Strategic Housing Specialist – Greater Manchester, Mersey & Cheshire – 59496
£31,924 – £36,715
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: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.
Overview of the job
This is a permanent, non-operational role with no prisoner case-level responsibilities.
The role will sit within Prison Group Director (PGD) management structures, however, a heavy focus on and presence in establishments will be required (usually with time split between 1-3 prisons depending on complexity and demand at each establishment and local housing landscape) with the expectation that post holders will travel as and when required.
There are no line management responsibilities as part of this role, and we do not expect the post holder to have operational experience, although this may be advantageous when working within the establishment.
This role is an exciting opportunity to contribute towards the Government’s commitment to eliminate rough sleeping by the end of 2023/24. The post holder will be responsible for a cluster of 1-3 prisons, splitting their time flexibly between the prisons in their portfolio. Prisons that release low numbers to the UK will fall under the ‘consultancy’ category; for these, post holders will be expected to offer ad-hoc housing advice but these prisons will not form part of their cluster.
The post holder will identify areas for improvement with respect to access to accommodation for prison leavers and will work in partnership with key strategic housing stakeholders, probation commissioned rehabilitative services (CRS), and Homelessness Prevention Teams (HPTs) to implement sustainable change. You will ensure that work between each prison and relevant HPTs continues to integrate, and that senior leaders across the agency are supported to improve the quality and use of data.
In order to offer informed support and guidance to Governors and their teams, the Strategic Housing Specialist will be required to understand, amongst other aspects, the security category of their base prison and the geographical locations to which prisoners will be released. Prison familiarisation training will be provided to ensure successful candidates have the fundamental knowledge they need to be effective in their roles.
For roles across the women’s prison estate, post holders should adopt a trauma- informed and gender specific approach to their role. Post holders should ensure that all activities reflect and embrace the diverse nature of prison populations, including the individual resettlement needs of the female prison population.
Responsibilities, Activities and Duties
The job holder will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:
· The Strategic Housing Specialist will be responsible for co-ordinating the strategic response of 1-3 prisons to improve housing outcomes for prison leavers and people in prison. They shall strengthen and support partnership working between the prison, all relevant housing stakeholders and other key resettlement agencies. They will identify existing structures/partnership working to address homelessness from custody in the region, and work to develop new solutions to homelessness from custody.
· They will champion delivery of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) and Duty to Refer (DtR), Offender Pathway (Wales) within the prison. This to include:
· Working with partners to ensure referrals under the DtR are as efficient and effective as possible.
· Design and deliver (or coordinate the delivery of) training related to homelessness within the prison and relevant statutory criminal justice agencies, so staff understand accommodation issues, increase their knowledge around the HRA and DtR, can identify related needs and have the knowledge to respond appropriately.
· Promote the HRA and DtR amongst prisoners to address unhelpful myths, set realistic housing expectations and encourage engagement with the commissioned rehabilitation service, prison housing stakeholders, and local authorities.
· Developing pre-release assessments with Local Authorities in response to DTRs, through telephone, video and in-person assessments.
· Promote the work of the Accommodation Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS) within the prison and support these services by representing the prison on any joint engagement with external partners, such as local authorities or HPTs or local homelessness board. Contribute towards Accommodation CRS becoming successfully embedded into the prison and promote their work to the prison’s Senior Leadership Team. Help to find solutions to issues that arise in relation to practical challenges in service delivery and an understanding of the role of CRS with all relevant staff groups. This role will act as an enabler and will not manage, or duplicate efforts of, the Accommodation CRS.
· When working within a Probation Region delivering the Community Accommodation Service – Tier 3(CAS3) temporary accommodation provision:
· Ensure processes are in place to make sure the Duty to Refer has been discharged appropriately and that all other accommodation options have been fully explored before a CAS3 referral is made.
· Work with the Regional Probation team and their Homelessness Prevention Taskforce to maximise use of the accommodation offer for those at risk of homelessness, so that they can access interim accommodation at the point of release.
· When working within a Probation Region which is not delivering the Community Accommodation Service Tier 3 (CAS Tier 3) work with the prison and in particular the Heads of Reducing Reoffending and the Resettlement Team to support them in ensuring that strategic and operational links are made with the relevant Regional Homelessness Prevention Team.
· Support and upskill staff across the agency (including CPPs and POMs) to ensure accommodation needs are identified and addressed appropriately, to understand relevant referrals and troubleshoot any issues which may arise.
· Promote work within the prison to help prepare prison leavers to sustain accommodation in the community, in line with the Prime Minister’s accommodation target, such as developing and delivering training solutions on tenancy readiness or prisoner’s housing rights.
· Support prisons, PGDs, and relevant partner agencies (such as HPTs) to improve the quality and use of data where it relates to prisoners and housing outcomes, including the use for research and service design and provision.
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.
· Changing and Improving
· Working Together
· Making Effective Decisions
· Seeing the Big Picture
· Communicating and Influencing
The Candidate is required to have some experience of supporting delivery of the Homelessness Reduction Act, such as:
· Worked within the field of housing and/or homelessness, particularly supporting those at risk of homelessness into accommodation within the region.
· Worked with prisoners or those engaged in the criminal justice system.
· Worked with key related agencies, including prisons, probation and local authorities.
· History of developing partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
· Worked in a multi-agency operational setting to achieve mutual outcomes.
The Candidate is required to have some understanding of:
· The Justice System, including the roles and responsibilities of prisons and probation.
· Housing legislation, particularly the Homelessness Reduction Act and the Duty to Refer.
· Accommodation options for those leaving prison.
· Benefit system and Universal Credit.
· Resettlement pathways and potential related accommodation needs of prison leavers.
£31,924 - £36,715
The locations for this regional vacancy will be bundled into:
1.HMP Altcourse, Brookfield Dr, Liverpool L9 7LH
HMP Thorn Cross, Arley Rd, Appleton Thorn, Warrington WA4 4RL
2. HMP Forest Bank, Agecroft Rd, Pendlebury, Manchester M27 8FB
HMP Hindley, Barracks Rd, Bickershaw, Wigan WN2 5TH
3. HMP Risley, Warrington Rd, Risley, Croft, Warrington WA3 6BP
HMP Liverpool, 68 Hornby Rd, Liverpool L9 3DF
The reoffending rate has remained broadly static at around 29% since 2010. Reoffending is costing society approximately £18bn per year and almost half of all prisoners reoffend within 12 months of release.
The Prisons Strategy White Paper was published in December 2021. As part of the paper, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) committed to:
“Building on the 20 Housing Specialists already in post, we will increase the number of Housing Specialists to 48 posts”. These posts will be based regionally “to strengthen collaborative working between Prisons, Probation and Local Authorities and improve the quality of referrals made under the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) in England, or the Offender Pathway in Wales”.
Too many people are currently released from prison homeless: over 12,000 in 2019/20. Having somewhere safe, stable and secure for ex-offenders to live is important to protect the public and ensure offenders turn their backs on crime. Our vision is that no one who is subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless.
Strategic Housing Specialists will therefore work to improve housing outcomes for prison leavers.
Key to the success of the role will be building stronger relationships between prisons and housing stakeholders, such as local authority housing departments. Strategic Housing Specialists will be central to driving forward effective partnership working in order to strengthen housing pathways and processes. They will engage with a range of other resettlement stakeholders, forging new links to accommodation and support providers for prison leavers.
They will also collaborate on a range of other solutions, including the improvement of internal housing-related prison processes, training and communications products, and other creative solutions to help remove barriers to housing for people in prison. They will act as subject matter experts on housing and homelessness for the prisons to which they are appointed, advising prison senior leadership on strategies for improving housing outcomes.
These posts will sit within Prison Group Director (PGD) regional line management structures, with additional support from a Central Support Team. Strategic Housing Specialists will be responsible for a cluster of 1-3 prisons within the prison group. The role will be based at an establishment in the region and the addresses listed on this advert act as an indicator, not an exhaustive list. Strategic Housing Specialists will need to have flexibility around the needs of the PGD and will need to travel to other sites as and when required.
The Housing Specialist role was tested in 20 prisons throughout 2021/22, and these posts will build on the success and learning to date. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to improve the chances of people leaving prison reintegrating with the community through better housing outcomes.
To learn more about the Strategic Housing Specialist role please join us for a digital information session on 17/06/2022 from 10:00-11:00. The session will be made available on Teams using the following link: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MjJhY2JjNTMtMTJlZC00ZWNjLTliMzktNmQ2OTg4ZDVlOTg2%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22c6874728-71e6-41fe-a9e1-2e8c36776ad8%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2234fd657e-f824-43e2-b716-a10f0097bc56%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a
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.
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.
-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
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 provides 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 the HMPPS considers to be racist
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
- To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail Mojemail@example.com);
- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing team (firstname.lastname@example.org);
- 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.