, and work through the implications on others and in the long term.

Stakeholder engagement 

All our work is collaborative and so the skills to work with and encourage input from a wide range of people, each with different styles and approaches, is essential.

Briefing and communication skills 

Write and quality assure briefing on a range of topics, including tailoring content and style to specific audiences. Draft clear and concise response to Parliamentary Questions and Ministerial correspondence.  

Delivery focus 

When working flexibly a proactive and structured approach is key. We want someone who can agree clear aims and scope out a project, then plan and deliver to key milestones, whilst keeping stakeholders engaged throughout the life of the project. 

Candidate requirements 

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

  • Seeing the big 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 will be able to carefully consider alternative options, implications and risks of decisions before reaching an outcome. 

  • Working together¬†

We want someone who can establish effective relationships and collaborate with other departments and external stakeholders to support the delivery of cross-departmental objectives. Who will be capable and confident in engaging with senior managers.   

  • Delivering at pace¬†

We want someone who 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. 

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 ‚Äėseeing the bigger picture‚Äô 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:

Rory McErlean - Rory.McErlean@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, with agreement from your 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

Interviews will be held via Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business or will be held in either London or Leeds and are expected to take place from 27th July.

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