MoJ 18 AR
Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

10 things I learnt from the 2018 MoJ Annual Report

What has the MoJ been up to and how did it spend its £7.7bn budget?

MoJ still focused on cutting costs

On Monday, I took a look at the latest HMPPS annual report; today I’ve been scrutinising the newly published Ministry of Justice Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18.

The document sets out all the primary objectives for prison, probation and courts, but reports on very few performance measures. Nevertheless, here’s 10 things I found of interest in a document which I found rather remarkable for its self-congratulatory tone, given the ongoing crisis in prison, probation and legal aid. 

1: Expenditure remained the same

The MoJ spent £7.7bn last year, the same as in 2016/17. Here’s the headline breakdown:

2: Carillion liquidation

Somewhat bizarrely, the only mention the MoJ annual report makes of Carillion’s collapse and the impact on already poor prison maintenance is how well prepared the Department was to “manage and mitigate the risk”. Apparently, the MoJ “had considered the impact and likelihood of such a market failure” – what a shame it didn’t act to prevent it.

3: Total staffing reduced by 15% 

The MoJ employs 15% fewer staff than in 2014.

4: The reoffending rate is falling

The adult proven reoffending rate for offenders released from custody or commencing a court order was 37.2%
compared to 38.1% over the previous year.

5: Staff are moving out of Petty France

The MoJ is creating four headquarter sites (102 Petty France, Southern House in Croydon, 10 South Colonnade in
Canary Wharf and Wellington Place in Leeds) and is proud of having just 6 desks for every 10 staff members.

6: Crown courts are less busy

The number of outstanding cases in the Crown Court has fallen over the last three years (by 17% over 2016 and a further 11% over 2017). Disposals exceeded receipts in each of the last two years. Both reduced in number,
but receipts reduced more substantially than disposals. Receipts fell by 10% over 2016 and by 3% over 2017. Disposals only fell by 6% over both 2016 and 2017. Overall, outstanding triable either way cases fell by 37% over
2016 and 18% over 2017. Indictable cases fell by 13% and 7% over the same period.

7: And so are Magistrates’ Courts

Outstanding cases in the Magistrates’ courts fell by 11% over 2016 and slightly increased by 2% over 2017. The overall fall resulted from disposals exceeding receipts. Receipts fell by 4% over 2016 and 1% over 2017, whereas
disposals fell by 2% and 4% over the same period.

8: Ministers’ pay

Our MoJ ministers are paid surprisingly little: £67,505 for the Justice Secretary (this year’s accounts details payments to three separate post-holders, Liz Truss, David Lidington & David Gauke); £31,860 for Ministers of State (currently Rory Stewart) and £22375 for Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State. (Please note this remuneration is in addition to their MP’s basic pay of £77,379.

9: Civil servants’ pay

Richard Heaton, the Permanent Secretary at the MoJ is paid between £180-185,000 per year.

10: Total pay increased last year

The MoJ’s total pay bill for permanently employed staff increased from £2.74 bn in 2016/17 to £2.97bn in 2017/18 — presumably a significant part of the £250m increase was due to the recruitment of more than 2,500 extra prison officers. The apprenticeship levy also accounted for £22.7m. While we’re being transparent, the MoJ also spent £115,000 on special advisors.

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