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Finance

Financial Officer – Prisons and Probation Ombudsman – 57997
£34,262 – £38,373
London

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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.

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), detained individuals 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, and investigates around 400 deaths per year.  To enable this, the Ministry of Justice provides the PPO with a yearly budget in the region of £6 million.  In order to manage the PPO’s finances, including forecasting pay and non-pay spend for each financial year and guiding and monitoring our spend in year, we are looking for an experienced Financial Officer.  

While the main focus of this role is financial management, the post holder will be responsible for reviewing, correcting and monitoring the health and safety threats to our staff. 

This is a key role and it is part of the Learning Lessons and Strategic Support Team (LLSS), who are responsible for supporting the PPO’s main duties.  While the post holder will be part of the LLSS Team, they will regularly liaise with senior managers in our Complaints and Fatal Incidents Teams.  The post holder will report to a Grade SEO Head of Strategic Support.

This post will suit individuals that are well-organised, have excellent attention to detail, are able to work to deadlines and have good communication skills.  The post holder will also need to be comfortable using Microsoft Excel. 

Previous financial management experience is essential.  

The PPO is based at the HM Government hub at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf.  From 4 April 2022, our staff have been expected to spend 40% of the week at the Canary Wharf office or travelling to establishments, with the rest of the time spent working at home or at commuter hubs.  You will be responsible for deciding when to work in the office so can manage your office attendance around your personal circumstances.   

While our staff are gradually returning to the office, interviews will likely be held virtually. 

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:

To plan and manage the PPO’s annual budget and forecasted spend for the spending review period:

  • On receipt of indicative budget, prepare initial budget allocations and pay and non-pay forecasts for the year;
  • Hold monthly finance review meetings and provide advice to managers on viability of anticipated spend;
  • Provide monthly budget reports to our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and highlight issues of concern and respond to ad hoc requests;
  • Monitor and provide quarterly updates to our SLT on spend on overtime and fee-paid investigators and allocation of recognition and reward awards;
  • Provide monthly reports to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in a format and according to timelines they set;
  • Liaise with the MoJ on the format, timing and content of PPO’s budget reports;
  • On request, provide forecasted spend for subsequent years to identify the impact of changing budget allocations;
  • At the end of the quarter/ year, identify accruals with accompanying evidence and provide the MoJ with written analysis of anticipated end of quarter/ year budgetary position.

Manage the procurement of and payment for goods and services provided to PPO:

  • Consider and approve requests for purchase orders;
  • Respond to invoice issues and non-payments;
  • Investigate the reasons for fruitless or erroneous payments to ensure lessons are learnt and these are kept to a minimum.

Provide strategic advice to the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen:

  • Contribute to the preparation of the PPO’s spending review bids
  • Provide financial data for MoJ commissioning requests on issues such as workforce planning

Essential criteria 

  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy;  
  • Strong IT skills, particularly with Microsoft Excel;
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills;
  • Excellent communications skills.

Desirable criteria

  • Level 4 qualification with AAT, CCAB or CIMA; or
  • Working towards qualification with CCAB, CIMA or equivalent.

Essential experience 

  • Experience of working in a financial management environment.

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 “Managing a Quality Service” behaviour.  We will not review the rest of the application for any candidate who does not meet the required mark of four or above for this behaviour. 

Furthermore, the minimum benchmark to be considered for an interview is a score of four or above for each behaviour and the statement of suitability.  If we receive a high number of quality applications for the post, we reserve the right to increase this benchmark. 

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 test.  

Behaviours 

Managing a Quality Service 

Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence.  Work with stakeholders to set priorities, objectives and timescales.  Successfully deliver high quality outcomes that meet the customers’ needs and gives value for money.  Identify risks and resolve issues efficiently.  Involve a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and delivery partners in developing suggestions for improvements.  Establish ways to find and respond to feedback from customers about the services provided.

Making Effective Decisions 

Understand own level of responsibility and empower others to make decisions where appropriate.  Analyse and use a range of relevant, credible information from internal and external sources to support decisions.  Invite challenge and where appropriate involve others in decision making.  Display confidence when making difficult decisions, even if they prove to be unpopular.  Consult with others to ensure the potential impacts on end users have been considered.  Present strong recommendations in a timely manner outlining the consideration of other options, costs, benefits and risks.   

Communicating and Influencing  

Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner, choosing appropriate styles to maximise understanding and impact.  Encourage the use of different communication methods, including digital resources and highlight the benefits, including ensuring cost effectiveness.  Ensure communication has a clear purpose and takes into account people’s individual needs.  Share information as appropriate and check understanding.  Show positivity and enthusiasm towards work, encouraging others to do the same.  Ensure that important messages are communicated with colleagues and stakeholders respectfully, taking into consideration the diversity of interests. 

Delivering at Pace 

Show a positive approach to keeping the whole team’s efforts focused on the top priorities.  Promote a culture of following the appropriate procedures to ensure results are achieved on time whilst still enabling innovation.  Ensure the most appropriate resources are available for colleagues to use to do their job effectively.  Regularly monitor your own and team’s work against milestones ensuring individual needs are considered when setting tasks.  Act promptly to reassess workloads and priorities when there are conflicting demands to maintain performance.  Allow individuals the space and authority to meet objectives, providing additional support where necessary, whilst keeping overall responsibility.

Salary

£34,262 - £38,373

Additional Information

Working Arrangements & Further Information

The MoJ offers Hybrid Working arrangements where business need allows. This is an informal, non-contractual form of flexible working that blends working from your base location, different MoJ sites and / or from home (please be aware that this role can only be worked in the UK and not overseas). Some roles will not be suitable for Hybrid Working. Similarly, Hybrid Working will not suit everyone’s circumstances. Arrangements will be discussed and agreed with the successful candidate(s) and subject to regular review.

For nationally advertised roles, the successful candidate(s) will be appointed to a MoJ office location, which may include their nearest Justice Collaboration Centre or Justice Satellite Office. This will be discussed and agreed on the completion of pre-employment checks.

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.

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 UKor 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

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.

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.