The 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards were set up in April 2003 to manage the criminal justice system at local level. For the first time, information about the important work they are doing to bring more offenders to justice across England and Wales is available to the public.
Figures for the 42 criminal justice areas for April to June 2003 are for:
- Offences brought to justice
- Reducing ineffective trials in Magistrates' and Crown Courts
- Improving timeliness in Magistrates' and Crown Courts
- Fine enforcement
- Meeting the Persistent Young Offenders pledge
Baroness Scotland, home office minister for criminal justice, said: 'The public have a right to know how the criminal justice system is working in their area so that they can hold to account locally those responsible for the service they receive. For confidence to grow in the criminal justice system, it must be accessible and accountable to local people, which means it should be open and transparent and firmly rooted in the community.
'The creation of the local boards in April this year was a big step towards increasing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system around the country. Each local board has tailored their approach to the specific needs of their area so in each case the action needed to improve performance is different. The local boards have ambitious plans and work programmes in place, and we expect to see improvements begin to feed through during the year ahead.'
Christopher Leslie, courts minister said: 'We will only fight crime effectively if all the criminal justice agencies work very closely togeth er. The new Local Criminal Justice Boards are the driving force to implement that change.
'These tables are about openness and transparency. We need to be able to say whether we are delivering what the public need and expect of their justice system. Performance management is about delivering better outcomes and local agencies holding to account.'
Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, said: 'Encouraging Local Criminal Justice Boards to measure and improve on their performance is key to the Government's plans to narrow the justice gap, bring more offenders to justice and ensure the criminal justice system is accountable to the people it serves.
'This is the first time these figures have been published. People need to know what is being done to bring down crime in their community, and criminal justice agencies need to know what has worked in other areas so they can improve too.
'Local Criminal Justice Boards are about all the branches of the criminal justice system working together to tackle crime. The targets set by the boards can only be achieved if the police, courts, Crown Prosecution Service and other criminal justice agencies work together. Publishing data on progress is an added incentive to do so.'
1. The 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards were set up in April 2003 to manage the CJS at a local level. They report to the National Criminal Justice Board which supports them in their work to meet Public Service Agreement targets at a local level and reduce crime in their areas. Each local board is made up of chief the officers from police, probation, courts, the Crown Prosecution Service, Youth Offending Teams and prisons. The boards play a vital role in the fight to reduce crime and bring more offenders to justice by improving co-operation between criminal justice agencies on the ground to deliver - not a system operating in isolation - but a joined up criminal justice service run for victims and the community.
2. The results of the 42 areas' performance aga inst the Public Service Agreement targets to date is published here
3. Narrowing the Justice Gap (NJG) target is the key priority for Local Criminal Justice Boards. Local Boards have been set the target of improving the number of offences you bring to justice by 5% in 2003-04. This is a stepping stone to the overall 17% national improvement target required by 2005-06. Narrowing the Justice Gap is about improving the way the system works. By bringing more offenders to justice more effectively, NJG will improve satisfaction for victims and witnesses and help increase public confidence in the CJS. The Narrowing the Justice Gap framework document published in October 2002 is available on www.cjsonline.org/njg and contains information on the Persistent Offender Scheme.
4. The Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets are:
- PSA 1. Reduce crime and the fear of crime.
- PSA 2. Increase the number of crimes for which an offender is brought to justice to 1.2 million by 2005-06
- PSA 3. Improve the level of public confidence in the Criminal Justice System
- PSA 4. Protect the public and reduce re-offending by 5%
- PSA 5. Increase value for money from the CJS by 3% a year.
5. Of the data sets published today - some have never been published before and some are already available in other sources:
- Offences brought to justice (new - previously not published)
- Reducing Ineffective Trials in Crown Courts (new - previously not published)
- Reduce ineffective trials in Magistrates Courts (published 17 July 2003 in the Magistrates' Courts Business return Annual Report 2002/3)
- Improving Timeliness in Crown Courts (new - previously not published)
- Improving Timeliness in Magistrates Courts (published 17 July 2003 in the Magistrates' Courts Business return Annual report 2002/3. Q1 April- June 2003 has been published within the Nat Stats Bulletin Time Intervals for Criminal Proceedings in the Magistrates' Courts published August 2003)
- Fine Enforcement (published 17 July 2003 in Magistrates' Courts Business return Annual report 2003/3)
- Progress in meeting the Persistent Young Offenders Pledge (published monthly in Statistical Bulletin from the Department of Constitutional Affairs - Average Time from Arrest to Sentence for Persistent Young Offenders).