Social Research Analyst

Ministry of Justice

London E14

£33,929 - £42,107


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The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) is an Arms Length Body (ALB) of the Ministry of Justice. We have two key functions:

  • to investigate complaints made by prisoners, young people in detention, offenders under probation supervision and immigration detainees; and
  • to investigate deaths of prisoners, young people in detention, approved premises’ residents and immigration detainees.

The PPO analytical team ‘Learning Lessons’ was set up to undertake collective analysis of PPO investigation evidence. The team has been vital in moving the PPO beyond focusing on learning from individual cases to being able to identify themes and patterns in our evidence base. This analytical work has enabled the PPO to contribute to the conversation on a wide range of issues affecting the services in our remit. Our bulletins and thematic reports – our most ‘visible’ analytical output – are available to view on our website.

The team is made up of 3 Analysts (2 Social Researchers and 1 Data Analyst) and a Research Assistant. All 4 posts currently report directly to the Head of Learning Lessons and Strategic Support, although this will change when a new Head of Learning Lessons is recruited.

This post offers an exciting opportunity to contribute towards the Ombudsman’s learning lessons agenda and represents a great entry point to the civil service for someone with existing research experience from the public, private or voluntary sectors. It would suit someone with experience of survey research and of working with quantitative-focused statistical packages to undertake data analysis, though applicants with broader experience (e.g. qualitative fieldwork, evaluation)/ mixed methods researchers are welcome. Strong time management is important given the variety of work the post holder would need to do in our small but busy team.

Previous experience of the Criminal Justice System is preferable but not essential (see below for more details of requirements on skills and experience).

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is based at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU (10SC). We pride ourselves in embracing Smarter Working and offer up to 2 days a week working from home or a commuter hub. You will therefore be expected to attend 10SC for 3 days of the week if working full time. We run a flexible working scheme and encourage all staff to enjoy a healthy work / life balance.

Job Description – Band C analyst

The post holder will be responsible for the following:

Thematic reports

  • Help identify and scope research topics as part of our regular planning cycle
  • Analyse PPO investigation evidence (case files) and research databases to produce learning and recommendations for services in remit
  • Write research reports and bulletins (lead author), include appropriate data visualisations
  • Help disseminate findings to staff and stakeholders (e.g. at seminars or conferences

Stakeholder feedback

  • Manage PPO stakeholder feedback surveys (various recipients) (includes monitoring response rates and data entry)
  • Contribute to discussions on survey methodology (sampling and weighting) and research tool design
  • Set up & analyse SPSS datasets of responses
  • Write reports of findings & comparison with previous years
  • Disseminate findings to internal stakeholders

General analytical support

  • Produce management information for monthly performance management meetings (includes collating, checking and cleaning data, preparing tables)
  • Provide analytical support for annual reporting cycle
  • Provide briefings & data for managers for liaison with stakeholders/ external presentations
  • Respond to Freedom of Information and other external data/ information requests
  • Contribute to other work streams in the office as required
  • Other tasks requiring analytical skill set as required

Table 1: summary of post holder requirements



  • Desk based analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Survey research.


  • Qualitative fieldwork delivery.
  • Project management of research or analytical projects.
  • Project or programme evaluation.
  • Criminal justice sector research or analysis.
  • Criminal justice sector – operational role/s.

Technical & other skills


  • Experience of working with statistical packages
  • Excel (intermediate skills minimum).
  • Report writing.


  • Excellent SPSS skills (or similar software where skills are transferrable).
  • Strong time management.



  • Undergraduate social sciences degree with research methods component (2:1. minimum award), OR a numerate degree (minimum 2:1) such as maths or economics which included statistics training PLUS relevant research/analytical work experience
  • Awareness of relevant industry standards e.g. data protection and research ethics.


  • Member of a relevant professional body – e.g. Government Social Research Service (GSR), the Government Statistical Service (GSS) or the Government Operational Research Service (GORS). Alternatively, for external applicants – Social Research Association, UK Evaluation Society. or similar

Civil service behaviours

As part of the recruitment process, you will be required to provide evidence of the following behaviours for sifting. The same behaviours will be tested at interview as well as some strengths that are required for the role. If you are invited to interview, you will also be asked to prepare a presentation on how you have the experience required for the role. Further details on Success Profiles recruitment can be found at

Making Effective Decisions

Understand own level of responsibility and empower others to make decisions where appropriate. Analyse and use a range of relevant, credible information from internal and external sources to support decisions. Invite challenge and where appropriate involve others in decision making. Display confidence when making difficult decisions, even if they prove to be unpopular. Consult with others to ensure the potential impacts on end users have been considered. Present strong recommendations in a timely manner outlining the consideration of other options, costs, benefits and risks.

Working Together

Encourage joined up team work within own team and across other groups. Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources and support. Invest time to develop a common focus and genuine positive team spirit where colleagues feel valued and respect one another. Put in place support for the wellbeing of individuals within the team, including consideration of your own needs. Make it clear to all team members that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Managing a quality service

Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence. Work with stakeholders to set priorities, objectives and timescales. Successfully deliver high quality outcomes that meet the customers’ needs and gives value for money. Identify risks and resolve issues efficiently. Involve a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and delivery partners in developing suggestions for improvements. Establish ways to find and respond to feedback from customers about the services provided.

Delivering at pace

Show a positive approach to keeping the whole team’s efforts focused on the top priorities. Promote a culture of following the appropriate procedures to ensure results are achieved on time whilst still enabling innovation. Ensure the most appropriate resources are available for colleagues to use to do their job effectively. Regularly monitor your own and team’s work against milestones ensuring individual needs are considered when setting tasks. Act promptly to reassess workloads and priorities when there are conflicting demands to maintain performance. Allow individuals the space and authority to meet objectives, providing additional support where necessary, whilst keeping overall responsibility.

Additional Information

In the event of a large number of applications being received, an initial sift on Making Effective Decisions and the statement of suitability may be conducted. There are 2 stages to the interview process. Firstly a Social Research entry test and candidates passing the test will be invited to a face-to-face interview at a later stage.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on 'modernised' terms in their current post or onto 'unmodernised' MoJ terms if they are on 'unmodernised' terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


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