Joint HMIC, HMCPSI and HMI Probation Report on Local Criminal Justice Partnerships

Local criminal justice partnerships (LCJPs) are not doing enough to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system at a local level, according to a report published on 22 October by HMIC, HMCPSI and HMI Probation.
Inspectors found that there was very little evidence to suggest that LCJPs were visible, accountable or influential bodies in helping the smooth running of the criminal justice system (CJS). The report calls for greater direction from the National Criminal Justice Board.
Inspectors conducted a survey of LCJPs in England and Wales to provide data at a national level, as well as visiting six local criminal justice areas around the country, speaking to staff, analysing documentation, as well as observing court meetings and a court hearing.
The main findings were:

  • Despite a broad membership (including representatives from the police, CPS, the Court Service, prisons, youth offending services, probation services and Police and Crime Commissioners) LCJPs are not making a sufficiently positive difference
  • LCJPs do not agree their local priorities in any rigorous way, for example by looking at risks
  • Despite a partnership being in place, the action of one agency was having an adverse effect on the ability of other agencies to serve victims and manage offenders
  • In circumstances where there is progress, it is generally driven by a national programme, and usually involves only a few of the agencies, bypassing the LCJP. Therefore there is a risk that if all issues are handled in this way, there will be further unforeseen negative consequences
  • LCJP members are to some extent impeded and constrained by barriers beyond their control, such as the lack of geographical boundaries, nationally set priorities and programmes, and targets or objectives that can adversely impact on the performance of each other.

To tackle these issues, inspectors recommended that the national Criminal Justice Board must establish a more structured operating framework which would enable local criminal justice agencies to work together more effectively.
Following on from this, the report recommends a review of local partnership arrangements, with leaders of local criminal justice agencies, with co-operation from PCCs.
Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, Kevin McGinty said:
“An effective and efficient Criminal Justice System requires the different agencies that make it up to work together to achieve the quality of justice we expect.

“This report looks at how effectively they work together towards that goal through the operation of local criminal justice boards. The report identifies examples of both good and poor practice and will be of interest to anyone who works in, or is affected by, the criminal justice system”.
Download the full report (317 kB).