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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

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

10 things I learnt from the 2019 MoJ Annual Report

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What has the MoJ been up to and how did it spend its £8.4bn budget?

Last week (19 July 2019) the MoJ published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2018/19.

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. 

1: Expenditure has increased

The MoJ spent £8.4bn last year, £700 million more than in each of the last two years. It has to be said that the MoJ make no real attempt to make this information accessible. What most of us would like is an idea how much the MoJ spends on prisons, probation, courts, legal aid etc. I reproduce two graphics from the report, the first from the Chief Financial Officer’s review of the year, the second hidden away in an appendix in the 206 page report. You can at least find out some things from the second chart, such as the MoJ spent £16.8 million on the Parole Board, £84.6 million on the Youth Justice Board and a smidge over £4 billion on HMPPS. 

2. The MoJ has four strategic objectives

These are:

  1. A prison and probation service that reforms offenders 
  2. A modern courts and justice system 
  3. A Global Britain that promotes the rule of law 
  4. A transformed department.

So now you know.

3. Prison officer recruitment continues

In 2018-19 there was a net increase of 4,675 full time equivalent prison officers in post between October 2016 (when the commitment to increase staff numbers was made) and March 2019. This increase in prison officer numbers has enabled all 92 closed male prisons to continue the rollout of the Offender Management in Custody (key worker)
model with 15,000 prison officers now trained as key workers.

4: Reoffending for adults increased

For adults commencing a court order or released from custody in 2016‑17 the annual average proven reoffending rate was 37.8%, compared to 37.2% over the previous reported period.

5: Reoffending for young people fell

The annual average proven reoffending rate for children and young people released from custody in 2016-17 was 64.6%, compared to 68.1% for 2015-16.

6: Crown courts are less busy (again)

Receipts for all cases in the Crown court fell by 7% during 2018-19 compared to the previous year. This had led, in part to all outstanding cases reducing from 37,035 at the end of 2017-18 to 31,916 at the end of 2018-19. The effectiveness of all crown court trials has remained constant, between 49% to 52% over the period 2016-17 to 2018-19. The trends for cracked and ineffective trials has remained relatively stable compared to the previous year’s position, from 36% to 35% and 15% to 13% respectively.

7: And so are Magistrates’ Courts (also again)

Both receipts and disposals fell during 2018-19 compared to the previous year, while the number of outstanding cases has remained constant. The effectiveness of trials at the magistrates’ court has remained constant, between 45% and 46% over 2018-19. Similarly, the trends for cracked and ineffective trials have also remained constant at around 39% and 15% respectively for 2018-19.

8: The MoJ as grant giver

The MoJ issued grants totalling £170.1m last year, a cut of £9.6m on the year before.

9: Civil servant bonus payments

Sir Richard Heaton, MoJ Permanent Secretary, received a bonus payment of less than £5,000 last year. Mike Driver, Chief Financial Officer; Mark Sweeney, Director General Justice and Courts Policy Group; and Susan Acland Hood, Chief Executive of HMCTS all received bonus payments of between £10k-£15k.

10: Total wage bill for the judiciary

The total wage bill for the judiciary (including wages, social security and pension costs) was £524.9m last year of which “senior judicial salaries” made up £198.2m.  

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