Advisory Board on Female Offenders

The Advisory Board for Female Offenders is responsible for oversight of delivery of the government’s Female Offender Strategy (June 2018). The group brings together government departments, criminal justice agencies and key stakeholders to provide expert advice and challenge to government.


The Advisory Board was established in 2013 to deliver the government’s strategic objectives for female offenders. Published on 22 March 2013, the strategic objectives set out the government’s intentions to ensure that there were robust and effective sentencing options in the community that address the specific needs of female offenders; that the women’s custodial estate was tailored to their needs, and that the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms support better life management to reduce women’s reoffending. In accordance with a commitment given to Parliament, we published a first year update on the progress made in delivering the strategic objectives.

The Board has supported the development of female offender policy over the last five years. In particular, through the expertise and knowledge of the members, the Board provided valuable advice and challenge to help shape the content and aims of the Female Offender Strategy.

Strategic objectives for female offenders

Update on the government’s strategic objectives for female offenders.

Role of the Board

The Advisory Board is chaired by the Minister for women in the justice system, Edward Argar MP. The Female Offender Strategy published on 27 June 2018, set out the government’s commitment to a new programme of work for female offenders, driven by our vision to see:

  • fewer women coming into the criminal justice system
  • fewer women in custody, especially on short-term sentences, and a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully
  • better conditions for those in custody.

The strategy committed to reform of the Advisory Board to increase the effectiveness of this body still further by:

  • giving the Board responsibility for monitoring and advising on the delivery of commitments in this strategy
  • ensuring that we have relevant expert representation by regularly refreshing stakeholder membership through an application process
  • securing attendance from Ministers from other relevant government departments to attend the Board, making sure that female offending remains a priority across government
  • inking the work of the Board with that of other cross-government groups that impact on female offenders

Current membership

  • Agenda
  • Anawim Women’s Centre
  • Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)
  • Changing Lives
  • Clinks
  • Criminal Justice Alliance
  • Deputy Directors, Vulnerable Offenders, MoJ
  • Director, Youth Justice and Offender Policy, MoJ
  • HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • HM Chief Inspector of Probation
  • HM Courts and Tribunal Service
  • HMPPS Community Commissioning
  • HMPPS Deputy Director of Custody,
  • HMPPS Director for Female Offenders
  • Independent academics
  • Judicial observer
  • Labour Peer
  • Magistrates Association
  • National Police Chiefs’ Council
  • NPS, Director for Female Offenders
  • Pause
  • Prison Reform Trust
  • Representatives from DHSC, MHCLG, DWP, Home Office
  • Revolving Doors Agency
  • Victims Commissioner
  • Welsh Government
  • Willowdene Rehabilitation and Training Centre
  • Women in Prison


The Board meets quarterly and the Secretariat is provided by the Ministry of Justice Female Offender Policy Team.

Female offender publications

Female Offender Strategy

Female Offender Strategy - First Anniversary: Written Ministerial Statement

Farmer Review for Women

Women’s Policy Framework

Women and the Criminal Justice System Statistics

Contact details