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Strategy

Housing Specialist – 43275
£31,924 - £36,715
Wetherby

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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 job

The reoffending rate has remained broadly static at around 29% since 2010, and during the 12 months ending March 2019, 81% of offenders convicted or cautioned had at least one previous conviction or caution. Reoffending is costing society approximately £18bn per year and almost half of all prisoners reoffend within 12 months of release.

As part of a refreshed effort across Government, HMPPS have launched a new Reducing Reoffending Directorate charged with galvanising collective efforts across the Agency and with our public, private and third sector partners to turn the dial on these statistics. We will create the conditions (space and freedom, as well as tools and a new operational framework) for our leaders to drive change in their localities and drive change in the way we influence our partners, so we become a more confident and demanding customer on those we share responsibility for tackling this challenge alongside.

The Reducing Reoffending Directorate are seeking to trial a number of potential new prison-based roles focused at supporting efforts to reduce reoffending, including a Housing Specialist. This is an exciting opportunity to test the role as a priority area of work rather than being attached to other roles with operational responsibility, shaping and refining it as it is delivered.

These roles will contribute towards the Government’s commitment to eliminate rough sleeping by the end of 2023/24. It will also contribute to achieving the joint prison and probation performance measure, as detailed within the Target Operating Model, for 90% individuals housed on first night of release from prison.

We are looking for an energetic and enthusiastic individual to work in the Prison and feedback learning to the Reducing Reoffending, Partnerships and Accommodation Directorate on secondment for an initial 12 months, ending 31 March 2022. Due to the short period of time we are looking for experienced individuals who can progress this role from taking up post in June/July 2021.

The role is establishment based and non-operational. The post holder will act as a subject matter expert to the Governor and their Senior Management Team (SMT).

This is a post on secondment or fixed-term contract, ending 31 March 2022

HMPPS is seeking to recruit several Housing Specialists to support improvements to service users accommodation needs.

Kirkham, Wandsworth, Bullingdon, Norwich, Forest Bank, Elmley, Leeds, Risley, Berwyn, New Hall, Peterborough, Chelmsford, Peterborough (Female), Styal, Bronzefield, Altcourse, Preston, Lancaster Farms, Wealstun, Doncaster

Please note: The Directorate is undergoing a review of the ‘RR Accelerator’ posts which are provisionally graded. The responsibilities, activities and duties, within the job will be reviewed and refined over a 12 month period before final Job evaluation.

Summary

The role of the Housing Specialist has two main components:

To assess current strengths and areas for improvement with respect to accommodation on release and to reducing homelessness. In so doing, identify under-utilised housing routes and new opportunities.

To develop effective improvement strategies and work with the Governor/Director, their team, probation commissioned services and other agencies to implement sustainable change.

In order to offer informed support and guidance to Governors and their teams, the Housing Specialist will be required to understand, amongst other aspects, the security category of their base prison and the geographical locations to which prisoners will be released. The Housing Specialist will work in partnership with the probation commissioned services and other housing stakeholders to improve access to accommodation for prison leavers. Prison familiarisation training will be provided to ensure successful candidates have the fundamental knowledge they need to be effective in their roles.

The role will be establishment based with the expectation that post holders will travel as and when required. This is a non-operational post.

There are no line management responsibilities as part of this role, and we do not expect the post holder to have operational experience however this would be advantageous when working within the

establishment.

Responsibilities, Activities and Duties

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

This is an opportunity to test, shape and refine a new role, whilst feeding back learning to the central HMPPS team. Responsibilities will likely include the following:

A prison-based role to support the Head of Reducing Reoffending to co-ordinate the prison’s strategic response to reducing homelessness.

Strengthen and support partnership working between prison, probation, accommodation commissioned rehabilitative service provider, local authorities, regional homelessness prevention taskforces and other key resettlement agencies.

Champion delivery of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) and Duty to Refer (DtR), Offender Pathway (Wales) within the prison. This to include:

working with partners to ensure referrals under the DtR are as efficient and effective as possible;

design and deliver training related to homelessness within the prison, so staff understand accommodation issues, increase their knowledge around the HRA and DtR, can identify related needs and have the knowledge to respond appropriately.

promote the HRA and DtR amongst prisoners to address unhelpful myths, set realistic housing expectations and encourage engagement with the commissioned rehabilitation service and local authorities.

Compliment and champion the work of the accommodation commissioned rehabilitative services within the prison, and support these services by representing the prison on any joint engagement with external partners, such as local authorities or HPTs or local homelessness board. Contribute towards accommodation commissioned services being successfully embedded into the prison and promote their work to the prison’s Senior Leadership Team. This role will not manage, or duplicate efforts of, the accommodation commissioned rehabilitation service.

A) When working within a Probation Region delivering the Community Accommodation Service (CAS) temporary accommodation provision:

Ensure processes are in place to make sure the Duty to Refer has been discharged appropriately and that all other accommodation options have been fully explored before a CAS referral is made.

work with the Regional Probation team and their Homelessness Prevention Taskforce to maximise use of the accommodation offer for those at risk of homelessness, so that they can access interim accommodation at the point of release.

When working within a Probation Region which is not delivering the Community Accommodation Service (CAS Tier 3) work with the prison and in particular the Heads of Reducing Reoffending and the Resettlement Team to support them in ensuring that strategic and operational links are made with the relevant Regional Homelessness Prevention Team.

Support and upskill COM (former ETTG) staff delivering resettlement services in prisons to ensure immediate accommodation needs are identified at reception and addressed appropriately, and so that referrals to commissioned accommodation service are timely.

Identify any internal logistical or processes barriers which prevent the accommodation pathway being delivered effectively, working with heads of function and relevant partner agencies, including the accommodation commissioned rehabilitative service, to unlock these. Promote work within the prison to help prepare prison leavers to sustain accommodation in the community, in line with the Prime Ministers accommodation target, e.g. tenancy training.

Work with the prison and in particular the Offender Management Unit to support their work in making appropriate referrals to the Bail, Accommodation and Support Service (BASS) and effectively monitoring demand for this accommodation including locations. Work closely with the BASS supplier and the national BASS Contract Management Team to develop excellent relationship management, maximising the use of the service in particular for potential Bailee’s and HDC releases.

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.

Behaviours

  • Changing and Improving
  • Working Together
  • Making effective Decisions

Experience

Experience – Supporting delivery of the Homelessness Reduction Act

  • Worked within the field of housing and/or homelessness, particularly supporting those at risk of homelessness into accommodation within the region
  • Worked with prisoners or those engaged in the criminal justice system
  • Worked with key, related agencies including prisons, probation and local authorities.
  • History of developing partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Worked in a multi-agency operational setting to achieve mutual outcomes

The Candidate is required to have some understanding of:

  • The Justice System, including the roles and responsibilities of prisons and probation.
  • Housing legislation, particularly the Homelessness Reduction Act and the Duty to Refer.
  • Accommodation options for those leaving prison
  • Benefit system and Universal Credit
  • Resettlement pathways and potential related accommodation needs of prison leavers.

Additional Information

If you would like more information about the project or role please feel free to join us on a webinar on Friday 30th of April at 10:30am – https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_Njg3ZmQyMzEtMTJiNi00YTZjLWExNTMtYTUwYWZhOTYzMDJh%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22c6874728-71e6-41fe-a9e1-2e8c36776ad8%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22d2041852-5d45-43fe-bec1-1820304a7b9b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

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.

Benefits

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

Pension

-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

Training

-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

Eligibility

-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.