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Policy Manager in the Strategic Policy Unit, Prison Policy Directorate – 57927
£50,427 – £63,500
Multiple Locations


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:

The Joint Ministry of Justice (MoJ)/HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Strategic Policy Unit is recruiting permanently for a Grade 7 Policy Manager. This campaign is open to current civil servants on level transfer and suitable candidates on promotion.


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)

Our staff, who have an HQ building as their base location, are expected to work in an office at least 2 days per week.

Ways of Working

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

  • Full-time, part-time or the option to job share
  • Flexible working patterns
  • Flexible working arrangements between base locations, MoJ Hubs and home.

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.

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 Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

MOJ is one of the largest government departments, employing over 77,000 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.

Further information can be found at

The Work of the Joint Strategic Policy Unit

The Joint Strategic Policy Unit was initially set up across MoJ and HMPPS to help shape our ongoing response to COVID 19 in custody. Building on the team’s successful operating model in response to COVID 19, it has now been made a permanent fixture of the Department and is leading on a range of high priority policy projects in the prisons and probation policy space. These are projects that are of high priority to Ministers and senior leaders and are cross-cutting – requiring a policy as well as operational response between MoJ and HMPPS, involve cross-Whitehall working; and/or tackle difficult issues without a natural home elsewhere.

This multi-disciplinary team is made up of policy, operational and strategy expertise and provides strategic advice to senior officials, ministers, and across Government on immediate challenges in the prison and probation systems, as well as longer term contingency planning and preparations. This fast moving and high-profile area of policy works across a range of areas in the MoJ, HMPPS, and across the wider Criminal Justice System, to meet the strategic goals of the MoJ and HMPPS: public protection; safe and secure prisons; and, reducing reoffending.

The successful candidates in this team must be able to work at work at pace in a fast changing and high-profile environment. You will need to build relationships fast, deliver under pressure and build and maintain the confidence of colleagues, senior officials and Ministers.

Policy Manager – the role

This is an exciting opportunity to work on some of the highest priority work in HMPPS and MoJ, as the unit continues to build its portfolio of innovative, cross-sector projects.

We are looking for someone proactive, innovative and with a collaborative approach to problem-solving, a strategic mindset and strong stakeholder management skills. The successful candidate will need an open mind and a willingness to build a deep understanding of the complexities and practicalities of modern prison / probation management. They will need to understand the importance of taking an evidence-based approach, communicate clearly and effectively with senior stakeholders, and be able to adapt quickly to new policy areas.

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

  • Delivering of well researched, quality assured and timely policies and strategies that support identified business need;
  • Setting up projects, with appropriate governance arrangements to support the project, identifying risks and mitigating action and reporting on progress to senior managers and stakeholders;
  • Writing and implementing policy strategy that is appropriately tailored and conforms MoJ/HMPPS business plan and wider organisational objectives;
  • Ensure requirements for any central monitoring arrangements have been discussed with relevant stakeholders and have been set up and are fit for purpose;
  • Ensuring that all policies are safe, legal, decent and affordable, remain compliant with relevant legislation and are sensitive to the needs of the operational line;
  • Quality assuring and approving advice to Ministers and senior MoJ/HMPPS officials related to policies;
  • Drafting replies to more complex ministerial submissions, ministers’ cases, PQs, IMB and HMIP recommendations;
  • Line managing a team of at least x1 SEO and x1 HEO.

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

Skills and Experience


Seeing the big picture – you will ensure projects and recommendations reflect the wider strategic priorities of the MoJ and HMPPS. You will communicate complex projects and findings effectively with senior leaders to support future strategies. Approaches you take in your work will take into account cross-departmental and cross-government perspectives in order to ensure coherence with ongoing initiatives. Your work will bring together the diverse views and needs of stakeholders to provide a broader understanding of the issues we work on.

Making effective decisions – you will have strong problem-solving skills, bringing structure to complex policy issues and able to draw sound conclusions, drawing on a range of evidence and analysis to deliver high-quality, innovative and inclusive policy advice.  This will include working with quantitative and qualitative data to develop a robust evidence base.

Leading and engaging– you will be an open and engaging leader, committed to building an inclusive and high-performing culture within the team, setting strategic direction and supporting your direct reports through coaching.   You will have a focus on personal development and wellbeing, playing an active leadership and management role across your team, directorate and the MoJ.  

Delivering at paceyou will have strong prioritisation skills and the ability to make effective decisions on how to structure projects to make best use of your resources. You will have the ability to impose structure on complex problems, allocate scarce resources in the context of the department’s strategy and political direction, and set-up and lead teams and bring colleagues together to reach your end goal.


Previous experience in government is not essential, but you will need to have good political awareness and the ability to communicate effectively to a wide range of audiences and the ability to solve problems using structured problem-solving techniques. 

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 upload a Statement of Suitability of no more than 750 words stating what you would bring to the role, with reference to the Skills and Experience listed in the job description above.

Successful applicants will then be invited to an interview, testing both behaviours and strengths.

Candidates invited to Interview

Please note that interviews will be carried out remotely.

You will be required to give a 5-minute presentation at interview. Details of this will be sent to those candidates who are invited for interview. Please note that interviews will be carried out remotely. During the interview, we will be assessing you on Behaviours and Strengths from the success Profiles framework.

During the interview, we will be assessing you on Behaviours and Strengths from the success Profiles framework. We will test the following Behaviours:

  • Seeing the big picture
  • Making effective decisions
  • Delivering at pace
  • Leadership

Please also refer to the CS Behaviours framework for more details at this grade:

In preparation for Strengths questions within the interview you should refer to the CS Strengths dictionary for more detail: 

Success Profiles – Civil Service Strengths Dictionary (

Interviews are expected to take place June 2022.

Candidates applying from HMPPS should note that the Ministry of Justice does not have the same conditions of employment as HMPPS. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the terms and conditions they will adopt should they be successful.

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 team.

William Smith – 

Annex A – The STAR method

Using the STAR method can help you give examples of relevant experience that you have. It allows you to set the scene, show what you did, and how you did it, and explain the overall outcome.

Situation – Describe the situation you found yourself in. You must describe a specific event or situation. Be sure to give enough detail for the job holder to understand.

  • Where are you?
  • Who was there with you?
  • What had happened?

Task – The job holder will want to understand what you tried to achieve from the situation you found yourself in.

  • What was the task that you had to complete and why?
  • What did you have to achieve?

Actions – What did you do? The job holder will be looking for information on what you did, how you did it and why. Keep the focus on you. What specific steps did you take and what was your contribution? Remember to include how you did it, and the behaviours you used. Try to use “I” rather than “we” to explain your actions that lead to the result. Be careful not to take credit for something that you did not do.

Results – Don’t be shy about taking credit for your behaviour. Quote specific facts and figures. Explain how the outcome benefitted the organisation or your area. Make the outcomes easily understandable.

  • What results did the actions produce?
  • What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your goals?
  • Was it a successful outcome? If not, what did you learn from the experience?

Keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the action and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. Make sure you focus on your strengths.


The national salary range is £50,427 - £59,000, London salary range is £54,274 - £63,500. Your salary will be dependent on your base location

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.


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.


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.


  • 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
  • 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: