The Parole Board today published its Business Plan for 2011/15, setting out its budget and projected workload for the coming 12 months and plans to continue the transformation of its work over the next four years. The Plan also details how the Board will make itself more transparent, publishing input and impact indicators designed to help the public judge whether its policies and reforms are having the effect that they want.
Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of the Parole Board said:
“The Board has been given an indicative budget settlement of £10.5 million for 2011/12. This represents a 4.5% cut over our final revised budget allocation for 2010/11 of £10.98 million. In the context of cross-government spending cuts this is a good settlement, but we will need to work hard to stretch the budget to cover the projected increase in our indeterminate workload whilst continuing to reduce our backlog.
“We now have all of our new members in place and fully inducted, so we should be able to find the 4.5% cut in our 2011/12 budget through reductions in member training, a continued pay freeze for staff and our ongoing Lean programme.”
Linda Lennon also said:
“The long-term trend for the caseload of the Parole Board to switch away from less labour intensive paper hearings towards much more resource intensive oral hearings is set to continue over the next 12 months. The number of determinate recall cases is projected to fall by around 8% and the number of DCR paper panels by up to 28%, with an increasingly complex hardcore of more serious and problematic offenders left in the system.
“However, we will continue to see an increasing number of oral hearings, driven by the expanded population of indeterminate sentence prisoners. The number of indeterminate sentence cases referred to the Parole Board by the Secretary of State is set to increase in 2011/12 by more than 16%, touching a new record high.
“This, combined with the difficulties we have until recently experienced in obtaining sufficient judicial resource, led to the backlog of indeterminate cases peaking in June 2010 at around 2,600. Recruitment and training of new judicial, independent and specialist members, together with an outstanding performance by our secretariat staff, has turned this around during the year and our estimated backlog will be down to 1,500 cases by April 2011.”
The next four years will continue to see a transformation of the Parole Board. Finding ways to work more efficiently, retaining robust systems with the minimum level of bureaucracy and finding innovative ways to reduce costs. The Board will deploy pioneering new ways of delivering effective services, including the use of video-conferencing technology for hearings, automatic scanning of documents and electronic records instead of paper. To meet these ambitions will means making the best use of Parole Board members to hear cases and giving all parts of the Board a lean organisational structure that reduces unnecessary management.
The Parole Board will make itself more transparent, publishing input and impact indicators designed to help the public judge whether its policies and reforms are having the effect that they want. Published input data will include unit costs for each type of case handled by the Board. Impact data to be published will include; timeliness in hearing each type of case handled by the Board; number of indeterminate cases decided; deferral and adjournment rates for each type of panel; and number of cases heard during each oral hearing panel.
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