83632 - Policy and Communications Officer within the Prison Policy Directorate

The national salary range is £32,827 - £35,678, London salary range is £37,174 - £40,403. Your salary will be dependent on your base location
12 Months
London, Yorkshire and the Humber
Leeds , London
Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share, Flexible Working
Communications / Marketing, Policy, Press Relations

Policy and Communications Officer


Prison Policy Directorate

The Prison Policy Directorate is recruiting permanently for a HEO Policy and Communications Officer. This campaign is being run externally and so is open to all who consider themselves suitable for the roles and meet the eligibility criteria in the wider advert within Civil Service Jobs.


Successful candidates will have the option to be based at one of the following locations:

1.    102 Petty France, London 
2.    5 Wellington Place, Leeds 

Occasional travel between the two locations may be required.

In order for the Policy Group to meet its evolving business needs, all Policy Group staff are expected to attend their base location (102 Petty France or 5 Wellington Place Leeds) at least 2 days a week. This hybrid working arrangement is not contractual and as a result staff could be asked to attend their base location more frequently.

Ways of Working

At the Ministry of Justice we believe and promote alternative ways of working, these roles are available as:

•    Full-time, part-time or the option to job share
•    Flexible working patterns
•    Flexible working arrangements between base locations, MoJ Hubs and home

If we receive applications from more suitable candidates than we have vacancies for at this time, we may hold suitable applicants on a reserve list for 12 months, and future vacancies requiring the same skills and experience could be offered to candidates on the reserve list without a new competition.

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. 


New entrants to the Civil Service will be expected to join on the minimum of the pay range.  
If you are already a civil servant and are successful in an external recruitment competition for a role with us, your starting pay will be the better of:
•    promotion terms or transfer terms, as appropriate; or
•    pay on appointment arrangements (minimum of pay range).

Job description overview

This is an exciting and unusual opportunity to work across government to prevent deaths – both self-inflicted and natural – in all forms of state custody, from prisons to secure health settings, police custody and immigration detention.
The Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody brings together Ministers, senior officials, experts, and practitioners to allow for better learning and sharing of lessons across custodial agencies. Its shared purpose is to bring about a continuing and sustained reduction in the number and rate of deaths in all forms of state custody in England and Wales. 

The three tiers of the Ministerial Council are the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody (MBDC), the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAPDC), and the Practitioner and Stakeholder Group, which provides expertise and input into the Ministerial Council’s work.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

MoJ is the largest government department, employing over 90,000 people with a budget of approximately £10 billion. Each year, millions of people use our services across the UK - including at 500 courts and tribunals, and 133 prisons in England and Wales.

Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice.

What we do

The MBDC meets twice a year, with relevant groups meeting between, and is co-chaired by the Minister of State for Prisons, Parole, and Probation, the Minister of State for Crime, Policing, and Fire, and the Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy. It includes senior leaders from operational and policy functions, scrutiny bodies, the Chief Coroner, and charities. It sets priorities for departments and agencies to make policy and operational changes to prevent deaths and holds them to account through a shared workplan.

The IAPDC is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the MoJ, Home Office, and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The role of the IAPDC is to provide independent advice and expertise on the prevention of deaths in custody to Ministers, senior operational leads, and to the Ministerial Board. It is chaired by Lynn Emslie, and has four other public appointees, including Professor Seena Fazel, Pauline McCabe OBE, Raj Desai, and Dr Jake Hard. For more information about the IAPDC visit www.iapondeathsincustody.org

The team is jointly funded and co-sponsored by MoJ, the Home Office, and DHSC. The team is hosted by MoJ and sits in the Scrutiny, Performance, and Engagement division with the Prison Policy directorate.
Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice.

The role

The postholder will have the following key roles: 

•    Projects: Lead on and support the wider team to deliver projects for both the MBDC and IAPDC by bringing together partners and experts to progress impactful work to prevent deaths. An example of a recent IAPDC project includes the production of a report on enhancing the impact of coroners’ Prevention of Future Death (PFD) reports and working with a wide range of stakeholders to implement its recommendations. 
•    Data: Oversee the data and custodial updates presented to Ministers and other MBDC members. This will include working with partners to continue to refine the deaths in custody dashboard, which brings together data on all places of detention. Review, summarise, and distribute PFD reports relating to deaths in custody to relevant departments, agencies, and organisations.
•    Communications: Support delivery of the communications output of the IAPDC. This will include responsibility for the IAPDC’s website and social media, and supporting the IAPDC’s outreach to the media in order to achieve strategic visibility for its work to prevent deaths. It will also include work to enhance the impact of the Practitioner and Stakeholder Group, producing the IAPDC’s tri-annual newsletter, and identifying, summarising, and disseminating relevant news stories and updates across government departments. 
•    Wider support: Contribute to a range of other high-quality work of the Ministerial Council, including through the production of high-quality written materials for the MBDC, organisation of and agenda setting for key meetings, including preparation of briefing materials, and delivery of the IAPDC’s responsibilities as a non-departmental public body. 

Skills and experience 

Essential skills

•    Excellent oral and written communication skills.
•    Confidence and skill in acting independently to drive forward work, and the ability to proactively engage colleagues and stakeholders as appropriate.
•    Strong organisational skills and the ability to plan, track, and deliver work according to agreed timelines and priorities.
•    Existing skills – or firm enthusiasm and capability to develop relevant abilities – in communications, including press relations, social media, and website management. 

Desirable skills

•    Knowledge or experience of policy or operational processes for keeping people safe in custodial settings such as prisons, police custody, immigration detention, or secure health settings. 
•    Knowledge or experience of human rights law and wider frameworks to protect lives.
Candidates applying from HMPPS should note that the Ministry of Justice does not have the same conditions of employment as HMPPS. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the terms and conditions they will adopt should they be successful.

The Ministry of Justice is proud to be Level 3 Disability Confident. Disability Confident is the approach through which we offer guaranteed interviews for all people with disabilities meeting the minimum criteria for the advertised role as set out in the job description.

Application process

You will be assessed against the Civil service success profiles framework.


You will be asked to provide a work history during the application process in order to assess any demonstrable experience, career history, and achievements that are relevant to the role. 

You will also be asked to upload a statement of suitability of no more than 500 words stating what you would bring to the role, with reference to the skills and experience listed above. 


During the application process you will be asked to provide an example of how you have met the following behaviours (see Annex A for more information):

•    Seeing the big picture 
•    Delivering at pace 

Please also refer to the Civil Service Behaviours framework for more details at this grade:

Should we receive a large number of applications, we will sift primarily on the lead behaviour of ‘seeing the big picture’. Successful applicants will then be invited to an interview, testing behaviours and strengths. 
Candidates invited to interview 

Please note that interviews will be carried out remotely.

During the panel interview, you will be asked behaviour-based questions to explore in detail what you are capable of, and strengths-based questions to also explore what you enjoy, and your motivations relevant to the job role. 

In addition to the behaviours listed in the application form, at interview stage all four behaviours listed below will be assessed. You will be asked by the interview panel to provide examples of how you meet the behaviours. 

Seeing the big picture: Understand the strategic drivers for your area of work. Align activities to contribute to wider organisational priorities. Remain alert to emerging issues and trends which might impact your work area. Seek out and share experiences to develop knowledge of the team’s business area. Understand how the strategies and activities of the team create value and meet the diverse needs of all stakeholders.

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.

Working together: Encourage joined up teamwork within own team and across other groups. Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources, and support. Invest time to develop a common focus and genuine positive team spirit where colleagues feel valued and respect one another. Put in place support for the wellbeing of individuals within the team, including consideration of your own needs. Make it clear to all team members that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Making effective decisions: Understand own level of responsibility and empower others to make decisions where appropriate. Analyse and use a range of relevant, credible information from internal and external sources to support decisions. Invite challenge and where appropriate involve others in decision making. Display confidence when making difficult decisions, even if they prove to be unpopular. Consult with others to ensure the potential impacts on end users have been considered. Present strong recommendations in a timely manner outlining the consideration of other options, costs, benefits, and risks. 
There is no expectation or requirement for you to prepare for the strengths-based questions in advance of the interview, though you may find it helpful to spend some time reflecting on what you enjoy doing and what you do well.

You can refer to the Civil Service Strengths dictionary for more details: Success Profiles - Civil Service Strengths Dictionary (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Interviews are expected to take place February. 

Contact information  

Please do get in touch if you would like to know more about the role or what it is like working in our team. Lana Ghafoor, lana.ghafoor@justice.gov.uk.

Annex A - The STAR method

Using the STAR method can help you give examples of relevant experience that you have. It allows you to set the scene, show what you did, and how you did it, and explain the overall outcome. 

Situation: Describe the situation you found yourself in. You must describe a specific event or situation. Be sure to give enough detail for the job holder to understand.
•    Where are you?
•    Who was there with you?
•    What had happened? 

Task: The job holder will want to understand what you tried to achieve from the situation you found yourself in.
•    What was the task that you had to complete and why?
•    What did you have to achieve? 

Actions: What did you do? The job holder will be looking for information on what you did, how you did it and why. Keep the focus on you. What specific steps did you take and what was your contribution? Remember to include how you did it, and the behaviours you used. Try to use “I” rather than “we” to explain your actions that lead to the result. Be careful not to take credit for something that you did not do. 

Results: Don’t be shy about taking credit for your behaviour. Quote specific facts and figures. Explain how the outcome benefitted the organisation or your area. Make the outcomes easily understandable.
•    What results did the actions produce?
•    What did you achieve through your actions, and did you meet your goals?
•    Was it a successful outcome? If not, what did you learn from the experience? 

Keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the action and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. Make sure you focus on your strengths.

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 expected to take place February.

12/02/2024, 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 - 83632.

Contact information  

Please do get in touch if you would like to know more about the role or what it is like working in our team. Lana Ghafoor, lana.ghafoor@justice.gov.uk.

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

Seeing the Big Picture - 250 word limit
Delivering at Pace - 250 word limit
Work History
Statement of Suitability - 500 word limit
A sift based on the lead behaviour, Seeing the Big Picture, 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.
Seeing the Big Picture
Delivering at Pace
Working Together
Making Effective Decisions
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.