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Human Resources

Senior Employee Relations Manager – 45806
£46,083 - £55,302


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:

Overview of the job

To provide leadership, support and advice on ER issues across a complex operational landscape at a national, strategic level and from a central perspective to regions and the wider estate.

To manage the relationship at a national level with HMPPS trade unions. Each Senior ER lead is normally assigned a particular union/ or unions to lead on with a remit to also provide back-up support to other ER leads and their lead trade unions. This will include working with the POA, PGA, NTUS trade unions and probation trade unions.

To support the Head of Employee Relations and the Director of HR in the development and delivery of HMPPS employee relations strategy and annual HR corporate business goals. To support the Directors of Public Sector prisons and probation in the effective and professional management of trade union engagement through established structures and consultative processes. To provide contingency advice and support in the event of industrial action.

To support the Head of Employee Relations and Directors in planning and preparing negotiations, taking part in these and helping to embed successful outcomes.

Leading, sharing and promoting good employee relations practise within HMPPS. Building a strong rapport with trade union colleagues, managing this relationship through strong effective stakeholder management practice.


Reporting to the Head of Employee Relations

Line management responsibilities

The role may on occasions be line management responsibility.


The post is non operational but the post holder is expected to have an understanding of the operational environment in order to provide an effective service. It is a role which can be filled by an operational manager on an interchange agreement.


In this role, the job holder is responsible for delivering high quality employee relations advice and support on a wide range of complex issues affecting HMPPS, the MoJ and across government. Advice (oral and written) will be disseminated to a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders including Ministers, senior leaders, operational managers, other Government Departments and trade unions.

Often this advice must be delivered to short timescales in order to respond to immediate issues affecting HMPPS’ business and/or cross-government negotiations. Advice must be contextualised according to the political climate and the long term impact of any action on the strategy for employee relations in HMPPS, the MoJ and across government.

The job holder is responsible for developing and maintaining strong and productive relationships with all trade union partners, and is directly responsible for this relationship in respect of administrative trade unions.

Responsibilities, Activities and Duties

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

  • To provide high quality and timely ER advice to senior officials and Ministers, ensuring that relevant legislative, policy and best practice principles are adhered to.
  • To be a source of expertise on Ministerial handling for the Employee Relations team, and to coordinate and lead ER work related to this, including submissions and the full range of official correspondence.
  • To provide expert, high level advice and support to operational colleagues in the management of highly complex employee relations matters across the public sector prison services & probation, influencing managers and working with them effectively to resolve ER issues.
  • To be responsible for industrial action contingency planning (legal aspects elements), working with the Treasury Solicitor & Government Legal Department, including risk reporting requirements for HMPPS and Ministry of Justice Boards.
  • Deliver high quality and relevant advice to colleagues across HMPPS and MOJ in order to develop a joint response to industrial action across government.
  • To develop productive and positive relations with all HMPPS trade unions, and to lead specifically on the management of relations with a nominated trade union or unions.
  • To take lead responsibility for successful delivery of your lead trade union/s meeting and engagement structure, ensuring meeting are professionally planned/organised and that minutes and actions are accurate and dealt with in a timely manner. That all stakeholders are properly prepared.
  • To actively support the Head of Employee Relations in developing a sustainable and effective ER and engagement strategy to underpin relations with trade unions and employee relations in HMPPS.
  • To contribute ER expertise to the formulation of the Agency’s strategic and operational plans, ensuring this is proactive, effective and sustainable.
  • To take an active role in relevant union consultation and negotiations, national Whitley councils, joint negotiating committees or probation equivalent and sub-committees.

To be responsible for the line management and general development of staff accountable to the post holder. To play a full active role in the HMPPS Employee relations and HR EXPERT Centre team.

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.


When there is a need to recruit to this post, competencies will need to be defined by the Recruiting Manager.

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Leading and Communicating
  • Persuading and Influencing
  • Acts with Integrity

Essential Skills/ Qualifications/ Accreditation/ Registration

The job holder will ideally have demonstrable experience of working successfully with senior stakeholders and trade unions. They will have a deep understanding of strategic HR issues within a high profile political context and an up to date knowledge of Employee Relations practice and trade union legislation and be able to deploy that knowledge to respond to issues swiftly and effectively.

The job holder must be confident in dealing with complexity, including the analysis of complex legal issues.

Organisational skills are essential as the job holder will be required to lead on the delivery of a wide range of trade union commitments within set deadlines and be a able to confidently multi-task on a range of ongoing matters, often developing at pace.

Additional Information


  • 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 GOV.UK or 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

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 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.

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