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Accelerator Prisons Project

Category : Government
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Location : London, National
Salary : £ 54,599 - £ 69,666
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2022-01-17
Date Posted : 2022-01-09
Reference : 51655  

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 reoffending rate has remained broadly static at around 29% since 2010. Reoffending is costing society approximately £18bn per year and almost half of all prisoners reoffend within 12 months of release.

The Prisons Strategy White Paper was published in December 2021. As part of the paper, MOJ and HMPPS committed to:

    • A new Prisoner Education Service, to make sure offenders can improve their basic literacy and numeracy, as well as acquire further vocational qualifications, like construction and computing, making them more employable when they leave prison.
    • Earlier assessments and the full range of mental health and drug treatments, including abstinence-based methods, to support more prisoners to address their addictions and other clinical barriers to their rehabilitation.
  • Introduction of resettlement passports to bring together the essentials that offenders need to live crime-free lives after their release – identification, a CV, and a bank account – in one place and make sure that they are easily accessible.
  • In order to drive this ambitious strategy forward, we will invest £200m per year by 2024-25 to transform our approach to rehabilitation.
  • The Accelerator Prisons Project will play a key role in delivering these commitments. The project seeks to design, implement and test new initiatives and roles across sixteen prisons, working on a range of key reducing reoffending pathways: Education; Employment; Accommodation; and Substance Misuse. Where success is demonstrated, and subject to available funding, initiatives and roles may be expanded to other prisons across the estate. 
  • The project was recently nominated for an innovations and learning award. Following a successful first year, we are now looking to expand the remit and focus of the project, seeking to develop and test a whole host of new reducing reoffending initiatives and ideas, as well as exploring opportunities for how best practice can be shared with more prisons across the estate. The post holder will play a key role designing and implementing these initiatives.
  • This is an exciting policy lead role based in HMPPS HQ Reducing Reoffending Directorate, leading on several policy areas within the Accelerator Prisons Project. Regular contact with prison governors, senior staff, and stakeholders will be required. Post holder will also be required to build strong working relationships with counterparts in MOJ, as well as lead on briefings with Ministers and senior officials. As such this is a great opportunity for someone interested in working a role which influences, and joins up, policy direction and operational delivery.
  • As part of the role the post holder will be responsible for a team of up to five members of staff. This is an HQ post. The postholder will be able to work remotely or from 102 Petty France. For those working remotely, regular travel to Petty France will be expected. Regular visits to prisons are also expected as part of the role.

Overview of the job

The job holder provides strategic leadership and is responsible for planning and managing the work of the policy unit.


The job holder will be a member of Senior Management Team within the Group, focusing on developing and advising on policy and improving organisational performance across a range of issues, as well as leading on briefing for the whole group.

Responsible for agreeing operational policy priorities with Ministers and senior HMPPS officials, ensuring delivery of agreed outputs and business plan targets and develop strategic relationships with internal and external partners and stakeholders at a CEO and Director level.

The job holder will be required to represent HMPPS in meetings with outside organisations and stakeholders and Other Government Departments.

Responsibilities, Activities & Duties

The job holder will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:

  • Ensure that all policies are safe, legal, decent and affordable, remain compliant with relevant legislation and are sensitive to the needs of the operational line.
  • Responsible for the delivery of well researched, quality assured and timely policies that support identified business need.
  • Draft replies to more complex ministerial submissions, ministers’ cases, PQs, IMB and HMIP recommendations.
  • Work closely with strategic policy holders within the MoJ and other Government Departments and their Agencies to deliver Ministerial ambition through operational policies.
  • Build strong working relationships with Ministers’ Private Offices, senior officials, external non-departmental public body stakeholders and third sector partners
  • Accountable for writing and implementing policy strategy that is appropriately tailored and conforms HMPPS business plan and wider organizational objectives.
  • Developing and implementing a relevant business plan that addresses how HMPPS can meets its responsibilities in advancing; including the staffing and budgetary resource required and delivery costs.
  • Setting up projects, with appropriate governance arrangements to support the project, identifying risks and mitigating action and reporting on progress to senior managers and stakeholders.
  • Oversee and approve draft business cases and impact assessments arising from policy development / modification. Ensure requirements for any central monitoring arrangements have been discussed with relevant stakeholders and have been set up and are fit for purpose.
  • Quality assure and approve all advice to Ministers and senior HMPPS officials related to policies
  • Oversee projects within team, ensuring appropriate governance arrangements to support the project, identifying risks and mitigating action and reporting on progress to senior managers and stakeholders.
  • Develop and manage projects relationship with key external stakeholders/policy holders at senior level to ensure value for money
  • Represent HMPPS in responses and defence to legal challenges brought by prisoners / staff or other external factors in relation to the full range of policies. Brief Treasury Solicitors and Counsel on policy and law underpinning decisions, and, where necessary, brief Ministers on the implications of possible outcomes. Where necessary, consider remedial policy action and obtain buy-in from Ministers and senior officials
  • Interpret relevant performance data and research evidence to develop explanations for disproportionality in outcomes - and other examples of unfairness - for offenders of different protected groups;
  • Accountable for the delivery of well researched, quality assured and timely responses

The duties/responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present and is not intended to be exhaustive. The Job holder is expected to accept reasonable alterations and additional tasks of a similar level that may be necessary. Significant adjustments may require re-examination under the Job Evaluation scheme and shall be discussed in the first instance with the Job Holder.


  • Changing and Improving
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Leadership
  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Managing a Quality Service

Essential Experience

  • Excellent briefing skills;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Excellent inter-personal and presentational skills, diplomatic experience or proven track record in engaging with foreign governments is essential.
  • The role requires relevant experience in the management, review and development of policy at a national level.

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