Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

Body: Ministry of Justice
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sector: Prison & Policing
Location: The role is based on London, some travel may be required.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £100,000 per annum
Time Requirements: 37 hours per week 3 year tenure

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    10/10/2018 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Ombudsman’s remit is determined by Terms of Reference set by the Secretary of State for Justice.

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 independent 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; and
• responding to recommendations from the Harris Review into self-inflicted deaths in custody of 18-24 year olds.

In carrying out the duties of the office, the Ombudsman has responsibility for around 120 members of staff and in 2017/18 a budget of circa £5 million.

The Ombudsman has on occasion been invited by Ministers to undertake investigations which fall outside of the usual remit.

The Ombudsman is a member of the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody.

Further information can be found on the website:

This appointment is subject to a pre-appointment hearing before the Justice Committee.

Ministers are responsible for making the appointment. If the Secretary of State decides you are the preferred candidate you will appear before the Justice Committee in July. Prior to the Select Committee hearing the preferred candidate will be expected to undertake some preparatory work with Ministry of Justice officials. The hearing is non-binding but the Secretary of State will consider the Select Committee’s conclusions before deciding whether to proceed with the appointment. The requirement for a Select Committee hearing may lead to a delay in announcing the successful candidate’s appointment.

Person Specification

We are looking for an outstanding individual to lead the PPO operation at a time when independent scrutiny is an important part of the Government’s prison and probation reform programme.

Essential criteria

• Ability to maintain the independence of the Ombudsman from, and to make judgements independently of, the inspected agencies, Ministers, the Ministry of Justice and others;
• Evidence of strong strategic leadership skills with the ability to lead an organisation of a similar size and complexity and to demonstrate robust financial management within a tight and reducing budget;
• Evidence of significant achievement in providing strategic vision and driving successful improvement;
• A Commitment to helping raise standards within prisons, youth detention accommodation, probation and immigration detention; and
• Excellent communication and relationship management skills with the ability to engage constructively with a wide range of stakeholders including Ministers, senior officials in government, senior leads in the inspectorates and other scrutiny bodies, parliamentarians and the media.

Desirable criteria
• An understanding of the Criminal Justice System in the UK or comparable jurisdictions; and
• Interest, knowledge and experience of the issues faced by those in custody or under supervision and those who manage them on a day to day basis.


• This appointment is open to British or Commonwealth citizens, British Dependent Territories citizens, British Nationals (Overseas) citizens, British protected persons, citizens of the Republic of Ireland, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals or to those of other member states, and to certain non-EEA family members. Applicants must have rights of residence in the UK.
• There must be no employment restrictions, or time limit on your permitted stay in the UK. You should normally have been resident in the United Kingdom for at least three years prior to your application.

How to Apply

To make an application, please send:
• 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.
Supporting Documents
Please also complete and return the following supporting documents:
• potential conflicts of interest: You should declare any actual or potential conflict of interest. The Advisory Assessment Panel may wish to explore these further with you if you are shortlisted for interview. Conflicts might arise from a variety of sources such as financial interests or share ownership, membership of, or association with, particular bodies or the activities of relatives or partners. If you need further advice, please contact Anna Payne at
• note of public appointments – please list any appointments currently held;
• referee details – please give names/contact details of two referees (who will be contacted if you are shortlisted for interview);
• the political activity declaration form – in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments, details of any declared activity will be made public if you are appointed; and
• the equal opportunities monitoring form – information is requested for monitoring purposes only and plays no part in the selection process. It will be kept confidential and will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel.
Please send your CV, personal statement and supporting documents to: quoting reference PAT150045-PPO-OMBUDSMAN in the subject line of your email. We will acknowledge receipt.
If you have any questions about any aspects of this post, you are welcome to contact Anna Payne, or on 020 3334 4506.

Candidate Infomation Pack PPO - 2018 - v2
Supporting-documents-February 2018
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