Ministry of Justice
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Ministry of Justice announces reform of public bodies

The Ministry of Justice has today announced that a number of its public bodies will be substantially reformed as part of the government’s commitment to radically increasing their transparency, accountability and efficiency.

Ten of the department’s public bodies will no longer operate as non departmental public bodies or as statutory bodies. Five will be merged with other existing bodies and two are under consideration. A further statutory office – the Chief Coroner for England and Wales – will be abolished with some important functions transferred to alternative bodies. Of the public bodies considered, a proportion will be retained and will remain at arm’s length from government, although work will continue to ensure that they become more open, accountable and efficient.

This announcement forms part of the wider government plans detailed today by Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude. The government will bring forward a public bodies bill that will enable them to be implemented.

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said:

'This announcement marks an unprecedented step towards enhanced transparency, increased accountability and greater efficiency of all public services.

'For far too long people have been frustrated at the way unelected public bodies have held the power to make important decisions and to shape their lives without having any means to hold these organisations to account.

'Reform will help to reinvigorate the public’s trust in democracy. It will ensure the restoration of ministerial accountability for important decisions which affect lives and the way taxpayers’ money is spent.' 

Six public bodies will no longer operate as non departmental public bodies:

  • The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales will be abolished and its functions brought within the Ministry of Justice
  • The Legal Services Commission will become an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice
  • The Victim’s Advisory Panel will be abolished
  • The Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council will be abolished
  • Courts boards (19 in total) will be abolished.
  • The Crown Court Rule Committee’s functions will be transferred to the Lord Chief Justice in consultation with other rule committees.

Commenting on the Youth Justice Board, the Jonathan Djanogly said:

'The Youth Justice Board (YJB) will cease to function as a public body and the leadership of youth justice and functions of the YJB will move into the Ministry of Justice.

'This organisation has helped to transform the delivery of youth justice and has fulfilled an important role in reducing offending and re-offending by young people. Now is the right time to look more radically at the arrangement of youth justice, including the role of the YJB, ensuring that a dedicated focus on rehabilitation needs of young people is driven forward in the future.'

Four public bodies will no longer operate as statutory bodies:

  • HM Inspectorate of Court Administration will be abolished
  • The Legal Services Ombudsman will be abolished
  • The Magistrates’ Courts Rule Committee’s function will be transferred to other rule committees
  • The Public Guardian Board will be abolished.

In addition, certain planned functions of the Chief Coroner’s Office may be transferred to alternative bodies.

Reforming public bodies will reduce duplication of work and ensure that the government operates in a more efficient way. All of the key functions performed by each of the public bodies included in the reform plans will continue to be provided by the Ministry of Justice or an existing organisation.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The full list of reforms to the government’s public bodies can be found on the Cabinet Office website
  2. For more information about the government’s announcement on public body reform and the Public Bodies Reform Bill, contact the Cabinet Office on 020 7276 0393
  3. For more information contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536

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