Terms of reference for Leadership Development and Well-being support in the criminal justice system

CJI has published the terms of reference for its thematic inspection of Leadership Development and Well-being support in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.  Initial scoping and research to  inform the inspection has been undertaken and fieldwork is now underway.

Please see terms of reference below:-

An Inspection of Leadership Development and Well-being Support in the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland


Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) proposes to undertake a thematic inspection of leadership development and well-being across the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.  CJI has undertaken inspections that incorporate elements of leadership and leadership development and the way staff are supported in organisations (as included in CJI’s inspection framework) but has not previously published a specific inspection of the way in which the criminal justice system supports and develops its leaders for the challenges they face. 

This inspection will consider the approach of the following criminal justice organisations to leadership development and well-being: the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland (PPS), the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS), Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI), the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS), the Youth Justice Agency (YJA) and the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI). 


The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) notes that two aspects of development activity are needed for the leaders of organisations:
  • Identifying and developing capabilities of individuals to lead others effectively (leader development);
  • Creating organisational structures and cultures that encourage and enable leadership[i].
The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) People Strategy 2018-21[ii] highlights ‘Strengthening  leadership and line management at all levels of the NICS’ as an area of focus with relevant priority actions including:
  • a well-led NICS (including to build the capacity of line managers and leaders across the service and Provide effective tools for line managers and leaders including streamlined and practical people policies, processes, guidance and training); and
  • a outcome-focused NICS (including to build career paths that develop breadth of experience and depth of expertise).
The CIPD noted in 2016 that employee health and well-being had risen sharply up the public policy agenda over the previous ten years[iii] and more recently that ‘the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about people’s health and well-being to the top of the business agenda’[iv].
Aims of the Inspection
The broad aims of the Inspection are to:
  • Examine the effectiveness of organisational strategies and delivery with regard to how potential future leaders are identified and developed;
  • Examine the effectiveness of organisational strategies and delivery with regard to how current leaders are developed in new and existing roles;
  • Examine the effectiveness of organisational strategies and delivery to promote equality and diversity at a leadership level;
  • Examine and assess the outcomes of strategies and delivery mechanisms for leadership development against targets and expectations, including those relating to Section 75 categories[v];
  • Examine the effectiveness of organisational strategies and delivery to support the well-being of staff at all levels working in criminal justice organisations;
  • Examine and assess the outcomes of strategies and delivery mechanisms for well-being support against targets and expectations, particularly in relation to staff working in roles identified as high-pressure or with the potential to cause psychological distress.
It should be noted that, as agencies of the Department of Justice (DoJ), the NICTS, FSNI and YJA are part of the NICS and therefore utilise the leadership development and well-being programmes offered through the wider civil service.  The NIPS is also a DoJ agency and utilises NICS programmes, although does develop its own bespoke leadership development programmes for Prison Officer and Governor grades.  CJI does not have the remit to inspect the wider NICS but in achieving the aims of this organisation will consult relevant individuals as stakeholders.


The following methodology is proposed to assess the strategy and governance, delivery and outcomes of the inspected organisations.  The framework of areas to be inspected is as follows[vi]:
Overseeing cultural change - diversity and innovation
  • Well-being:
  • Developing a focus on well-being;
  • Raising awareness of well-being;
  • Improving workforce well-being.
  • The importance of fairness in spotting and developing potential senior leaders:
  • Identifying and developing talent;
  • Fair selection for leadership at all levels:
  • Recruiting and promoting fairly;
  • Improving promotion selection processes.
Workforce development
  • Understanding leadership requirements and assessing performance:
  • Developing leadership skills;
  • Managing and developing individual performance.
  • Developing future leaders:
  • Understanding and developing workforce skills and capabilities.
  • Succession planning.
  • New talent selection and development opportunities:
  • Providing development opportunities;
  • Selecting new talent.
Design and Planning

Preliminary research
Data and initial information has been sought from the agencies to be inspected in order to inform the scope of this inspection.
Benchmarking, research and data collection
Collection of benchmarking information and data, where available, from other jurisdictions and sectors in Northern Ireland, and review of inspection and research reports will be undertaken.
Contact with agencies
Terms of reference will be prepared and shared with the PSNI, PPS, FSNI, NICTS, NIPS, YJA and PBNI prior to the initiation of the inspection.  Liaison officers from the organisations should be nominated for the purposes of this inspection.
Policies and procedures, management information, minutes of meetings and related documentation from the inspected organisations will be requested and reviewed. 

Stakeholder consultation
The following stakeholder organisations will be consulted:
  • Chief Executive’s Forum;
  • DoJ Human Resources Business Partner;
  • DoJ Directors (Access to Justice/Safer Communities/Reducing Offending);
  • NICS Strategic HR;
  • Northern Ireland Policing Board;
  • Office of the Lord Chief Justice;
  • Staff associations across the organisations:
    • the FDA (The union for managers and professionals in public service);
    • Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance (NIPSA);
    • Law Society of Northern Ireland;
    • National Probation Officers’ Association;
    • Police Federation for Northern Ireland;
    • Prison Officers’ Association;
    • Prison Governors’ Association;
    • Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland;
    • UNISON.
Development of fieldwork plan
An online survey will be developed and shared with agency liaison officers for onward circulation to staff within the organisations.  This will seek the views of staff on leadership development and well-being support provided within the organisations, enabling a broad range of staff to be consulted.  Individuals will be invited to respond anonymously to the survey but will be given the opportunity to speak to a CJI Inspector to follow-up on any issues. 
Data from the completed surveys will be analysed and used to inform the fieldwork within the agencies. 
CJI will liaise with the inspection liaison points of contact in each organisation to arrange a series of meetings and focus groups with relevant individuals within the PSNI, PPS, FSNI, NICTS, NIPS, YJA and PBNI.
Initial feedback to agency
On conclusion of the fieldwork the evidence will be collated, triangulated and analysed and emerging recommendations will be developed.  CJI will then present the findings to appropriate organisations.
Drafting of report
Following completion of the fieldwork and analysis of data a draft report will be shared with the inspected bodies for factual accuracy check.  The Chief Inspector will invite the inspected bodies to complete an action plan within 6 weeks to address the recommendations and if the plan has been agreed and is available it will be published as part of the final inspection report. The inspection report will be shared, under embargo, in advance of the publication date with the inspected bodies.
Publication and Closure
A report will be sent to the Minister of Justice for permission to publish.  When permission is received the report will be finalised for publication.  A press release will be drafted and shared with the NIPS, NICTS and the PSNI prior to publication and release.  A publication date will be agreed and the report will be issued.
Indicative Timetable
Scoping/Research: April-June 2021.
Online survey: May-June 2021.
Stakeholder consultation: May-July 2021.
Agency fieldwork: July-September 2021.
Draft Report to agencies:  January 2022.
Factual accuracy feedback received: February 2022.
The above timetable may be impacted by factors such as the easing of Covid-19 public health restrictions and subsequent impact on the ability to conduct fieldwork where it needs to be undertaken face to face.  The inspected organisation will be kept advised of any significant changes to the indicative timetable.
[i] CIPD, Factsheet: Leadership in the workplace, April 2021.  Available online at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/leadership/factsheet#gref
[ii] NICS, NICS People strategy 2018-21, September 2018.  Available online at: https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dfp/nics-people-strategy-2018-21.pdf
[iii] CIPD, Policy report: Growing the health and well-being agenda: From first steps to full potential, January 2016.  Available online at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/health-well-being-agenda_2016-first-steps-full-potential_tcm18-10453.pdf
[iv] CIPD, Factsheet: Wellbeing at work, April 2021.  Available online at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/culture/well-being/factsheet#
[v] Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 places a statutory obligation on public authorities to carry out their functions with due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and good relations in respect of religious belief, political opinion, gender, race, disability, age, marital status, dependants and sexual orientation.
[vi] Based on a framework developed by HMICFRS for its 2017 Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) inspections to assess leadership as part of the efficiency and legitimacy reports.  See https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/peel-police-leadership-2017/