Joined-up Justice

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Our public safety services are overly complicated, inaccessible, and not delivering strong justice outcomes and clear value for money, says a report published today: 2020 Public Safety: Opportunities for Reform. As a new round of reforms begins, it is essential to agree the principles that hold together this vast range of diverse activity.

The report finds:

  • A lack of transparency about where the money goes (Sentencing Advisory Panel concluded this year that they couldn't give robust guidance to judges about how much the different sentencing options cost).
  • A lack of evidence about what the money achieves
  • A confusion of services leaving some people locked in bureaucracy, and some people lightly supervised (up to 10 separate assessments for some people leaving prison to assess their needs, but only a maximum of one hour's face to face time with probation services for some the most high risk offenders in the community)
  • Local authorities are investing time and energy in ‘plan compliance' to satisfy Whitehall accounting, instead of being free to invest innovatively in their areas. 

The Commission's three proposed shifts in the way we approach public services - a shift in culture from social security to social productivity; a shift in power from the centre to citizens; and a shift in finance, re-connecting it with purposes - could get us out of our current cul-de-sacs.  The report suggests some specific examples of the types of change that follow from the new thinking.  These include:

Socially Productive Public Safety Services in 2020 will take citizenship more seriously by attaching more importance to people's views and actions:

  • Give citizens a say in deciding ‘what works' in sentencing and rehabilitation.  Establish an independent body - a criminal justice equivalent of NICE - in which a citizens' panel will have a powerful say in its decisions. 
  • Help offenders back into work, if they are committed to starting afresh.  Those who have offended should have the opportunity to reduce the rehabilitation period attached to their sentence by volunteering at a recognised charity or social service, where their contribution counts towards the reduction.   Police records would be unaffected and the most serious offenders exempted.

Connecting finance to the purposes of public safety in 2020 will ensure that investment of public resource clearly follows public benefit:

  • Give communities a say over how to use money saved from reducing use of imprisonment so that it makes their communities safer.  ‘Justice reinvestment' savings subject to Participatory Budgeting

Shifting Power from Centre to Citizen in public safety in 2020 will support local leadership and energise professionals:

  • Key public safety services, such as local probation services, witness support services and ‘bail hostels' should be mutualised - This would create more specialist providers and empower professionals.  They would focus on getting the relational aspects of services right, reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and encouraging a proportionate attitude to risk.
  • Give judges the power to attach conditions (for treatment, learning etc) to custodial sentences, and the power to review whether these have been carried out.

2020 Commissioner, Dame Clare Tickell said:

"This is an important moment in the development of public safety services.  Our report demonstrates that just and cost effective solutions are available, though reaching them will require clear leadership, honest debate and strategic commitment.  We hope that our practical suggestions for reform bring substance and direction to this debate.  They begin to put flesh on the key principles that should inform public safety's policy narrative: citizen-agency, locality leadership and financial transparency."

Jen Byrne, Development Director, Justice at A4e said:

'The Coalition government has signalled its intent to overhaul the criminal justice system through the proposed 'Rehabilitation Revolution'.  Ahead of the Autumn's Green Paper, this report provides timely insight into the scale of that challenge and suggests solutions to help tackle it.  Fundamental restructuring of services is needed to ensure we can find cost-savings while delivering better, long-term outcomes for both individuals and communities'.



For more information please contact Ashish Prashar on 07775 501 839

Notes to Editors

  • 2020 Public Safety: Opportunities for Reform - Few areas of public policy have been as busy or as strongly contested as public safety.  This report asks if the Commission's approach to public services - shifting culture, power and finance - could form the basis of a clear and consensual narrative, connecting all the key stakeholders.  It illustrates the progress that could be made between now and 2020 with a series of practical proposals on commissioning, sentencing and mutualisation. Download the report
  • This report was kindly supported by A4e.
  • The report's views are those of its author.  An advisory group guided its development.  Its members were: Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive, Action for Children; Rob Berkeley, Director, Runnymede Trust; Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI; Lord Blair of Boughton, formerly commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; Jen Byrne, Development Director, Justice, A4e; Louise Casey, Victims Commissioner; Anastasia de Waal, Director of Family and Education, Civitas; John Graham, Director, The Police Foundation; Dame Helen Reeves, formerly Chief Executive, Victim Support.
  • The 2020 Public Services Trust is a registered charity (no. 1124095), based at the RSA. It is not aligned with any political party and operates with independence and impartiality. The Trust exists to stimulate deeper understanding of the challenges facing public services in the medium term. Through research, inquiry and discourse, it aims to develop rigorous and practical solutions, capable of sustaining support across all political parties.  For more information about the Trust please visit
  • The Trust launched the Commission on 2020 Public Services in December 2008, to recommend the characteristics of a new public services settlement appropriate for the future needs and aspirations of citizens, and the best practical arrangements for its implementation.
  • Commission members span a wide breadth of political opinion, experience and expertise from academia, business, the voluntary sector, and the public policy and political world.  Sir Andrew Foster is the Chair, and members range from the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP and Bridget Rosewell to Lord Victor Adebowale and Matthew Taylor.  The full list of members can be found here
  • The Commission's final report will be published on the 14 September 2010 in the run-up to the publication of the coalition government's spending review.


Media Enquiries

For media enquiries please contact:

Ashish Prashar
Stakeholder & Communications Manager
+44 (0)7775 501 839

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