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40508 – Learner Research, Design and Development Lead – Probation Workforce Programme – 40508
£42,626 - £55,302


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:

To apply for this role you will need to provide a personal statement (max 1000 words) to demonstrate your relevant skills and knowledge, and outline your experience of the following:

    • Strategic management; ideally within a Learning & Development context (lead criteria)
    • Resource management and reacting to changes in demand
    • Designing and developing learning resources

If there are substantial applications for the role, sifting will be on the lead criteria only. 

Background Information

HM Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) is responsible for the delivery of probation services in England and Wales. In 2015, the Transforming Rehabilitation programme saw the landscape of probation services change significantly, with the creation of 21 privately run Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and a publicly owned National Probation Service. These reforms led to around 40,000 more offenders receive post-sentence supervision in the community. In July 2018, the Justice Secretary announced the intent to undertake a fundamental reform of probation services with a further announcement, in June 2020, as to the intention to renationalise the service. The Prime Minister has also announced the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers and a series of reforms to sentencing policy to deliver the Governments’ ambitious future vision for the Criminal Justice System.

This suite of changes has, and will continue to have, a fundamental impact on how probation services operate, demand on the system, and the way that services are delivered to offenders who serve all or part of their sentence in the community. This in turn has a crucial impact on our workforce. We recognise that to make sure our probation workforce is fit for the future, resilient and able to respond to upcoming challenges we must do something more to make sure we attract the right people to the profession; ensure that every member of the workforce is able to build their capability and skills on an ongoing basis; allow those working across probation the opportunity to develop and further their careers; and, make sure that our workforce feels valued and appreciated for their sterling work. To this end, the Probation Workforce Programme has been established. This rapidly expanding programme team offers exciting opportunities to lead the design and delivery of a new strategic approach to workforce planning, standard setting and learning and development across the probation service, and will require strong and collaborative working across HMPPS and MOJ.

Overview of the job

This role will sit in the new Learning Design Faculty, within the Probation Workforce Programme and will lead the Learner Research and Design and Development teams, having oversight of both the learner research and testing practice and of the learning design and development approach. They will report to the Head of Learning Design Faculty.

The Learner Research and Design and Development teams will operate within a matrix structure, enabling optimal utilisation of resource and the ability to respond to unpredicted changes in scope and/or demand.  

This role is non-operational and has formal line-management responsibility for the 10 FTE within the Learner Research, Design and Development teams.  

This role is HQ based and will require occasional travel to other HMPPS sites/regions.


The post-holder will drive the end-to-end learning design and development approach; overseeing the (re) design and development of digital learning resources and experiences; monitoring the level of engagement and contribution from SMEs and application of evidence-based practice research and quality controls; escalating issues and/or risks to the Head of Learning Design Faculty as required.

The post-holder will be a strong advocate for change, championing and nurturing the new L&D model, processes and ways of working; motivating others to understand and embrace the change in culture for learning and continuous professional development across the organisation.

Responsibilities, Activities and Duties

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

  • Manage and drive the end-to-end learning design and development approach; overseeing effective evidence-based research and testing practice and the (re-)design and development of learning resources and experiences.
  • Develop relationships with key stakeholders, relevant teams and L&D communities to support the effective implementation of evidence-based, learner-centred design e.g. the Centre of Excellence, Effective Practice and Service Improvement Group.
  • Oversee the collation and analysis of learner research findings, the publishing of learner research reports and the design and development of learning resources and experiences, ensuring they reflect and deliver the desired learning outcomes.
  • Ensure that learning design enables adaptive learning requirements.
  • Oversee the upskilling and/or preparation of learning facilitators and/or coaches to enable successful pilot and roll-out of learning resources and experiences.
  • Work collaboratively with L&D Product Owners and colleagues at all levels across the programme and organisation to support the design and delivery of evidence-based, learner-centred learning resources and experiences, ensuring all parties are aware of the delivery coordination, support and facilitation requirements and timescales.     
  • Champion the new L&D model and new ways of working to promote and encourage a culture of learning and continuous development across the organisation.

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.

The following behaviours will be assessed during the interview process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Working Together
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Managing a Quality Service


  • Experience of managing and developing a team.
  • Experience of designing and developing learning resources.
  • Experience of using effective relationship building skills to manage and communicate with key stakeholders.
  • Desirable: Knowledge/experience of digital, virtual, social and face-to-face learning solutions

Additional Information

As part of this transformation, the National Probation Service (NPS) is revitalising the way its people learn and apply new skills on the job. We are building a new Learning & Development (L&D) function with a learner-centred approach that’s rooted in evidence-based practice. Our learning programmes are putting an emphasis on supporting our people to perform and be their best.

This is an exciting opportunity to take on a brand new leadership role within the new L&D model.  Working as part of the Design Faculty, you will lead on the implementation of an evidence-based, learner-centred design approach and the (re-)design and development of digital learning resources and virtual and/or face-to-face learning experiences that enhance and support staff performance.  You will have significant impact on the definition of learning outcomes through a review of evidence-based practice, established performance standards, and primary research with the learners themselves.

It is expected this role will be extended for a minimum of a further 12 months.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s, including HMPPS, terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Standard working hours for this post are 37 hours per week excluding breaks which are unpaid.

If you are a current NPS employee, this vacancy may be available on a Loan basis for up to 2 years. Applications are invited from suitable qualified staff.

The Loan/Secondment is subject to the approval of the selected candidate’s Business Unit, which should be obtained before confirmation of appointment.


Annual Leave

-The holiday year runs from 1 March. If you work a non standard work pattern your leave entitlement may be expressed in either hours or days as appropriate. Leave entitlement is calculated on a pro-rata basis and you will be advised of your actual entitlement on appointment. If you were appointed internally and your leave was previously calculated in days, this will continue to be the case.

Bank, Public and Privilege Holidays

You are entitled to 9 days (66 hours 36 minutes) in recognition of bank, public and privilege holidays. These hours are added to your annual leave allowance. There is a requirement to work some public and bank holidays subject to your shift pattern and the operational needs of the establishment


-The Civil Service offers a choice of two pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.

Work Life Balance

-HM Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) is keen to encourage alternative working arrangements. Work life balance provides greater opportunities for staff to work more flexibly wherever managers and establishments can accommodate requests to do so. HMPPS offers flexible working subject to completion of a satisfactory probationary period and NVQ

Season Ticket Advance

-After two months’ service, you’ll be eligible to apply for a season ticket advance to purchase a quarterly or longer-period season ticket for travel between home and your place of work

Childcare Vouchers

For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers


-HMPPS is committed to staff development and offers a range of training and development opportunities, including areas such as Equality and Diversity, Dealing with Challenging Behaviour, Suicide Prevention and Anti Bullying Programmes

-There are opportunities to access promotion programmes and HMPPS provide a variety of training appropriate to individual posts

-All staff receive security and diversity training and an individual induction programme into their new roles


-All candidates are subject to security and identity checks prior to taking up post

-All external candidates are subject to 6 months probation. Internal candidates are subject to probation if they have not already served a probationary period within HMPPS

-All staff are required to declare whether they are a member of a group or organisation which HMPPS considers to be racist

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.