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CJA launches lived experience leadership programme

Crowd at CJA event

The CJA is excited to announce the launch of a new lived experience leadership programme.

ELEVATE CJS (Elevating Lived Experience Voices Advocacy Training and Expertise in the Criminal Justice System) aims to help emerging lived experience leaders progress into rewarding careers where they can influence change in the criminal justice system or other social justice areas. The programme will also work with government and sector employers to remove barriers and develop progression routes into senior positions for lived experience leaders.

The ELEVATE CJS programme was informed by two years of peer research and was co-designed with members of our Lived Experience Expert group, chaired by CJA trustee CJ Burge. The programme was inspired by international models such as Just Leadership USA, which was researched by CJA Director Nina Champion as part of her Churchill Fellowship.

The programme will be open to Londoners who have lived experience of the criminal justice system, are currently working in the criminal justice or social justice sectors, and who want to progress in their careers to influence systemic change in more senior level roles.

We have a wide definition of lived experience. Participants may have been over-policed, have convictions, have served a prison or community sentence, have been a victim of prison and/or have family members in prison. All participants will have access to clinical supervision throughout the programme to support their wellbeing.

Listen to CJA Director Nina Champion and trustee CJ Burge discuss ELEVATE CJS at our last Members Meeting below.

We are looking for a Project Manager to lead the programme

We are looking for a Project Manager with lived experience of the criminal justice system to lead the programme.

This is a fixed term 30-month contract with the possibility to extend subject to funding. The salary for the role is £38,000 – 40,000 p.a. depending on experience.

The ELEVATE CJS programme is committed to helping improve the racial diversity of criminal justice and social justice sector leaders due to current underrepresentation. We also encourage applicants from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities to apply for this role leading the ELEVATE CJS programme.

Job description

Project management

  • Lead on finalising and implementing the project plan for the ELEVATE CJS leadership programme.
  • Tender for facilitators to support the delivery of the programme, develop partnership agreements and co-ordinate facilitators to ensure effective delivery against project milestones.
  • Source and manage the logistics of venues and technology for physical and virtual aspects of the programme delivery.
  • Report to the CJA Lived Experience Expert Group and seek its advice and guidance on the project plans and delivery to inform the programme.
  • Ensure the project is delivered on-time, within scope and within budget.
  • Work with and support the Deputy Director to ensure funders’ reporting requirements are adhered to, including narrative and financial reporting.

Employer engagement

  • Develop relationships with employers in the criminal justice and social justice sectors who will provide work placements for ELEVATE CJS participants.
  • Design resources and toolkits for the employers to support them before, during and after the work placements with improving their employment policies and practices to provide progression routes for lived experience leaders.

Influencing change

  • Work with the policy team to influence changes to policy and practice with ministers, senior civil servants and commissioners to remove barriers for lived experience leaders.
  • Attend events, meetings and roundtables with policy makers, senior civil servants, and commissioners to advocate for lived experience leadership.


  • Work with a communications expert to help brand and promote the ELEVATE CJS programme.
  • Work with the Communications Officer to support journalists and digital media champions to promote the value of lived experience leadership and amplify the voices of ELEVATE CJS participants and other lived experience leaders.
  • Work with the Communications Officer to disseminate the learning from the programme to CJA members and other key stakeholders through the provision of accessible resources.

Learning and evaluation

  • Commission an external evaluator to provide interim and final evaluation findings.
  • Work with the evaluator to support the evaluation process and respond to their recommendations for change to improve the impact of the programme.
  • Oversee the collection and monitoring of evidence and data.
  • Liaise with other criminal justice and social justice leadership programmes to share learning and explore collaboration opportunities in the UK and overseas.
  • Support the senior leadership team with funding applications to enable the development and roll out of the ELEVATE CJS programme in London and other regions.
  • Support the senior leadership team and contribute to the development of the CJA’s operational policies, particularly those which pertain to working with people with convictions.

Line management

  • Provide support and line management for the ELEVATE CJS Project Officer (when in post) and any paid interns or volunteers who may assist with the programme.


  • Contribute to the general administration and delivery of all CJA programmes, events and overall objectives.
  • Conduct the duties of the job description in accordance with the operational policies of the CJA, including the diversity and adult safeguarding policies.
  • Maintain good working relations with trustees, staff and other stakeholders.
  • Maintain up-to-date and accurate records of contacts and engagement with members and other stakeholders.
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as may be required.

Person specification


  • Lived experience of the criminal justice system of England and Wales.
  • At least three years of relevant work experience (paid or unpaid).
  • Experience of managing projects and project budgets.
  • Excellent time management skills and the ability to balance competing priorities.
  • Ability to write clearly and persuasively with accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • A strong interest in, and commitment to, lived experience leadership.
  • An understanding of lived experience models of engagement and what enables people with lived experience to flourish and progress.
  • A working knowledge of safeguarding legislation and professional boundaries.
  • Proven ability to build positive relationships and work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to affect change.
  • Ability to work flexibly as part of a small team.
  • Proven commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Commitment to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the CJA.
  • Willingness to travel within England and Wales and to work outside of office hours when required (for example residentials and other programme group work may be held on evenings or weekends).
  • Strong IT skills.


  • An understanding of inclusive employment practices.
  • Experience of line management.
  • An understanding of monitoring and evaluation.

How to apply

You can read more about the role in our ELEVATE CJS Project Manager recruitment pack.

To apply, please complete the application form and send it – marked ‘Private and Confidential’ – to Please also return the recruitment analysis form. This will be separated from your application upon receipt.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 20 February 2022.  Interviews will be held via Zoom on 9 March via Zoom. If you cannot make that day, please let us know when sending in your application.

If you’d like to have an informal conversation about the role, please call Nina on 07803 011 358 or email her on to arrange a time to speak.


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