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.
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.'