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Role details

HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Application deadline 20 June 2023


His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Probation
Sponsor department
Ministry of Justice
Judicial, Prisons & Policing
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
37 hour(s) per week
£135000 per annum
Length of term
3 years
Application deadline
11pm on 20 June 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    24 May 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11pm on 20 June 2023

  3. Sifting date

    26 July 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    28 September 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


Dear Candidate,
Thank you for your interest in becoming His Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) of Probation. I welcome applicants from the widest possible field. Above all I am seeking an individual of utmost probity who is measured, grounded and competent in leading and running a high-profile organisation.
This is a highly demanding but ultimately rewarding role and presents a rare opportunity for the right candidate to contribute significantly to improvements in the delivery of key public services.
Through resilient and inspiring leadership, the Chief Inspector will visibly lead staff and deploy strong organisational skills balanced against demanding workloads in a challenging and competitive environment. You may already have some idea about the important work of the Inspectorate and the following pages will tell you more about the Inspectorate’s purpose and the nature of the Chief Inspector’s role. The key duty of the Chief Inspector is to ensure the inspection of probation and youth offending services in England and Wales. They provide a vital public interest role by independently assessing the effectiveness and quality of probation and youth justice services and in providing independent scrutiny of the quality of work undertaken with individual offenders.
As the public face of the inspectorate, the Chief Inspector plays a key role in ensuring that this work is delivered in a way that maximises its impact. A new Chief Inspector will be closely involved in developing the framework for a new cycle of youth inspections to start in 2024. I look to the Chief Inspector to provide objective, balanced findings that we can use to improve the standard and efficiency of probation and youth offending services.
If you have further questions about this post, you are welcome to speak to Paul Norris, Deputy Director: Scrutiny, Performance and Engagement. Please contact Paul via email at
If you have questions about the appointment process, you can contact the Public Appointments Team at: or Ashley Holliday on
If you believe you have the experience and qualities we are seeking, I do hope you will consider applying for this important position.
Minister Hinds
Minister of State for Justice

Role description

The role of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation

The Chief Inspector has a duty to ensure the inspection of probation and youth offending services in England and Wales and provides a vital public interest role by independently assessing the effectiveness and quality of probation and youth justice services and in providing independent scrutiny of the quality of work undertaken with individual offenders.

In 2021, the department implemented the probation unification programme, bringing together services from across the former Community Rehabilitation Companies and the former National Probation Service to create a new, unified Probation Service, which is part of His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). That service is supported by a dynamic framework of commissioned specialist services. The service is now focused on improving its performance with pace by recruiting staff at unprecedented rates and continuing to improve the probation estate and the use of digital tools.

Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) are the key frontline agency responsible for supporting children in the youth justice system away from crime and (re)offending. In recent years, we have seen significant increases in the number of children in the system being successfully diverted away from it. However, significant challenges remain – how YOTs work with the very vulnerable, often violent, cohort of children still in the system and how they liaise with other local services to identify and intervene before children reach that stage. HMI Probation’s YOT and thematic inspections are critical to driving improvements in this vital service. 

The Chief Inspector will provide independent assurance to the public on the effectiveness of probation and youth offending work through delivering and developing programmes of inspection and the inspection methodology or “framework” against which both probation services provision and YOTs are inspected. The Chief Inspector as the public face of the inspectorate plays a key role in ensuring that this work is delivered in a way that maximises its impact. A new Chief Inspector will be closely involved in developing the framework for a new cycle of youth inspections to start in 2024. In addition to inspections of individual or regional services, HMI Probation publishes regular thematic reports on key issues in the criminal justice system. It also plays a vital role in assuring the quality of Serious Further Offence (SFO) reviews undertaken by the Probation Service, and occasionally, at the request of the Secretary of State, independently reviewing individual cases.

Working closely with the Senior Management Team, the Chief Inspector will visibly lead inspection and headquarters staff and manage a tight budget and is accountable to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for the appropriate use of resources in accordance with budgetary delegation arrangements.

The Chief Inspector has a statutory requirement to consult other Chief Inspectors and Ministers on the development of HMI Probation’s programme and framework. The Chief Inspector also needs to work effectively with officials from the MoJ while maintaining the independence of the inspectorate from the inspected agencies and continuing to make judgements independent of Ministers and the department.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates must also be able to demonstrate the essential criteria relevant to the particular role: 

·       Outstanding leadership skills and experience, including successfully managing people, limited resources and finances, balanced against demanding workloads in a challenging environment. 

·       An ability to process, interpret and present complex information and to offer well developed analytical reasoning to inform independent judgements based on evidence. 

·       An understanding of inspection methodologies as well as the risks and challenges associated with inspection in a challenging and competitive environment. 

·       An ability and commitment to drive transformed performance of probation and youth justice services, using evidence to support conclusions.  

·       Significant interpersonal and stakeholder management skills including the ability to work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders, and communicate credibly and effectively with Ministers, HMPPS leaders, other inspectorates and                    select committees. 

·       An ability to handle the media along with the ability to deliver difficult and challenging messages. 

Desirable criteria

·                Evidence of valuing and promoting diversity. 

·                Additional relevant experience which is transferable to the running of a public body. 

·                An understanding of the policy, political and media landscape in which the inspectorate works. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

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 AAPs 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.

equality information - 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 AAP.

information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues - If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the Inspectorate and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your supporting documents. Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the AAP. Please provide details of the issue/s in your supporting letter. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

• The AAP may explore any issues with you before they make a recommendation on the appointment. Failure to disclose such information could result in an appointment either not being made or being terminated. 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.

requests for referees - Please provide names and contact details of two people who may be asked to act as referees for you to (quote PAT 160081 in any correspondence). At least one referee must have knowledge of your work relating to your most recent professional and/ or voluntary activity. They will be expected to have authoritative and personal knowledge of your achievements in a professional or public service capacity.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

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. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. 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.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The Panel will be:  

·                Ross Gribbin, Director General Policy, Ministry of Justice, (Panel Chair); 

·             Mark Rawlinson, Lead Non-Executive Director, Ministry of Justice; 

·             Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland; and 

·             Sir Peter Rubin, Emeritus Professor and Chair of the Strategy Delivery Board at the University of Nottingham, Senior Independent Panel Member (SIPM). 

The AAP Chair will report to Ministers on the outcome of the interviews.  Ministers are responsible for making the appointment. 

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.

Pre-appointment scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.
If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing.  Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment. 
Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here. 

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)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

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 Advisory Assessment 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. These are:
  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

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 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 annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 

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 only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

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

If you have a complaint about any aspect of the way your application has been handled, we would like to hear from you. In the first instance please e-mail the Public Appointments Team as shown below quoting the appropriate reference number.

Maggie Garrett, Ministry of Justice, Head of the Public Appointments Team, Public Bodies Centre of Expertise, Ministry of Justice, E-mail address:

Complaints must be received by the Public Appointments Team within 12 calendar months of the issue or the closure of the recruitment competition, whichever is the later.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

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

Your personal Information 

In accordance with the Public Appointments Order in Council 2019(4)(5), we will process your application in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Ministry of Justice’s Information Charter, which can be found online here.

Your data will be held securely, and access will be restricted to those dealing with your application or involved in the recruitment process. Your data may also be shared with the Commissioner for Public Appointments and other relevant government departments, including the Cabinet Office, as part of a complaint investigation or review of the recruitment process. Cabinet Office will handle data in accordance with their Privacy Notice available online here. Your data may also be disclosed as required by law or in connection with legal proceedings.

Your data will be stored for up to two years and processed for the purpose of the recruitment process, diversity monitoring and, if successful, your personal record. If appointed, your data will be stored for the duration of your tenure and may be shared with the organisation to which you are appointed, unless you specifically request us not to.

Should you wish your data to be removed from our records, please contact

Contact details

Tenure: Public appointments are offered on a fixed term basis. We do this to ensure that the leadership of our public bodies is regularly refreshed and so that HMI Probation can benefit from new perspectives and ideas.

Appointment is for three years with the possibility of reappointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers. Reappointments are not automatic and are subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. In line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, there is a strong presumption that no individual should serve more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years.

Remuneration: HMCI Probation is a full-time pensionable role with a time commitment of 37 hours per week, remunerated at £135,000 per year. Remuneration is taxable and subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions. Remuneration may be abated if receiving a public service pension.

Performance Appraisal: You will be subject to annual appraisal.   

Location and Expenses: The main office, with support staff, is based in Manchester however the post-holder may choose to be based in either Manchester or London (a considerable amount of the Chief Inspector’s time will be spent in London). Frequent travel to Manchester and London will be necessary.

Travelling expenses may not be paid for journeys from home to the base Inspectorate office but travelling and subsistence allowances may be payable when the Chief Inspector is required to travel and/or stay away overnight in the course of their duties on the same basis as is applicable to senior civil servants.

For additional information, please contact