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Policy Officer and Communications Lead, Prison Policy Directorate – 59668
£30,451 – £38,373
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 Prison Policy Directorate is recruiting permanently for one HEO Policy Officer and Communications Lead in the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody team. 


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

  1. 102 Petty France, London
  2. 5 Wellington Place, Leeds (occasional travel between Leeds and London may be required post Covid-19) 

The current Location Strategy for Policy Group is that all staff with a base location of 102 Petty France or 5 Wellington Place Leeds must be present at their base office for a minimum of 2 days every week, however this is based on business need and could be subject to change going forward.  This hybrid working arrangement is not contractual and as a result staff could be asked to attend their base location more frequently. 

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 80,000 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 

Job Description overview 

We are looking for a committed and ambitious individual to take forward work to prevent deaths – both self-inflicted and natural – in all forms of state custody, including prisons, secure health settings, policy custody and immigration detention.

The Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody brings together Ministers, senior officials, experts and practitioners in a cross-sector approach to allow for better learning and sharing of lessons across custodial agencies. Its shared purpose is to bring about a continuing and sustained reduction in the number and rate of deaths in all forms of state custody in England and Wales. The three tiers of the Ministerial Council are the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody (MBDC), the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAPDC), and the Practitioner and Stakeholder Group (PSG), which provides expertise and input into the Council’s work.

The MBDC is co-chaired by the Minister of State for Justice, Ministerof State for Crime and Policing and Minister of State for Care and Mental Health. It includes senior leaders from operational and policy functions, scrutiny bodies, the Chief Coroner and charities. It sets priorities for departments and agencies to make policy and operational changes to prevent deaths, and holds them to account through a shared workplan. For more information about the MBDC visit

The IAPDC is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Department of Health and Social Care. The role of the IAPDC is to provide independent advice and expertise on the prevention of deaths in custody to Ministers, senior operational leads and the MBDC. It is chaired by Juliet Lyon CBE, formerly director of the Prison Reform Trust, and currently has four other public appointees: Professor Seena Fazel (Oxford University), Professor Jenny Shaw (Manchester University), Deborah Coles (Director of INQUEST), and Jenny Talbot (Prison Reform Trust). For more information about the IAPDC visit

As Policy Officer and Communications Lead, the postholder will lead on projects for the Board and the IAPDC. This is a unique role which combines supporting Ministers and senior officials with support for an expert advisory body that is independent of Government, working collaboratively across three departments and four agencies. The successful candidate will also develop and have oversight of the IAPDC’s communication output and manage the growth and use of the Practitioner and Stakeholder Group, a group of around 150 partners with expertise on the prevention of deaths in custody.

The successful candidate will have excellent communication, collaboration and networking skills, be a high-quality researcher and drafter with a keen eye for detail, and be willing to apply creativity and ambition to ensure the Council drives forward work to prevent deaths. 

What we do

The Prison Policy Directorate sits within the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for advising Ministers on all aspects of prison policy. We work hand in hand with HM Prison and Probation Service – one of the biggest delivery organisations in government.

The Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody team is jointly funded and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care. The team is hosted by the Ministry of Justice and sits in the Scrutiny, Performance and Engagement division within the Prison Policy directorate. We are a collaborative division with a strong focus on diversity, wellbeing, and personal and career development. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups underrepresented in our workforce, and pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. 

Policy Officer and Communications Lead – the role 

The postholder will have the following key roles: 

  • PROJECTS: Leading and supporting the wider team to deliver projects for both the MBDC and IAPDC, bringing together partners and experts to progress impactful work to prevent deaths. Examples of recent IAPDC projects include: work to prevent substance misuse related deaths in the criminal justice system, an initiative in collaboration with the policing minister and Police and Crime Commissioners on good practice to prevent deaths in police custody, and the development of recommendations to enhance the impact of Prevention of Future Deaths reports issued by coroners.
  • DATA: Oversight of the data and workplan updates presented to Ministers and other MBDC members. This will include working with partners to continue to refine the new deaths in custody dashboard, which brings together data on all places of detention, and scoping and monitoring an ambitious MBDC workplan.
  • COMMUNICATIONS: Leading the communications output of the IAPDC. This will include responsibility for the panel’s website and social media, and leading on the panel’s outreach to the media in order to achieve strategic visibility for its work to prevent deaths. It will also include work to grow and enhance the impact of the Practitioner and Stakeholder Group.
  • WIDER SUPPORT: Contributing a range of other high-quality work to the Ministerial Council, including through the production of high-quality written materials for the MBDC, organisation of and agenda setting for key meetings, and delivery of the IAPDC’s responsibilities as a non-departmental public body. 

Skills and Experience 

Essential skills

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Confidence and skill in acting independently to drive forward work, and the ability to proactively engage colleagues and stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Strong organisational skills and the ability to plan, track and deliver work according to agreed timelines and priorities.
  • Existing skills – or firm enthusiasm to develop relevant abilities – in communications, including press relations, social media and website management. 

Desirable skills

  • Knowledge or experience of policy or operational processes for keeping people safe in custodial settings such as prisons, police custody, immigration detention and/or secure health settings. 

Application process

You will be assessed against the Civil service success profiles framework


You will be asked to provide a Work History 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 250 words stating what you would bring to the role, with reference to the Skills and Experience listed above. 


Please provide examples of how you have met each one of the behaviours listed below (see Annex A for more information): 

Seeing the big picture

Understand the strategic drivers for your area of work. Align activities to contribute to wider organisational priorities. Remain alert to emerging issues and trends which might impact your work area. Seek out and share experiences to develop knowledge of the team’s business area. Understand how the strategies and activities of the team create value and meet the diverse needs of all stakeholders 

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 

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

 Should we receive a large number of applications, we will sift primarily on the lead behaviour of Seeing the Big Picture. 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. 

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

In addition to the Behaviour(s) listed in the application form, you will be asked by the interview panel to provide examples of how you meet the additional behaviours listed below. 

Working together

Encourage joined up team work within own team and across other groups. Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources and support. Invest time to develop a common focus and genuine positive team spirit where colleagues feel valued and respect one another. Put in place support for the wellbeing of individuals within the team, including consideration of your own needs. Make it clear to all team members that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives 

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. 

Interviews are expected to take place in July 2022. 

At interview stage, if candidates do not score high enough to be appointed to a HEO role, but have passed the minimal requirements, they could be offered a Policy role at the more junior level of EO. 

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. 

Piers Barber,, 07866 146328

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 £30,451 - £34,105, London salary range is £34,262 - £38,373. 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: