Ministry of Justice
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Ministry of Justice unveils future structure

Ministry of Justice unveils future structure

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (012-08) issued by The Government News Network on 29 January 2008

A new structure for the Ministry of Justice, which will protect the public, reduce re-offending and improve access to justice has been announced today by the Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

In May 2007 the Ministry of Justice was created, bringing together the responsibilities of the Department for Constitutional Affairs with the National Offender Management Service from the Home Office and the trilateral Office for Criminal Justice Reform. A review of the department's structure began shortly afterwards to ensure that it is focused on its key operational and policy aims, including prisons and probation. This review has also taken full account of the Carter review of Prisons, published on 5 December 2007.

The new top structure will come into place on 1 April with the more detailed changes being implemented over the following few months to provide a coherent structure for managing the Department's key challenges - public protection and reducing re-offending, constitutional reform, and access to justice.

The key changes are in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) where H M Prison Service and the Probation Service will be brought together in NOMS under a streamlined headquarters and regional structure so as to improve the focus on frontline delivery of prisons and probation and improve efficiency.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

"The new structure will provide the Ministry of Justice with a sharper focus on its key priorities, including public protection and reducing re-offending, and improving relations with the judiciary, while streamlining leadership across the whole of the Department's agenda.

"These changes will ensure a more joined-up approach to issues of justice and constitutional reform and will ensure that we create the right conditions for the delivery of the Ministry of Justice's wide agenda."

Notes to editors:

1. The review of the department follows, and was informed by, Lord Carter's review of prisons, which the Justice Secretary reported to Parliament on 5 December 2007, and the work to develop a partnership relationship with the judiciary, which the Justice Secretary reported to Parliament on 23 January 2008.

2. The Ministry of Justice was created on 9 May 2007. It brings together the former responsibilities of the Department for Constitutional Affairs with the National Offender Management Service from the Home Office and the trilateral Office for Criminal Justice Reform. The new Department has a wide ranging remit with major delivery responsibilities for prisons and probation, the courts and tribunals, legal aid and more, as well as important policy responsibilities ranging from constitutional reform and devolution, democracy and human rights to the justice system.

3. The changes are set out in the Written Ministerial statement. Apart from the Chief Executive of the streamlined NOMS, there will be a Director-General for Criminal Justice & Offender Management Strategy who will set the strategic direction for offender management and will work with the judiciary on the proposals for a Sentencing Commission. A Director-General for Democracy, Constitution and Law will bring together work on the Governance of Britain agenda launched by the Prime Minister last July, leading work on constitutional reform, democratic engagement, devolution and information management for government. Responsibilities for justice issues will be placed under a Director-General for Access to Justice, who will lead a group which brings together the courts and tribunals with legal aid and regulation of the legal profession. A Corporate Performance Director General will bring together the key cross cutting functions in the Ministry of Justice.

ENDS

http://www.justice.gov.uk

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