Northern Ireland

Search on for new Northern Ireland prisons chief

prison bars
Image caption The new head of the prison service faces a demanding task

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has started the search for a new director general.

Current director general Robin Masefield is to step down before the end of the year.

The service has been heavily criticised in a series of inspection reports in recent years.

The new prisons chief will be expected to deal with budget cuts, stem the consistent flow of criticism and tackle the prison officers' association.

In its advertisement, the prison service invited applications for what it described as "a very demanding leadership role".

The successful candidate will earn a salary of up to £160,000.