Head of Improvement

H - £55,012-£63,867 (depending on qualifications, skills and experience)
Closing date
16/03/2021, 12:00
All Hours required
Full-Time - 37 Hours

SPS is committed to putting the people who live and work in Scotland’s prisons at the heart of outcomes focused and evidence based design, delivery and improvement of services.  The Head of Improvement will be at the forefront of this commitment, developing and delivering the SPS improvement framework, supporting SPS to meets its obligations as an effective prison service, as an Executive Agency of Scottish Government and as a public body.  This is a new, challenging and rewarding role, working across internal and external stakeholders, bringing people and systems together in support of corporate planning, performance and risk management, business intelligence and analysis and improving our management information arrangements as well as ensuring SPS responds effectively to scrutiny.  In particular, you will work closely with Strategy colleagues to bring qualitative and quantitative research behind organisational improvement priorities as well as support strategic engagement with Scottish Government, Justice Board and associated infrastructure, UK Statistics Authority, academia and other external stakeholders.  You will ensure accurate, high quality analysis and evidence at pace in a high pressure environment.  You will work with the Head of Strategy and Improvement, your team and across SPS to ensure SPS can ‘plan for uncertainty’ through ensuring effective strategic planning and reporting arrangements, keeping pace with pandemic management and the expectations of Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, including Ministers, HMIP and external auditors and ensuring that the contribution of prisons is recognised in Justice Strategy arrangements.   


In role, you will work in partnership with the Head of Division and Head of Strategy and be responsible for the management, governance and control of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) Improvement Framework, to ensure SPS meets the expectations of a well performing public body.  


In addition, you will be expected manage the implementation of all aspects of an Enterprise Risk Management approach, including implementation of processes, tools and systems to identify, assess, measure, manage, monitor and report risks.


In role you will have line management responsibility for a number of staff across two teams: Corporate Planning, performance and risk team and the Business Improvement and analysis team.

The role will be based within SPS Headquarters, in Edinburgh, however there may be a requirement for you to work from home, and travel to other SPS sites and locations.

Continuously develop, enhance, embed, integrate and improve Management Information and business information. Management Information improvement is a key component of evidence based priority setting, policy and improvement,  and you will ensure that SPS meets its obligations to public reporting in accordance with UKSA expectations and as a public body in accordance with Audit Scotland and Scottish Government expectations.
Develop, embed and improve the risk framework with wider Improvement Framework and Strategy development, including horizon scanning.  Deliver effective risk management to the organisation and continue to educate the organisation in effective risk management providing advice across the organisation, identifying emerging risks and advising senior management on appropriate risk management options. This will include reporting on key risks,  agreeing mitigating controls and escalating other risks.
Provide strategic advice to the organisation on improvement in order to make sound and evidence based business decisions. You will ensure SPS has effective governance and control in place for all areas of organisational improvement including the development and delivery of outcomes and indicators and SPS wide contribution to national strategy including Justice Strategy.
Responsible for ensuring the development, management, prioritisation, communication and delivery of SPS Improvement framework, including all key components of the SPS strategic planning cycle (Medium to longer term corporate plan, annual plan, quarterly reporting, annual reporting).
Responsible for ensuring managers at all levels throughout the organisation are aware of SPS Improvement and their roles and responsibilities in delivering organisational improvement. This includes ad hoc Improvement, Risk Management Information and wider improvement advisor work as required; both on site work and advice to Governors across Scottish Prisons.
Support SPS liaison with External Audit in relation to scrutiny obligations, including coordination and oversight of organisational improvement in response to External Audit reports and support the RMAC and associated responsibilities. As well as support SPS liaison with HMIPs in relation to scrutiny obligations, including coordination and oversight of organisational improvement in response to HMIPs reports.  
Person Specification

SPS recruitment and selection practice is based on the fundamentals of our Behavioural Competency Framework. This identifies behaviours and standards required both of applicants seeking to join us, and our staff in their respective roles. Assessment of specific behaviours, of which there are twelve, will be determined by the role you are applying for. Whilst it is unlikely you will be assessed on all of them , you will be assessed on these identified as key to role.

Qualifications Requirements

Professional qualification in governance e.g. MAPM, CMIRM or CIPFA or equivalent qualifications from alternative, suitable accrediting body or relevant work experience


Experience Requirements

Leadership Experience

Experience of providing strategic leadership to a risk, performance, analytical or improvement function, with the ability to influence, direct, empower and inspire others to deliver strategic outcomes.


Project Management

Experience of programme and project management


Change Management

Experience of identifying the need for change to improve services and ways of working, with the ability to demonstrate an ability to engage with stakeholders, set direction of change, implement the change across a large organisation, ensuring effective planning and communication, overcoming barriers, managing resistance and empowering others to deliver outcomes.


Knowledge Skills Requirements

Sound understanding of public body expectations, including the integration of approaches to improvement, performance, risk management and the relationship with strategy and business analysis.


Problem Solving and Decision Making

Ability to identify and analyse issues, problem solve and produce creative and innovative solutions in order to make decisions which are defensible, evidenced-based, take account of risks, appropriately and timely. ESSENTIAL

Planning, Implementation & Control

Ability to plan and demonstrate strategic thinking in a clear and concise manner, delegate appropriately, take account of future risks and developments, and monitor progress.


Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to manage and influence situations, relationships and conflict through the effective use of your communication and interpersonal skills. ESSENTIAL

Behavioural Profile
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