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Senior Policy Advisor, Youth Justice and Offender Policy Directorate – 60541
£36,049 – £47,591
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 Youth Justice and Offender Policy Directorate is recruiting permanently for a number of Senior Policy Advisors (SEO).  This campaign is being run externally and so is open to all who consider themselves suitable for the roles and meet the eligibility criteria in the wider advert within Civil Service Jobs.


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)

In order for Policy Group to meet its evolving business needs and for us to continue to progress towards our pre-pandemic levels of attendance, all Policy Group staff are expected to attend their base location (102 Petty France or 5 Wellington Place Leeds) at least 3 days a week.  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.

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

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.

Job Description Overview

We are looking for Senior Policy Advisors to join various Divisions across the Youth Justice and Offender Policy Directorate. Please see more detail below about the different Divisions. We welcome applications from those interested in one particular Division, or in a number of them.

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.

The Youth Justice and Offender Policy Directorate

What we do

The Youth Justice and Offender Policy Directorate is a friendly inclusive team of around 130 staff who work in partnership with other criminal justice groups and agencies to develop policy aimed at offenders, including youth offenders: to reduce crime and reoffending and to make the criminal justice system more effective and efficient in doing so.

We support the probation service and the policies around supervising adult offenders in the community, driving change on sentencing, release and recall of offenders, bail and electronic monitoring, the youth justice system, and responding to the particular needs of specific offender groups including women and vulnerable offenders with mental health or substance misuse issues.

Further information can be found at

1. Probation Policy

The Probation Policy Team works closely with other policy teams, Her Majesty’s Probation Service (HMPPS) and Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to support both the future development of the probation service and delivery of community justice.

We do this in a range of ways, including developing long-term strategy and communicating this within government and beyond; conducting and managing projects and pilots; problem solving on delivery and implementation issues working closely with HMPPS.  Our specific areas of work include policy on how we can change the behaviour of people on probation in their contact with probation; how people on probation on a community sentence are integrated back into the community; how people on probation are supported to engage and comply with community sentences including Integrated Offender Management; and high-level horizon scanning for future probation policy issues.  

The Community Diversion Policy team also sit in Probation Policy. They are responsible for delivering a fundamental transformation to how Out of Court Disposals are used, ensuring that there are meaningful consequences for behaviour that can be dealt with without charge; and working in partnership with HMPPS and HMCTS to design and deliver up to five Problem Solving Courts pilots which will trial innovative ways of more intensive management of offenders in the community rather than in custody.

2. Youth Justice Policy

The Youth Justice Policy Unit has policy responsibility for the whole youth justice system – from diversion and early intervention, through courts and sentencing, community-based interventions, custody and resettlement.

We work closely with the Youth Custody Service within HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Youth Justice Board to improve the outcomes for children who come in to contact with it, and to ultimately reduce and prevent crime committed by children and young people. We develop policy on how youth offending and allied services not only support children formally managed by youth justice services, but also work preventatively with children on the cusp of offending. This is, by definition, a cross-government and cross-system effort – exploring how wider social issues – school exclusion, mental health issues, family dysfunction, substance misuse – affect youth offending and what reforms should be made. We also support initiatives and programmes focused on early intervention – a particular ministerial priority and area of close interest. Youth Offending Teams are critical parts of the local community-based justice system, responsible for working with young people at risk of becoming involved in, and drawn into, crime as well as overseeing community-based sentences for those who have been convicted.

3. Female Offenders and Offender Health

The Female Offenders and Offender Health Policy Unit has policy responsibility for issues relating to some of the most vulnerable offenders in the criminal justice system – female offenders, and those who have needs relating to mental health, neurodiversity and drug and alcohol misuse. Our response, both for offenders in the community and within prison, is critical to improving rehabilitation and reducing the chances of reoffending. In relation to offender health, this is critically dependent on the provision of and access to health services, so we work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care in particular, as well as health agencies and HMPPS.

Our work covers substance misuse policy, developing and delivering our approach to tackling drug and alcohol misuse throughout the entire offender journey, from early intervention right through to improving access to treatment for prison leavers. We also cover mental health policy where we are responsible for developing and designing improvements to the way the criminal justice system treats and responds to people with a range of health and wellbeing needs by championing a whole system approach to healthcare provision, improving data collection and driving forward Mental Health Act reform; and Health partnerships and neurodiversity, where we are putting a new Health Partnership Agreement in place with health partners to ensure the right arrangements are provided for offenders in prison and on probation and leading on an action in plan in response to a joint inspectorate report on Neurodiversity in the Criminal Justice System.

4. Sentencing, Bail and Release Policy

The Bail, Sentencing and Release Policy Unit is a high profile team, sitting at the heart of policymaking in MoJ and responsible for delivering on a number of ministerial priorities. We are a diverse group of people with a wide range of professional skills and expertise, we work collaboratively with colleagues across and beyond MoJ and we are outward facing; working in partnership with other government departments, the judiciary, Sentencing Council and the Parole Board, amongst others.

We develop and advise on policies relating to bail, custodial and non-custodial sentencing, release from custody – including the role of the Parole Board – and strategic issues such as prison demand. This includes the root and branch review of the parole system. consideration of the Review of Domestic Homicide Sentencing being conducted by independent expert Clare Wade QC; and development of a new Electronic Monitoring Strategy, a ministerial ambition which has grown significantly over the last two years.   

The Role

As a Senior Policy Advisor, you will have a range of different responsibilities.

  • You will be responsible for supporting a range of policies and reforms and driving forward change. This includes cross-cutting strategic programmes, many which are high ministerial priorities, and which require cross-government collaboration.
  • You will be at the heart of turning strategic policy into operational intent. Working closely with justice operational colleagues (HMPPS and HMCTS) as well as other Government departments to bring about lasting change. 
  • You will build influence at the heart of the department, as well as within the centre of government, on policies for the offending cohort.
  • You will work at pace with a strong degree of independence on a variety of high-profile issues, including drafting briefings and developing advice for Ministers and senior leaders, responding to parliamentary or public correspondence and driving policy documents. You will be experienced at forward planning and delegating tasks appropriately to other colleagues and will be required to input to short-term problem-solving on urgent issues.
  • You will work closely with stakeholders across the Directorate, Department, agencies, Arm’s Length Bodies and delivery agencies to support the department’s strategic aims of reducing reoffending and protecting the public.
  • You will be part of a collaborative, friendly Directorate with people from a wide range of different backgrounds. We put a real focus on learning, training, flexibility and future career development. We are using technology and tools (such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive) to provide a modern and forward-looking working environment. We encourage a culture of change and innovation and adopt smarter ways of working to provide flexibility.
  • You may have line management responsibility 

You will also be expected to contribute to one of our directorate corporate workstreams e.g. smarter working, wellbeing and inclusion, personal development etc.

Skills and Experience

Essential Criteria:

  • Ability to set or support strategic direction in a fast-paced and complex policy environment across a wide range of stakeholders, both internal and external.  
  • Politically astute, with experience of influencing and managing stakeholders at different levels with both credibility and effectiveness. This includes an ability to brief senior leaders and decision makers – verbally and in writing – on complex and high-profile policies.
  • Ability to support the delivery of complex programmes of work, with experience of wider considerations such as governance, planning, risks and issues management, finances and resources.
  • Confidence developing and using an appropriate evidence base to inform policy development and delivery.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Experience of working on criminal justice or related issues
  • Experience working in a policy environment

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):

  • Changing and Improving.
  • Delivering at Pace.
  • Seeing the Bigger Picture.
  • Communicating and Influencing.

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

Should we receive a large number of applications, we will sift primarily on the lead behaviour of Changing and Improving. 

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

You can refer to the CS Strengths dictionary for more details:  Success Profiles – Civil Service Strengths Dictionary (

Candidates invited to Interview

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

Interviews are expected to take place in early August 2022.

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

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  

We will be holding a webinar session to answer any questions about the available roles.  To register your interest please email and you will be sent joining details. 

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 is £36,049 - £41,095, London salary is £41,747 - £47,591. 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: