63965 - National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) - Head of Secretariat

£55,720 - £64,135
12 Months
Grade 7
Grade 7
Full Time, Flexible Working

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.

The UK’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) was established in March 2009 after the UK ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in December 2003. It is made up of 21 statutory bodies that independently monitor places of detention. The NPM was set up to ensure regular visits to places of detention in order to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, as required by OPCAT. OPCAT recognises that people in detention are particularly vulnerable and requires States to set up a national level body that can support efforts to prevent their ill treatment. The NPM must have, as a minimum, the powers to:

  • regularly examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in all places of detention under the UK’s jurisdiction and control;
  • make recommendations to relevant authorities with the aim of improving the treatment and conditions of persons deprived of their liberty;
  • submit proposals and observations on existing or draft legislation

The UK government designated HM Inspectorate of Prisons (England and Wales) to host the co-ordination of the NPM. The NPM publishes an annual report of its work which is presented to Parliament by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. For further information on the role and work of the NPM, please visit National Preventive Mechanism – National Preventive Mechanism.


The National Preventive Mechanism is looking for an exceptional candidate to fill the role of Head of NPM Secretariat. This is a key post working in collaboration with 21 NPM-member organisations, their heads and senior staff to provide policy, research and secretarial support to the NPM. This role will manage a large network of relationships and work closely and collaboratively with NPM members and the Chair. They are responsible for driving and managing the work of the NPM, liaising closely with all members to develop consensus on joint priorities and work across the NPM. They will assist the Chair and NPM members to develop NPM objectives and will lead the development and delivery of an NPM business plan and the production of the NPM annual report.

The role involves facilitating collaborative working, balancing competing demands, juggling priorities, and defining clear objectives between different organisations and senior stakeholders. The post holder will draw on the different views and experiences from across the NPM, supporting its 21 member bodies to work together in pursuit of common objectives and influence detention policy and practice in line with international obligations.

The post-holder will liaise, on behalf of the NPM, with a wide range of high-level external stakeholders and relevant international human rights bodies such as the UN treaty body the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) and the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

This role is task managed by the chair of the NPM (currently rotated between NPM Steering Group members) and is ultimately accountable to the NPM Steering Group. Due to the hosting arrangements between the NPM & HMIP and civil service reporting purposes, the post is process line-managed by a Grade 6 Senior Manager within HMIP. HMIP provide HR, finance and administrative support to the NPM. The post-holder is required to work with minimal supervision over the substantive elements of the role and is responsible for managing a Band C assistant coordinator.


The Head of NPM Secretariat has the following responsibilities:

Coordinate and support joint NPM activity

•    Support members to set the strategic direction of the NPM through consultative business planning, identifying opportunities for future collaborative work and ensuring OPCAT compliance.

•    Monitor and report to the Steering Group on the implementation of the NPM business plan and budget, to ensure appropriate governance of all activities.

•    Work with NPM members to develop and publish NPM-related reports and publications (including the NPM annual report and submissions to international committees), as agreed in the NPM business plan.

•    Maintain overview of external environment for strategic NPM work, which includes identifying the specific OPCAT responsibilities of members and the themes and issues that need to be progressed by the NPM.

•    Together with the Chair of the NPM, set agendas for the NPM Steering Group and Business meetings and ensure the production of supporting papers.

•    Lead a programme of work with the NPM Chair and Steering Group, to implement the recommendations from a recent strategic review to strengthen the NPM’s governance, structure and resource base.

•    Provide strategic advice and input into on the effective implementation of OPCAT in the UK to NPM members and committees.

•    Assist NPM members to develop their policies and working practices by supporting them to implement international standards and best practice, encouraging collaboration and advising on human rights approaches.

•    Develop and oversee substantive projects to work on implementation of human rights standards

•    Work with individuals and groups of NPM members to build consensus on issues related to the prevention of ill treatment.

•    Encourage collaboration and the sharing of information and good practice between UK NPM members.

•    Work with NPM members to identify opportunities for staff to develop and build their human rights expertise and competence.

External influencing and stakeholders

•    Liaise with government officials across UK on implementation of OPCAT, in close consultation with NPM members. Act as first point of contact on all NPM matters, triaging enquiries and seeking input from NPM members where appropriate.

•    Work with NPM members to develop policy and external briefing documents, training materials and manage communications and social media to further NPM work and increase awareness of the UK NPM.

•    Liaise with and advise international actors (UN Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, OSCE and other NPMs) to ensure UK NPM experience informs and reflects international best practice.

•    Develop and maintain external relationships with NGOs, human rights commissions, academics, parliamentarians, select committees and other senior stakeholders.

•    Attend relevant conferences and events as directed by the NPM Steering Group.

Resource management

•    Responsible for NPM budget (approx. £135,000), financial reporting and bids for resources.

•    Directly line manage Band C Assistant NPM Coordinator

•    Recruit and oversee external consultants to deliver specific NPM projects.

•    Work collaboratively with the NPM Coordinator in Scotland.

Knowledge, Experience and Skills


•    Experience of managing high-level, complex, multi-stakeholder networks or organisations, including coordinating meetings, business planning and leading work to strengthen governance frameworks.

•    Experience of leading high-level partnerships across organisations and with senior external stakeholders, effective and robust relationship management.

•    Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate confidently with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders.

•    Experience of successfully managing change, introducing and embedding new ways of working.

•    Proven experience of applying human rights law to practice, policy and interpreting this information for a wide range of audiences.

•    Strong people skills and emotional intelligence.

•    Excellent time-management skills and the ability to work autonomously and to tight deadlines

•    Thorough understanding of United Nations human rights frameworks, including in relation to the prevention of torture.

•    Proven experience of the specific issues associated with the prevention of torture in detention settings.


•    Demonstrable understanding of working independently of government and dealing with the conflicts and tensions that often result.

•    Knowledge and understanding of devolved administrations within the UK.

•    Understanding of law-making processes.

•    Experience of working internationally.

•    Masters degree in international human rights law, public policy or related field.

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 GOV.UK or Childcare Choices. You can determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
  • 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: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.

Wednesday 2nd November / Thursday 3rd November 2022 (Subject to Change)

29/09/2022, 23:55 hours.

If you require any assistance please call 0845 241 5359 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com Please quote the job reference - 63965.
Counter-Terrorism Check (CTC)
Please note the successful applicant will need to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Security Check for this post.

To apply for roles in MOJ you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why. 

For some roles you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC), Security Clearance (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC/SC/DV requirements you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3/5/10 years prior to the date of application (The level of checks that are required are stated in the advert).

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:

  • You've been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
  • You were studying abroad
  • You were living overseas with parents

In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.

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

Working Together - 500 word limit
Communicating and Influencing - 500 word limit
Making Effective Decisions - 500 word limit
Leadership - 500 word limit
Seeing the Big Picture - 500 word limit

Interview stage assessments

There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.
Working Together
Communicating and Influencing
Making Effective Decisions
Seeing the Big Picture
Strengths may also be assessed at interview but these are not shared in advance.

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 Vacancy is closed to applications.