I am, with the Minister of State, Department for Children Schools and Families, my right hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes), today announcing improvements to the way that the Government measure their performance in reducing reoffending. The statistics will focus on how many reoffences are committed and how many of those are serious offences. The delay in reporting adult reoffending statistics will be reduced. This broader range of information on reoffending rates, will allow for better, more timely analysis of reoffending and ultimately help to reduce crime and make communities safer.
Current Reoffending Data
The Government currently measure the proportion of offenders who reoffend within a given period (two years for adults, one year for juveniles) following either their conviction where a community sentence is given, or release from prison where a custodial sentence is given. The reoffending rate is then compared against a predicted rate. The predicted rate is based on how statistically likely offenders are to reoffend, based on factors such as age and criminal history. If the actual rate of reoffending is lower than the predicted rate, then reoffending has fallen.
This measure has been helpful in providing an accurate picture of the difference that work to reduce reoffending has made to reoffending rates. We will continue to monitor progress using predicted rates and measure progress against the 2002 spending review target that covers the years 2000-06. The target data will be published in autumn 2008.
The new Make Communities Safer PSA has provided opportunities to broaden the range of reoffending data collected, reflecting the Governments focus on protecting communities from the harm caused by prolific and serious crimes in particular.
While the current regime measures whether a known offender reoffends or not, the new metric focuses on how many reoffences an offender commits. The new headline measure will monitor the frequency of reoffences per 100 offenders (in the cohort). This will provide a better measure of our impact with those offenders who cause most damage to communities through committing most crime. In addition we will measure the frequency per 100 offenders of reoffences which are classified as serious, such as violence against the person (including grievous bodily harm, murder and manslaughter) and serious sexual offences.
The new measures look beyond simply whether some one reoffends or not and reflects the balance between serious and prolific reoffenders, offenders who commit a small number of reoffences and those who do not reoffend at all.
We are also reducing the time it takes to report adult reoffending data. Under the new measures, the period of time over which reoffences by adult offenders are recorded has been reduced from two years to one year. The time allowed for convictions to be made and processed has also been reduced from nine months to six months. This will provide a more timely measure of adult reoffending and allows us to align reporting of the adult and juvenile reoffending data.
Comparisons over time
To ensure the figures are as transparent as possible, recalculated reoffending data for the period 2000 to 2004 (to 2005 for juveniles) will be published so that fair comparisons can be made over time. We will also continue to publish a reoffending rate that compares the actual and predicted rates.
On 9 May the latest adult reoffending figures for 2005 will be published using the new reoffending measures. The National Statistics bulletin will also contain recalculated reoffending figures using the new metric from 2000-04 for adults and 2000-05 for juveniles (excluding the year 2001) so that meaningful comparisons can be made under the new measures.