MoJ offers £130,000 for new prisons and probation director general roles

Director general posts announced in January in shake-up after challenging year for HMPPS


Photo: Charles Hoffman

The Ministry of Justice is offering a £130,000 pay packet for two directors general of prisons and probation, as part of a high-level shakeup announced earlier this year.

The two DG posts were announced by MoJ permanent secretary Sir Richard Heaton in January to help HM Prison and Probation Service deliver its “large and critical workload”.

The director general prisons will be responsible for developing strategies to reduce violence and deaths in custody, as well as “positive regimes… and a rehabilitative approach across the prison estate to help prisoners to turn their lives around and to reduce the rate of reoffending”, according to an application pack.


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Heaton's announcement of the role came after a year in which there were serious safety concerns at several prisons. Conditions were so severe in three cases that chief prisons inspector Peter Clarke issued a urgent notification requiring the justice secretary to respond publicly to an inspection within 28 days, and in the most severe the MoJ took over control of Birmingham prison from the contrator G4S.

The DG prisons will have “strategic leadership” of around 33,000 staff and a budget of around £3bn, according to the application pack.

The second position will include oversight of both HMPPS's probation services, and of all services – both prisons and probation – in Wales. The DG probation and Wales will manage 9,000 staff and a £1bn budget.

Their responsibilities will include ensuring services are delivered effectively; leading the National Probation Service; tackling “disproportionate outcomes for staff and offenders on the grounds of race”; and ensuring contracts with Community Rehabilitation Companies that run private probation services are managed effectively.

They will also be responsible for delivering an overhaul of probation services, which will see the NPS take over management of probation services for low and medium-risk offenders when the CRC contracts end.

The MoJ announced in May that it would bring privatised probation services back under public control, reversing the highly-criticised Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.

The two DGs will report to  HMPPS chief executive Jo Farrar and work with her on the service’s strategic and operational plans.

Both successful candidates are expected to have “significant senior leadership experience in offender management delivery services” and “the personal stature and gravitas to influence, challenge and gain trust” of civil servants, ministers and others.

They must also be “confident and resilient under pressure” and have strong commercial skills, according to the application packs.

Phil Copple, director director, public sector prisons at the National Offender Management Service, has been interim DG prisons since the post was announced in January. Amy Rees has been DG probation.

The two posts are accountable to Jo Farrar, chief executive of HMPPS.

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