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Policy Advisors in the Safety, Security and Operational Policy Division of the Prison Policy Directorate – 40579
£24,002 - £38,373
Multiple Locations


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 Prison Policy Directorate is recruiting permanently for two Band C (HEO Equivalent) Policy Roles in the Safety, Security and Operational Policy Division. This campaign is being run externally and so is open to all eligible individuals who wish to apply.

Post 1: Policy Adviser, Prison Security

Post 2: Policy Adviser, Operational Policy


Successful candidates will have the option to be based at one of the following locations:

  • 102 Petty France, London
  • 5 Wellington Place, Leeds (occasional travel between Leeds and London may be required post Covid-19)

Current circumstances require everyone to work from home for all or the majority of the time depending on local restrictions and individual circumstances.

Salary and Grade:

These posts are HEO / MoJ Band C. New entrants to the Civil Service will be expected to join on the minimum of the pay range. Existing Civil Servants will have their salary calculated in accordance with the Department’s pay on transfer / pay on promotion rules.

Ways of Working

At the MoJ we believe and promote alternative ways of working, these roles are available as:

  • Full-time with flexible working patterns
  • Flexible working arrangements between base locations, MoJ Hubs and home.

At the moment the majority of our staff are currently working from home due to Covid-19

If we receive applications from more suitable candidates than we have vacancies for at this time, we may hold suitable applicants on a reserve list for 12 months, and future vacancies requiring the same skills and experience could be offered to candidates on the reserve list without a new competition.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

MOJ is one of the largest government departments, employing around 70,000 people (including those in the Probation Service), with a budget of approximately £9 billion. Each year, millions of people use our services across the UK – including at 500 courts and tribunals, and 133 prisons in England and Wales.

What we do

We work to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public. We are also responsible for the following parts of the justice system:

  • courts
  • prisons
  • probation services

We also work in partnership with other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system, to serve the public and support the victims of crime. We are also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.


  • A prison and probation service that reforms offenders
  • A modern courts and justice system
  • A Global Britain that promotes the rule of law
  • A transformed department that is simpler, smarter and more unified

Further information can be found at


The Prison Policy Directorate sits within the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for advising Ministers on all aspects of prison policy. The Prison Safety, Security and Operational Policy (SSOP) division is a key part of the Directorate and has responsibility for one of the most important social policy issues in Government – setting the policy framework for how the prison system works and ensuring that the safety and security of both staff and prisoners is upheld. We work hand in hand in everything we do with one of the biggest delivery organisations in government. The SSOP division is split into key for teams:

Prison Security: ensuring that we are tackling threats to prison security including drugs, organised crime, conveyance and working with intelligence across government to anticipate and counteract emerging threats;

Prison Safety: focusing on improving safety outcomes for staff and prisoners including reducing self-inflicted deaths, self-harm and violence in prisons;

Operational Policy: owning a range of high-profile policy areas that underpin a safe, decent and lawful prison system such as prisoner incentives and adjudications.

Prison Regime: providing policy advice to define what a good prison system should look like and unpicking the blockers and enablers to achieving this;

We have two posts across the Prison Security and Operational Policy teams and are looking for driven, talented and forward-thinking Band C/HEOs to join us.

The roles will provide excellent opportunities to work in a fast-paced policy environment and collaborate with colleagues in HMPPS, across other government departments including the Department for Health and Social Care and the Home Office, as well as with external stakeholders.

We are a friendly, enthusiastic and collaborative division with a strong emphasis on ensuring team members feel happy, supported and engaged in their work. We are keen to make a difference, working closely with partners and supporting everyone to play their part to improve prisons and the outcomes for prisoners. We have a strong commitment to personal and career development, helping everyone to grow and fulfil their potential. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. We know that diverse perspectives and experiences are critical to ensure we are providing the best policy advice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit:

The successful candidates will be expected to:

  • Have the ability to understand complex policy areas quickly.
  • Work flexibly and independently, effectively leading their own areas of work.
  • Develop and build strong partnership working with colleagues in HMPPS and MoJ, as well as external stakeholders.
  • Collect a wide range of sources of data and evidence to inform policy development.
  • Analyse, interpret and present evidence to form sound policy options for wider discussion.
  • Effectively organise and prioritise their own policy development work e.g. agree aims, scope, plan and deliver key strands of work and activities.
  • Provide high-quality briefing to senior officials and Ministers, showing excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Have the ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines.

Role Purpose

We are looking to fill roles in the following teams:

Post 1: The Prison Security Policy Team.

As a member of this team, the post holder will work on a range of strategies and policies to prevent activities, often criminal acts, that undermine safety and rehabilitation in prisons. Strategies and policies can include: stopping contraband such as drugs entering prisons; disrupting illicit communications and abuse of legitimate means of communication; identifying and disrupting criminal networks; and building staff resilience to corruption.

Post 2: The Operational Policy Team.

The post holder will be responsible for managing policy development, implementation and review for a number of operational policies. The post holder will also contribute to the streamlining of specific policies by drafting Policy Frameworks, ensuring their completion in line with business priorities. The post holder will be required to work flexibly across the Operational Policy Team – the division of work will be determined on an on-going basis by team priorities and resource.

Main Activities / Responsibilities

The job holder will be required to undertake the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Collect, analyse, interpret and present evidence to form sound policy proposals and approaches and to identify which activities are likely to have an impact.
  • Develop and build strong partnership working with colleagues across the criminal justice system and across government, in the centre and operationally.
  • Drive forward and take ownership of the development and delivery of key strands of work and activities.
  • Actively contribute to higher level decision making for business planning, policy and project implementation to progress strategic objectives.
  • Identify relevant linkages with other projects within prison policy as well as across the department to ensure a joined-up approach and enhanced valued is added.
  • Provide policy support on corruption, wider prison safety and security, or other operational policies i.e. drafting topical briefings, ministerial briefings, responses to oral and written parliamentary questions and freedom of information requests.
  • Respond flexibly to competing and complex demands.

Essential Skills and Qualifications

Successful candidates will have:

  • The ability to produce good quality written drafts
  • Experience of making sound judgments and providing well-articulated advice
  • Strong organisational and prioritisation skills
  • The ability to work in partnership with colleagues across the organisation and be flexible to ensure delivery of priority projects
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

Further to this it would be desirable, but not essential, for the post-holder to have:

  • An interest in prisons and probation
  • Operational experience in the justice system
  • Experience of contributing to the drafting of policy, parliamentary correspondence, ministerial briefings and / or other written products.

Application process

You will be assessed against the Civil service success profiles framework


  • You will be asked to provide a CV during the application process in order to assess any demonstrable experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the role.
  • You will also be asked to provide a Statement of Suitability of 500 words.
  • You will also be asked to state which role you are more interested in, although there is no guarantee.


Your application will also be assessed against the following behaviours:

  • Making effective decisions 

We are looking for candidates who are able to confidently use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice. They should be able to carefully consider alternative options, implications and risks of decisions 

  • Seeing the big picture 

We are looking for candidates who are able to bring together views and perspectives of a range of partners and stakeholders to gain a wider picture of the landscape surrounding the policy area and an understanding of how their role supports MoJ wider HMG objectives. 

  • Working together  

We are looking for candidates who can establish effective relationships and collaborate with other departments and external stakeholders to support the delivery of cross-departmental objectives.  

  • Delivering at pace 

We are looking for candidates who are able to take responsibility for the delegated work areas to deliver the expected outcomes on time and to a high standard; to be able to plan ahead as well as reprioritise at short notice.  

Please also refer to the CS Behaviours framework for more details at this grade (Level 3 – SEO and HEO or equivalent):

Should we receive a large number of applications, we will sift primarily on the lead behaviour of Making Effective Decisions. Successful applicants will then be invited to an interview, testing both behaviours and strengths.

Candidates invited to Interview

Interviews will be carried out remotely. During the interview, we will be assessing you on Behaviours and Strengths from the success Profiles framework.

Interviews are expected to take place in February 2021.

The MoJ is proud to be Level 3 Disability Confident. Disability Confident is the approach through which we offer guaranteed interviews for all people with disabilities meeting the minimum criteria for the advertised role as set out in the job description.

Contact information  

Please do get in touch if you would like to know more about the role or what it is like working in our teams.

Additional Information

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.


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.


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


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


  • 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 any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.


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.

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;

2-      To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (;

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

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.

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.