Budget 2016: criminal justice powers for Greater Manchester

Topics: Criminal justice,Government & politics

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Greater Manchester will be granted new powers over criminal justice as part of the government’s ‘devolution revolution’, the chancellor of the exchequer announced today. 

Greater Manchester will have a ‘greater involvement’ in future plans for the local courts estate, according to a document entitled Further Devolution to Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

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Greater Manchester will ‘support’ HM Courts and Tribunals Service ‘to consider alternative ways to make local justice more efficient and effective, for example more innovative use of venues and testing of problem-solving court approaches’.

The role of police and crime commissioner will be merged with that of the mayor.

Greater Manchester will have a ‘greater role’ in commissioning offender management services and ‘greater autonomy’ for prison governors.

The government and Greater Manchester will ‘explore options’ for regional pilots of GPS and sobriety tagging to improve the supervision of offenders.

The government will also work with Greater Manchester ‘to consider options’ to devolve custody budgets attached to female and young offenders, and those sentenced to fewer than two years in prison, to the authority.

Elsewhere, criminal justice will also be devolved as part of a Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal.

A mayoral devolution deal with Liverpool city region will see the region and government ‘work together’ on justice among other areas.

Commenting on the announcement, Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: 'We hope this is an opportunity to develop a range of measures that help tackle reoffending. If successful, these could be rolled out across the country. If released prisoners are provided with support, including legal advice, for dealing with the range of problems they frequently face such as debt, welfare benefits, housing and employment this could go a long way towards helping offenders reintegrate into society.'

 

Readers' comments (8)

  • Why Manchester?

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  • David - I am unsurprised that it is Manchester given the relatively recent devolutionary revolution in relation to healthcare there and, more pertinently, the recent reporting which showed that trials in Manchester have about a 1 in 10 chance of starting on time (or something to that effect).

    Govt gets to champion the North and absolve itself of the worry of a foundering local Court system in one swoop.

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  • Because of regional devolution, the Northern Outhouse, and Gideon's ongoing attempts to bribe us all to vote Tory. Which, of course, we'll never do.

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  • Since when has responsibility for organising the court system lain with the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

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  • Anon 4.19 - since around the same time as the CotE took over the law of torts, presumably...

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  • Greater Manchester is to have a Gtr Manchester mayor from May 2017. We have an interim in place (Labour's Tony Lloyd - never elected to the post) until the election next year.

    This announcement is just part of that process.

    It sounds great on paper until you look at what Osborne has done. He has cooked it up, by-passed Parliament and to get it agreed locally said that the Mayor has no power to appoint a cabinet, his cabinet will be made up of the local council leaders - who are predominantly Labour . So, these new powers for the Mayor will be worthless, as if the Mayor is not a Labour Party appointee - as has happened in London - there can be no consensus on most things with his Cabinet. But Osborne really wanted it to make his Northern Powerhouse work. The Mayor also takes the budget for the hopelessly bankrupt Greater Manchester NHS. That bankrupt budget will mean that all cash will be sucked out of the Mayor's budget as s/he fights to keep the hospitals and mental health facilities open. And you know what Labour leaders are like - the budget will be massively abused with expense claims for Senior Executive PAs to the post-room etc etc.

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  • Not sure many of these Anons got the fact that my question was rhetoric...

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  • @Kalvin.

    Not only an interim mayor nobody has voted for, but an interim mayor (and indeed a full mayor) that nobody wants.

    Residents of Manchester City Council actually voted *against* this in a referendum.

    And obviously it goes without saying that none of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority's pen-pushers or time-wasters from the Mayor all the way down to the Executive Delivery Officer for Premises Hygienisation and Deprivation Reduction (aka the cleaner) will actually know or realise that "Greater Manchester" and Manchester are two different places.

    In so-called "Greater Manchester" there are over 1 million people living in a whole bunch of urban, semi-rural and rural communities, from Orrell to Saddleworth and 10 towns between, which even the GMCA's own research shows the vast majority of whom neither work in nor visit Manchester itself.

    But they'll happily take our council tax payments to play with toy trams, and painting different coloured lines on the road, etc. And of course employ more staff. All in Central Manchester, it goes without saying.

    That's democracy for you, I suppose.

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