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Head of NPM Secretariat (National Preventive Mechanism)

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Location : London, National
Salary : £ - £ 51,767
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2022-11-09
Date Posted : 2022-10-30
Reference : 65925  

We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.


The UK’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) was established in March 2009 after the UK ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in December 2003. It is made up of 21 statutory bodies that independently monitor places of detention.

The NPM was set up to ensure regular visits to places of detention in order to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, as required by OPCAT. OPCAT recognises that people in detention are particularly vulnerable and requires States to set up a national level body that can support efforts to prevent their ill treatment. The NPM must have, as a minimum, the powers to:

  • regularly examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in all places of detention under the UK’s jurisdiction and control;
  • make recommendations to relevant authorities with the aim of improving the treatment and conditions of persons deprived of their liberty;
  • submit proposals and observations on existing or draft legislation

The UK government designated HM Inspectorate of Prisons (England and Wales) to host the co- ordination of the NPM. The NPM publishes an annual report of its work which is presented to Parliament by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. For further information on the role and work of the NPM, please visit National Preventive Mechanism – National PreventiveMechanism.


The National Preventive Mechanism is looking for an exceptional candidate to fill the role of Head of NPM Secretariat. This is a key post working in collaboration with 21 NPM-member organisations, their heads and senior staff to provide policy, research and secretarial support to the NPM. This role will manage a large network of relationships and work closely and collaboratively with NPM members and the Chair. They are responsible for driving and managing the work of the NPM, liaising closely with all members to develop consensus on joint priorities and work across the NPM. They will assist the Chair and NPM members to develop NPM objectives and will lead the development and delivery of an NPM business plan and the production of the NPM annual report.

The role involves facilitating collaborative working, balancing competing demands, juggling priorities, and defining clear objectives between different organisations and senior stakeholders. The post holder will draw on the different views and experiences from across the NPM, supporting its 21 member bodies to work together in pursuit of common objectives and influence detention policy and practice in line with international obligations.

The post-holder will liaise, on behalf of the NPM, with a wide range of high-level external stakeholders and relevant international human rights bodies such as the UN treaty body the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) and the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)

This role is task managed by the chair of the NPM (currently rotated between NPM Steering Group members) and is ultimately accountable to the NPM Steering Group. Due to the hosting arrangements between the NPM & HMIP and civil service reporting purposes, the post is process line-managed by a Grade 6 Senior Manager within HMIP. HMIP provide HR, finance and administrative support to the NPM. The post-holder is required to work with minimal supervision over the substantive elements of the role and is responsible for managing a Band C assistant coordinator.


The Head of NPM Secretariat has the following responsibilities:

Coordinate and support joint NPM activity

  • Support members to set the strategic direction of the NPM through consultative business planning, identifying opportunities for future collaborative work and ensuring OPCAT
  • Monitor and report to the Steering Group on the implementation of the NPM business plan and budget, to ensure appropriate governance of all
  • Work with NPM members to develop and publish NPM-related reports and publications (including the NPM annual report and submissions to international committees), as agreed in the NPM business plan.
  • Maintain overview of external environment for strategic NPM work, which includes identifying the specific OPCAT responsibilities of members and the themes and issues that need to be progressed by the NPM.
  • Together with the Chair of the NPM, set agendas for the NPM Steering Group and Business meetings and ensure the production of supporting
  • Lead a programme of work with the NPM Chair and Steering Group, to implement the recommendations from a recent strategic review to strengthen the NPM’s governance, structure and resource base.
  • Provide strategic advice and input into on the effective implementation of OPCAT in the UK to NPM members and
  • Assist NPM members to develop their policies and working practices by supporting them to implement international standards and best practice, encouraging collaboration and advising on human rights
  • Develop and oversee substantive projects to work on implementation of human rights standards
  • Work with individuals and groups of NPM members to build consensus on issues related to the prevention of il
  • Encourage collaboration and the sharing of information and good practice between UK NPM
  • Work with NPM members to identify opportunities for staff to develop and build their human rights expertise and

External influencing and stakeholders

  • Liaise with government officials across UK on implementation of OPCAT, in close consultation with NPM members. Act as first point of contact on all NPM matters, triaging enquiries and seeking input from NPM members where
  • Work with NPM members to develop policy and external briefing documents, training materials and manage communications and social media to further NPM work and increase awareness of the UK NPM.
  • Liaise with and advise international actors (UN Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, OSCE and other NPMs) to ensure UK NPM experience informs and reflects international best practice.
  • Develop and maintain external relationships with NGOs, human rights commissions, academics, parliamentarians, select committees and other senior
  • Attend relevant conferences and events as directed by the NPM Steering

Resource management

  • Responsible for NPM budget (approx. £135,000), financial reporting and bids for
  • Directly line manage Band C Assistant NPM Coordinator
  • Recruit and oversee external consultants to deliver specific NPM
  • Work collaboratively with the NPM Coordinator in Scotland.

Knowledge, Experience and Skills


  • Experience of managing high-level, complex, multi-stakeholder networks or organisations, including coordinating meetings, business planning and leading work to strengthen governance frameworks.
  • Experience of leading high-level partnerships across organisations and with senior external stakeholders, effective and robust relationship management.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate confidently with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders.
  • Experience of successfully managing change, introducing and embedding new ways of working.
  • Proven experience of applying human rights law to practice, policy and interpreting this information for a wide range of audiences.
  • Strong people skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Excellent time-management skills and the ability to work autonomously and to tight deadlines
  • Thorough understanding of United Nations human rights frameworks, including in relation to the prevention of torture.
  • Proven experience of the specific issues associated with the prevention of torture in detention settings.


  • Demonstrable understanding of working independently of government and dealing with the conflicts and tensions that often result.
  • Knowledge and understanding of devolved administrations within the UK.
  • Understanding of law-making processes.
  • Experience of working internationally.
  • Masters degree in international human rights law, public policy or related field.

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