Monday, 7 November 2016

The Perfect Job Opportunity

As a result of policies implemented by the MoJ over recent years, supposedly to 'save money', both the Probation Service and Prison Service are currently in utter chaos, but there's a cunning plan - recruit 30 policy wonks:- 

102 Petty France, London

About the job
Job description

Please complete the application to demonstrate how your experience relates to the competencies listed. In the “Additional Experience and Skills” section, please provide evidence of your project management capability, and your capability in using data to inform your work. If a large volume of applications are received then we will sift applications on the lead competency ‘Making Effective Decisions’.

Due to the number of applicants, we regret that we will not be able to provide feedback to candidates not invited to interview. The interview will comprise a written policy exercise followed by a face to face interview.

Ministry of Justice
The principal role of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is to uphold the rule of law, the cornerstone of the British way of life. It delivers services that are some of the most fundamental in a democratic society. In doing so it has responsibility for a number of the key elements of the justice system, including prisons, courts, tribunals, legal services, youth justice and the probation service.

The Ministry of Justice supports the Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, and her Ministerial team to deliver the government’s programme. Our work spans criminal, civil, family and administrative justice, together with responsibility for making new law and safeguarding human rights. The Ministry works in partnership with other government departments and agencies to serve the public, improve the justice system and support victims of crime.

Our overarching ambition is to deliver a modern justice system that works for everyone in our society.

Overview of the Role
This is your chance to be involved in the development and delivery of high priority policy for justice. Working with ministers and senior leaders, you will form a detailed understanding of how policy proposals are developed, delivered and managed in government. The issues you work on will have a significant impact on our society: protecting the public, upholding the rule of law, and providing a just, proportionate and accessible justice system are at the heart of what we do.

Are you an outstanding communicator with excellent writing and presentational skills? Do you have experience of managing projects from start to finish? Are you able to develop proposals that understand and reflect the needs of users and the views of a wide range of stakeholders? Do you enjoy working collaboratively across different disciplines? Are you comfortable with using evidence and data to inform your work and able to use a range of sources, referring to experts where appropriate? Can you present advice clearly and concisely to a range of audiences – often senior individuals or groups? Are you comfortable working with digital tools, developing and embracing new and innovative ways of working?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you should consider a career in policy delivery within the Ministry of Justice. We are looking for highly skilled, organised, flexible, and enthusiastic people to work on exciting policy delivery assignments across the range of the Ministry of Justice’s business.

These are key roles for policy officials, particularly with project management experience. Successful candidates will be deployed across different policy delivery projects, including prisons, courts, tribunals, legal services, youth justice and the probation service.

Job Description
This Band C policy post will be the engine of policy-delivery teams based with MOJ HQ in London, supporting team leaders, taking responsibility for discrete policy delivery areas and delivering key policy products, including submissions to government ministers containing options and advice, draft answers to parliamentary questions and public consultation papers.

On a typical day in this role you could be drafting submissions for Minsters - liaising with a range of stakeholders and other MoJ teams to ensure the advice is clear, complete and accurate. You will be communicating regularly with senior leaders - presenting ideas and gathering feedback to help develop your work. You could be expected to represent your policy area at a meeting with external stakeholders or user groups, or even attend a meeting with Ministers or a session in Parliament. The work will be fast-paced and evolving. You will be constantly moving things forward, facing new challenges, and developing solutions to solve problems.

Post holders will therefore need the skills to contribute to each stage of policy development and delivery, embracing open and innovative approaches to identify options and to make recommendations. You will be able to draw on a range of sources of evidence, using data to inform your work. You will have strong project management skills and demonstrate problem solving approaches. You will be able to produce briefings and advice with minimal supervision and be comfortable working with digital tools. Post holders will also be expected to be adept at engaging with stakeholders and working collaboratively, in particular ensuring contributions and views from across MoJ and Government.

Some projects will require post -holders to deliver through others, either from their own management chain or flexibly through providing direction, supervision and coaching beyond direct management responsibility. Above all, post-holders will work collaboratively as an enthusiastic and active team player.

Skills and Qualification
You are required to have:

Excellent written skills and numerical skills, with experience in using data to inform your work.
Ability to make sound judgments and provide well-articulated advice.
Experience with using Project Management approaches
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Demonstrate confidence and skill to act independently
Excellent IT skills

Further to this it would be desirable, but not essential, for the post holder to:

be qualified to graduate level (or have work related experience) – we particularly welcome applications from those with qualifications in relevant areas such as Law, Criminology, Public Policy, Digital and Technology or Service Design.
have an understanding of the justice system
have an understanding of the governmental and parliamentary processes

You will be asked to supply evidence of meeting these competencies when you apply.
Making effective decisions
Collaborating and partnering
Managing a quality service
Delivering at pace
Changing and improving
Leading and communicating

Reference number

£29,790 - £40,667

Higher Executive Officer
MoJ Band C, Ca, Cb

Contract type

Business area

Type of role

Working pattern
Flexible working, Full-time, Part-time, Job share


Number of posts


  1. If the MOJ manages to recruit folk with real front line experience in the several areas it oversees such appointments could be progress rather than as has been the case to leave policy development to folk with no idea how the Ministry of Justice agencies really work, like the awful Policy Exchange organisation.

  2. Tesco is also recruiting, and with overtime you'll earn the same!

  3. Bedford prison, rioting with up to 300 prisoners involved. Police had to be called in to enter wings and get things under control. How ironic is that? Cut staff to piss poor numbers and then expect another public service to help sort it out when that service is also massively stretched!

    1. Press Association/Guardian:-

      The Prison Service is to launch an investigation after a riot at Bedford Prison which reportedly saw up to 200 inmates go on the rampage.

      The disturbance was “successfully resolved” late on Sunday night after riot officers spent more than six hours trying to bring the disorder under control.

      Scores of prisoners flooded the jail’s gangways in chaotic scenes after the disturbance broke out shortly after 5pm.

      A Prison Service spokesman said: “Specially trained prison officers and staff from the emergency services have successfully resolved an incident involving a number of prisoners at HMP Bedford. An investigation into this incident will take place. We are absolutely clear that prisoners who behave in this way will be punished and could spend significantly longer behind bars.” There were no injuries to prison staff but two inmates were treated for injuries that were not thought to be serious.

      Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, will put an “urgent question” to justice secretary Liz Truss in parliament on Monday, local media reported.

      Specialist riot officers were deployed at the category B prison in Bedford town centre after the riot broke out on Sunday afternoon, with police cordoning off an area outside and emergency services on stand-by.

      Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association (POA) said some guards were forced to retreat to a “safe place” while large numbers of prisoners ran amok.

      Sources told the Press Association the riot spread over more than one wing inside the prison, and footage supposedly from inside the facility – though unverified – posted online revealed chaotic scenes with scores of prisoners shouting and bellowing in walkways and gangways. At around 11pm, about half an hour before the riot was brought under control, there were reports of loud bangs or explosions coming from inside the prison.

      The disorder comes after the chairman of the POA Mike Rolfe last week warned British jails had been engulfed by a “bloodbath”.

      Gillan said: “The POA has been warning about this situation of violence in our prisons – it would appear it’s coming to fruition. I just hope there’s no prisoners or indeed prison officers injured in the violence.”

      HMP Bedford, which has been on its current site since 1801, currently holds around 500 inmates, according to an HM Inspectorate of Prisons report in September.

      The watchdog’s report found inmates claimed it was easier to get drugs than clothes or bedsheets at a prison where standards had deteriorated to “unacceptable levels”.

      A survey found the number of prisoners saying it was easy or very easy to get drugs had almost doubled since the last inspection of the jail in February 2014. The number saying they had developed a drug problem while at the prison increased from 4% to 14%.

      The HMP inspection in May also found that the physical condition of the prison was poor, with many inmates living in cramped conditions. The report detailed damaged furniture, graffiti, shortages of clothing and dirty, unscreened showers.

      The report also said: “Arrangements for managing violent and bullying behaviour and supporting victims were weak.”

    2. Prison officers overworked and over-stressed. Are these the same officers on standby for riot squad duties ? – which never seem to be understaffed

  4. That is just a civil service position! They give themselves fancy titles like EO, executive officer =Admin level, maybe need a few All levels and HEO , higher executive officer, one step up, maybe a first degree. Misleading if you ask me! Still wasting money on lackeys when prison staff are coping with riots at Bedford prison!

  5. Over on Twitter:

    in reply to @John_Podmore
    Justinrussell‏ @justinrussell80
    @John_Podmore @CommonsJustice @neill_bob @DavidHansonMP Filling vacancies - not new headcount. Our overall headcount continues to reduce!

  6. Was interested til I saw the pay. No thanks.

    1. I was interested until I saw it was in London.

  7. So 30 x £30K+... Over £1M is suddenly available to boost the footsoldiers in the MoJ policy team. Why? Surely Grayling's TR & Gove's Prison Reform are more than enough for MoJ to be going on with? What on earth might La Truss have up her ornate Lord Chancellor's sleeve? Extraordinary!

  8. Plenty of work going on in specialist riot squads! Maybe a good opportunity to set up a new business for Sodexo or WL? Just pay some inmates to riot and hey presto, targets met!

    1. No need to pay inmates to riot, as sufficient inducements already in place, courtesy of those policy wonks who promoted benchmarking.

  9. Could use the 30 to organise and run some RAR groups locally. That would at least be useful. Yes yes I know, it will be something else they will be told to do. Like leading our easily led managers down some garden path with ideas that will supposedly solve all our ills. Like writing policy documents, thick in more ways than one, which take 2 days to read through and 2 minutes to see through. No, no matter who is employed for these roles however experienced and knowledgeable in matters of cjs, however keen to have an impact which speaks against the usual nonsense, once they end up at petty France they will be expected to sing to that deathly agenda we have come to know so well. We need a better lot in charge for a start.

  10. Are these 30 new posts? Or replacement positions for 30 policy makers no longer required?


    1. According to a tweet I saw, they're 'replacements' and the MoJ headcount 'continues to reduce'.

  11. Meanwhile more new jobs are announced via Facebook: -

    "Train to be a Probation Officer

    Being a Probation Officer is both demanding and rewarding, requiring resilience and professional judgement. You will be required to communicate effectively with offenders including those who have committed violent or sexual offences. Apply now to train to be a Probation Officer."

  12. Couple of people escaped from pentonville today (and I'm not talking about staff). The escape was discovered when two mannequins were discovered in a couple of bunks in a cell

    1. That's an interesting change - the dummies are normally to be found in Petty France!

      (I'm here all week, tip your waitress)

    2. The escape was discovered at 11.45 this morning, beging the question why wasn't it discovered when the day staff came on duty first thing.
      One is said to be serving 'a very long time', and unusually, the police have not given any names yet.

    3. BBC website:-

      Two prisoners have escaped from Pentonville prison, the Ministry of Justice has said. The escape was discovered when prison officers found two mannequins in the prisoners' beds on Monday. One of those who escaped is serving a "very long sentence", the BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said. It is understood the inmates, aged 28 and 31, used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through cell bars before they scaled the perimeter wall.
      The police were called at 11:44 GMT. A prison spokesperson said: "Public protection is our top priority and we take escapes from custody extremely seriously. "We are working closely with the police and are urgently investigating the matter."

    4. Am I the only one surprised that the prison service spokesperson didn't say "We are absolutely clear that prisoners who behave in this way will be punished and could spend significantly longer behind bars."?

      It's become almost as reflexive a response as "£46 in their pocket"

    5. My husband reckons it's all the fault of those pesky drones.


    1. Guardian:-

      Two prisoners are on the run after escaping from Pentonville prison in north London – the scene of a brutal murder inside the jail last month.

      The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed that two prisoners have escaped from the Victorian jail and an initial report suggested that the inmates fooled prison officers by putting mannequins in their beds.

      Unconfirmed reports also suggested the prisoners escaped using diamond-tipped cutting equipment to cut through cell bars before scaling an outside wall.

      The two prisoners escaped from G wing, where a 21-year-old prisoner was fatally stabbed last month.

      One of the two escaped prisoners is believed to be serving “a very long sentence” but the MoJ declined to name either of them. Police said the men are aged 28 and 31 and escaped just before midday on Monday.

      A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “Public protection is our top priority and we take escapes from custody extremely seriously. We are working closely with the police and are urgently investigating the matter.”

      Escapes from within prisons have become increasingly rare with only two recorded in 2015/16, according to the latest MoJ figures.

      HMP Pentonville is a category B prison, which opened in 1842 and holds more than 1,200 adult men.

      Last year, the prison was singled out by the former justice secretary Michael Gove as “the most dramatic example of failure” within the estate and putting it in the frame to be closed under the government’s “new for old” scheme.

      Jamal Mahmoud, 21, died after being stabbed at the prison on 18 October in an attack by other inmates which left two others injured.

      The killing of the young father prompted calls for an inquiry into the state of prisons in England and Wales, with his family accusing the jail of neglecting him.

      Cuts to staff and resources by the government meant the death was “no massive surprise”, the Prison Governors Association said.

      The latest development emerged after a disturbance at another prison, HMP Bedford, on Sunday.

      A convicted murderer, John Massey, was on the run for 48 hours after escaping from Pentonville in 2012. He managed to break out using a makeshift rope to scale the wall of the prison before he was found in hiding in a two-bedroom cottage in Faversham, Kent, two days later after a nationwide manhunt. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a man at a pub in Hackney in 1975.

      A Pentonville prisoner was involved in a standoff with police last December after escaping his cell and climbing on to the roof of the prison. He was brought down after negotiating with prison staff for more than an hour.

  14. It was escapes that upped the pressure on prisons in the 1990s when Michael Howard was in charge - maybe there will be a big media respons. If there is it is likely to be expensive for the taxpayer and of little value to those who prize prisoner rehabilitation.