83246 - Finance Officer - Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

£37,174 - £40,403
12 Months
Full Time, Part Time, Flexible Working

Overview of the role 

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) is an Arm’s Length Body of the Ministry of Justice and investigates: 

  • Complaints made by prisoners, young people in detention, offenders under probation supervision and individuals detained under immigration powers;
  • Deaths of prisoners, young people in detention, residents in approved premises and individuals detained under immigration powers;
  • Deaths of recently released prisoners that occur within 14 days of release from prison (except homicide).

The Ombudsman receives around 4,000 new complaints a year, of which around half are assessed as eligible for investigation, and investigates around 400 deaths per year.  To enable this, the Ministry of Justice provides the PPO with a yearly budget in the region of £6.4 million.  To manage the PPO’s finances, including forecasting pay and non-pay spend for each financial year and guiding and monitoring our spend in year, we are looking for an experienced Financial Officer.  

This is a key role and it is part of the Learning, Analysis and Business Services (LABS) team, who are responsible for supporting the PPO’s main duties.  While the post holder will be part of the LABS Team, they will regularly liaise with the Ombudsman and senior managers in our Complaints and Fatal Incidents Teams.  The post holder will report to the SEO Head of Business Support.

This post will suit individuals that are well-organised, have excellent attention to detail, are able to work to deadlines and have good communication skills.  The post holder will also need to be comfortable working predominantly by themselves and using computer programmes, such as Microsoft Excel and finance databases. 

Previous financial management experience is essential.  However, previous experience of the Criminal Justice System is not required. 

The PPO is based at the HM Government hub at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London. Currently, staff are expected to attend the office two days a week (based on full time hours), with the rest of the time spent working at home or in commuter hubs.  However, the Civil Service Heads of Department have recently written to all departments, including the PPO, and confirmed that their expectation is that staff will attend the office for three days a week (based on full time hours).  We expect this to begin at some time in 2024. 

While you will usually have some flexibility to decide which days of the week you work in the office to enable you to manage your office attendance around your personal circumstances, there will be occasions when you will be required to attend the office (for example, team meetings, office or function-wide meetings) or visit establishments belonging to our services in remit on particular days.

Please note that the PPO is unable to offer home working contracts or allow you to permanently work at any other location, other than 10 South Colonnade, for the required office attendance days. 

If you are successful, you may need to attend the office more frequently in your first six weeks, to undertake key training and induction activity. 

Interviews will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams. 

The salary range is £37,174 to £40,403.

External candidates joining the Civil Service will be expected to join on the minimum salary for the band.  Successful internal candidates who are already at HEO will keep their base salary on transfer, though allowances do not transfer.  Successful internal candidates joining on promotion will start on either the minimum of the salary range or receive a 10% increase to their current base salary, whichever is higher.

Job Description  

The post holder will be responsible for the following: Planning and managing the PPO’s annual budget and forecasted spend for the spending review period. This work includes:

  • On receipt of the indicative budget, preparing initial budget allocations and pay and non-pay forecasts for the year.
  • Monitoring and enabling the salary payments for all PPO staff and the allocation of any recognition and reward awards.
  • Holding monthly finance review meetings and providing advice to managers on viability of anticipated spend.
  • Providing monthly budget reports to our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and highlighting issues of concern.
  • Providing monthly and quarterly reports to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the format and according to the timelines they set.
  • Liaising with the MoJ on the format, timing and content of PPO’s budget reports.
  • On request, providing forecasted spend for subsequent years to identify the impact of changing budget allocations.
  • At the end of the financial quarter or year, identifying accruals with accompanying evidence and providing the MoJ with written analysis of the PPO’s anticipated end of quarter/ year budgetary position.

Managing the procurement of and payment for goods and services provided to PPO:

  • Considering and approving requests for purchase orders.
  • Responding to invoice issues and non-payments.
  • Investigating the reasons for fruitless or erroneous payments to ensure lessons are learnt and these are kept to a minimum.

Providing strategic advice to the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen:

  • Contributing to the preparation of the PPO’s spending review bids.
  • Providing financial data for MoJ commissioning requests on issues such as workforce planning.

Essential experience and skills 

  • Experience of working in a financial management environment.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong IT skills, particularly with Microsoft Excel and financial databases.   
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills.
  • Excellent communications skills.

Desirable criteria

  • Level 4 qualification with AAT, CCAB or CIMA; or
  • Working towards qualification with CCAB, CIMA or equivalent.

The Application and Interview Process

The PPO is a Disability Confident Committed Employer, and we ensure our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible. Please complete the application information on reasonable adjustments and disabilities if relevant.  Further information on the types of reasonable adjustment that can be provided can be found at https://www.civil-service-careers.gov.uk/reasonable-adjustments/

This is a two-stage process. 

Stage 1:

  • Submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Submit a statement of suitability (250 words) setting out how your skills and experience match the essential requirements for the role as stated above.
  • Provide an example of where you have demonstrated the skills required for the Civil Service Behaviours ‘Managing a Quality Service’ and ‘Delivering at Pace’.

To pass stage 1, a candidate will need to score a minimum of two out of three on their statement of suitability and four out of seven for each of the behaviour answers.  If we receive a high number of applicants for the post, we will complete an initial sift on the ‘Managing a Quality Service’ behaviour.  We will not review the rest of the application for any candidate who does not meet the required benchmark for this behaviour.  Also, if we receive a high number of high scoring applications, we reserve the right to increase the minimum benchmarks for the statement of suitability and the behaviours.

The CV will not be scored but will be used to give context to the statement of suitability. 

Stage 2: 

Those who meet the required level at the application stage will be invited to a short final interview.  During the interview, you will be asked questions about the Civil Service Behaviours ‘Managing a Quality Service’, ‘Delivering at Pace’ and ‘Communicating and Influencing’, as well as strength-based questions relating to the role.

To be considered appointable, you will need to score a minimum of 12 out of 21 for the behaviour questions and a minimum of eight out of 16 for the strength questions.  If we receive a high number of high scoring interviewees, we reserve the right to increase this minimum benchmark. 

Recruitment across the Civil Service changed from July 2019 with the introduction of Success Profiles. Further guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/success-profiles.

Managing a Quality Service

Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence. Work with stakeholders to set priorities, objectives and timescales. Successfully deliver high quality outcomes that meet the customers’ needs and gives value for money. Identify risks and resolve issues efficiently. Involve a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and delivery partners in developing suggestions for improvements. Establish ways to find and respond to feedback from customers about the services provided.

Delivering at Pace

Show a positive approach to keeping the whole team’s efforts focused on the top priorities. Promote a culture of following the appropriate procedures to ensure results are achieved on time whilst still enabling innovation. Ensure the most appropriate resources are available for colleagues to use to do their job effectively. Regularly monitor your own and team’s work against milestones ensuring individual needs are considered when setting tasks. Act promptly to reassess workloads and priorities when there are conflicting demands to maintain performance. Allow individuals the space and authority to meet objectives, providing additional support where necessary, whilst keeping overall responsibility.

Communicating and Influencing

Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner, choosing appropriate styles to maximise understanding and impact. Encourage the use of different communication methods, including digital resources and highlight the benefits, including ensuring cost effectiveness. Ensure communication has a clear purpose and takes into account people’s individual needs. Share information as appropriate and check understanding. Show positivity and enthusiasm towards work, encouraging others to do the same. Ensure that important messages are communicated with colleagues and stakeholders respectfully, taking into consideration the diversity of interests.

When answering questions about the behaviours, you might want to use the STAR approach to help you to present your evidence more successfully.  This approach provides structure and focus to your answers.

The STAR approach stands for:

Situation – briefly describe the context and your role.

Task – the specific challenge, task or job that you faced.

Action – what you did, how and why you did it.

Result – what you achieved through your actions.

You should keep the situation and task parts brief, concentrating on the actions you took and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. STAR may help you to cover all the points you need to make.

When using STAR, you should use one specific example per behaviour and you should explain what you did rather than others.

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made should further vacancies become available.

The job holder 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

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.

MoJ candidates who are on a specialist grade, will be able to retain their grade on lateral transfer.

All candidates who are currently in receipt of Mark Time / Pay Protection should ensure they are familiar with the new policy on permanent and temporary promotion which can be found on the employee intranet.

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.

Interviews are currently scheduled to be held in the week commencing 26 February 2024

29/01/2024, 23:55 hours.

If you require any assistance please call 0345 241 5359 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com Please quote the job reference - 83246.

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

Managing a Quality Service - 250 word limit
Delivering at Pace - 250 word limit
Statement of Suitability - 250 word limit
A sift based on the lead behaviour, Managing a Quality Service, may be held if a large number of applications are received. If a large number of applications remain after the initial sift, your application will be progressed to a full sift, where all behaviours will then be considered.

Interview stage assessments

There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.
Managing a Quality Service
Delivering at Pace
Communicating and Influencing
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.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.

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.