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Programme and Project Management

JEXU Portfolio and Project Support Assistant – 44988
£28,351 - £31,529


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:

The Joint Extremism Unit (JEXU) is jointly run by HM Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Home Office’s Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT). It is the strategic centre for all counter-terrorism work in HMPPS. It has oversight of delivery across the end-to-end offender management process, through prison and probation. The unit encompasses the entire policy making process, from strategy to operational delivery, and consists of a mix of policy officials and operational staff across England and Wales.

The JEXU Programme and Projects team manages, develops and improves policy and practice to strengthen the Government’s response to the threat of terrorism in prisons and probation. The Programme and Projects team takes a programme and project management approach to continually developing, reviewing and improving policy. Projects vary significantly although tend to include conducting research, analysis and evaluation of policy before designing and delivering plans for implementation.

Overview of the job

We do not underestimate the significant impact that organisational change has on staff across HMPPS. We have seen unprecedented levels of recruitment activity across Public Sector Prisons and more recently with the National Probation Service. Moving forward, we will need to continue to work differently as we seek to embed the National Probation Service into HMPPS ensuring we deliver the Agency’s objective of preventing victims and reducing reoffending.

Our People – the five year people vision has now been published which defines what we want from our future workforce and how the HR Directorate will support staff and managers to be the best they can be.

In order to achieve this the Directorate will deliver a range of strategic objectives using a controlled portfolio management approach; applying OGC PRINCE2 methodologies to a defined set of projects.

A portfolio management approach will address the complexities present when attempting to deliver multiple projects simultaneously, deploying limited resources with the appropriate knowledge and skills. Where there are competing priorities and inter-dependencies in the nature of the objectives, portfolio management will provide organisation and control to help ensure the most successful outcomes can be achieved.

The portfolio function will advise senior management on its progress against plans and problems with conflicting priorities. Informed decisions can then be taken in respect of whether to continue, defer or stop a project; or deploy, acquire, develop or remove resources. This approach relies on the application of consistent standards being applied to projects; to management commitment and understanding of its value; and a willingness to implement new processes to support and enable effective portfolio management. Portfolio management will support Directorate business planning.

The Portfolio approach will facilitate and enable teams to adopt common approaches,
e.g.    reporting templates, use of product descriptions etc. In order to help maintain clear delineation between business-as-usual and portfolio assignments, including assigning resources in accordance with priorities, issues will be worked through openly with the engagement of teams and individuals as required. As the approach embeds over time it will naturally mature within the Directorate.

This role exists in order to support the work of the Directorate Portfolio. The Portfolio Office plays a key role in overseeing the projects and programmes within the remit of the Directorate, ensuring coherent reporting and escalation of risks and issues to higher bodies, and providing secretariat services to selected boards within the Directorate.

In addition, the role:

•    Is based in Programme Portfolio Office Team
•    Is HQ based 

•    Reports to the PMO Support Manager

This is a non-operational role.


The Portfolio & Project Support Assistant will:

•    Support the Portfolio’s administrative function for the relevant governance boards within the Portfolio
•    Support the Portfolio team’s contribution to ad hoc requests for logistics
•    Support the Portfolio manager and project managers in running the projects
•    Support the Portfolio’s Assurance manager and PMO support manager by assisting with an appropriate range of tasks relating to the assurance and approval of projects within the portfolio.

Where appropriate, the post holder will work closely with others to support activities within the remit of the Portfolio office.

Responsibilities, Activities & Duties    

You will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:

Support for Portfolio’s Administrative function:

The post holder will assist with the management of the range of meetings co- ordinated and supported by the Portfolio Team. This will involve:

•    liaising with other members of the Portfolio Team to find suitable windows in the calendar in which to hold meetings (in order to meet governance/reporting requirements);
•    liaison with senior officials and their diary staff to find appropriate times for meetings within those windows;
•    collecting data & forecasts and assisting with the compilation of reports;
•    arranging the agenda and papers with the direction of the chair;
•    distributing papers;
•    maintaining the Terms of Reference, membership and distribution lists;
•    printing spare copies of meeting papers as appropriate;
•    attending meetings as secretary;
•    producing a first draft of minutes and action logs;
•    obtaining subsequent approval for these documents;
•    contributing to the use of specialist tools and techniques such as planning and control, tools, risk analysis;
•    disseminating minutes and action logs once cleared;
•    chasing action owners for updates on their actions;
•    filing, archiving and enacted version control on all meeting documentation.

The extent of this support will be determined by the PMO Support manager with the agreement of the Portfolio Assurance Manager.

Support the PMO Support manager in providing support to ad hoc requests from project managers to undertake specific logistical tasks such as creating and running spreadsheets, collating review comments, organising workshop venues and invitations.

Subject to their experience, the post holder will:

•    provide Local Information Manager (LIM) support to the Head of Portfolio and Senior Managers for the Portfolio’s HERM folder and sub folders and any Portfolio Functional Mailboxes.
•    draft responses to stakeholder queries received through the Portfolio Functional Mailbox;
•    Conduct basic research to assist with answering queries in regards to the Portfolio. This sort of assistance would include finding relevant information through basic research (e.g. meeting records) or requesting it from others.

Support the Portfolio’s Assurance function by:

•    Assisting management with the production and quality assurance of regular reports for the selected governance boards. This may include the Portfolio Report for the Portfolio board.
•    Will undertake Milestone analysis for Projects across the Portfolio determining RAG status, progression & re-planned/slippage percentages
•    Assisting with the collection, review, dissemination and filing of mandates, briefs, business cases, initiation documents, reporting and assurance plans.
•    Providing a calendar of events for assurance and approval activities. They will also provide administrative support to OGC Gateway Reviews and similar processes.
•    Supporting the use of project delivery processes, tools and templates.
•    Managing a central resource of information about live, completed and proposed projects and programmes in the portfolio.
•    Version control, filing and archiving of assurance and approvals documentation.

Support the management by:

•    Assisting with the scheduling of activities and tasks;
•    Arranging relevant project meetings; Support the Portfolio Office by:
•    Working closely with the team to fulfil appropriate duties to support the work of the Portfolio.

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.

•    Making Effective Decisions
•    Delivering at Pace
•    Working Together
•    Managing a Quality Service

Essential Experience    

N.B. Converting job descriptions to the new Success Profile format means areas captured in experience could also be assessed as a strength. Vacancy managers should use their own judgement to decide where best to assess these.

Good written and oral communication skills

Good interpersonal skills

Technical requirements    

Intermediate/expert skills in MS-Office applications, especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Additional Information

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.