Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons

Body: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sectors: Judicial, Prison & Policing, Prison & Policing
Location: London
Skills required: Communication / Media / Marketing
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The salary for this post is £135,000 per annum. Remuneration is taxable and subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The post is pensionable under the Civil Service Pension arrangements.
Time Requirements: The appointment will run for three years. This is a full-time role, based on a 37 hour working week.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

This campaign did not result in a successful appointment being made.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    11/09/2019 at 09:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales is a Crown appointment made on the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice. The Chief Inspector is part of and leads the Inspectorate, which is an independent body. The Inspectorate provides independent scrutiny of the conditions for and the treatment of prisoners and other detainees, promoting the concept of “healthy establishments” in which staff work effectively to support prisoners and detainees to reduce reoffending and achieve positive outcomes for those detained and for the public.

The Chief Inspector has a statutory duty to report to the Secretary of State on conditions in prisons and the treatment of prisoners in all prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales including those run by the private sector. The Chief Inspector is delegated by the Criminal Justice Chief for Northern Ireland to undertake prison inspections in Northern Ireland. The Chief Inspector may also, by invitation, carry out inspections in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Chief Inspector also has a statutory responsibility to report to the Home Secretary on conditions and treatment in immigration detention centres throughout the UK and is responsible, along with HM Inspector of Constabulary, for inspecting police custody suites in England and Wales. The Chief Inspector also inspects Armed Forces Service Custody Facilities.

The Inspectorate’s work constitutes an important part of the UK’s obligations under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This Protocol requires signatory states to have in place regular independent inspection of places of detention.

The Inspectorate has approximately 70 staff and as reported in the 2018-19 Annual Report, delivered a full inspection programme of inspections which included the publication of over 70 reports.

Person Specification

Reporting directly to Ministers, the successful candidate will have a proven ability to act with integrity and independence from Government, and the services under the Inspectorate’s scrutiny.

The Inspectorate’s methodology focuses on outcomes for those detained within the custodial estate, and encourages establishments to seek improvement in those outcomes where required. In addition to its annual inspection programme, the Inspectorate has recently developed new Independent Reviews of Progress, which will assess progress made by a prison in implementing recommendations from the previous inspection report.

The next Chief Inspector will be expected to use their expertise to innovate and evolve the inspection approach to strengthen the impact of the Inspectorate. They will work to ensure that the Inspectorate produces high-quality, evidence-based inspection reports, which can be used to inform establishments, HMPPS and the Ministry of Justice to improve outcomes for detainees.

The Chief Inspector is responsible for:

  • Delivering an independent inspection programme to assess outcomes for detainees in prisons, young offender institutions, immigration detention facilities and other places of custody. These are judged against HMIP’s independent expectations, which are based on international human rights standards. The inspection programme also includes thematic inspections, looking at detainee experiences across the custodial estate;
  • Overseeing the publication of inspection reports and representing these reports publicly and in the media as required;
  • Evolving the inspection methodologies and expectations so that they remain current and in line with best practice, including international human rights standards;
  • Advance the process of Independent Reviews of Progress (IRP), which aim to assess the progress a prison has made in implementing previous inspection recommendations;
  • Reporting to Ministers, giving evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees and replying to policy and Parliamentary consultations as appropriate, drawing on evidence gathered during HMIP inspections.
  • Delivering the UK’s obligations under the Optional Protocol for the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) for those in places of detention which fall under the remit of the Inspectorate;
  • Accounting for the appropriate use of public resources in accordance with budgetary delegation arrangements.

Essential Criteria

Candidates will be able to demonstrate:

  • Outstanding organisational leadership and experience of successfully managing resources balanced against competing priorities.
  • Established experience managing demanding workloads and be at ease with a variety of stakeholders including prisoners and detainees, prison and immigration staff, senior managers and politicians;
  • Highly developed inter-personal and communication skills and an ability to handle the media along with the ability to build and maintain successful working relationships and partnerships and deliver difficult and challenging messages;
  • An ability to work collaboratively with inspectorate partners to enhance outcomes for prisoners and detainees.
  • An ability to process and interpret complex information and to offer well developed analytical reasoning to inform judgements based on evidence;
  • An ability to demonstrate robust financial management;
  • Evidence of valuing and promoting diversity.

Desirable Criteria

The following criteria although not essential will also be taken into account by the selection panel:

  • An understanding, or experience of working in another inspectorate or regulator;
  • An understanding, or experience, of the policy, reform agenda, political and media landscape in which the Inspectorate works;
  • An understanding, or experience of the criminal justice and immigration systems in the UK or comparable jurisdictions;

Additional Information

The preferred candidate for the post of HMCIP will be subject to scrutiny by Parliamentary select committee prior to appointment, and is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the recommendation of the Secretary of State.

How to Apply

To make an application, please send the below documents to: hmcip@moloneysearch.com quoting reference PAT150077 and the name of the post you are applying for in the subject line of your email. We will acknowledge receipt.

  • A CV (maximum two sides of A4) detailing your qualifications, employment history and any appointments or offices you hold. Please also provide your preferred contact number and email address.
  • A personal statement (maximum two sides of A4) providing evidence against the role criteria and your suitability for the post, including evidence of leadership qualities and a vision for the organisation. Please consider the role and criteria carefully in preparing your statements. Information from Advisory Assessment Panels indicates that applications which offer specific and tailored examples against the criteria, making clear the candidate’s role in achieving an outcome are often the strongest. Structuring the statement around the criteria using relevant headings also aids clarity.
  • Please also complete and return the attached supporting documents provided in the attached candidate information pack.


FINAL Candidate Information Pack - HMCI Prisons 2019 - 040919
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