84404 - Head of Function Standard/Complex

12 Months
Band 7
Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share, Flexible Working, Other
Business Management & Improvement

Overview of the job        

The reoffending rate has remained broadly static at around 29% since 2010, and during the 12 months ending March 2019, 81% of offenders convicted or cautioned had at least one previous conviction or caution. Reoffending is costing society approximately £18bn per year and almost half of all prisoners reoffend within 12 months of release.

The job holder will seek to provide a key focus on the prison drug strategy by providing strategic and operational direction within the prison to ultimately reduce substance misuse, developing relationships between HMPPS, drug and alcohol agencies and external commissioners. This is an exciting opportunity as a priority area of work rather than being attached to other roles with operational responsibility

The Drug Strategy lead will be responsible for the delivery of the HMPPS Drug Strategy (“the strategy”) and associated Guidance and Good Practice in the establishment, ensuring the agency is reducing the level of drug misuse amongst prisoners through a comprehensive range of activity brigaded under each of the three themes of the strategy, which align to the overarching Government Drug Strategy:

  1. Restricting Supply
  2. Reducing Demand
  3. Building Recovery

The post holder will focus on the reducing demand and building recovery strands of the drugs strategy as well as developing relationships to manage other strategy actions.

This an opportunity for an experienced and skillful individual to oversee a whole prison approach to the continuing development of processes and procedures around reducing the harm caused by drugs in our prisons. The post holder will be required to build effective relationships with colleagues across HMPPS and MoJ to ensure the strategy is delivered.

The post holder will act as a subject matter expert to the Governor and their Senior Management Team (SMT).

The role may be operational or non-operational and establishment based. It is focused on achieving operational improvement in prisons and so requires the post holder to have (or to develop) a good understanding of the operational realities of drug misuse in prisons and the operational context in which the activities sit.

Experience of working in prisons would be highly desirable.


The job holder provides strategic leadership and is responsible for planning and managing the Drug Strategy in the establishment ensuring effective arrangements are in place for governance, risk management and monitoring. This involves responding to fluctuating workload and maintaining a calm approach in the face of competing interests.         

They will provide advice and progress updates to senior managers throughout HMPPS regarding the drug strategy delivery in the establishment.

The role will be establishment based with the expectation that post holders will travel as and when required.

This post may be operational or non-operational. If operational, please see Technical Requirements.

Responsibilities, Activities & Duties          

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

  • Review and support the establishment in design, implementation and updates of drug strategy ensuring effective governance is in place and alignment to the national HMPPS strategy. Identify and communicate current trends in relation to substance misuse in the establishment.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of, and map the key barriers and opportunities to success in order to inform longer-term national approaches.
  • Lead innovation and new initiatives within the prison that reduce demand and build recovery, ensuring collaboration with key partners, staff, prisoners and families. Ensure person centred pathways for recovery that empower individuals to lead a substance free life.
  • Work in collaboration with the Health and Justice lead offering advice and support to manage the transition into the community to improve continuity of care.
  • Collaborate with PGD Drug Strategy leads and the national HMPPS Drug Strategy and Delivery team to address individual concerns from visits and follow up reports.
  • Support strategic discussions with partners and stakeholders to ensure a whole prison approach to the delivery of the prison strategy. Ensure that best practice is shared through a variety of forums, including drugs lead meetings, internal learning events, opportunities to promote projects on the intranet.
  • Act as a single point of contact for the prison drug strategy promoting staff knowledge and ensuring health services are aligned to prison processes and procedures.

Dependant on operational experience will undertake some or all other management tasks including:

  • Act as the Governor's representative by chairing adjudications and taking charge of day-to-day establishment operations as Duty Governor.
  • Promote Prison Service policy in all activities and behaviours e.g. promote diversity, decency, safety and reducing re-offending agendas.
  • Review open Assessment Care in Custody Teamwork (ACCT) as and when required in line with audit baselines.
  • Provide leadership and management of the Function. Will have the skills to apply all Human Resources (HR) related policies and practices and be able to carry out all aspects of people management such as Attendance Management, Disciplinary Investigations, Performance Management and Staff Appraisals.
  • Manage Prisoners Complaints Process within the Function.
  • Responsible for ensuring all litigation claims relevant to the area have been dealt with in accordance with policy.
  • Oversee the compilation and regular progress reporting of performance improvement programmes.
  • Manage the appropriate authorisation of Financial Compliance Statements.
  • Manage devolved budgets in accordance with the financial procedures outlined in the budget delegation.
  • Ensure that the Function produces and analyses audit and establishment performance management information identifying variances and areas requiring improvements.
  • Contribute to the establishment’s overall achievement of (SDIs) and standards and be accountable for the performance and delivery of targets relating to the Function.
  • Accountable for all local and national policies relating to the Function, and ensure procedures implemented are compliant, including the development of new policies.
  • Contribute to the development and delivery of the medium-to-long term strategic and business plan for the establishment, with overall responsibility for implementation within their Function.
  • Attend relevant boards/meetings and actively contribute either as chair or team member.
  • Responsible for ensuring the defined work areas and associated activities comply with Health and Safety legislation. Ensure all risk assessments are undertaken and staff are made aware of their personal responsibility towards Health and Safety compliance.
  • Work collaboratively and provide constructive challenge to colleagues to ensure that their own and other Functions are joined up and together contribute towards the overall delivery of the establishment’s performance.
  • Contribute to the preparation of the establishment contingency and emergency plans and ensure implementation when required.
  • Ensure the effective use of staff resources and the provision of training and annual leave opportunities.
  • Produce relevant reports as required and ensure that the response to all correspondence are within agreed timescales.
  • Carry out investigations and administration in relation to incidents of potential discrimination and report on findings.
  • Accountable for ensuring actions arising from Standard Audit, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) Action Plans and Managing Quality of Prison Life (MQPL) surveys, including local Self Audit action plans and Resettlement strategies, are delivered.
  • Deliver and implement projects as directed by the Governor.
  • Actively encourage staff engagement within the Function to ensure objectives are met.

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.

An ability to fulfil all spoken aspects of the role with confidence through the medium of English or (where specified in Wales) Welsh.


  • Changing and Improving
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Working Together
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Managing a Quality service


  • Strong understanding of criminal justice system, particularly the appropriate management and development of drug strategies within the custodial setting.
  • Experience of delivering projects within set time frames.
  • Experience of developing projects across partners both internal and external.
  • Experience of developing collaborative and partnership working with senior stakeholders.

Technical Requirements

  • Project management experience or qualification (Prince 2).
  • Job holders must complete specific training in their specialism once they take up post.
  • Successful completion of the workbook.
  • When transferring to a Young Persons establishment the job holder will be required to successfully undertake an assessment to demonstrate suitability to work with Young People.

If Operational

  • Must be successfully accredited by passing the Head of Function Assessment Centre (HFAC), or prior to 2016 be accredited as an Operational Manager (or in post as a G5 prior to 1999).
  • Where HFAC accreditation was gained from 2018, the Incident Management Silver Command (IMSC) assessment must also be passed to be eligible for operational Head of Function roles.


  • Strong communication (written and verbal).
  • Organisation and problem-solving skills.

Hours of Work         

37 hour week Operational Staff Only:


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.


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 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

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: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.

To be confirmed

28/02/2024, 23:55 hours.

If you require any assistance please call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com. Please quote the job reference - 84404.

Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.

if you feel that your application has not been treated in line with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles, please contact SSCL (Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com) in the first instance

We have provided detail of the assessment stages and areas being assessed to help you prepare for completing your application form, and to advise of what will be assessed following this, if you successfully pass the application stage.

Application form stage assessments

Changing and Improving - 250 word limit
Developing Self and Others - 250 word limit
Working Together - 250 word limit
Seeing the Big Picture - 250 word limit
Managing a Quality Service - 250 word limit
Making Effective Decisions - 250 word limit
Communicating and Influencing - 250 word limit

Interview stage assessments

There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.
Changing and Improving
Developing Self and Others
Working Together
Seeing the Big Picture
Managing a Quality Service
Making Effective Decisions
Communicating and Influencing

A Great Place to Work for Veterans

The "Making the Civil Service a Great Place to work for veterans" initiative includes a guaranteed interview scheme to those who meet the minimum criteria to provide eligible former members of the Armed Forces with opportunities to secure rewarding jobs. Allowing veterans to continue to serve their country, and to bring highly skilled individuals with a broad range of experience into the Civil Service in an environment, which recognises and values your previous service in the Armed Forces.
For further details about the initiative and eligibility requirements visit : https://www.gov.uk/government/news/making-the-civil-service-a-great-place-to-work-for-veterans

Redeployment Interview Scheme

Civil Service departments are expected to explore redeployment opportunities before making an individual redundant. The MoJ are committed, as part of the Redeployment Interview Scheme, to providing opportunities to those who are 'at risk of redundancy'.

MoJ are able to offer an interview to eligible candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns. Candidate's will not be eligible for the Redeployment Interview Scheme if they are applying on promotion.

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

· UK nationals

· nationals of the Republic of Ireland

· nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK

· nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window) https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

· nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

· individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020

· Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-rules

This Vacancy is closed to applications.