In the Media

Darling cuts and cuts again

PUBLISHED April 22, 2009

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Law Officers Departments will have to make a further ?85m in efficiency savings as a result of today?s budget.

Chancellor Alistair Darling (pictured) today (22 April) earmarked an additional ?5bn in efficiency savings across government on top of the ?30bn announced as part of 2007?s comprehensive spending review.

Between 2010 and 2011, Darling will require the MoJ to make ?70m additional savings on top of those already proposed. Total required efficiency savings now stand at ?1.08bn.

Between 2010 and 2011, the Law Officers Departments will have to make ?15m extra savings on top of those already proposed, increasing total required efficiency savings to ?94m.

According to today?s budget report, some of the MoJ?s ?1.08bn will come from:

  • ?120m of efficiencies from the Prison Service?s shared service centre, providing back office shared services for 128 prisons and other government departments;
  • ?82m savings in the National Offender Management Service through initiatives such as clustering (merging services between prisons in close proximity) and core day standardisation (bringing greater consistency and predictability to prison operations) and allowing prison staff arrangements to be re-profiled;
  • ?82m from streamlining administrative processes in the Courts Service; and
  • ?33m through ?The Way Ahead?, a reform programme designed to deliver a sustainable legal aid system by moving away from fees based on the number of hours worked, to a fixed and graduated fee scheme based on cases.

According to today?s Budget report, some of the ?94m savings from the Law Officers Departments will come from:

  • ?16m from optimising the use of an expanded cadre of Crown Prosecution Service employed associate prosecutors and Crown advocates to bring down the costs of prosecution;
  • ?24m by streamlining and improving common business processes in CPS areas across the country and by working more efficiently with the courts to reduce the number of adjournments in court and time spent on case preparation;
  • ?8m from combining the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) and the CPS to create one enhanced prosecuting organisation, optimising economies of scale and rationalising service delivery; and
  • ?37m through the reform of corporate services, including pursuing shared service solutions, collaborative procurement and maximising the potential gains from investment in IT.

As well as the CPS and RCPO, the Law Officers Departments comprise the Serious Fraud Office, Treasury Solicitors Department, Attorney General?s Office, Her Majesty?s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, and the National Fraud Strategic Authority.