Ministry of Justice
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Volunteers to be given voice in the justice system says Malik

Volunteers to be given voice in the justice system says Malik

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (028/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 3 March 2009

Justice Minister appointed as first Champion for volunteering.

Thousands of people who volunteer in the Criminal Justice System are to be given a voice in Government for the first time, with the appointment of a Volunteering Champion, it was announced today.

Justice Minister, Shahid Malik will highlight the work done by Magistrates, Special Constables, volunteers in prisons, Victims Support advisors and the thousands of others who give up their spare time to serve their communities, without being paid.

The appointment comes as part of the Government drive to open up the Criminal Justice System to communities. Encouraging people to get involved as volunteers will give members of the public a better understanding of the justice system, as well as help the justice system be more responsive to local needs.

Justice Minister, and Ministerial Champion for Volunteering, Shahid Malik said:

"There are tens of thousands of volunteers in the Criminal Justice System all of whom do a fantastic job in making our communities safer. But all too often they don't get the recognition that they deserve.

"Everyone who volunteers should be commended, but those who choose to work for our communities with victims and offenders so often work out of sight and can be overlooked. I am delighted to be able to speak up for them and highlight the important work they do each and every day."

The appointment comes as Baroness Neuberger publishes her report into Volunteering in the Criminal Justice System and is one of a series of steps being taken to strengthen the role of volunteering across the Criminal Justice System. The Government will also shortly be bringing forward proposals to increase the visibility and take-up of volunteering opportunities in the CJS.

Notes to editors:

1. The full Government response to Baroness Neuberger's report is available at http://www.cjsonline.gov.uk/downloads/application/pdf/Govt_response_to_volunteering_in_the_CJS.pdf

2. The Written Ministerial Statement announcing the creation of a CJS Volunteering Champion was laid in Parliament on 03/03/09. It read: The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw):

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary, my right honourable and noble friend the Attorney General and I are today publishing the Government's response to Baroness Neuberger's report on volunteering across the Criminal Justice System. We are grateful to Baroness Neuberger for her work on the report and for highlighting the key role of volunteers across the Criminal Justice System.

We recognise and value the huge contribution that thousands of volunteers make right across the CJS. We have already taken important steps to strengthen the role of volunteering and we will drive this work forward as part of our commitment to promote community engagement and active citizenship and to deliver first class public services. This is why my honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Shahid Malik), who leads on community involvement in justice issues, has been appointed as the cross CJS ministerial champion for volunteering.

Our focus is on practical action that enables volunteers to contribute to the delivery of high quality value for money services. It is also important that people from all backgrounds are encouraged and empowered to play their part.

The champion will work with Criminal Justice agencies to identify practical opportunities to enhance their work through the use of volunteers and improve our engagement with the community.

Copies of the Government's response have been placed in the libraries of both Houses. Copies of the response will also be available on the Criminal Justice System website at http://www.cjsonline.gov.uk .

http://www.justice.gov.uk

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