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Justice Devolution to Greater Manchester: Refreshed Memorandum of Understanding

Volume 661: debated on Tuesday 4 June 2019

On 31 May the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Charnwood (Edward Argar), signed a refreshed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for justice devolution with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

This agreement replaces the current MoU, published in July 2016. It details the priority areas for the delivery of justice outcomes within GMCA. The commitments agreed between the Department (Ministry of Justice) and GMCA build on the previous agreement, recognise new challenges, and identify new opportunities for developing a broader, more integrated approach which improves outcomes and experiences for victims, witnesses, and offenders, as well as the communities and neighbourhoods in which they live.

The aim of the MoU is to increase local influence and improve partnership working to increase efficiencies and reduce reoffending. Delivery will take place within the context of the whole system approach to public services which is advocated by GMCA. The MoU fits with the Government’s priority to reduce reoffending and our 2017 manifesto commitment to further enhance the role of police and crime commissioners.

The areas covered in this refreshed MoU are youth justice, smarter justice, adult offender management and the victim’s journey. In summary:

Youth justice

With the aim of targeting resources where they can be most effective, the MoU focuses on adopting a preventive, problem-solving approach which puts the people in the right service at the right time. This includes establishing a local consortium to focus on resettlement from custody and prioritising specified cohorts in youth justice policy initiatives, including data sharing. The focus of this section aligns with the youth justice board (YJB) national standards which were published earlier this year.

Smarter justice

We will work towards greater family involvement to support compliance with regular judicial supervision. Along with GMCA we will develop inter-agency planning to increase confidence in community sentences and ensure pre-sentence reports identify vulnerable cohorts. There will also be work carried out to help identify where family-centred principles are best integrated at different points in the system.

Reforming adult offender management

We want to optimise the opportunities created through the new probation model to improve delivery within the context of Greater Manchester’s unified approach to public services. This will include a programme of work to support increased viability of community disposals and to co-design approaches to delivery of probation services that support place-based integration. We will also explore co-commissioning options through the Greater Manchester reform investment fund.

The victim’s journey

We will work with GMCA as they seek to improve services for victims to provide a seamless service by using innovative approaches, including digital path- ways, jointly evaluating the effectiveness of nationally commissioned services for victims, agreeing a programme to develop stronger links and ways of working at local level for the benefit of witnesses in GM and working to understand the impact of the criminal injuries compensation scheme on victims of terrorism.

This summary covers the main commitments of the MoU. It is available in full at Work will begin now to ensure we jointly deliver these commitments.