Guidance

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Parole Board member recruitment

Work with us - Parole Board member recruitment campaign

About the Parole Board

Want to know when we are recruiting in your area?

Our recruitment campaign for Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Judicial Members in 2020 was open to those who live in all regions of England and Wales. The role is home based, including with some hearings undertaken remotely by telephone and video. Travel will also be required to attend oral hearings during the working day in HMP establishments across England & Wales.

The Parole Board (PB) has greatest need for members outside the London and South East area. Although much of our work can be completed remotely, we still need members to attend prisons for hearings. Demand is particularly high in the North, Wales, Midlands and East Anglia. You will be asked nominate 3 priority prisons that you can attend, at least 1 of which is from our high priority list, to include in your selected list of 25 prisons that are accessible to you.

Applications for these roles have now closed but we will be recruiting for Independent members later in the year and will provide updates in due course.

Can I apply to be a judicial member?

Judicial members must be:

  1. A retired High Court Judge;
  2. A retired Senior Circuit Judge; or
  3. A Circuit Judge, who retired in the three years preceding the closing date for applications or is currently serving and will be retired by April 2021

If you sit as a part-time judge, tribunal judge, magistrate, or any other judicial role that isn’t mentioned above, you can apply to be an independent member. We aren’t currently seeking independent members but we expect to start recruitment in this area later in the year.

Can I apply to be a psychologist member?

To be considered for the role of psychologist member, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Registered as a practitioner psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC);
  2. With knowledge and understanding of forensic risk assessment.
  3. No outstanding fitness to practice matters

This is a senior position where it is expected individuals will use their knowledge of psychology, risk assessment tools and risk management skills, to work independently and in consultation with other Parole Board colleagues in deciding if an offender should receive parole.

Can I apply to be a psychiatrist member?

To be considered for the role of psychologist member, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. At least 5 years as a consultant psychiatrist in the UK
  2. Specialist registration as a medical practitioner with the General Medical Council
  3. A licence to practice is not required
  4. No outstanding fitness to practice matters

This is a senior position where it is expected individuals will use their knowledge of psychiatry, risk assessment tools and risk management skills, to work independently and in consultation with other Parole Board colleagues in deciding if an offender should receive parole.

Can I apply to be an independent member?

We are not currently recruiting Independent members but will provide updates on this area in due course. Independent members come from a variety of professional backgrounds, you do not need to have experience in the criminal justice system to apply. We value transferable skills such as evidence-based decision making, independence of mind and judgement, interpersonal and communication skills. If you have these skills then we want you to apply, regardless of your background.

If you are interested in any upcoming recruitment for independent members, please register your interest using our online form here.

What does the work involve?

Paper hearings

Every parole review is first considered by a Parole Board member looking at a file of information and reports that provide evidence about the offender, known as a ‘dossier’. This is done at home by members who are trained in the role and have experience of oral hearings. The member can either make a final decision based on the information provided in the dossier, or decide that the case must be considered at a face-to-face oral hearing at a prison. Due to Covid-19, all oral hearings have been taking place remotely via telephone and video link. Work is under way to make remote hearings part of our business as usual going forward.

Oral hearings

Oral hearings most often take place in prison. The Parole Board ‘panel’ sitting at the oral hearing will be chaired by a Parole Board member who is trained and accredited in the role. The chair may sit alone or be accompanied by up to two further members, sometimes including a psychiatrist or psychologist. Members prepare by reading the details of the case laid out in the dossier and then hear evidence from the prisoner and a variety of professional witnesses before making their decision.

Remote hearings

The Parole Board also carries out oral hearings via telephone of video conference. All parties who would attend the hearing in prison dial in to a video call or telephone conference to take part. This has become more prevalent during the Covid-19 pandemic with prisons inaccessible due to restrictions. Remote hearings will continue to be held, even as restrictions are lifted.

What does the Parole Board do?

The Parole Board works to protect the public by risk assessing prisoners to decide whether they can safely be released into the community. It works as a court and makes risk assessments which are rigorous, fair and timely, based on information supplied by expert witnesses.

Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release. The risk assessment is based on detailed evidence found in the dossier (a collection of documents relating to the prisoner) and evidence provided at the oral hearing.

The Parole Board is responsible for considering parole reviews for prisoners serving indeterminate sentences – sometimes called ‘life’ sentences – where the sentence has no end date.

It also considers certain types of determinate sentence cases - where there is an end to the sentence – and some prisoners who have been sent back, or ‘recalled’, to prison.

To be eligible for parole, a prisoner will have served the minimum ‘tariff’, or punishment part of their sentence, set by the courts. Prisoners eligible for parole are only released into the community if the Parole Board decides it is safe to do so.

An offender released on a parole licence continues to serve the rest of their sentence in the community while being supervised by the Probation Service. This is known as ‘release on licence’ or parole.

Why should I apply?

  • You will be protecting the community by making important decisions on the future of people who have served the punishment part of their sentence. These decisions are vital in ensuring justice, fairness and the protection of the public.
  • The work is varied and stimulating. It can be challenging and rewarding. You will work with other members with a wealth of different experiences and will learn a lot in the process.
  • The work is very flexible, and you can organise it to fit around other commitments at work and at home.
  • There is great scope for broadening your role. For example, independent members will train to chair oral hearings, undertake duty work and mentor others, and these roles are available to specialist and judicial members too.
  • You will be supported and trained throughout your time at the Parole Board by mentors, fellow members, and the office staff.

Inclusion & Diversity commitment

The Parole Board is committed to inclusion and diversity. We encourage applications from all candidates regardless of ethnicity, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or gender identity.

We are seeking to improve the diversity of the Parole Board membership and particularly welcome applications from people with black and minority ethnic backgrounds, as well as Welsh speakers

Caroline Corby, Chair of the Parole Board has publicly spoken about the Parole Board’s commitment to increasing BAME representation amongst its membership.

We made strides in this area during our 2019 recruitment campaigns by working with experts and charities to increase the reach of the campaigns and share the message that these roles are open to all.

The work to improve the Parole Board’s diversity will continue into future recruitment campaigns. Organisations and charities are invited to contact the Parole Board at workwithus@paroleboard.gov.uk to share their ideas and expertise for how the next campaign can be even better.

What is it like being a member?

Some Parole Board members have written blogs to show potential applicants what the work entails and how they came to be a member in the first place.

Life at the Parole Board

His Honour Judge Geoffrey Kamil, CBE. Judicial member since 2000

I joined as Parole Board Member 175 in the year 2000. There were about 20 of us new recruits and most were connected in some way with the law — either judges, barristers, magistrates, ex-probation officers, or senior ex-police officers. There were no members representing any Minorities.

I can honestly say that I would not have continued as a Parole Board member if I did not enjoy my work. It is onerous but satisfying, especially when you have been able to reach a decision that is fair to the prisoner, the victim, and the public.

Read more from Geoffrey’s blog.

Independent members, transferrable skills

Aruna Walsh, independent member since 2009

When I first saw the advertisement for new Parole Board members I didn’t really consider it seriously.

On closer reading of the requirements, however, I noted that the skills being sought were in analysis, evaluation, communication, working collaboratively, drawing on written and orally heard information, and electronic working.

Read more from Aruna’s blog.

A new challenge that can fit around your other commitments

Cassie Williams, independent member since 2016

I joined the Parole Board in 2016 and have discovered so much more about risk assessments, psychology, people and myself than I thought would come from this role. I applied to become a Member as I was looking for a new challenge that worked around my busy family life as a mum to 3 young daughters, and professional commitments as a Barrister.

It isn’t always easy, but the ability to plan my Board commitments some months ahead allows me to take on as much or as little work as I want.

Read more from Cassie’s blog.

Terms of appointment

Public appointments

Parole Board members are ‘public appointees’ and are independent of the authorities, in the same way a judge is in court.

  • Tenure: Members are appointed by Secretary of State for a five-year term with the possibility of re-appointment at the discretion of Ministers. Any re-appointment is subject to recommendation by the Board based on satisfactory performance appraisal and business need. If re-appointed, the total time served in post will not exceed 10 years.

  • Time Commitment: Parole Board members will be required to provide a minimum time commitment annually. The time commitment depends on the membership type.

  • You may give more time if there is work available. There is no guarantee of work. The time commitment includes preparation time for panels, which can be undertaken at home and in the evenings, to fit in with your other responsibilities. You will also be required to attend prisons for oral hearings during office hours.

  • Training: You will be supported with ongoing training and development. In addition to mandatory training there is an expectation that members will attend other learning and development events organised by the Parole Board. Members are also expected to contribute to the development of the organisation through consultation, pilot projects and non-casework activity, such as mentoring, training and quality assessment. Fees are payable for time spent on Parole Board business.

  • Fees: The work is fee paid. Remuneration is taxable and subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions. . The role is not pensionable and your remuneration may be abated if you receive a public service pension.

  • Travel and Subsistence - Members are entitled to claim for those travel costs necessarily and actually incurred on Parole Board business at the normal public service rates. Where no extra expense is incurred, no reimbursement is due. Members are also entitled to claim subsistence payments to reimburse them for any additional expenditure incurred while away from home on Parole Board business.

  • Performance: All members will be subject to regular monitoring and quality assurance of their performance. This will include an initial assessment after completion of the first year of membership.

  • Standards in Public Life: Public appointees are required to uphold the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Seven Principles of Public Life. You are also expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct for board members of public bodies

  • Public Appointments: The Commissioner for Public Appointments ensures that appointments are made in accordance with the Governance Code and the principles of public appointments. All appointments follow a recruitment process set out in the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

When thinking about applying for a public appointment, the ‘Nolan Principles’ apply – these were drawn up by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

  1. Selflessness
  2. Integrity
  3. Objectivity
  4. Accountability
  5. Openness
  6. Honesty
  7. Leadership

A full explanation of the principles can be found here

Work-life balance

Flexible working

The work is part-time, flexible and can fit around other commitments. You will be asked for your availability three months in advance and can choose which days you work. For example, you could choose only to sit on specific days of the week, or could opt to take the school holidays off.

Minimum annual commitment

Member type Minimum annual time commitment
Independent members 115 days
Retired Judicial members 69 days
Psychologist members 35 days
Psychiatrist members 35 days

This time commitment includes oral hearings held at prisons (or via video-link), as well as paper hearings and preparation work, which can be carried out at home using secure laptops that we provide.

Members may be able to work more than the minimum commitment if there is work available. However, there is no guarantee of work.

Pay

Casework fees currently range between £320 and £365 per day, depending on the role. A fee review is underway and these rates may change. Remuneration is taxable, and the role is not pensionable.

Oral Hearings

The daily rate varies depending on member type (i.e. specialist or non-specialist, panel chair or non-chair) and the nature of the work undertaken.

Member type Day rate for oral hearing preparation fee (per case)
Independent 320 60
Judicial 320 60
Psychologist 345 65
Psychiatrist 345 65

Members can expect to attend two to three hearings per listed day, whether remotely or at a prison. You will be paid an additional fee for preparation of each case, which can be done at home to fit in with your other commitments.

Paper Hearings

Below is the day rate for members carrying out paper hearings at home and is based on eight hours work.

Member Type Day rate for paper hearings
Independent 320
Judicial 320
Psychologist 320
Psychiatrist 320

Expenses

Although Parole Board members are home-based, there is a requirement to travel to attend hearings and for other Parole Board business. You will be reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses in line with the limits set out in the Parole Board member guidance.

Abatement

If you currently receive a salary from the public purse your remuneration for the Parole Board role may be subject to abatement.

Prison establishments

A full list of prisons and their addresses can be found here.

Published 8 June 2020
Last updated 7 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. First published.

  2. The 2019 member recruitment campaign is now closed for applications (7 March at 12:00). People can still register their interest in working for the Parole Board at workwithus@paroleboard.gov.uk and will be notified when there is a recruitment campaign open in the region they live in.

  3. Information added to 'want to know more' section: the Parole Board is holding recruitment events in Bradford and Sheffield on 22 February to discuss why it must improve the diversity of its membership and to encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to be a member.

  4. The eligibility criteria has been added to make it clear who can apply. The campaign is open to almost everyone and please do ask us at workwithus@paroleboard.gov.uk if you are still unsure whether you are eligible to apply.

  5. The Parole Board member recruitment page has been updated on Tuesday 29 January with the following: * New video of Parole Board members speaking about their roles and why people should apply * Postcode checker for people who need to check if they live in an eligibile area to apply * The option to book in a call with the Parole Board secretariat, a Parole Board member, or a member of the Public Appointments team via the workwithus email address. #workwithus

  6. The campaign for new Parole Board members is now open. This page has been updated with guidance on how to apply, blogs from Parole Board members, and when people need to apply by. More information will be posted in due course and please send any questions to workwithus@paroleboard.gov.uk.