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Prison Cohorts Policy Adviser - MoJ Prisons Policy Directorate

Job at The Ministry of Justice in Greater London

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 SEO and Policy Adviser. 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:

102 Petty France, London5 Wellington Place, Leeds (occasional travel between Leeds and London may be required post Covid-19)

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 shareFlexible working patternsFlexible working arrangements between base locations, MoJ Hubs and home.

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

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.

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


Prison policy is one of the most interesting and challenging areas of public policy. It operates at the sharp end of a range of wider social policy issues, with those who end up in prison disproportionately likely to have endured adverse childhood experiences, to come from BAME communities, to have substance misuse or mental health issues, and to live in poverty. Their time in prison is an opportunity to support these individuals to transform their lives by desisting from crime, and we work with operational colleagues and across government to improve prisons’ ability to do this.

We are recruiting an SEO policy adviser to work in the Ministry of Justice’s Prison Policy Directorate, which advises ministers on all aspects of prison policy. The role will be in the Prisoner Cohorts team, focused on ensuring that our services are tailored the needs of different groups of prisoners.

We are looking for people who:

are interested in criminal justice issues, and ambitious about improving outcomes for prisonerstake pride in producing high-quality workenjoy thinking strategically and taking a solution-focused approach to analysing problemsunderstand the broader political context for their work, and work within this context to achieve positive changeenjoy working with and influencing stakeholderscommunicate compellingly, both in writing and orally

Experience of working in policy is helpful but not essential, and we do not require prior civil service experience. Colleagues in MoJ policy teams have a wide range of experiences; some who are new to the MoJ have come from other parts of the public sector, the third sector and private sector.

The role

Prisoner cohorts

Prisons contain a range of different cohorts of individuals with hugely varying circumstances and needs. Our aim is to improve our understanding of the needs and characteristics of these cohorts and use this understanding to ensure we’re providing rehabilitative services which help transform their lives.

Primarily, you will lead on the cohort of transgender prisoners, with the aim of ensuring that transgender prisoners are managed fairly and effectively. This is a controversial and high-profile area subject to significant ministerial, media and parliamentary interest. You will manage relationships with stakeholders, provide high-quality advice for ministers, work closely with operational colleagues to support their work, and tackle emerging policy challenges as they arise.

Alongside this, we are keen to shape the role around your skills and areas of interest. You will have opportunities to work on the team’s wider responsibilities on older prisoners, to help shape the agenda of the team’s future work by thinking about how to improve our understanding of the needs and characteristics of the various cohorts of prisoners, and lead on work on other cohorts of prisoners which arise as priorities for further work. Cohorts being considered for this include young adults (aged 18-25) in the prison system, and prisoners with experience of the care system.

The role will include line management responsibility.

Application process

You will be assessed against the Civil service success profiles framework.

Statement of suitability

You will be asked to set out in 500 words how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the role, with particular reference to the bullet points set out in the overview above.


We will be assessing the following behaviours at interview:

Seeing the Big PictureMaking Effective DecisionsCommunicating and Influencing

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

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.

Interviews are expected to take place in early June.

If you would like further information about the roles, please contact Rory McErlean (

The successful candidates are expected to be able to take up posts in the summer. If joining from another Civil Service post, we expect this to be with agreement from your current line management. The posts are available on promotion as well as level transfer.

There may also be further opportunities which arise in the wider division, and for those candidates who successfully meet the job criteria but are not assigned to the initial post, a merit/reserve list will be kept open for 12 months.

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.

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