We sat down with Jo Keatley and talked with her about her role in the Judicial Office.
What is your job title, and can you give a brief description of your role?
I’m the head of the Private Office Strategy Unit. My team is responsible for running projects that help to deliver the senior judiciary’s strategic aims for the justice system. We also work with wider Government to deliver joint policies/strategies, where that’s appropriate.
It’s really important that we work with Government on matters that impact the judiciary. To do that effectively we’re joined up with other teams across the Judicial Office, especially Judicial HR and the Private Offices that support the senior judiciary so I spend a lot of time building relationships and collaborating with other teams on issues to ensure we’re all working towards the same objectives.
I also spend time on policy development, working through the pros and cons of different options and seeking the views of judges, lawyers and colleagues to help inform that thinking. This usually culminates in written advice to Boards/Working Groups or the senior judges.
Why do you enjoy working for the Judicial Office?
I love working so closely with the senior judiciary – it’s a real privilege to be in a position where you are trusted to offer advice and support to such senior figures.
I also really enjoy working for a smaller organisation, compared to a central department. You get more freedom and autonomy and exposure to a wider variety of work and the senior leaders are more accessible. I also love how friendly the JO is as an organisation – there’s a real sense that everyone will help each other out.
What has been your best experience since working here?
Before taking up my current role, I was the Private Secretary to the Senior President of Tribunals.
Although I didn’t think it at the time, I think the most useful experience was my time in that role at the outbreak of the pandemic. Although it was very busy and intense, helping the SPT to navigate the tribunals’ response to the pandemic meant I learned a lot.
What would you say to someone thinking of applying for a role in the Judicial Office?
Go for it! It’s a really friendly place to work and so different to the experiences you get in a big central department.