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Chief Executive – Spark Inside

Spark Inside

Logo for Spark Inside Chief Executive recruitment by Peridot

We’re looking for a values-based, innovative Chief Executive to continue to develop and scale up this unique life-changing charity. Spark Inside runs pioneering coaching programmes in prisons to transform the lives of people who live and work in prisons.

  • Location: Tavistock Square, London (flexible working culture)
  • Salary: c£70,000 - £80,000 + benefits
CEO Charity Recruitment for Sparks Inside

About the role

Our values sit at the heart of all we do and as our new Chief Executive, you’ll embody them every day. Spark, impact, heart, learning, stickability and innovation are who we are.  This translates across the way we work – with passion, commitment, kindness and openness.

Our vision is powerful: we see a world without prisons.

Established in 2012 by Baillie Aaron, we punch above our weight in terms of influence and impact. This year has been successful as we’ve now coached and supported over 1,000 people working and living in prisons.

We’re looking for a highly effective leader with a passion for the use of coaching in prisons.

We are one of the first organisations to take life coaching to 15-to-25-year-old boys and young men in prisons, and to use systems coaching to bring together prison officers and prisoners in the UK.

This is an opportunity to lead a highly qualified and motivated team to help make transformational changes in prisons and unlock the potential of people to ultimately lead fulfilling lives.

Spark Inside is growing, our impact is amplifying – can you bring your experience, heart, grit and curiosity to lead our ground-breaking charity?

Who we are looking for:

As well as aligning with our values and ambition, you’ll be an experienced senior leader bringing well-developed and tested skills that will help us build our capacity, grow and innovate.

You’ll be able to see the big picture and be confident planning strategy and collaborating with our Board, senior management team (SMT), staff members and stakeholders to bring the different organisational strands and complementary aims together.

Our coaching programmes are evidence-based so you’ll have a good understanding of programme development, operational delivery, monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Spark Inside is well respected within the criminal justice sector and we are in a strong position in our development. It is testament to Baillie that she hands over the organisation to a new chief executive in such a positive situation. Supported by a committed Board and SMT, we are planning for the transition to a new Chief Executive to be as smooth as possible.

We’re looking for someone who wants to make their mark. You’ll take us on the next stage of our development, consolidating what we’ve already achieved and using your commercial acumen to scale us further.

Spark Inside is a learning organisation – dynamic in our approach and working with people, projects and partnerships that align with our values. Business development and networking is something that you’ll feel comfortable doing, particularly as our profile has grown rapidly and so the right person will have the skills to convert these opportunities and seek out new funding.

You are also someone who is flexible and resilient as we operate in a complex environment with challenging themes.

In return, Spark Inside offers you a supportive and empowering environment, an opportunity to further strengthen your leadership skills and focus on creating real, systemic change in prisons.

Join us and help shape our future.

Next steps:

We’re really interested in hearing from you – that includes people who on first read might not think they have the complete skillset, as we’re always open to conversations and to explore fit.

If you would like to informally discuss the role before applying, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners.

Grant Taylor, Managing Director | grant@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07958 690184

Philippa Fabry, Director of Not for Profit | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071.

Grant Taylor - Managing Director of Peridot - charity executive search

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Grant Taylor

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Dear Applicant,

Thank you so much for your interest in our Chief Executive role with Spark Inside. This is a unique opportunity for a new CEO to take our exciting charity into its next phase.

The criminal justice sector is a complex and challenging arena in which to work in. This role will need someone who has resilience, passion, strong communication skills and a commitment to the values which we place at the heart of our organisation and represent the core ingredients of our success. Spark Inside has an excellent reputation in the sector as a credible, innovative and effective deliverer of remarkable coaching programmes that deliver sustained positive cultural change on prison wings and encourage young men in prison to change their lives and create a crime-free future.

Our current Chief Executive, Baillie Aaron, founded Spark Inside in 2012.  Baillie recognised that young people wanted more than ‘being told what to do’ and pioneered a new form of life coaching for young people in our prisons (the Hero’s Journey). Soon after, Baillie realised that prison staff could also benefit from a coaching approach. Our programme The Conversation brings together large groups of prisoners and staff in a facilitated systems coaching process to enhance relationships and improve empathy.

Our priorities are to continue innovating and delivering high-quality programmes, informed by the very people they are being delivered to – the people and staff inside prisons. We are also working hard to become more financially sustainable – our decision to expand our impact nationally through socially licensing the Hero’s Journey is innovative and forward-thinking.

We have a very talented and, I believe, diverse and engaged Board with three sub-committees: Philanthropy, Programmes and Finance, chaired by different trustees, with the intention of providing added knowledge and support to our staff team. And we also have the very special addition of three non-voting ‘Board Fellows’ aged under 30, who provide a different and valuable perspective on our work. Good governance sits firmly within our core principles as a Board – we are always making sure we are up to date with any changes in charity legislation to ensure we are following best practice.

Very importantly I know that it is relationships which are one of the core ingredients for a positive work environment. I would want to work closely with the new CEO to establish the best possible relationship with both myself and the wider Board which is respectful, kind, supportive and has genuine professional integrity.  I belong to the Association of Chairs so I am aware that the CEO/Chair relationship is very special and a critical feature of a successful organisation.

I do hope this pack inspires you to apply for this exceptional role – I very much welcome your interest.

Roma Hooper OBE
Chair of Trustees

About Spark Inside:

Spark Inside is a young, vibrant organisation that runs coaching programmes in prisons across London and the South East, to encourage rehabilitation and contribute towards a reduction in reoffending. We are proud that our work makes a meaningful difference to the lives of people living and working in prison, and our team of expert coaches and talented staff makes us a dynamic place to work.

Established in 2012, we have worked with over 1,000 prisoners and prison staff, in 11 prisons, young offender institutions and secure training centres.

We have won various awards, including the HCL Technologies ‘Goodwill Champions: The Wave Makers’ presented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos; a Commendation for the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-integration 2018, and we were shortlisted for the Charity Times Award Best New Charity 2016.

Our Mission:

We run coaching programmes in prisons that encourage rehabilitation and reduce reoffending. We help make transformational changes in prisons and unlock the potential of people in prison to ultimately lead fulfilling lives.

Our coaching programmes:

Hero’s Journey is our structured life coaching programme for young people aged 15-25, in prison and through-the-gates, building their motivation to change, decreasing in-prison violence and creating a pro-social identity away from crime.

The Conversation is our systems coaching programme that brings together large groups of prison staff and prisoners in a facilitated group coaching process to enhance their relationships, improve empathy, and support sustained, positive cultural change on prison wings. Evaluations of our systems coaching programme show an 81% increase in positive prisoner behavioural entries.

Our values:

We are a values-driven team with a culture of belonging and inclusion. Our values are:

We want to feel a strong sense of passion and ​‘spark’ for everything we do. We commit to people, projects and partnerships that align with our values.

We maintain an open mind and an open heart, and we always act with kindness and consideration.

When the going gets tough, we stick with our participants, our projects and our commitments. We channel our grit and resilience to make it through challenges and we don’t give up easily.

Our impact on our participants is at the heart of every decision we make and it is how we judge our success, so we take evaluation seriously.

We are humble, curious and constantly developing. We apply and share our learning to amplify our impact.

We celebrate creativity and design new ways of doing things, based on evaluation data and stakeholder feedback. We innovate to remain relevant to our participants’ needs.

More information about our work and impact can be found on our website:

To access a full job description and application details,
please fill out the form below.


We’re really interested in hearing from you – that includes people who on first read might not think they have the complete skillset, as we’re always open to conversations and to explore fit.

If you would like to informally discuss the role before applying, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Grant Taylor | 07958 690184 | grant@peridotpartners.co.uk

Philippa Fabry | 07772 902071 | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk

To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (the supporting statement should be a maximum of two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role by addressing the criteria focused on experience within the person specification, giving examples. We would appreciate it if you could fill in the optional Equality Monitoring Form.

Please ensure that you also explain your motivation for applying within your supporting statement.

Please use the subject: “CEO, Spark Inside” and send your documents to: response@peridotpartners.co.uk.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

Spark Inside is committed to equality of opportunities in employment and strives to be an equal opportunities employer. All applications will be assessed fairly regardless of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

We welcome applications from those with a criminal record.

The Charity Commission has rules on who can be employed in certain senior managerial roles in charities. These rules are known as the ‘automatic disqualification’ rules and apply to those with unspent convictions for certain specific offences, or who are on the sex offenders’ register.

Where the automatic disqualification rules apply, they have the effect of ‘disqualifying’ that individual from working in certain senior managerial roles in charities; though it is possible to apply for a clearance ‘waiver’ from the Charity Commission.

The Chief Executive position is covered by the ‘automatic disqualification’ rules. Therefore, we ask you to confirm in your application that you are not barred under these regulations, or that you are barred but would seek, with our support, to apply for a waiver from the Charity Commission.

All applications will be considered solely on merit.


Closing date: 9am, Monday 30th September 2019

Assessment Stage 1: Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th October

Final Assessment Stage 2: Tuesday 29th October

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and Spark Inside are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring form.

The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence by Peridot Partners and Spark Inside and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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