16199 - Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Investigator

£30,088 - £37,432
12 Months
Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share
Operational Delivery


The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is an Arms Length Body of the Ministry of Justice and investigates:

• complaints from prisoners, trainees in Secure Training Centres (STCs), immigration detainees and probation supervisees; and

• deaths in prisons, STCs, Immigration Removal Centres, Secure Children’s homes and probation approved premises.


Investigators report to Assistant Ombudsmen who are responsible for ensuring the quality and timeliness of the investigation process and outputs.


While the post holder will hold a role primarily in either the fatal incidents or complaints team, they will be expected to be flexible and contribute to cross- office working if the needs of the business require it.


The Ombudsman receives around 5000 new complaints a year of which around half are assessed as eligible for investigation. The number of deaths in custody requiring investigation is around 300-350 per year.


The post holder will need to have good judgement, a flexible approach, be open to change and be able to present the role of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s office in a positive way.


This is a busy but very interesting post which will suit someone who is self- motivated and well-organised, with strong written communication and analytical skills. Previous knowledge or experience of the Criminal Justice System is not essential as training will be given.


The PPO is going through a large period of change and will shortly be moving to a new office in Canary Wharf. You will be expected to spend at least 60% of your week at the office with the rest of the time working at home or commuter hubs once initial training is completed.


Please note, you can state a preference for deaths or complaints work if invited for interview, but the PPO will make the final decision. We expect that most vacancies will be in complaints.

Job Description

The post holder will be responsible for the following;


• Investigate cases according to the quality and timeliness objectives

• Attend establishments across England and Wales to conduct investigations and interviews where necessary. Travel and spend nights away from home, where necessary, to conduct the investigation.

• Draft letters and investigation reports ensuring that they are clear and accurate and demonstrate the case has been fully investigated. Set out the facts clearly and comprehensively, as well as the analysis and considerations that led to the final conclusions. Include recommendations if required and identify areas of good practice. 

• Arrange factual accuracy checking/ advance disclosure of draft reports, where necessary, consider any comments received and propose amendments where appropriate in order to produce final report

• Support the wider work of the office through mentoring, supporting the work of team members, etc

• Any other appropriate tasks as required


For fatal incident investigations

• Provide verbal feedback on the early findings to senior staff in the investigated bodies

• Attend and provide evidence to inquests as required by the Coroner

• Liaise with police, clinical reviewers, solicitors and Coroners as necessary throughout the investigation

• In partnership with the Family Liaison Officer, liaise with any identified next of kin


For complaint investigations

• Respond to telephone calls from complainants

• Liaise with complainants and senior staff to mediate settlements where possible.


Essential requirements

• The ability to analyse and make a sound judgement based on multiple and sometimes conflicting evidence

• The ability to draft investigation products so that the message is clear, simple, accurate and well-evidenced with realistic and meaningful conclusions


Skills & Qualifications

You will be required to provide evidence of the following Competencies:

Making Effective Decisions

• Make decisions when they are needed, even if they prove difficult or unpopular

• Identify a range of relevant and credible information sources and recognise the need to collect new data when necessary from internal and external sources

• Recognise patterns and trends in a wide range of evidence/ data and draw key conclusions

Leading and Communicating

• Communicate in a succinct, engaging manner and stand ground when needed

• Communicate using appropriate styles, methods and timing, including digital channels, to maximise understanding and impact


Collaborating and Partnering

• Establish relationships with a range of stakeholders to support delivery of business outcomes

• Actively seek input from a diverse range of people

• Readily share resources to support higher priority work, showing pragmatism and support for the shared goals of the organisation

• Deal with conflict in a prompt, calm and constructive manner

• Encourage collaborative team working within own team and across the department


Managing a quality service

• Make effective use of project management skills and techniques to deliver outcomes, including identifying risks and mitigating actions

• Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and service standards to provide quality, efficiency and value for money

• Work with team to set priorities, goals, objectives and timescales


Delivering at pace

• Successfully manage, support and stretch self and team to deliver agreed goals and objectives

• Take responsibility for delivering expected outcomes on time and to standard, giving credit to teams and individuals as appropriate

• Regularly monitor own and teams’ work against milestones or targets and act promptly to keep work on track and maintain performance.

The jobholder must be able to fulfil all spoken aspects of the role with confidence in English or (when specified in Wales) Welsh.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

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

Generous allowances for paid holiday starting at 25 days per year, and rising as your service increases. 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.


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as salary sacrifice arrangements for childcare vouchers, and voluntary benefits such as retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.


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.

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.

To be confirmed

06/04/2018, 23:55 hours.

Closing Date: 6th April 2018 at 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@sscl.gse.gov.uk Please quote the job reference 16199

Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

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.

Candidate Information

You may be required to provide statements describing your skills and experience relevant to each of the selection criteria. We recommend that you structure any examples as Situation, Task, Action and Result. For more information about the recruitment process and answers to general queries, please click the below link which will direct you to our Candidate Information Page.

Link: https://justicejobs.tal.net/vx/candidate/cms/About%20the%20MOJ

In the event of a large number of applications, we reserve the right to undertake the following processes:

  • An automated online test where a benchmark must be passed to progress;
  • A sift on the lead selection criteria. If this happens, the lead criteria will be the first one listed in the advert.

During the selection process, you may be asked to undertake an additional assessment (such as written test). If this is applicable you will be notified of this when you are invited to interview.

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@sscl.gse.gov.uk) in the first instance
Making Effective Decisions
Leading and Communicating
Collaborating and Partnering
Managing a Quality Service
Delivering at Pace

This Vacancy is closed to applications.