81799 - Custody Improvement Lead

The national salary range is £59,623 - £71,546, London salary range is £62,153 - £76,162. Your salary will be dependent on your base location
12 Months
Grade 7
Band 9
Fixed Term , Loan , Secondment
Initially up to 24 months
Full Time, Part Time/Job Share
Operational Delivery, Planning, Programme and Project Management, Project Delivery, Senior Leadership

The vacancy is for a Custody Improvement Lead. They will lead national thematic support to the prison estate and join the National Service Improvement Programmes (NSIP) team’s SLT. NSIP is within The Effective Practice and Service Improvement Group (EPSIG) which is responsible for supporting continuous improvement across HMPPS. EPSIG helps identify priorities for improvement across the whole system (Prison, Probation and the Youth Custody Service) and develops products and services which are responsive to the needs of HMPPS. NSIP provides thematic work that addresses an improvement area that will benefit multiple sites or a national policy or process.

The Custody Improvement Lead will manage a team with each team member delivering discrete projects. Work will involve close working with a range of senior colleagues in different roles. While much of the work can be done remotely it will involve some working in prisons and offices across England and Wales.  The Custody Improvement Lead will contribute to managing virtual project teams within the function but also across the wider Directorate and HMPPS depending on the work. Therefore, the job holder should expect to lead, motivate, challenge and guide colleagues with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences so they can each deliver their part to achieve our goals. 

This role will be responsible for a broad range of projects that support prisons.  The team’s current work includes developing Models of Delivery for the different prison and offender types, the prison officer guides, development of thematic support- such as for Purposeful Activity, and for all Building Confidence and Competence products and support for operational team functions.  The team also provides the Improvement Catalogue that provides access to all its and EPSIGs custodial support. The successful candidate will have an important role in developing the culture and practice of the function as well as developing new support for operational teams.  You will be leading a strong team of managers whose work is already well regarded across HQ and in prisons, providing important support across the estate, we are looking for someone able to help build on this work and the team’s reputation. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those groups currently underrepresented in our group workforce.

Overview of the job    

The Programme Manager is responsible for leading and managing the setting up of programmes through to delivery of the new capabilities and realisation of benefits. They will have primary responsibility for successful delivery of the new capabilities and for establishing governance.

The Programme Manager will be responsible for line management of a team of staff using flexible resource, and for building capability in respect of change, and project and programme delivery.


The Programme Manager is responsible for managing complex programmes (ranging from high risk to low risk); responsible for a team providing change and project delivery resources to projects/programmes. As such the Programme Manager will require professional expertise in the effective use of programme/project methodologies and techniques in managing a variety of projects. The job holder will need to be able to create, and guide others to create, a straightforward project structure, use the right tools/techniques, and have the skills and experience to meet the needs of projects/programmes.

Responsibilities, Activities & Duties    

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

Programme Management
•    Day–to–day management of the programme, including taking the programme forward from appointment, supervising, controlling and closing the programme.
•    Being the day–to-day agent on behalf of the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO), for successful delivery of the new capability.
•    Plan, design and monitor the programme’s overall progress, resolving issues and initiating corrective actions as appropriate. Ensure that delivery of programme meets the necessary requirements.
•    Setting up governance structures and processes to ensure objectives are met, on time, within budget and to agreed quality tolerances. Managing change and configuration.
•    Effective co-ordination of the programme and its interdependencies.
•    Creating mechanisms to identify, manage, resolve and report risks and issues that arise.
•    Identifying, and supporting the SRO in securing, the resources necessary to deliver each stage of the programme’s lifecycle.
•    Ensuring that the delivery of outputs from the various projects meets programme requirements.
•    Provide constructive challenge to senior management on change proposals which will affect the programme.
•    Creating and/or reviewing content for key documents required to establish and maintain the programme/project (i.e. definition documents).
•    Provide strong leadership and guidance to the Programme Team.

Matrix/Flexible Resource Team Management
•    Support and develop a team to provide flexible change and project/programme management resources for projects/programmes.
•    Ensure limited resources are allocated in line with agreed priorities.
•    Manage the resources interface with those business areas to which staff are assigned, or might potentially be assigned; promote the resolution of issues and the satisfaction of both staff and customers.
•    Ensure that staff on assignment have clearly specified objectives, which are delivered to appropriate quality standards, whilst also considering the longer- term development needs of those staff.
•    Alongside other senior managers in the Project/Programme team, contribute to continuous improvement of the team and the Change Portfolio Office.

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.


•    Seeing the Big Picture
•    Leadership
•    Communicating and Influencing
•    Delivering at Pace
•    Changing and Improving
•    Working Together

Essential Experience    N.B.    Converting job descriptions to the new Success Profile format means areas captured in experience could also be assessed as a strength. Vacancy managers should use their own judgement to decide where best to assess these.

•    Significant experience of managing medium risk and complex change programmes.
•    Experience of operating at a senior level providing briefing and reporting arrangements in a variety of roles across a number of programmes.
•    Experience of corporate, Cabinet Office and HM Treasury assurance and approval requirements.
•    Effective leadership, interpersonal and communication skills and experience of building, influencing and maintaining strategic partnerships with multiple stakeholders.
•    Network effectively, negotiate well and influence people, broker relationships with stakeholders within and outside the programme.
•    Good written communication skills to produce comprehensive reports and briefings for senior stakeholders.
•    Experience of building and managing a multi-functional team and getting the most out of it in a dynamic and complex environment.
•    Experience of managing staff and of managing the quality of team delivery.

Technical requirements    

•    Recognised project delivery qualifications or equivalent experience e.g. PRINCE2, Association for Project Management (APM), Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).
•    A sound understanding of the gateway review process, and experience of such reviews.


•    Ability to command respect and to create a sense of community amongst the disparate members of the programme team.
•    Ability to apply risk assessment and management principles and processes and find ways of solving or pre-empting issues.

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.


-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

18/12/2023, 23:55 hours.

If you have any questions about the role please contact Jonathan.martin@justice.gov.uk

If you require any assistance please call 0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com. Please quote the job reference - 81799.

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
Communicating and Influencing - 250 word limit
Delivering at Pace - 250 word limit
Leadership - 250 word limit
Working Together - 250 word limit
Statement of Suitability - 500 word limit

Interview stage assessments

There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.
Changing and Improving
Communicating and Influencing
Delivering at Pace
Working Together
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 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.