41579 - Contract Support Officer

£31,924 - £36,715 (Salary will depend on location)
12 Months
East of England, London, South East, South West
Band 6
Fixed Term
Up to 31st December 2023
Full Time, Flexible Working, Other
Administration / Corporate Support, Programme and Project Management, Other

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity

Please note: These roles are based within HMPPS CFO, not in the Education Team - please see below for further details about the role description within HMPPS CFO.

The advertised posts are within HMPPS CFO to work 100% on an ESF funded project until December 2023.

There are two vacancies which will be located in the South (one role covering South West, South East and one role covering London and East of England). However, these may be subject to change dependent on successful candidate’s location.

HMPPS CFO currently delivers two externally funded programmes: CFO3, and a new innovative Activity Hub programme due to go live February 2021. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual who is a dynamic, self-starter who thrives on making a difference. Great opportunities to establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources and support. Work with others to identify areas for improvement and simplify processes to use fewer resources. Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence.

You will be joining an existing team that is driven, innovative and future focused. The total value of the contracts concerned is approximately £256 million.

HMPPS Co-Financing Programme is a large-scale national employability programme working across all prisons and Probation Trust areas since 2010. The joint funding structure of the programme necessitates dual governance arrangements to satisfy requirements of both HMPPS and the European Union (EU). The programme combines activity, funding and governance across all programme delivery areas for HMPPS and as such the post holder requires detailed knowledge of and effective links to the majority of departments across HMPPS, Youth Justice Board and MoJ. The EU element requires the post holder to have effective links with policymakers and delivery agencies across DWP, Department of Health, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities.

The post holder will ensure the efficient and contractually compliant delivery of the HMPPS CFO contracts within their respective custodial and community geographical region. Working alongside Contract Performance Managers (CPMs), the CSO will support the delivery of the contract management governance processes and provide secretariat support as required.

Extensive Travel will be required to visit programme sites with some travel to the main CFO office in Daresbury Park, Warrington (WA4 4HS) each month to attend meetings.

The post holder reports to the Lead Performance Manager and through them to the Head of HMPPS CFO.

Overview of the job

Accountable to a designated Senior Contract Manager the CSO will support efficient and effective Education contract management within their team.

The post holder will ensure the efficient and contractually compliant delivery of the education contracts including; Prison Education Framework (PEF), Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), Common Awarding Organisations (CAO) and Libraries within their respective geographical region. In doing so they are required to work collaboratively with other key stakeholders in the delivery process. The job sits within Education, Employment and Industries Group (EEIG) which is part of the Directorate of Safety and Rehabilitation.

This is a HQ role, located in geographically dispersed teams across England. The post is regionally based as the post holder is required to visit prisons, education provider’s premises to frequently assess the delivery of the contracted service provided.

The post does not have any direct line management responsibilities.


The Contract Support Officer will drive improvements to contractual outcomes by supporting the contract management team through management and adherence to effective contract management governance, by providing; secretariat and administrative support and data analysis to validate provider performance to assure the delivery of value for money services and drive positive outcomes for service users. The post holder will ensure a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of contract management by both the Contract Management Team, HMPPS stakeholders and partners within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) ensuring effective delivery of contracts by providers of Prisoner Education in prisons.

Working alongside the Senior Contract Manager (SCM) and Education Contract Manager (CM), the CSO will support the delivery of the contract management governance processes in relation to designated providers and Lots. They will provide a secretariat support as directed by the SCM and CM.

Being responsible for a portfolio of contract management across HMPPS business areas the post holder will form close working relationships with Managers and teams, (internal and external), to implement/maintain common principles and processes across projects which will include risk management and planning, timeliness and opportunity realisation.

The geographical base for the CSO post can be flexible within their contract management Lot, and will require some work in London and other locations.

Responsibilities, Activities and Duties

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

  • Providing secretariat support to the Senior Contract Managers and Service Managers at; Quarterly Lot level meetings, Quarterly national provider meetings, Change Protocol Group, Invoicing pre meets, Education Delivery Group, National Learning and Skills Board and any other meetings convened by them.
  • Arranging and distributing the agenda and papers with direction from the relevant chair.
  • Producing first draft minutes and action logs.
  • Maintaining formal documentation, Terms of Reference, membership and distribution lists.
  • Following‐up with action owners for updates.
  • Filing, archiving and enacting version control on all relevant documentation.
  • Support Senior Contract Managers and Service Managers in the delivery of on‐ going contract management activities, e.g. following‐up requests for information, scheduling of ad hoc meetings.
  • Support the delivery of operational contract compliance activity such as data collection and analysis, research and observation of education practice and performance. This will include working within a prison environment and engaging with service users to support organisational understanding of the impact of the Education service on individuals.
  • Undertake research and analysis activities as required which will demand initiative and self-motivation. E.g. review of stakeholder surveys and opinions, development of 'good practice' case studies, reporting on risk and monitoring the provision of third-party commissioned services.
  • Ensure that changes to data requirements are approved by the Data Gateway Services protocol.
  • Enable the National Prison Education Team to deliver their annual programme of assurance activities to operationally audit and analyse provider delivery data including: regular sample testing of provider performance information and validation of reported data; involvement in periodic process review activities; and observation of provider activities.
  • Lead on the Provider Performance Report process for your contracts and preparation and recommendations for reconciliation meetings.
  • Leading the administrative management of the RIO system for Lot level Education Contracts including; Register assignee for the Risk, Issues and Opportunities (RIO) process, risk/opportunity owner and control owner, where appropriate.
  • Lead the coordination of Benefits realisation, CREAM organisation and input, Contract Management Plan ownership and RIO updates/review for the team.
  • Facilitate and develop excellent working relationships with colleagues across Education, Employment and Industries group, promoting and instigating improved ways of working to achieve improved outcomes for prisoners.
  • Develop effective working relationships with Commercial colleagues to support the administrative management and tracking of Commercial obligations.
  • Draft responses to correspondence and briefings, including FOI, PQs, ministerial/DG visits.
  • Lead the co-ordination of Lot level scorecard completion by working collaboratively with finance and commercial colleagues to ensure a robust and complete approach to national performance reporting.
  • Manage an effective HMPPS – stakeholder communications framework ensuring integration across Directorates by acting as a first point of contact for the dissemination of nationally led communications to Education Contract Providers, following up requests for information and tracking the delivery of agreed actions.
  • Project manage specific projects as directed. Prepare, recommend and monitor project plans, with input from other participating stakeholders.
  • Lead, co-ordinate or support project implementation, including using the team’s resources, prepare reports, manage, promote, co-ordinate and facilitate meetings and reports on performance, outputs and outcomes. Reviewing and monitoring performance data in relation to designated providers within designated Lots.
  • Support and contribute toward Competition and competitive exercises and inform Specification.
  • Work collaboratively with all HMPPS funded service Providers to ensure Integration of services within a geographical footprint.

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.


  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Changing and Improving
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace


  • Relationship management.
  • Strong Business support and/or secretariat experience.
  • Experience of co-ordinating, organising, reviewing and taking minutes of high level meetings in a politically sensitive environment involving a wide range of senior representatives.
  • Experienced at initiating challenge(s) to provider(s) where appropriate.

Technical Requirements

  • No specific qualifications are essential but experience and skills relevant to business support, contract management, operational audit and commissioning are desirable.


  • Ability to negotiate data in a variety of forms and have well developed research and evaluation skills to make informed judgements about areas of concern and highlight gaps in provision.
  • Good understanding of HMPPS strategic direction with an ability to influence others with professionalism and diplomacy.
  • Confidence to represent the organisation in a professional manner to external and internal stakeholders including, strategic, senior management and operational teams.
  • Sound skills to enable management of effective relationships in a contractual and political environment.
  • Sound knowledge of Project and Programme management techniques.
  • Sound problem solving, planning and communication skills.
  • Strong numerical and IT skills with strong presentation skills (written and verbal).
  • Strong networking capabilities enabling the development of productive working relationships across organisational boundaries and across all levels of an organisation.
  • Strong analytical skills and research and evaluation skills to make informed judgements on concern and gaps in provision.
  • Sound ability to work in a dispersed team and be a self-motivator with the capacity to organise and prioritise based on organisational reputation/ financial risk.
  • Strong commitment to valuing and promoting diversity as the vehicle for achieving successful business outcomes.
  • Strong commitment to excellence within a changing landscape with the ability to innovate and adapt working style.
  • Ability to maintain professional integrity and adherence to organisational priorities in the face of competing pressures.
  • Ability to prioritise the management of a portfolio of projects at risk through support, advice, guidance and ability to take a task through to completion.
  • Strong Business support and/or secretariat experience.
  • Experience of co‐ordinating, organising, reviewing and taking minutes of high level meetings in a politically sensitive environment involving a wide range of senior representatives.
  • Demonstrable influence, negotiation and analytical skills to derive best value from the provider base.
  • Ability to manage uncertainty and respond flexibly with the ability to provide intervention at short notice.

National Security Clearance at SC level will be required once in post.

HMPPS/MoJ Internal permanent staff (from outside HMPPS CFO) / OGD permanent staff applying will need to have a loan/secondment agreement in place with their home team/Dept and HMPPS CFO for the duration of the post, which is funded until 31st December 2023. Please ensure you have the necessary agreement /approval in place before applying for this post.

Interview dates TBC. Virtual interviews will be held by VC if it is not possible/safe to conduct interviews in the office at Daresbury Park. Applicants that make it past the sift stage will be invited to interview and notified of interview arrangements in due course.

If virtual interviews are held, applicants should have their relevant ID/RTW/Proof of address documentation ready for inspection/verification at the start of the interview.  If face to face interviews are held on site, applicants should bring with them the relevant ID/RTW/Proof of address documentation (originals not copies) for inspection/verification on the day.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s, including HMPPS, 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 provide 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 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.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

TBC. Virtual interviews will be held if face to face at the Daresbury Park office is not possible due to CV19 restrictions. Candidates that pass the sift stage will be invited for interview and notified of interview arrangements in due course.

18/03/2021, 23:55 hours.

If you have any queries regarding this vacancy/ job role/ base location, please contact the Admin team at Daresbury Park for assistance: CFO-Admin@justice.gov.uk;

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 - 41579

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

This Vacancy is closed to applications.