Competition to appoint Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI)

Date published: 16 October 2023

The Department of Justice is seeking to appoint a new Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI).

The Prisoner Ombudsman is responsible for investigating complaints from prisoners and visitors as well as deaths in prison service custody in Northern Ireland.

Richard Pengelly CB, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice said:  “The Prisoner Ombudsman role is a challenging but hugely rewarding one.  It offers a unique opportunity to be involved and make a difference within the Northern Ireland prison system. 

“The PONI plays a key investigative role in the criminal justice system, ensuring independent and impartial investigation of eligible complaints and instilling confidence in our prison system.”

The appointment will be for up to three years from the date of appointment which is expected to be March 2024.  There may be an opportunity for reappointment.

The post holder will be required to work a four-day week. The post will be remunerated on a fixed point within the range £59,525 and £67,298 (pro-rata and under review).

Applications close at 12:00pm on Monday 6 November 2023

For more information please telephone 028 9052 6496 or 028 9052 0114 between 9am and 5pm, alternatively further information is available on our website at Competition for Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland | Department of Justice (

Notes to editors: 

1. Candidate information packs and applications forms are available at:

           Competition for Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland | Department of Justice (

2. Copies are also available as follows:

           Telephone: 028 9052 6496 or 028 9052 0114


By writing to: PONI Competition 2023,

            Department of Justice, Public Appointments,

            Room B5.12, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate,

            Belfast, BT4 3SG.

3. The Department of Justice is committed to the principles of public appointments based on merit with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process.  The Department is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all applicants.  Applications are welcomed regardless of age, gender, disability, marital status, religion, ethnic origin, political opinion, sexual orientation or whether or not you have dependents. In keeping with the NICS Policy on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, we would also welcome applications from those not currently serving on public bodies.

4. Applications are particularly welcome from people from minority ethnic, women, those under the age of 40, and people with a disability.

5. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office at .

6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110

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