The Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO)

Body: Ministry of Justice
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sector: Prison & Policing
Location: The role is currently based in Central London however some travel may be required. The location of the Ombudsman’s office in Central London is also under review
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £100,000 per annum. Flexible working arrangements will be considered. The remuneration will be fixed for three years.
Time Requirements: Based on a 37 hour working week per annum (excluding meal breaks). The post may be offered on a flexible working basis of between three and four days per week with a pro-rata salary.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    18/04/2017 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


This competition has concluded without appointment and a further campaign will be launched in 2018


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

We are looking for an outstanding individual for the post of Ombudsman at a time when prison safety and scrutiny is at the heart of the reform agenda. The office holder is not required to have a background within the criminal justice or immigration system but must have an appreciation of the issues affecting these areas.
The Secretary of State for Justice looks to the Ombudsman to make custody and offender supervision within England and Wales safer and fairer. The Ombudsman has an essential role, carrying out independent investigations into deaths and complaints in custody in addition to sharing important lessons learned on key issues. The purpose of these is to understand what happened, correct injustices and identify changes that need to be made.
Key Accountabilities
The Ombudsman submits an Annual Report on the work of the office to the Secretary of State for Justice, which the Secretary of State will lay before Parliament. This report also serves as a report to the Home Secretary in relation to immigration detention. The Ombudsman may publish additional reports on issues relating to investigations, which the Secretary of State will lay before Parliament upon request.

The Secretary of State for Justice is accountable to Parliament for matters relating to the discharge of the Ombudsman’s remit. The Ombudsman is liable to be called before the relevant Select Committees in connection with the responsibilities of the role. The remit of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which carries out independent investigations into complaints about UK government departments and their agencies, and the NHS in England, includes complaints handled by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman accounts to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice for the appropriate use of resources in accordance with budgetary delegation arrangements. Prisons, Offender and Youth Justice Policy Group exercises responsibility for sponsorship of the Ombudsman’s office, covering policy and administrative arrangements. This role is managed within the Group by a sponsorship team.

Key Responsibilities
The Ombudsman is responsible for:
• providing independent and effective investigation of complaints falling within the Ombudsman’s Terms of Reference;
• investigating all fatal incidents occurring in the services in remit, and producing a written report of every investigation;
• making recommendations to the services in remit and the appropriate Secretary of State;
• providing more general findings to the services in remit and the public at large;
• building effective working partnerships with other scrutiny bodies and other relevant agencies;
• leadership and management of the Ombudsman’s Office;
• producing an annual report, to be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State for Justice;
• responding to recommendations from the Harris Review into self-inflicted deaths in custody of 18-24 year olds.

Person Specification

We are looking for an outstanding individual to lead an office of just under 120 staff with a budget of in excess of £5m per annum. The office holder is not required to have a background within the criminal justice or immigration systems but must have an appreciation of the issues affecting these areas. The role is currently full time, but the Ministry of Justice will consider applicants who wish to work flexibly and believe they can fulfil the role in 3 or more days per week.

Essential Criteria
Candidates will be able to demonstrate the following:
• The ability to maintain the independence of the Ombudsman from, and to make judgements independently of, the inspected agencies, Ministers and the Ministry of Justice.
• Proven ability to lead a multi-disciplinary team, including professional staff, at the highest level and to demonstrate robust financial management within a tight and reducing budget.
• The ability to establish credibility and visibility in a public-facing role with complainants, the authorities in remit, Ministers, the public and others including the Justice Select Committee.
• An incisive and independent mind, with the ability to provide impartial, objective and pragmatic advice with excellent judgement in both operational and political matters.
• High integrity and a commitment to helping raise standards within prisons, youth detention accommodation, probation and immigration detention.
• Excellent communication skills.

Desirable criteria
• An understanding or experience of the wider criminal justice system in the UK or comparable jurisdictions.

Additional Information

Closing date for applications is noon on Tuesday 18 April 2017

Supporting documents (2017)
PPO Candidate Information Pack 12-04-2017
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