8618 - Trainee Occupational Psychologist

£28,926 - £32,616
12 Months
Band 5
Fixed Term
4 years
Full Time, Flexible Working, Other

Overview of the job

The post holder will work as part of the National Assessment Team in order to:

  • Provide psychological support to ensure that assessment services adhere to professional psychological guidelines, testing best practice and the highest ethical standards contributing towards an integrated model for organisational development.
  • To assist with the design, implementation, quality assurance, evaluation and statistical analysis of operational assessments for recruitment and promotion to operational, non-operational and specialist roles across NOMS and where resources permit the MoJ.
  • To maintain accurate, secure and confidential results databases.
  • To support the data/statistical analysis of all assessment results and the production of technical assessment and comprehensive candidate feedback reports.
  • To support the design, implementation and delivery of best practice policy for supporting and making reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities through assessments.
  • To carry out relevant research activities as directed to ensure that the design of all selection processes are in line with ‘best practice’ and remain at the leading edge of assessment and selection.


The post holder reports to a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with responsibility for assessments and reasonable adjustments, to who must they must provide credible, accurate and ethical support.

The manager’s manager is the Head of National Assessments.

The post holder must hold GBR.

This is a national post but geographically can be based in a remote location. It is part of a geographically dispersed team. The post holder is required to travel nationally, to meet with team colleagues, to lead training at assessment centres and to make occasional establishment visits.


To provide psychological support to the research, design, implementation, quality assurance and evaluation of occupational assessment solutions for NOMS and where resources permit the MoJ.

To deal with specific requirement queries/GIS applications under the supervision of a Chartered Psychologist to ensure that appropriate and realistic adjustments are made for candidates with disabilities (in line with the Equality Act) for applicants to any post operational or non-operational post within NOMS.

Responsibilities, Activities & Duties

You will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:

  • To support the provision of psychological expertise to advise and guide other professionals and managers working in the HR field to enhance organisational effectiveness.
  • To have an in-depth understanding of the Equalities Act legislation.
  • To support policy design for dealing with candidates with specific requirements ensuring it is up to date and meets best practice in line with the Equality Act.
  • To deal with specific requirement queries from candidates applying for all levels of assessment for both operational and non-operational recruitment and promotion to ensure that ‘appropriate and realistic’ adjustments are made to ensure that candidates with disabilities are not put at a substantial disadvantage to non-disabled candidates. This will require working closely with candidates and key stakeholders.
  • To support and lead on the design of the prison officer selection test (POST), liaising with appropriate stakeholders and internal Equality Group to ensure that the design meets best practice, professional psychology standards and is free from adverse impact
  • To support and lead on the design of the prison officer recruitment assessment process with a separate ‘Respect for Diversity’ and ‘young person specific’ simulation liaising with appropriate stakeholders and Equality Group to ensure that the design meets best practice, professional psychology standards and is free from adverse impact.
  • To support the design of the assessment for level transfer of staff into the Young Persons Estate.
  • To support the design, development and evaluation of assessment solutions for other roles and grades within NOMS as requested.
  • Ensure that assessments are designed within timeframes provided on the assessment calendar and additional assessments are delivered on time, often at very short notice.
  • To carry out research and job analysis activities as directed to ensure that the design of all selection processes are fit for purpose, in line with ‘best practice’ testing standards and remain at the leading edge of assessment and selection.
  • To design sophisticated databases to allow detailed analysis of results data.
  • To produce behaviourally anchored scoresheets for all levels of assessment – provided by the lead designer and categorise the behavioural indicators into purple leadership categories to inform a more robust talent management strategy.
  • To take the lead responsibility for the accuracy, security and confidentiality of assessment results database under supervision of the Assessment Design and Evaluation Manager.
  • As directed to carry out complex statistical analysis and interrogation of results data to quality assure all assessment results to ensure they are consistent, reliable, valid, free from adverse impact and legally defensible.
  • To support production of a national summary of statistics, metrics and impact assessments for all levels of assessment. To assist with operational reviews following all assessment processes.
  • To enhance development and preparation of candidates through supporting the design of focused feedback solutions and learning and development interventions.
  • To produce and send out detailed and comprehensive feedback reports from assessments as requested. (OD, senior officer assessment process, operational manager assessment process, senior operational manager assessment process, fast-track).
  • To carry out relevant research activities as directed to ensure that the design of all selection processes are in line with ‘best practice’ and remain at the leading edge of assessment and selection.
  • To support the design and delivery of comprehensive training packages for training of assessors and role players.
  • To quality assure the recruitment assessment process training and delivery.
  • Continually review the assessment process to ensure continuous improvement to meet business need and to verify its effectiveness and improve efficiency.


From time to time, you may be required to undertake additional activities which are appropriate to the level of your Group Profile (GP)


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All of the competencies in the NOMS CQF are relevant to this group profile. For the purpose of selection the following competencies will be measured:


Respecting others

Acting with integrity


Persuading and influencing

Building relationships and teamworking

Communicating Effectively


Problem solving and decision making

Organising and maximising performance

Developing self and others

Essential Skills Qualifications, accreditation & Registration


  • Degree in Psychology
  • Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) of the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Working knowledge of statistics and competent in using SPSS (Statistical Programme for Social Scientists)
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to communicate (both written and orally) at all levels of the organisation
  • Ability to critically evaluate information



  • Qualification in Occupational Psychology (Stage 1) and ideally working towards Qualification in Occupational Psychology (Stage 2)
  • Knowledge and understanding of selection and assessment processes and tools
  • Experience of delivering training/presentations


Factor Examples

Please provide as many job-specific examples as possible to support the factors below (please refer to Annex B for completion). For each factor, you are encouraged to be as detailed as you can and where possible, provide details of how often you carry out the activity



Skills & Knowledge

Required to have theoretical knowledge, understanding and application of psychological theory in relation to assessment and selection and the ability to balance theory and practice to deliver pragmatic, fit for purpose assessment solutions. The post holder supports the provision of expert advice on the design and delivery of assessments in line with the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Code, British Psychological Standards (BPS) and Employment Law e.g. Equality Act.

The role requires continued professional development towards Qualification in Occupational Psychology (Stage 1 and 2) to ensure that up to date research and practice influence the development of NOMS assessment solutions.

Advanced statistical analysis skills and use of SPSS, understanding of research methodology, quality assurance and adverse impact measures.

Has a detailed understanding of testing candidates with disabilities. For example the post holder will be required to interpret psychological diagnostic reports and discuss and agree reasonable adjustments with candidates.

Adheres to the British Psychological Society code of ethics and conduct.

Extensive research skills are used frequently in this post and the ability to work well with stakeholders and establish strong working relations is essential.

The post holder is required to be fully conversant with the CQF, LQF and Purple Leadership Model, which underpin all assessments

Accountability & Decision Making

The post holder is responsible for setting up detailed databases and evaluating the accuracy of results data, they must have meticulous attention to detail and be able to recognise trends and inconsistencies in data and highlight any concerns to line manager.

The post holder is responsible for categorising each assessment into the purple leadership categories therefore an understanding of the relevant competency/leadership frameworks and requirements of the roles being assessed is essential.

The post holder is responsible for the governance and quality assurance of all databases and must identify any problems relating to the quality or validity of an assessment. The post holder should highlight the impact and risks to the line manager or Head of National Assessments.

The post holder is required to design/support the design of the prison officer recruitment assessments, share with delivery team colleagues and evaluate the whole process; they will have significant oversight of the end to end process of assessment design, implementation, quality assurance, statistical analysis and evaluation.

The post holder is responsible for the accurate interpretation of psychological diagnostic reports and discussing, agreeing and recommending suitable adjustments for candidates with sometimes complex needs – whilst this is done under the supervision of a Chartered Occupational Psychologist the post holder must identify when they require assistance before making a recommendation.

Problem Solving

The role will involve applying psychological knowledge to advise on practical and pragmatic assessment, selection and development solutions.

The role will involve designing multiple assessments of the same type, this requires a high level of innovation and creativity to ensure that new work sample examples are designed that elicit the required competencies.

The post holder will be responsible for carrying out research, complex statistical analysis and evaluation of assessment processes to ensure that the methods have high face, content and criterion related validity and are predictive of successful future job performance. The findings should be used to continually refine and improve assessment methodology.

Resource Management & Financial Impact

No devolved budget responsibility but will be expected to support the Assessment Design and Evaluation manager in generating efficiency savings against the budget for assessments.

The post holder must fully understand the financial impact of errors in assessment design and so have meticulous attention to detail. For example, if an assessment lacks integrity or is perceived to be biased to a particular ethnicity or culture, appeals and grievances could lead to re-assessing an individual, re-designing a new assessment or financial recompense if successful equality claims are lodged.

The post holder must be aware of other design/data entry flaws which may result in re-designing and organising an assessment, with financial and resource implications of additional role players, assessors etc.

The post holder must ensure timely and accurate delivery of assessments and assessment results to avoid any delays in filling posts, causing resource implications for the business, with vacant posts and insufficient accredited staff to fill them at the right time.

Organising & Planning

The post holder must have excellent time management and planning skills, in order to organise and plan their own workload. The role involves managing databases and reasonable adjustment requests for a wide range of assessments that may be being delivered at the same time.

The post holder must plan the job analysis, design, bench testing, training, quality assurance and evaluation and statistical analysis of the prison officer selection process – must design two versions per year.

The post holder will regularly review the reasonable adjustment request workload to ensure that adjustments are discussed in a timely manner and that there is sufficient time to put adjustments in place prior to the assessment.

The post holder will be responsible for completing and sending out comprehensive, focused and contextual feedback and directing organisational diagnosis to inform the Agency of capability strengths and weaknesses to inform learning and development, they must review the need for this against the assessment calendar to ensure it can be dispatched by the set deadline to enable candidates to receive timely feedback.

People Management

No line management responsibility but the post holder will be required to feedback to administration staff who enter data and also to manage delegates/assessors/moderators during assessor training/quality assurance sessions.

Information Management

The post holder is responsible for the confidential and sensitive handling of candidate information (including bio-data and psychological diagnostic reports) and the accuracy and quality of results data. The role will require Quality Assurance checks to ensure the accuracy of data and maintenance of the integrity of the results and assessment processes.

The post holder will be required to analyse complex sets of assessment data to ensure that assessments and results are normally distributed, valid and reliable, identifying whether any group(s) of individuals are adversely impacted and identifying workable solutions to minimise these impacts.

The post holder must maintain the security, confidentiality and integrity of assessment materials and results.

Influencing & Interaction

The post holder will be expected to offer psychological advice and contribute to written and verbal responses.

The post holder is required to develop trusting relationships and liaise with operational and non-operational staff at different levels ensuring that they instill confidence in the assessment process and contribute to the team receiving a good reputation. The role requires engagement with candidates, panel chairs, SSC and other stakeholders on a daily basis.

The post holder is required to work collaboratively with individuals from the wider OD Team.

The post holder will engage with internal and external professionals and contribute to the development of assessment/reasonable adjustment procedures across Agencies via the British Psychological Society and British Dyslexia Association.

Emotional Demand & Risk

The role involves speaking to candidates requiring reasonable adjustments due to having a disability on a daily basis; these conversations are sensitive and at times can be confrontational. The post holder must be resilient and have the capacity to manage the emotional demands of this role e.g. if challenged or facing an E.T.

The post holder will be required to spend time visiting establishments and consulting with staff to carry out job analysis activities, for example when designing prison officer recruit and YP assessments.

Please note: feedback will only be provided to those candidates that make it through the interview stage.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s, including NOMS, 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

-The Prison Service 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. The Prison Service 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

-The Prison Service offers a childcare vouchers scheme. The scheme enables staff to take part of their salary in the form of Childcare Vouchers. This is known as a Salary Sacrifice. The vouchers can then be used to help meet the costs of any form of registered or approved childcare for children aged 0-16. The vouchers are exempt from tax and National Insurance contributions


-The Prison Service 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 the Prison Service 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 NOMS

-All staff are required to declare whether they are a member of a group or organisation which the Prison Service 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.

Interview expected to take place w/c 17th July

03/07/2017, 23:55 hours.

If you require any assistance please call 0845 010 3508 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail hr-recruitment-enquiries@noms.gsi.gov.uk. Please quote the job reference.

Enhanced Baseline Standard
Please note the successful applicant will need to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Security Check for this post.

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
Changing and Improving
Leading and Communicating
Collaborating and Partnering
Managing a Quality Service
Delivering Value for Money
Acts with Integrity

Effectiveness in this area means consistently acting in a principled, open and conscientiousness manner, and challenging unacceptable behaviour. Those who work in establishments must achieve a balance between excessive distance and familiarity with prisoners whilst dealing with prisoners in a way that is firm and fair. At a senior level it is about promoting a culture in which personal integrity thrives at all levels of the organisation.

Degree in Psychology and MSc in Occupational Psychology.
Graduate member of The British Psychological Society

This Vacancy is closed to applications.