MOJ feel brunt of cuts

Published on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 14:41
Posted by Scott Buckler

Over the course of the Spending Review period, the Ministry of Justice will make a 23% reduction in the resource budget, and a 50% reduction in capital spending.


The Department’s administration budget will be reduced by 33%.
The Ministry of Justice will make tough decisions now in order to cut the costs of the justice system whilst bringing forward radical, reforming proposals which will punish and rehabilitate offenders more effectively and ensure that those in most need of legal assistance have the support they need.

The Ministry of Justice is beginning a programme of radical change. By 2015 we will have fundamentally reformed the way in which we provide justice. That work has already begun and in the coming months we will:

• Launch a consultation on proposals to reform the Legal Aid system

• Publish a Green Paper on Sentencing and Rehabilitation

• Announce the outcome of the consultation on the closure of 157 under-utilised courts

• Increase our transparency by publishing data on our performance and spending

The Department will manage its reductions by undertaking a challenging reform programme; transforming the department so it is more efficient and generates significant savings in order to allow resources to be focussed on key priorities, by:

• Saving £1bn from administration and frontline efficiency, including a one third reduction in administration – our largest single saving

• The Courts and Tribunals system will be brought together in a single agency to ensure justice is delivered efficiently

• We are reducing our central London estate from eighteen buildings to four, saving £40 million

• We will reduce and reorganise our arm’s length bodies to ensure services are being provided in the most efficient way

• A shared services model will be rolled out across the whole department making use of existing assets, capability and best practice

• We will reduce spending on courts and legal aid by developing and increasing awareness of access to alternative ways to resolve disputes

• Plans for a 1,500 place new-for-old prison will be deferred to the next SR period, while we develop a sustainable and cost effective prison capacity strategy. Spending on new IT and court projects will be limited to essential capacity.

By taking these tough decisions we will be able to punish and rehabilitate offenders more effectively, focus access to justice on those who need it most while cutting the costs of the justice system:

• We will continue to lock up dangerous and serious offenders

• We will reform sentencing to rehabilitate offenders more effectively. The reforms will stabilise the prison population and then start to reduce it by 2014-15. We expect that by the end of the SR period the number of prisoners will be around 3,000 lower than it is today

• We will increase the use of restorative justice and tough community penalties

• We will harness private sector expertise and innovation to make prisons places of hard work and purposeful training

• We will pay by results and use private sector investment as well as the voluntary and public sector experience to reduce re-offending

• The Government will take forward proposals to invest in mental health liaison and diversion services at police stations and courts, to divert mentally ill offenders and drug addicts into treatment

• We will consult on how to channel legal aid and related spend to the cases that most require it, saving £350m, subject to the outcome of consultation.

• Capital funding will be focused on maintaining the prison estate and funding essential new capacity and key invest to save projects.
The Ministry of Justice is also taking forward ideas suggested under the Spending Challenge, including reforms to:

• Develop proposals to align Magistrates’ expenses with other judicial office holders; and

• Outline plans for changes to court business hours, including weekend and evening sessions, in the forthcoming Magistrates Courts Business Strategy. This will improve access to justice and make greater use of the Court estate.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke said:

“We need to create a justice system that punishes the guilty, reduces re-offending, protects our liberties, and helps those most in need. Over the period of this spending settlement the Ministry of Justice will be transformed into a lean, transparent, and affordable department.

Source: ©Treasury

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