**Immigration Enforcement - International and Return Services Command - Detention Engagement Officer

Home Office

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 4th December 2023



Reference number



£28,000 - £29,400
AHW 19.5% is applicable on this role (see Further Information, below, for more details).

Job grade

Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

HO - Immigration Enforcement

Type of role

Operational Delivery

Working pattern

Full-time, Part-time, Shift Working

Number of jobs available



Dungavel House IRC - Strathaven

Job summary

Immigration Enforcement is responsible for enforcing the government’s immigration laws, tackling illegal migration, removing foreign national offenders and immigration offenders from the UK. It also aims to disrupt the organised criminal groups that exploit the vulnerable for their personal gain. Learn more on the Immigration Enforcement careers page.

Job description

An IRC is a secure building that holds detained individuals (residents) who are held prior to their removal from the United Kingdom or for nationality and identification purposes.

There are currently 6 IRCs in England and 1 in Scotland, with 2 more IRCs planned to open in England in the near future. These posts are for Dungavel House IRC, Strathaven.

All IRCs are overseen by the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement directorate and are contracted out to private companies known as IRC Suppliers who ensure all aspects of the IRC are run safely and securely within rules and legislation.

The role of the Detention Engagement Team based onsite is to interact with residents face-to-face on behalf of Home Office caseworkers. They focus on communicating and engaging with residents, helping them to understand their cases and detention.

Detention Engagement Teams (DETs) are a dynamic and responsive team, working as part of Detention, Progression and Returns Command (DPRC) to enhance the quality and frequency of engagements between Home Office and the people entering Immigration Removal Centres (IRC). The successful candidate will be part of an exciting initiative within the Home Office which will be both rewarding and energising. 

The DET team operate within Immigration Removal Centres, using face-to-face interaction to build relationships with those in detention and provide an important on-site link between people in detention and their case working teams; enhancing the quality and frequency of engagements between the Home Office and the people entering IRCs. Based within the centres, engaging with those in detention and on-site healthcare providers and suppliers, DETs are better placed to ensure that vulnerability issues are identified and managed at the earliest opportunity. 


Duties include but are not limited to:

•    Conducting face-to-face engagements with those in detention as required by caseworkers and management, this includes an initial induction engagement, service of paperwork, follow up engagements, Modern Slavery and associated assessments. Officers will also discuss the options that residents have, including initiating referrals to returns schemes and building return plans, as well as outlining the consequences of non-compliance. Feeding back to caseworkers providing details and insight into resident mindset and behaviour. Recording all interactions on HO IT systems in an accurate and timely manner. 

•    Identifying indicators of vulnerability, ensuring that they are recorded and managed in-line with existing policy and instructions, attending case conference meetings (multi-disciplinary telecom and local strategy meetings), immigration surgeries and resident consultative committee meetings as required. 

•    Providing case updates to residents at their request and managing your own portfolio of residents and associated workflow. 

•    Flagging contract issues appropriately and in a timely manner to line manager or Compliance team. 

•    Actively contributing towards the compiling of management reports. 

•    Undertaking general office administration duties as part of your role and assisting in the successful running of the Detention Engagement Team within the Centre. This includes managing resident arrival and departure lists, allocating all new arrivals to Engagement Officers, monitoring the inbox and e-faxes and dealing with telephone, personal and email queries, escalating as appropriate. 

•    Line management of AO Support Officers as required. 

•    Working closely with the Welfare Office within the immigration removal centre, dealing appropriately with any issues that arise. The Welfare Office is run by the service provider and is a key touch-point for people to raise any concerns they may have. 

•    Completing asylum screening interviews remotely, when required. 

•    Other ad hoc administrative duties as required. 

Working hours

The DET work on a roster system with shifts generally between 7.30am and 7:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. There may be a requirement to work night hours in line with charter flights or other operational needs.   

Part time AHW shift working patterns are available, which will cover a full range of shifts including weekends, nights and bank holidays.  

Please note successful candidates will be expected to be vetted at enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and undertake Personal Safety Training (PST). 

Please also note that due to the shift working pattern and the small size of the team, we are not able to consider part time applications at the moment due to the impact this has on shift rostering and staff availability.

To find more about the organisation, the role and obtain guidance on your application and preparation candidates are encouraged to log onto either of the 2 On-line events below.

Event 1, 6 Nov at 10:30am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ 740745639147

Event 2, 11 Nov at 10:30am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ 740751837687

Person specification

The role of the Engagement Officer is an Operational role that is interesting and challenging, demanding high levels of co-operation from those in detention, stakeholders, and suppliers. 

Essential criteria

Successful candidates must be able to demonstrate:

•    Strong verbal communication skills.

•    Excellent interpersonal and organisational skills.

•    Good attention to detail.

•    Being proactive, adaptable and motivated.

Desirable criteria:

•    IT skills with prior experience of Microsoft Office. 


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Ability and Experience.

This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity.

As part of the application process, you will first be asked to confirm your eligibility by providing some basic personal information. 

After submission of this first stage, you will be invited to complete a Civil Service Judgement Test. If you successfully pass this test, you will then be invited to complete the full application form. Please complete the online test as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours is recommended), the closing date for the test and full application form is 23:55 on 4th December 2023. If you fail to complete the online test or full application before the deadline, your application will be withdrawn.  

Guidance for the test will be available when you are invited to take the test. The test is administered online and accessed via the Civil Service Jobs website.  

You CANNOT complete the Tests on a mobile phone or tablet.

Following successful completion of the test, you will then be asked to complete:

  • A statement of suitability (personal statement) (maximum 500 words)
  • Provide evidence of the behaviour Communicating and Influencing (250 words maximum)

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

The statement of suitability should be aligned to demonstrate your skills and experience for the role and how you meet the essential criteria as detailed in the job description.

For guidance on how to construct your personal statement, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Links – Statement

For guidance on how to construct your behaviour examples, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Links –Behaviours

The sift will be held on the behaviour Communicating and Influencing and the statement of suitability (personal statement). 

The statement of suitability will be scored first for all candidates. Those candidates who achieve the minimum pass score for the statement of suitability, will progress to a further sift where the lead behaviour (Communicating and Influencing) will be scored. These candidates will therefore receive a sift score for both elements. Candidates who fail to meet the minimum pass score for the statement of suitability will not have their lead behaviour scored and will therefore only receive a sift score for the statement of suitability.

However, if a large number of applications are received, the sift will be conducted on the statement of suitability (personal statement) only. 

If you are successful at sift stage, you will be invited to an interview which will be a blended approach of strength-based questions and behaviour-based questions

Strengths are the things that you do regularly, do well and that motivate you. To find out more about strength based questions click here 

Sift and Interview dates

Sift is expected to take place week commencing 4 December 2023.

Interviews are expected to take place week commencing 1st January 2024.

We will try to meet the dates set out in the advert, however on occasions these dates may change.

Interviews will be carried out via video. Candidates will be required to have access to:

  • A laptop (personal or work) with a working webcam
  • Good internet connection
  • Skype for Business/Microsoft Teams

Note for Candidates:

Please ensure that all examples provided in your application are taken directly from your own experience and that you describe the examples in your own words. All applications are screened for plagiarism and copying of examples/answers from internet sources. If any is detected the application will be withdrawn from the process. Further action, including disciplinary action, may be considered in such cases involving internal candidates. Providing false or misleading information would be contrary to the core values of honesty and integrity expected of all Civil Servants. 

If you are currently an agency member of staff working within the Home Office, a contractor or contingent worker you can only apply for roles that are advertised externally, i.e. outside the civil service. If you are eligible to apply for a role, you are required to select yourself as an external applicant and not internal when submitting your application on Civil Service jobs. This will prevent any delays in pre-employment checks should you become successful in being made an offer of employment after the Interview stage.

Annual Hours Working Allowance

Annualised Hours Working (AHW) is an attendance system where staff work an agreed number of hours for the year rather than weekly conditioned hours.

You will be required to work flexibly on any day of the week, including weekends, nights, Public Holidays and the Privilege Day, and the hours may vary each week. Attendance may also be subject to change at short notice.

The rate payable under the AHW scheme is driven by business requirements and may vary depending on location.  Your initial rate will be confirmed when you have started in post and will be paid as a percentage of your basic salary.  If a member of staff has agreed an annualised hours arrangement, this does not become a permanent or guaranteed right.  Annualised hours working is subject to changes in operational needs and managers can adjust, cease or suspend it, for operational or performance reasons. Annualised hours agreements are reviewed at least annually.

The annualised hours year runs from 1 April to 31 March.  If an individual begins working on an annualised hours basis part way through the year, they will receive a part-year agreement and the Annualised Hours Allowance will be pro-rated for the remainder of the year to reflect that agreement.

If you transfer to a non-AHW post the requirement to work in accordance with the terms of the AHW policy will also end, and you will move to standard Home Office Terms and Conditions.

The initial rate payable is 19.5%.

Age: These are shift working roles and so you must be 18 years or over.

Part time working

If you are considering applying for part time hours, please contact HORCBandENational@homeoffice.gov.uk to discuss your request as not all working patterns may be accommodated.

Personal Safety Training (PST)

These roles can be physically demanding and if successful you will be required to complete and pass specialist training including Personal Safety Training (PST) which develops skills in personal safety, arrest and restraint techniques. This demands physical activity and physical contact with delegates on the course. You will be required to complete a PST health declaration and, if necessary, attend a medical examination. A formal offer will be conditional upon you being physically fit to undertake and pass the training.

Hybrid working is not an option:

The flexible working arrangement of Hybrid working (working partly in their workplace(s) and partly at home) is not available for this role due to the requirements of the role. Successful candidates will be required to attend the office/other work location as specified in the advert at all times to carry out this role.

Further information

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure Scotland on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. 

If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

For meaningful checks to be carried out, individuals need to have lived in the UK for a sufficient period of time to enable appropriate checks to be carried out and produce a result which provides the required level of assurance. You should normally have been resident in the United Kingdom for the last 3 years if the role requires CTC clearance, 5 years for SC clearance and 10 years for DV.  A lack of UK residency in itself is not necessarily a bar to a security clearance and applicants should contact the Vacancy Holder/Recruiting Manager listed in the advert for further advice.

Please be aware the levels of national security clearance are changing which may impact on the level needed for this role by the time of appointment. All efforts will be made to keep candidates informed of any changes and what that will mean in terms of vetting criteria. For more information please See our vetting charter

A reserve list may be held for a period up to 12 months from which further appointment may be made.

Every day, Home Office civil servants do brilliant work to develop and deliver policies and services that affect the lives of people across the country and beyond. To do this effectively and fairly, the Home Office is committed to representing modern Britain in all its diversity, and creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people are able to bring their whole selves to work and perform at their best.

We are flexible, skilled, professional and diverse. We work to recruit and retain disabled staff and area Disability Confident Leader. We are proud to be one of the most ethnically diverse departments in the civil service. We are a Social Mobility Foundation top 75 employer.

New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening, subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant's details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

For further information please see the attached notes for candidates which must be read before making an application.

Existing Civil Servants should note that some of the Home Office terms and conditions of employment have changed. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the Terms and Conditions they will adopt should they be successful in application and should refer to the notes for candidates for further details.

Transfer Terms: Voluntary.

If you are invited to an interview you will be required to  bring a range of documentation for the purposes of establishing identity and to aid any pre-employment checks.

Please see the attached list of Home Office acceptable ID documents.

Any move to the Home Office from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Reasonable Adjustments

If a person with disabilities is at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. 

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs
  • Complete the “Assistance Required” section in the “Additional Requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you're deaf, a language service professional

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section.


Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check (opens in a new window).

See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Home Office Resourcing Centre
  • Email : HORCBandENational@homeoffice.gov.uk

Recruitment team

  • Email : HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Further information

If you feel that your application has not been treated in accordance with the recruitment
principles, and wish to make a complaint, then you should contact in the first instance
HORecruitment.GRS@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, then you can contact the Civil Service Commission.

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