Role details

Member - Volunteers needed on Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) at HMP Northumberland

Application deadline 30 October 2022

Summary

Organisation
Independent Monitoring Board of any prison or young offender institution
Sponsor department
Ministry of Justice
Location
North East
Sector
Judicial, Prison & Policing
Skills
Communication, Regulation
Number of vacancies
3
Time commitment
Adhoc
Length of term
Up to 3 years with reappointment available up to a maximum tenure of 15 years.
Application deadline
11:59am on 30 October 2022

Apply for this role

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 September 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11:59am on 30 October 2022

  3. Sifting date

    6 November 2022

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    9 December 2022

These dates are indicative and may be subject to change

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates need to be over 18 years of age and live within approx. 25 miles of the prison

Desirable criteria

Applicants do not need any special qualifications or experience as we will provide all necessary training and support.  You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, possess effective communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement.  

Role description

Organisation description

HMP Northumberland is a very large Cat C, male prison, with a large population of men. The site is extensive and is one of the  largest footprints in the UK. Much of the movement between residential and work blocks is outside without protection from the weather. The walk from the car park to the main gatehouse takes ten minutes.  Inside every prison, there is an IMB a group of ordinary members of the public doing an extraordinary job.  IMB members are independent, unpaid and complete an average of 2-3 visits per month depending on the needs of the Board and the individual.  Members are the eyes and ears of Ministers and monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained.  Your background can be as a student, a person of working age or retired.  We welcome applications from people over 18 and are particularly keen to hear from those of working age and individuals from black and minority ethnic communities, since these groups are under-represented on existing Boards.  The role is about fairness and decency and is always rewarding, educational and challenging.  Please click on www.imb.org.uk to find out how being an IMB member can benefit you.  

Application and selection process

How to apply

Applicants can find further information and apply online via the IMB website https://www.imb.org.uk/join-now/current-vacancies/ In exceptional circumstances a paper copy of the application may be available.  Applicants should contact imbrecruitment@justice.gov.uk in the first instance. Please note that some interviews may take place via Zoom.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department.
  2. An Interview Panel (“Panel”) is convened to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.
  3. Applications may or may not be shortlisted.
  4. You will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted and invited to an interview.
  5. The Panel will interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The names of all appointable candidates are provided to Ministers. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.
  6. The Panel’s recommendations will be provided to Ministers in a submission which details the outcome of each interview. They will then be asked to agree on the candidate(s) who should be appointed.
  7. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)

Security clearance

IMB members have full access to their local prison, immigration removal centre or STHF at any time, day or night.  For this reason, all our members must be security cleared.  The following security clearance levels apply:

-          Young Offender Institutions and Prisons with mother and baby units:  Enhanced DBS with a Child Barred List Check

-          High Security Prisons: Enhanced Level 2, and CTC (Counter-Terrorist Check)

-          All other prisons: Enhanced level 1

-          Immigration Estate: Standard DBS and CTC

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Interview  Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life--2. These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory appraisals of performance during each term in the post. If re-appointed, the total time served in post will not exceed 15 years.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

This is an unpaid, voluntary role, but we pay your travel expenses and in certain circumstances, some loss of earnings and childcare/carer costs.

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are not able to offer detailed feedback.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.

Please follow the IMB complaints process to raise your concerns. Your complaint will normally be acknowledged within five working days of receipt and answered as quickly and clearly as possible; at the most within 20 working days of receipt.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

The IMB’s privacy statement is available here:

Privacy-statement-Secretariat-Level-IMBs-for-applications.pdf

Contact details

General enquiries about our roles or the application process can be directed to IMBrecruitment@justice.gov.uk.