Press release

Parole Board publishes annual report and accounts 2012 to 2013

This press release summarises the main points of the annual report, including key statistics for the year 2012 to 2013.

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On 10 July 2013 the Parole Board published its annual report and accounts for 2012 to 2013, reporting on its performance during the year, statistics for determinate sentence and indeterminate sentence prisoners and accounts for the year.

The report records the work carried out by the Board last year to maintain its high standards of risk assessment during a year in which it faced increased demands on its resources, together with internal restructuring and changes to legislation.

Commenting on the report the Chairman of the Parole Board, Sir David Calvert-Smith, said:

We have taken an innovative approach to reporting the work carried out by the board last year, and believe that the format is more reflective of how we collaborate in partnership with other stakeholders across the parole process. We have highlighted key features that demonstrate our aim of making risk assessments that are rigorous, fair and timely while protecting the public and contributing to the rehabilitation of prisoners.

During the past year we have once again faced the challenge of a continuing rise in our caseload, with particular demand on oral hearings for indeterminate sentence prisoners. We have listed record numbers of cases across the year, and managed these within existing resources.

Parole Board Chief Executive, Claire Bassett, added:

This has been a year of considerable change for the Parole Board. Last year we recognised the challenge ahead of us as a result of the increasing work load and stand still resources and this has not changed.

During 2012 to 2013 we continued to hold record numbers of hearings and we have reduced our backlog of cases by 336 between June 2012 and June 2013. Much of this improvement has been driven by a focus on the older cases within the backlog and identifying ways to progress those cases within it. We are now in the position where there is no delay for securing a listing date for those cases deemed ready to be considered at oral hearing but there is still a backlog of cases which are taking longer than they should to conclude. This is for a variety of reasons and often linked to deferrals and obtaining reports.

We have also taken a closer look at engaging with our partners across the whole process, with the aim of improving the level of customer service which we offer. This included issuing a short survey to NOMS agencies, legal representatives, and others to identify good attributes of case management, areas of change and improvements to processes, and asking for suggestions on other ways to improve our service and case management, in particular to reduce deferrals.

The most significant thing that has enabled us to make all these changes so quickly has been the ongoing commitment of our staff and Parole Board members. We ask a lot from our staff and members and I continue to be extremely grateful for the commitment they show, frequently going above and beyond what is asked of them. As we move forward with our increasing workloads, a reduction in budget, and key partners facing considerable changes themselves we will continue to rely on this and will work hard not to take it for granted.

Statistics

The key statistics for 2012 to 2013 are:

24,417: the number of cases considered during the year. This is compared with 26,414 cases during 2011 to 2012, a reduction of 8%. This was mainly due to a fall in the numbers of determinate recall cases being referred to the board (as a result of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which allowed the Secretary of State further discretion to use fixed term recalls in a greater number of cases)

4,628: the number of oral hearings that took place during the year. This is compared to 4216 in 2011 to 2012, and has increased by 9%.

13,437: the number of determinate cases (reviews and recalls) considered at paper hearings during the year. This has reduced from 15,855 in 2011 to 2012, a reduction of 15%.

18%: the percentage of determinate paper hearings (reviews and recalls) where release was directed.

19%: the percentage of life sentence cases considered where release was directed. This has risen from 16% in 2011 to 2012.

16%: the percentage of Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) cases considered where release was directed. This has risen from 14% in 2011 to 2012.

244: the number of indeterminate sentence prisoners (ISP) who were recalled during the calendar year for any reason.

Notes to editors

The Parole Board is an independent body that works with its criminal justice partners to protect the public by risk assessing prisoners to decide whether they can safely be released into the community. The Board has responsibility for considering both indeterminate sentence cases (life sentence prisoners and those given indeterminate sentences for public protection) and determinate sentence cases (discretionary conditional release prisoners serving more than 4 years whose offence was committed before 4 April 2005 and prisoners given extended sentences for public protection for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005). In both instances the board considers initial release back into the community and re-release following a recall to prison.

The Parole Board annual report and accounts 2012 to 2013 have been formally laid before Parliament today.

Read the annual report and accounts 2012 to 2013.

For further information please call Glenn Gathercole, Business Development Directorate on 0300 047 4348 during office hours, or 07725 927 954 out of hours, or email glenn.gathercole@paroleboard.gsi.gov.uk.

Published 10 July 2013