Parole Board For England And Wales
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Parole Board publishes Annual report and Accounts for 2010/11

Parole Board publishes Annual report and Accounts for 2010/11

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 18 July 2011

The Parole Board today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2010/11, reporting on its performance against business plan targets, statistics for determinate sentence and indeterminate sentence prisoners and accounts for the year. The report records the work carried out by the Board last year to maintain its high standards of risk assessment during a year in which it faced the twin challenges of a big backlog of cases and continued uncertainty over its future.

Statistics

The key statistics for 2010/11 are:

25,566
The number of cases considered during the year. This compared with 24,204 in 2009/10, up by 6%. This rise in total cases is due to an increase in indeterminate sentence and recall cases being referred to the Board, partially offset by a fall in DCR cases. The number of resource intensive three member indeterminate sentence oral hearings rose by 27%.

3,732
The number of oral hearings that took place during the year. This compared with 2,974 in 2009/10, up by 25%. This continues the rising trend in the number of such hearings. Lifer oral hearings rose from 1,170 in 2009/10 to 1,607 this year. IPP cases also rose from 1,022 in 2009/10 to 1,430 this year.

1,381
The number of determinate sentence cases considered by paper panels during the year. This compared with 1,792 in 2009/10, down by 23%. The number of DCRs continues to fall significantly as these sentences are phased out under the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. There was also a fall in EPP and deport cases.

14,159
The number of recall cases considered during the year. This compared with 13,423 in 2009/10, up 5%. The number of single member oral hearings and sift cases to consider representations against recall fell by 19% during the year from 1,598 to 1,301.

18%
The percentage of DCR cases where parole was granted. This is the same as the 18% release rate in 2009/10. The number of DCR cases considered by the Board continues to fall and only the most serious cases, on longer fixed sentences, remain in the system.

41
The number of determinate sentence prisoners recalled from parole during the year following an allegation of a further offence. This figure has fallen from 50 in 2009/10. Out of an average of 652 such prisoners on parole during the year this is a recall rate of 6.3%, which is up compared to the recall rate for further offences for 2009/10 of 4%.

15%
The percentage of life sentence cases considered by oral hearing where life licence was granted. This has risen from the lifer release rate of 11% in 2009/10. The release rate for IPP prisoners is 6%, up from 5% in 2009/10.

111
The number of prisoners on life licence who were recalled during the year for any reason. This is out of a total of 1,763 life sentence prisoners under active supervision in the community during the year, or 6.3%. This is a rise from the figure for 2009/10 of 90 recalls from life licence out of 1,757 prisoners in the community, or 5%.

Performance

A detailed report on the Board’s performance against Business Plan targets is given in the Annual Report. The targets are set at a strategic level and include a whole system target for timeliness in dealing with oral hearing cases. The benefit of this whole system target is that it encourages us and all of our partner agencies to work together towards our mission of protecting the public.

The whole system target also makes us dependent upon others who are operating downstream in the system providing us with complete dossiers on time. Overall during 2010/11 not enough dossiers were provided to the Board on time for us to meet our target of issuing 80% of ICM directions or no decisions by week 12 of the generic parole process. However, by the year end we were receiving 70% of complete dossiers on time. So the challenge for us will be to match this improved performance over the coming year.

Because of the backlog of oral hearing cases the Board has had to introduce a listing prioritisation framework which requires us to hear the oldest cases first. This has meant that it is also impossible for us to meet our target of setting a hearing date by week 8 of the GPP in 90% of cases where directions are complete.

Our performance in determining cases within the scheduled calendar month of the GPP was better due to our timely hearing of negative paper decisions. However, our performance on oral hearing reviews, where we are affected by the listing prioritisation framework meant that we missed the 80% target, determining only 32% of cases on time.

We performed best of all in the one GPP target that was solely a Parole Board action, issuing 95% of determinations within 14 days of the hearing. We narrowly missed this target, achieving an 88% success rate. However, this was a very creditable performance considering that we have significantly increased the number of oral hearings we held this year.

We did meet all of our targets for responding to pre-action correspondence within 20 days, concluding requests for variation of licence conditions with 15 days and issuing determinate paper panel decisions within 2 working days of the panel concluding.


Commenting on the report, Parole Board Chairman, the Rt Hon Sir David Latham, said:
“The Parole Board continues to operate in a challenging and changing environment. Our total caseload is now rising again after a dip last year, with the number of resource intensive oral hearings increasing significantly over the last year. At the same time we continue to face the prospect of changes to our sponsorship arrangements and a likely move to join the Courts and Tribunals Service within the next year or so.

“We are now actively considering how such sponsorship arrangements might work and how longer term we might become integrated into HMCTS whilst retaining our own identity and independence. I hope that these discussions will lead to a final decision on the future status and location of the Parole Board, which will provide a conclusion to a lengthy unsettling period for us.”

Parole Board Chief Executive, Linda Lennon CBE, added:
“The resources required to keep up with the workload of the Board remains at a historically high level, with the switch away from less labour intensive paper hearings towards much more resource intensive oral hearings continuing.

“Our greatest success this year has been to reduce the backlog of indeterminate cases awaiting an oral hearing by 40% from 2,651 in April 2010 to 1,420 cases in April 2011. This has been achieved through taking on more judicial, independent and specialist members and increasing the number of panels we sit quite dramatically.

“We are now averaging around 200 oral hearings panels a month, which is almost certainly our operational capacity, and my priority over the next 12 months will be to keep up this level of hearings in order to reduce the backlog still further. This level of hearings has been achieved with no additional secretariat staff.”

Accounts

The Board’s sponsor is the Corporate Performance Group of the Ministry of Justice. The Board’s only source of income is grant-in-aid which is provided by the Ministry of Justice. This comprised cash funding of £10.12 million together with funding of £530,000 to enable the Board to deploy additional judges. In addition the MOJ met costs of £3.31 million for the Board. This provided total funding of £13.96, which was an increase of 17% over 2009/10.

The estimated unit costs (excluding notional costs) to the Board for processing each category of case are as follows:
2010/11 2009/10

Paper hearing – DCR and EPP cases £703 per case £599 per case
Oral hearings – 3 member panels for the hearing
of lifer, IPP and ESP cases £2,532 per case £2,680 per case
Intensive case management £422 per case £417 per case
Oral hearings – single member panels for the
hearing of representations against recall for
determinate sentence prisoners £893 per case £740 per case
Recalls under the CJ Act 2003 and the CJ&I
Act 2008 £69 per case £62 per case

Notes to Editors

The Parole Board is an independent body that works with its criminal justice partners to protect the public by risk assessing prisoners to decide whether they can safely be released into the community.

The Parole Board Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11 have been formally laid before Parliament today. Copies of the Report can be downloaded in PDF format from www.justice.gov.uk

For further information please call Tim Morris, Head of Communications, on 020-7217 0564 during office hours, or 07725-927954 out of hours, or e-mail tim.morris5@paroleboard.gsi.gov.uk

Contacts:

NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Tim Morris
Phone: 020 7217 0564
Mobile: 07725 927954
Tim.Morris5@paroleboard.gsi.gov.uk

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