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Prison Policy Division

Category : Government
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Location : Leeds , London
Salary : £ 30,845 - £ 38,373
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2020-07-21
Date Posted : 2020-07-12
Reference : 35498  

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

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.    


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 for a up to 12 Band C posts within the directorate. Successful applicants will be allocated to one of the following 4 areas. If you have any preferences for a specific team, please note this at the bottom of your application. We will try to accommodate your preferences regarding team allocation; however, we cannot guarantee placement within a specific team.

Operational Policy 

This team has responsibility for approximately 19 wide-ranging operational policies which ensure a safe, decent and lawful prison system for prisoners and prison staff.  Policies owned by the team include: Incentives; Prisoner Discipline Procedures (Adjudications); Early Days in Custody; Discharge; Prisoner Communications; and Visits. Post holders will be responsible for managing policy development, implementation and review for a number of the team’s operational policies. Post holders will also contribute to the streamlining of specific policies by drafting Policy Frameworks, ensuring their completion in line with business priorities.  Post holders will be required to work flexibly across the Operational Policy Team – the division of work will be determined on an on-going basis by team priorities and resource 

Future Prisons Division

The Future Prisons Division is responsible for shaping the future workforce and estate strategy, digital, prison officer pay and coordinating the Directorate’s approach to the fiscal events. We are recruiting for stretching HEO roles in an exciting and fast-paced policy area. The post holders will lead on elements of our strategy for the future makeup of the prison profession and estate. Vacancies in this division are available in the following teams:

  • Workforce policy develops the strategy for what the size, shape and skill of our future prison workforce will be.
  • The prison population taskforce is responsible for developing policy and working on projects to ensure we continue to have enough space in the prison estate.
  • The long-term estates strategy team leads on delivery of a comprehensive, long term strategy for the prison estate, and working.
  • The digital prisons team develops policy on how we make best use of digital and technology to drive innovation, ensure prisons are safe and secure and deliver a sustainable estate in the future. 

The roles will provide excellent opportunities to work in a fast-paced policy environment, contribute to ministerial priorities and collaborate with colleagues responsible for delivery in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).

COVID 19 Strategic Policy Unit

The Joint COVID Strategic Policy Unit has been set up across MoJ and HMPPS to help shape our ongoing response to COVID 19 in custody. This multi-disciplinary team is made up of both policy and operational expertise, and provides strategic level advice to senior officials, ministers, and across Government on immediate challenges in the prison system, as well as longer term contingency planning and preparations. This fast moving and high-profile area of policy works across a range of areas in the MoJ, HMPPS, and across the wider Civil Justice System, to ensure delivery the objectives of the National Framework for prisons: preserving life, maintaining the stability, safety and security of the prison estate, and providing sufficient capacity to meet demand from the courts.                                        

Arm’s length Bodies, Performance, Sponsorship and Intelligence

The ALB Performance, Sponsorship and Intelligence Team is responsible for determining the prison and probation system works effectively to deliver better outcomes for offenders. We do this by agreeing performance expectations and through managing the relationship with 6 Arm’s Length Bodies – HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, the Independent Monitoring Boards, the Lay Observers and the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody. The team sponsors the bodies (funding, partnering/championing them across MoJ and beyond and holding them to account), provides intelligence from their reports to help inform policy development, drive improvements and leads on legislative changes to promote better governance. Our role is also to analyse data, trends and patterns from performance data to ensure we have the right measures in place.

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 broad remit of the directorates work, applicants may be expected to work flexibly across the breadth of the directorate’s remit on high priority issues. This role will provide a variety of opportunities across the team’s 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.  

The Prison Policy directorate is a friendly, enthusiastic and collaborative team with a strong emphasis on fostering a supportive, and engaging workplace. 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 are strongly committed to personal and career development, helping everyone to grow and fulfil their potential. 

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