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Investigation

Complaints Assessor – 46012
£22,677 - £24,312
London

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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

Overview of the role

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) is an Arm’s Length Body of the Ministry of Justice and investigates:

  • Complaints from prisoners, trainees in Secure Training Centres (STCs), immigration detainees and probation supervisees; and
  • Deaths in prisons, STCs, Secure Children’s Homes, Immigration Removal Centres, Court cells and probation approved premises.

The Ombudsman receives around 4,000 new complaints a year of which around half are assessed as eligible for investigation.  The assessment of new cases is carried out by Assessors, who are also responsible for preparing cases for investigation.  The target is to complete the assessment of 80% of new cases within ten days of receipt.

The post holder will be part of the Assessment and Allocation team, which is headed by a Band B Assessment Team Manager, who is responsible for the strategic management of the assessment, allocation processes and quality assurance of the complaints received from prisoners, trainees in Secure Training Centres (STCs), immigration detainees and probation supervisees.  The post holder will work in a team with seven other Assessors. 

This post offers an exciting opportunity to develop case working skills, make decisions and have first-hand experience of dealing with people in custody and offender supervision.  The post holder will need to have good judgement, an inquiring mind and require a flexible approach.  It will suit individuals that are self-motivated, well-organised and enjoy working within a team and with investigators.  

Previous experience of the Criminal Justice System is not required as training will be given on the job.

The PPO is based at the HM Government hub at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf.  Most PPO staff are currently working at home and interviews will likely be held virtually.  After any induction processes and probation periods, the successful candidate will be offered the opportunity to divide their working week between working in our office and working at home, if possible.  Prior to the pandemic, all staff were expected to spend up to 60% of the week at the London office, with the rest of the time spent working at home or at commuter hubs.  It is likely that there will be a similar requirement for regular office attendance when we are able to return to the office.

External candidates joining the Civil Service will be expected to join on the minimum salary for the band.

Job Description

The post holder will be responsible for the following:

  • Assessing complaints, against agreed criteria, as to whether they are eligible for investigation by the PPO or not.
  • Submitting decisions to senior managers about complaints that are not assessed as being eligible.
  • Writing to complainants to clearly set out the assessment decision.
  • Making relevant and appropriate enquiries with our stakeholders.
  • Obtaining relevant paperwork from our stakeholders, where necessary.
  • Managing general correspondence to the PPO, received by post, email, fax or telephone.
  • Processing cases appropriately and promptly on our case management system.
  • Maintaining case files, as and when required, and linking correspondence for complaints that have previously been submitted to the PPO.  
  • Reviewing and processing messages left by callers to the PPO’s telephone line.
  • Helping to promote team and cross-office working and contributing fully to the team and office meetings.

Essential requirements

  • The ability to analyse and make a sound judgement based on multiple and sometimes conflicting evidence.
  • The ability to draft eligibility letters to complainants so that the message is clear, simple, accurate and well-evidenced, with realistic and meaningful conclusions.
  • The ability to establish good working relationships with stakeholders in order to access information necessary to the assessment process.

Skills & Qualifications

Recruitment across the Civil Service changed from July 2019 with the introduction of Success Profiles. Further guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/success-profiles.

Your application should include an example where you have demonstrated the skills required for each of the following four behaviours.  As part of your application, please demonstrate what relevant experience you have for the role in the free text box at the end.  

If we receive a high number of applications for the post, we will complete an initial sift on the “Making Effective Decisions” behaviour.  We will not review the rest of the application for any candidate who does not meet the required mark for this behaviour.

If you are invited for interview, you will be asked questions relating to the same behaviours as well as strength-based questions relating to the role.  You will also be required to complete a written test to demonstrate your ability to write eligibility letters.

Behaviours

Making Effective Decisions

Use guidance, analyse relevant information and ask colleagues for input to support decision making.  Identify and deal with any errors or gaps in information before making a decision.  Consider the diverse needs of those affected by decisions and how it will impact them.  Provide advice and feedback to support others in making accurate decisions.  Ask others to clarify decisions when confused and query any issues that arise constructively.

Working Together

Proactively contribute to the work of the whole team and remain open to taking on new and different roles.  Get to know your colleagues and build supportive relationships.  Listen to alternative perspectives and needs, responding sensitively and checking understanding where necessary.  Ask for help when needed and support others when the opportunity arises.  Be aware of the need to consider your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues.  Understand that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable.

Managing a Quality Service

Gain a clear understanding of customers’ needs and expectations.  Plan, organise and manage your own time to deliver a high quality service which gives taxpayers a good return for their money.  Act to prevent problems by identifying issues, reporting them and providing solutions.  Keep customers and all colleagues up to date with progress.  Show customers where to access relevant information and support that will help them to use services more effectively. 

Delivering at Pace

Always work with focus and pace to get the job done on time and to a high standard.  Follow the relevant policies, procedures and rules that apply to the job.  Use own knowledge and expertise to organise work.  Keep focused on delivery and take responsibility for the quality of work produced.  Keep a consistent level of personal performance.  Keep managers and stakeholders updated on how work is progressing.

Additional Information

Support

  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits, retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For moves to or from another employer or moves across the Civil Service this can have implications on your eligibility to carry on claiming childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for alternative government childcare support schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. More information can be found on GOV.UK or Childcare Choices. You can determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

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. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1- To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com);

2- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (resourcing-services@justice.gov.uk);

3- To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As a Disability Confident employer, MoJ are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. MoJ are able to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns.

You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. If you need additional help completing the application form, please contact the SSCL Recruitment Enquiries Team.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s 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.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.

Benefits

The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Pension

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

Training

The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.

Networks

The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.