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Non Executive Directorships

Victims’ Commissioner

Location: London

Date Posted: 04/12/2018

Closing Date: 11/01/2019

Full time £108,000 pa

Vacancy Description

The Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses (Victims’ Commissioner or the Commissioner) is a statutory role, established in legislation under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. The Secretary of State for Justice (Justice Secretary) is responsible for appointing the Commissioner and in doing so must consult the Attorney General and Home Secretary. The role is independent of government.

The legislation prescribes that the Commissioner must:

  • promote the interests of victims and witnesses;
  • encourage good practice in their treatment; and
  • keep under review the operation of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims’ Code).

The Commissioner may, for any purpose connected with the performance of their duties as above, make proposals to the Justice Secretary for amending the Victims’ Code (at the request of the Justice Secretary or on their own initiative); make a report to the Secretary of State; make recommendations to an authority within their remit and consult any person they think appropriate. The Commissioner is required to produce and publish an annual report on performance to the Justice Secretary, the Attorney General and the Home Secretary, and to give advice to a Minister of the Crown or the Treasury when required to do so.

The Victims Strategy included a commitment to consult on the detail of victim focused legislation. Part of the consultation will explore increasing the powers of the Commissioner to better hold government to account which may result in some future changes to the role, including consideration of an increase in salary.

Person Specification

Key Responsibilities:

Leadership

  • Working to promote the interests of victims and witnesses, encouraging good practice in their treatment and providing national leadership and raising awareness of victims’ issues.
  • Helping to ensure a consistent view of the criminal justice system from a victim perspective.
  • Highlighting and promoting the needs of victims of crime ensuring that they are best able cope with and, as far as possible, recover from the effects of crime.

Partnership Working

  • Develop wide-ranging and strategic working relationships with a number of stakeholders, including individuals and organisations, victims of crime, criminal justice agencies, service providers, third sector organisations, as well as the media.
  • Whilst noting the independence of the role, the Victims’ Commissioner will be expected to develop an effective relationship with the Secretary of State for Justice, junior Ministers and policy officials from across government. They will also be expected to be required to give evidence to parliamentary committees and provide expert advice as and when required.
  • The Commissioner will need to work particularly closely with Commissioners across government, such as the Children’s Commissioner and Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner, and will need to work in partnership with other organisations when this would deliver the most effective results.
  • Identifying and actively promoting examples of good practice and in doing so make proposals to the Secretary of State in respect of the Victims’ Code (at the request of the Secretary of State or on their own initiative); make reports to the Secretary of State; and make recommendations to any authority within their remit and consult any person they think appropriate.

Management and Accountability

  • The Commissioner must prepare in respect of each calendar year a report on the carrying out of the functions of the Commissioner during the year sending a copy the Secretary of State for Justice, the Attorney General, and the Home Secretary
  • Lead a team of staff (civil servants), who will support the Commissioner in their duties.
  • The Commissioner will be required to meet regularly with Secretary of State for Justice and other Ministers responsible for victims’ issues, including attendance at regular meetings such as the Victim and Witness Advisory Group.

Other Specific Responsibilities

  • Gain first-hand knowledge and understanding of the victims’ landscape.
  • Monitor and report on criminal justice agencies’ compliance with the requirements of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime and the Witness Charter.
  • Review the provision of victim services.
  • The Victims’ Commissioner will not act in relation to individual cases, although they may use the lessons of an individual case to inform their work.
  • The Victims’ Commissioner will not commission, provide or fund services. The responsibilities of the Victims’ Commissioner may be revised during the course of the appointment, in particular as a result of changes to the powers as prescribed under the legislation.  

Skills and Experience

Essential criteria:

  • Knowledge of working with victims and senior levels of government or the public sector.
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and negotiating skills with the ability to build effective working relationships with victims and victims’ organisations, Ministers, heads of criminal justice agencies, other independent Commissioners including Police and Crime Commissioners, Government departments, the media as well as other key stakeholders, including the wider public sector and the public as well as an understanding of the need to negotiate between conflicting opinions.
  • A clear understanding of the role of evidence based analysis in informing public bodies in an area of political and public attention and sensitivity.
  • Experience of responsibility for management decision-making and implementation of both short and longer-term plans.
  • Experience of using the media effectively to communicate messages and engage the wider public.

The ability to lead an organisation and lead and drive direction through management of team members in creating and implementing strategies and goals.Knowledge, Skills and

Abilities

  • Knowledge or an interest in the issues concerning victims of crime.
  • The ability to work independently and provide robust, independent advice, under a high level of public scrutiny.
  • Being credible with victims, government, civil society and the public and confident as a leader, with the capability to lead an effective organisation to deliver priorities.

The Victims’ Commissioner will be expected to operate in the public interest at all times, rather than in the interests of any particular organisation or interest group.

High profile public appointments can be subject to scrutiny by a Parliamentary Select Committee. In the event this role is made subject to such scrutiny, successful candidates may be required to attend a Select Committee hearing.

How to Apply

Please send your completed application comprising CV, supporting statement and supporting document to: PublicAppointmentsTeam@justice.gov.uk quoting PAT150060-VC

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