David Gauke – 2019 Speech on Reforming Prisons

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 18 February 2019.

Since the early 1990s, we’ve seen the prison population almost double, from about 45,000 in 1993 to just over 83,000 in 2008. Since then, it has been broadly stable and currently stands at a little below 83,000.

This is the highest rate of imprisonment almost anywhere in western Europe.

For every 100,000 people…

… in the Netherlands 61 are behind bars

… in Denmark 63

…in Germany it’s 76

…in Italy it’s 99

and

…in France it’s 104.

In England and Wales our incarceration rate is 139 people per 100,000.

Why do we have such high rates of imprisonment – both by international standards and our own historic standards?

Part of this is about our society and government rightly recognising and responding to the rise in certain types of crime.

More offenders are being jailed for violent crime for example. And last year, over a third of people sentenced for crimes involving knives or other weapons were given immediate custodial sentences. That’s up from 23% in 2009.

And the length of sentences is increasing – sentences for sexual offences for example have gone up from 43 months in 2007 to just under 61 months in 2018.

It’s also about changing expectations about the kinds of crimes for which we expect perpetrators to be more severely punished.

Look at sexual offences where we’ve seen more victims feel able to come forward, more people brought to justice, and with many more convictions and much longer sentences than a decade ago.

But it’s not just about violent or sexual offences. Prison sentences, in general, have been getting longer.

Even for offences which aren’t violent or sexual, the average sentence length overall has increased. Take fraud: the average custodial sentence for that has gone up from just under a year in 2007 to over 18 months in 2017.

Now, whatever your own views on what should happen, as a matter of fact it is clearly not true that sentences overall are getting shorter or justice is somehow getting softer – as some argue.

When it comes to the length of prison sentences we are now taking a more punitive approach than at any point during Mrs Thatcher’s premiership.

Let me be clear…

…I do not want to reverse the tougher sentencing approach for serious offences. But equally, we should be extremely cautious about continuing to increase sentences as a routine response to concerns over crime. We have to recognise that such an approach would lead us to becoming even more of an international and historical outlier in terms of our prison population.

Instead, we need to take a step back and to ask ourselves 3 questions:

…Is our approach to sentencing actually reducing crime – when reoffending remains stubbornly high, creating more victims and putting the public at risk?

…Are we running our prisons in a way which maximises offenders’ chances of turning their lives around, of going on to gainful employment and re-joining society as a responsible citizen?

…And should we be seeking opportunities in the coming years to find better and alternative ways of punishing as well as rehabilitating offenders?

It is these questions – how we punish people for their crimes – which I’d like to talk about today.

I think now is the time for us as a society, as a country, to start a fresh conversation, a national debate about what justice, including punishment, should look like for our modern times.

Because as I see it, there is a false choice between the narrow and often polarising discussion about ‘soft’ justice versus ‘hard’ justice.

In my view, we should be talking about ‘smart’ justice.

Justice that works.

Now, for most of us in society, the very idea of going to prison for even a short amount of time, and the loss of liberty that entails, is a real deterrent.

But that thinking fails to get into the mindset of many of today’s criminals –who are either reckless, or who don’t fear prison because they have friends and family who have all done time. Perhaps their lives are so chaotic that prison, in the scheme of things, might not seem so bad.

That is true of no group more than those serving the shortest sentences.

In the last five years, just over a quarter of a million custodial sentences have been given to offenders for six months or less; over 300,000 sentences were for 12 months or less.

But nearly two thirds of those offenders go on to commit a further crime within a year of being released.

27% of all reoffending is committed by people who have served short sentences of 12 months or less.

For the offenders completing these short sentences whose lives are destabilised, and for society which incurs a heavy financial and social cost, prison simply isn’t working.

The most common offence for which offenders are sentenced to less 6 months – some 11,500 offenders – is shoplifting.

We know that offenders who commit this kind of crime often have drug or alcohol problems, and many are women. Almost half of women sentenced to a short custodial sentence are there for shop theft.

The impact of short custodial sentences on women generally is particularly significant. Many are victims, as well as offenders, with almost 60% reporting experience of domestic abuse and many have mental health issues.

For women, going into custody often causes huge disruption to the lives of their families, especially dependent children, increasing the risk they will also fall into offending.

And for many offenders, both men and women, who may not have a stable job or home, and who are likely to have alcohol or drug problems, a short stay in prison can result in them losing access to benefits and drug or alcohol support services and treatment. Coming out of prison, they find themselves back at the start of the process and feeling like they have even less to lose.

That’s why there is a very strong case to abolish sentences of six months or less altogether, with some closely defined exceptions, and put in their place, a robust community order regime.

Let’s be honest. The public will always want to prioritise schools or hospitals over the criminal justice system when it comes to public spending. But where we do spend on the criminal justice system, we must spend on what works.

Why would we spend taxpayers’ money doing what we know doesn’t work, and indeed, that makes us less safe?

We shouldn’t.

The reception of a new offender into custody – that first night inside – is one of the most resource heavy moments in an offender’s journey through the system.

Every offender must have their property logged. They must be issued with their prison essentials – toothbrushes; clothing; bedding. They must be risk assessed for self-harm risks and the risks they pose to other offenders. There are full security procedures including a strip search for many.

And then once these offenders are set up inside, there’s no time for the prison service to do any meaningful rehabilitative work with them.

In 2017, almost 50,000 offenders were sentenced to immediate custody for 6 months or less. By abolishing these sentences we’d expect also to reduce the number of receptions carried out.

Just think how much better we could use the prison officers’ time and resources, whether focusing on security, whether looking after those at risk of self harm, or whether spending more time on running regimes which really will make a difference – those built around temporary release for work, education, and tackling drug addiction.

And offenders are less likely to reoffend if they are given a community order, which are much more effective at tackling the root causes behind criminality.

Now, I do not want community orders which are in any sense a ‘soft option’. I want a regime that can impose greater restrictions on people’s movements and lifestyle and stricter requirements in terms of accessing treatment and support.

And critically, these sentences must be enforced.

That’s why on Saturday I announced the rollout of our new GPS tagging programme which will allow offenders’ movements to be more effectively monitored.

Working with our justice partners, I hope that GPS tags will be available across the country by April.

It will be an important new tool in controlling and restricting the movement and certain activities of offenders.

It will also help manage offenders safely in the community and strengthen the protection available for victims by monitoring exclusion zones.

Other new technology and innovations are opening up the possibility of even more options for the future too.

For example, technology can monitor whether an offender has consumed alcohol, and enables us to be able to better restrict and monitor alcohol consumption where it drives offending behaviour.

We are testing the value of alcohol abstinence monitoring requirements for offenders on licence, building on earlier testing of its value as part of a community order.

Underpinned by evidence of what works to reduce reoffending, we are also increasing the treatment requirements of community orders.

Our research shows that nearly 60% of recent offenders who engaged with a community-based alcohol programme did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment. Offenders given a community sentence including mental health treatment have also shown to be significantly less likely to reoffend.

That’s why we have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to develop a Treatment Requirement Programme which aims to increase the number of community sentences with mental health, drug and alcohol treatment requirements.

The programme is currently being tested in courts across five areas in England –Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Plymouth and Sefton.

It dictates a new minimum standard of service, with additional training for staff to improve collaboration between the agencies involved – all of which is increasing confidence among sentencers to use them.

I look forward to seeing the outcomes of those trials shortly.

Many offenders in prison have mental health problems, but often struggle to engage with treatment on the same terms as they could in the community. That is why the Health Secretary and I want to explore how innovative digital technologies can be put to use to serve the mental health needs of our prisoners.

We also know stable accommodation is a key factor in reoffending. As part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping agenda, we are investing up to £6.4 million in a pilot scheme to help individuals released from three prisons – Bristol, Leeds and Pentonville – who have been identified as being at risk of homelessness into settled accommodation, while providing them with wrap around support for up to two years.

This is part of a cross-government action necessary to cutting reoffending and tackle the root causes of criminality.

But if we want to successfully make a shift from prison to community sentences it is critical that we have a probation system that commands the confidence of the courts and the public.

I will return to the subject of probation in much greater depth later this year. But, in thinking strategically about the future of our justice system I believe in the end there is a strong case for switching resource away from ineffective prison sentences and into probation. This is more likely to reduce reoffending and, ultimately, reduce pressures on our criminal justice system.

I am determined to strengthen the confidence courts have in probation to ensure we can make this shift away from short custodial sentences towards more punitive and effective sanctions and support in the community.

However, as I mentioned earlier, prison will continue to be right for some.

My second question was about what sort of prison regime we want.

For those who are serving longer sentences, we need to ensure that prisons are humane, safe and secure. Much good work has been done over the past year, led by the excellent Prisons Minister Rory Stewart.

But in prison, to reduce the chances of reoffending on release, there needs to be a positive outlook for the future and a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel so long as an offender wants to turn their back on crime.

That’s why I have spoken before and we have consulted on a new approach to incentives and privileges that better incentivises prisoners to abide by the rules and engage in education, work and substance misuse interventions, whilst ensuring poor behaviour can still be tackled through the loss of privileges.

It means maintaining a link to the outside world – for example with work and family – so that prisoners don’t get institutionalised and lose hope.

If, at the end of a prison term, our objective is to release into the community a responsible citizen, we must first ensure that we have a responsible prisoner.

An important way we can do this for some prisoners is release on temporary license – or ROTL.

Research last year shows the more ROTL a prisoner gets, the less chance there is of them reoffending.

It provides purposeful activity and experience while in prison so that they have the right attitude for work, can get a job when they’re released, prepare for re-joining their families and society and turn their back on crime for good.

We are currently consulting on loosening some of the barriers to using ROTL for some prisoners. Our plans will encourage using ROTL more often to get prisoners off the wings and into the workplace by removing blanket restrictions on when governors can consider ROTL, particularly those who have progressed to open conditions.

Rather than blanket bans, the focus will rightly be instead on how safe it is for a prisoner to be released on ROTL, enabling them to go out to work sooner, and helping them to prepare for eventual release.

I am pleased to say that three prisons, HMPs Drake Hall, Ford and Kirkham, are currently testing out new arrangements for ROTL, giving their Governors more discretion over temporary release for men and women. This will be a great opportunity to learn from their experience, and explore the best ways to safely and more quickly get prisoners out for work.

Our other reforms will also make reoffending less likely on release. Whether that’s our £7 million investment for new in-cell telephones to maintain family links or looking at how we categorise the risk prisoners pose so they are put in the right type of category prison.

This brings me to my third fundamental question. Is it time to begin to think again about how we punish offenders in future.

Historically, for many offenders our earliest prisons were little more than holding pens ahead of transportation or indeed capital punishment. Of course, those sanctions are no longer available to us. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating their return.

But for the past couple of centuries, we have – almost by default – come to accept the view that punishment essentially means prison.

Looking at reforming short sentences by providing a robust community orders regime is a near term initiative that will help us tackle the problem of reoffending.

But thinking about effective punishment for different crimes isn’t limited to those that currently get short sentences.

I believe we are nearing a time when a combination of technology and radical thinking will make it possible for much more intensive and restrictive conditions to be applied in more creative and fundamental ways outside of prison.

I think for some offenders we need to revisit what effective punishment really means.

Home curfew, driving bans, alcohol bans and foreign travel bans are just some of the options that already exist and which might play a bigger role.

I believe the biggest potential comes from being able to better target someone who makes large profits from committing a financial crime like fraud. Or the kingpin drug baron who makes his money one step removed from the violence and misery this illicit trade creates.

Fraud, for example, is a serious offence. It is far from victimless and the consequences for innocent people can be devastating. So, it needs a serious punishment.

And the criminals who commit these offences are calculating. They are premeditated. And they are motivated by greed.

In recent years, the custody rate has increased from 14.5% in 2007 to over 20%, and the average custodial sentence going up from under a year to over 18 months. But once fraudsters have sat out their sentence, they may be able to return to their comfortable lifestyle as soon as they get out.

Indeed, serving a 2 year prison sentence but knowing your illicit cash is still hidden from the authorities, is not an effective punishment.

I can see us being able to take a different approach. For example, this kind of fraudster or kingpin would still need to spend time in prison. And we will continue to pursue relentlessly to confiscate the proceeds of crime.

But we could go further. I want to look at what happens after prison – whether our more effective punishment and deterrent for these criminals might involve jail time and more lasting and punitive community interventions.

After serving part of their sentence behind bars, we could, for example, continue to restrict an offender’s movement, their activities and their lifestyle beyond prison in a much more intensive way.

And that could also mean a real shift in the standard of living a wealthy criminal can expect after prison.

I want to look at how, once a jail term has been served, we can continue to restrict their expenditure and monitor their earnings, using new technology to enable proper enforcement.

They would be in no uncertainty that, once sentenced, they wouldn’t be able to reap any lifestyle benefits from their crimes and would need to make full reparation to the community as part of the sentence.

I’m keen to get industry working with us to develop the necessary technology. Our banks are looking more and more at their social responsibilities, and they could look at what part they can play in investing to help us to deliver this vision.

Community sanctions like this won’t be soft options, but they will be smart ones.

They will enable us to impose an unprecedented level of punitive sanctions outside of a prison, with punishment hitting closer to home and hitting criminals where it always hurts – the pocket.

It will allow us not only, as the old adage goes, to ‘let the punishment fit the crime’, but to let the punishment properly hit the criminal in a more tailored and targeted way outside of prison.

Prison will always play a part in serving as punishment for serious crimes and in rehabilitation, and our reforms will deliver that. But we need to think more imaginatively about different and more modern forms of punishment in the community. Punishments that are punitive, for a purpose.

As with our approach to short sentences, ultimately, it’s about doing what works to reduce reoffending and make us all safer and less likely to be a future victim of crime.

In that sense, I believe the choice – and the debate – isn’t one of soft justice or hard justice. It’s a choice between effective justice or ineffective justice.

I know that there will be some who argue that the only problem with our criminal justice system is that it isn’t tough enough, that the answer to short sentences is longer sentences, that the best way of stopping recently released prisoners from reoffending is not to release them. And that the endless ratchet effect of higher sentences is giving the public what it wants.

But I believe that those in positions of responsibility have a duty to show leadership. To confront difficult issues, be led by the evidence and pursue policies that are most likely to deliver for the public.

That, I hope, is the approach I have set out today – thank you.

David Gauke – 2019 Speech at Women’s Aid Public Policy Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 23 January 2019.

Introduction

It’s an honour for me to speak at this event. The wealth of knowledge and experience here today is so impressive and I’d like to pay tribute to Katie, and to everyone at Women’s Aid for making this conference happen, and thank our hosts and sponsors Freshfields and Lloyds for hosting this event.

The space for discussion and the sharing of best practice it provides, is an opportunity to really influence our approach to domestic abuse and strengthen our response to an abhorrent behaviour that often hides in plain sight and creates a type of suffering that skulks in the shadows.

With an estimated 2 million adults – straight, gay, partners, and parents – affected each year; with between a quarter and a third of children in this country having been exposed to it; with too many people suffering in silence, fearful of consequences for them and their abuser; with families left unable to flourish because of the devastating effects of it; with almost 60 per cent of female offenders in the system having experienced it; and with an estimated economic and social cost of £66 billion each year, it is crucial that we recognise our duty to protect and support the victims of domestic abuse.

That duty is what prompted the government to commit to a new approach on this and to introducing a new draft Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament.

Draft Domestic Abuse Bill and consultation response

As you know, in March last year we set out our proposals for that Bill and began a period of consultation so that all interested parties, including survivors, as well as support organisations and frontline professionals could contribute to the process.

That includes many of you here today and let me say how grateful I am to all of you who responded and particular thanks go to Women’s Aid – not only for responding to the consultation but for keeping up the pressure to ensure that domestic abuse remains at the top of the agenda.

The consultation allowed us to get to this point – harnessing a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise – so that we could draft a better Bill and strategy for dealing with domestic abuse.

I realise we only published our response and the new draft Bill on Monday so you will still be digesting its contents. With that in mind, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk you through them.

Promoting awareness

When we started the consultation process we did so with an open mind but with four key objectives.

Our first was promoting awareness. The idea that domestic abuse is something for families to address behind closed doors is now, thankfully, an outdated one. However, you told us that we need to do more to make domestic abuse better understood by everyone – so that victims know that they need not suffer in silence; and professionals – whether that be the police, teachers, GPs, or social workers – know the signs of abuse and are equipped to challenge it.

That means it is crucial that we raise awareness with the public. We recognise that if we want to change attitudes we must engage with children at the earliest opportunity, which is why we will be introducing Relationship Education in all primary schools and Relationship and Sex Education in all secondary schools and recently consulted on draft guidance.

In primary schools, the draft statutory guidance advises schools to teach the foundation knowledge of what constitutes healthy, respectful relationships. At secondary level, teaching will build on the knowledge gained at primary and introduce concepts about healthy intimate relationships, for example laws and concepts of consent, harassment and abuse.

To raise awareness more widely, we are funding projects and helplines that aim to improve community awareness of domestic abuse; and the Department for Work and Pensions is updating its communication materials to better signpost victims to support.

We will also introduce a statutory definition of domestic abuse, capturing the various types of abusive relationships that can exist, including economic abuse. To aid agencies in the way they identify domestic abuse, this definition will be accompanied by statutory guidance. At the same time, we will invest in domestic abuse training to include the police, social workers and probation services – as well as continuing to work alongside NHS England to raise the profile of domestic abuse with professionals throughout the health service. What we want is for victims to recognise that they are being abused and know that when they speak up they will be heard and they will be helped.

Protecting and supporting victims

Our second objective was how we can better protect and support victims.

Clare’s Law – the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – was an important step forward in making information available to potential victims about abusers’ history. It is now time that Clare’s law becomes law in the very real sense of the word. To do that, we will be able to issue statutory guidance to the police on how the scheme works; and work with them to enable online applications to the scheme – making it easier to access than ever before. When abuse does happen, we must recognise that no two victims are the same.

Last year the government launched our Victims Strategy to improve the experience of a wide range of victims. That includes the many who experience domestic abuse and we allocated £8 million to projects right across the country specifically to support children whose lives have been devastated by it.

We will now increase funding and build capacity for services aimed at disabled, elderly, LGBT+ and male victims; update training and guidance on economic abuse; and introduce a new crisis support system for victims with no recourse to public funds.

We also want to make protective orders simpler and more effective, as well as making them more flexible so that they can better address the specific circumstances of each case. We will therefore legislate for the creation of a new protective order – a Domestic Abuse Protection Order, or DAPO – with a straightforward application process open to the police, the victim or other parties. The Order will also be available in any ongoing family proceeding, certain civil proceedings and in criminal proceedings.

Putting this type of protection in place should mean abuse cannot continue or escalate – keeping victims and their children safe while they consider their options. For the new model to work in practice it will require training for agency professionals and this will accompany the statutory introduction of the DAPO.

I think it’s really important that we are alert to the ongoing impact of abuse in the wider justice system. In my opening I mentioned a statistic: sixty per cent of female offenders in the country have experienced domestic abuse. That is a staggering statistic and it demonstrates why our response to abuse and addressing it at the earliest possible opportunity can be so crucial to breaking the cycle of victimisation and offending.

We know that women who are both offenders and victims of abuse can struggle to access support. That’s why the Government announced £2 million domestic abuse funding last March to support female offenders. This funding has formed part of a two-year, £5 million investment through our Female Offender Strategy to improve community support for female offenders and women at risk of offending, including to address issues arising from domestic abuse.

I am delighted today to be able to announce the second round of allocations from that fund, including – among others – organisations like Together Women in West Yorkshire who are working on a specialist integrated approach to domestic abuse, housing and support service – to help affected women to find the accommodation that can be the difference between them starting a new life or returning to prison; and Women’s Work in the East Midlands who are providing specialist one-to-one domestic abuse support – to help tackle mental ill health, improve self-esteem and provide the kind of training that can help women out of the revolving door of reoffending.

This funding will help agencies responding to domestic abuse to build better links with these organisations and others like them across the country that support female offenders and those at risk of offending.

Making sure potential victims are protected from abusers and doing our best to understand how to help those who are abused are – we believe – two crucial components to stopping abuse and its ongoing effects in their tracks.

Transforming the justice process

Our third objective was how we can transform the justice process for abuse victims. Going through the justice system can be scary and bewildering experience for any victim, let alone one who has experienced domestic abuse. You told us that we should prioritise the safety and wellbeing of victims and their children and offer more support as their cases progress through the system.

This must start at the very beginning of the process and how authorities respond to abuse cases. We know there has been a recent increase in prosecutions for coercive or controlling behaviour – that is encouraging news. But it does not mean that we can take our foot off the gas. We must continue to improve understanding of the offence within statutory agencies so that we can continue to increase prosecutions. As we do that we will also review its effectiveness as an offence to ensure that it continues to disrupt abuse and serves the needs of victims.

The government is also developing national guidance for police officers on serial perpetrators of domestic abuse, improving training so that they can support offenders to change their behaviour; and we are considering the introduction of a best practice toolkit, as well as continuing to test new risk assessment processes and the rollout of the body-worn video.

When cases do go to court, we know that proceedings can be incredibly difficult for victims. We will therefore legislate so that domestic abuse victims are automatically eligible for special measures in criminal proceedings – to mitigate against any further trauma that their involvement in court might cause.

Over the years we have taken several steps to improve the family court process for vulnerable people. We will now legislate to ensure that abusers are prevented from cross-examining victims in person – a practice which can serve as an extension of their abuse.

However, we recognise that we must do more to protect victims in the courts. That’s why we have already allocated £1m in funding to Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors (FLOWS), a project providing front-line domestic abuse workers with the legal resources to safeguard women.

We are now allocating £900k of funding to organisations based in a number of family courts – to provide specially trained staff who will offer dedicated emotional and practical support to domestic abuse victims before, during and after hearings. These organisations will also deliver a programme of awareness raising among key family stakeholders and practitioners.

Taken together, we believe these changes can bring about a real step change in the way domestic abuse is investigated and prosecuted or litigated.

Improving performance on domestic abuse

Our fourth and final objective in this process was how we can improve performance. As a government we are committed to using high-quality data to underpin our policy making and following the evidence on what works. We recognise that domestic abuse is an area where we need more data and insightful analysis. So, we will develop means to better collect, report and track domestic abuse data.

We will also look closely at local initiatives, the way agencies respond to abuse, and what the third sector does – so that we can identify the most successful methods and look at how they can work more broadly to effect and bring about change.

Through this commitment we believe we can raise standards throughout the system when it comes to tackling domestic abuse.

Conclusion

This new draft Bill and new approach to domestic abuse is a once-in-a-generation chance to ensure that perpetrators feel the full force of the law. And it is a real opportunity to transform the lives of those affected. I know that you will have concerns about how some of these new measures will affect the wider system.

As with any piece of primary legislation, the Ministry of Justice, working with the Home Office, has presented to parliament a detailed impact assessment that sets out the costs and benefits. We have also agreed to put forward the Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny to give parliamentarians the opportunity to feed in to this landmark piece of legislation and ensure that we get it right.

But I think the prize in this is clear to see – a fundamental shift in the way we as a society look at domestic abuse, so that we can really start to turn the dial on preventing and tackling it.

From raising awareness both amongst victims and those charged with protecting and supporting them, to understanding that different victims require different types of support, to shifting the justice process to work better for victims, collecting and analysing abuse data to drive better performance – we believe that the draft Bill and consultation response we published on Monday can do that.

I cannot thank you enough for the input you’ve given to us already in creating this new approach. As the legislation enters and makes its way through both Houses of Parliament, we expect the close scrutiny to improve it even further and I look forward to your continued support to inform our thinking as that happens.

Together, we will ensure that perpetrators can no longer hide in plain sight and bring domestic abuse out of the shadows once and for all. In turn, we can end the suffering of millions and ensure that every survivor is free to flourish.

Thank you.

David Gauke – 2018 Speech on the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor, at the Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference on 24 November 2018.

Thank you Lucinda [Orr, Chair, Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference]

And I am very pleased to have this opportunity to address you at your annual conference.

Everyone in this room will have their own reasons for choosing a career in law:

To give a voice to the voiceless. To improve lives. To help right wrongs. To pursue justice and fairness. To bring certainty and clarity to a complex world. To rise to the intellectual challenge.

Fittingly, you are called to the Bar – for many, it is a calling.

I recognise not just the contribution that comes from pursuing that calling but the importance of an independent Bar itself.

For my own part, when I was studying law and as a trainee solicitor back in the 1990s, it was clear to me that the law shapes every aspect of our lives and of our country – our families, our relationships, our environment, our trade, the decisions of government.

For example, when I worked on legal contracts, I saw just how important a clear and fair framework of rules is for businesses to make decisions, to invest and to resolve disputes.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in law. What I learned helped me shape my politics and sharpen my desire to protect and influence those rules that govern us so they better help everyone fulfil their potential and support a prosperous economy.

So I stand before you today as a proud former lawyer. When I started my career with Richards Butler more than 20 years ago, I never imagined that I would be the first solicitor to become Lord Chancellor.

Without wanting to dwell on quite how long ago that was, it’s fair to say that the legal world I experienced then as a trainee solicitor is very different to the one I see today as Lord Chancellor. In the 1990s, the internet was in its infancy. Concepts like AI and machine learning were the preserve of science fiction. Today, they are a reality.

The digital and technological revolutions are making waves across the legal sector, fundamentally changing the way we access and use services.

The profession is also more diverse, open and inclusive – the theme of your conference this year.

Given my legal background, I’m pleased to see more solicitors joining the Bench.

Visible and vocal role models like Anne Molyneux at the Old Bailey and Lord Justice Hickinbottom, who I believe is the fourth solicitor to be appointed to the High Court, and who last year was appointed to the Court of Appeal.

As Anne Molyneux herself has said: “I do not think of myself as a solicitor judge or a woman judge. I am a judge who is a woman and used to be a solicitor. These characteristics should not make a difference.” I agree. And I think there are important strides being made on diversity. For the first time, we have three female justices in the Supreme Court. And there is now a greater proportion of female pupils compared to male pupils.

That represents good progress and much promise and potential for the future – but there is much more we need to do. Just 37% of barristers currently practising are women and just under 15% of QCs are women.

Of people practising at the Bar, just under 13% are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background. That falls to just 7% of QCs.

I am committed to working with the Lord Chief Justice and members of the Judicial Diversity Forum to increase the overall diversity of the judiciary.

To do that, we must also make sure there is proper support in place for potential judicial office holders. Programmes like the Judicial Mentoring Scheme ensures there are role models for lawyers looking to apply for their first judicial appointment.

And the Bar Council, as a key member of the Judicial Diversity Forum, led on the development of the Pre-Application Judicial Education programme.

Launching in spring next year, it will help ensure talented people from all backgrounds in the legal profession are given more support to apply to become a judge. This is positive action carefully designed to make a real difference.

I am grateful to the Bar for their work on this and their ongoing commitment alongside the senior judiciary, Judicial College, Judicial Appointments Commission and the other legal professional bodies.

But of course, as well as promoting access to the legal profession, it is ensuring access to justice itself that is so important.

The ability for everyone to be able to access justice and receive representation is vital for a just society. That includes having access to criminal defence.

Criminal defence advocates carrying out publicly-funded work in the Crown Court play an enormously important role in our justice system.

I want to say to you that I do understand and recognise your concerns about the sustainability of criminal advocacy. I also recognise the work which goes into conducting complex cases.

I know there are strong concerns and that feelings and passions have run high this year as we have sought to improve the current legal aid scheme.

I have always believed that, given the importance of this criminal advocacy to our justice system, it is important to get any reform right.

In August, we launched a consultation on proposals to spend an additional £15 million on a range of fee increases across the scheme.

As throughout this process, we have been working with representative bodies of the legal professions, including the Bar Council, the Criminal Bar Association and The Law Society, and have carefully considered the consultation responses.

I can announce today that on top of the £15 million we have already proposed, the government will commit a further £8 million of additional funding to the scheme. That brings the total increase to £23 million.

This extra money will be mostly targeted at cases conducted by junior advocates to support continued investment in the profession.

We will also bring a proposed 1% increase to all fees forward so that the rise comes into effect alongside the planned introduction of the new scheme, rather than from April next year.

I also think it’s important to recognise that whilst these improvements must be given time to bed in, there is scope to further improve the way criminal advocates are paid so that we better reflect work done in an evolving and modernising justice system.

Our best chance of succeeding in that task – in designing schemes which incentivise efficient and effective proceedings, in improving access to justice – is if the government and the legal professions work together.

Because of that belief, I am committed to working closely with the legal profession to ensure that criminal defence advocacy is fit for the modern age, and is sustainable, so that people from all backgrounds can enjoy a decent career doing such important work.

Now, as part of, and alongside access, the experience people have of justice and our courts is also important – for the public and legal professionals alike.

It clearly isn’t right that some of our court buildings have leaking roofs, peeling paint, broken doors and out of order lifts. The impact of this isn’t just on the physical functioning of our courts, it has an impact on the morale of those who work in them and on the experience of those who use them.

That’s why over the last two years, we have spent significantly more than in previous years on our court estate. Last month, we also secured an extra £15 million from the Treasury for maintenance and security of our court buildings.

I am under no illusion that this is one step in a longer journey to make our courts fit for the future. But spending more this year on our courts will help to make some improvements to the estate as we continue with our wider programme to modernise services and move more of them online so they are easier to use and more efficient.

We must ensure the justice system embraces the huge changes that are happening now and that are coming down the track in how people access services. That’s why we are looking to the future at how we can best empower people to access justice in ways that fit with how we live and work today.

For example, the digital divorce service launched in May is reducing the stress faced by couples applying for a divorce.

And reforms in the criminal justice system are making it work better for everyone too – from making pleas online for low-level offences to piloting a new digital system for the police, CPS, courts, judiciary and defence to allow a single shared view of case information online.

I am grateful to the Bar for the contribution you are making to the court reform programme. I know there are strong feelings on this and we won’t agree on everything, but your insight is invaluable. I hope that many of you will be participating in the session led by Susan Acland-Hood later today.

We also need to realise the huge opportunity that exists from harnessing the powers of new technology and innovation for our legal services.

Our growing LawTech industry has the potential to open up the justice system and legal services sector like never before, not to mention the opportunities for those working in it.

Technology is changing our world.

If our justice system and our legal services sector is to remain internationally competitive, it can’t stand still. It needs to continue to change and embrace the technological revolution, as well as respond to the way people expect to be able to access justice and legal services.

Today, lawyers must not only advocate, they must innovate. By doing this, I believe the UK can not only remain a world-leading provider of legal services but a powerhouse for new and innovative legal technologies, such as for SMART contracts.

New technologies – underpinned by English law – and nurtured by a government committed to helping this burgeoning sector.

Our £20 million Next Generation Services Fund is supporting innovation across the legal, accountancy and insurance sectors.

I’m pleased to say we will be announcing the successful bidders for that investment shortly. This is on top of the £700,000 recently awarded to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to support AI innovations within the legal services sector.

Alongside that investment, it’s important we also focus on the education and skills of the lawyers of today – and tomorrow – to ensure they not only survive, but thrive, in this new world of AI, Big Data and Smart Contracts.

I was reading recently about an experiment you may be familiar with where 20 experienced lawyers in the US and an artificial intelligence system went head to head.

The lawyers came armed with their brains, the AI system with machine learning and deep technology.

The challenge was to spot risks in every day contracts. I’m afraid to say that AI won with an accuracy level of 94% compared to 85% across the human lawyers. But arguably more importantly, the AI system took just 26 seconds compared to 92 minutes.

Now, you can either see that as a threat, or as an opportunity. It’s how we use this new technology that will be important. The lawyers of today – and tomorrow – will need the right skills in order to do that.

The LawTech Delivery Panel I announced earlier this year, as well as acting as an international champion for the UK’s LawTech industry, will provide the strategic direction we need, for example on education, which will be covered by one of taskforces established by Panel.

Realising the potential of the LawTech revolution here in the UK will be important to the competitiveness of our legal services on the world stage, particularly as we look to new markets after we leave the EU.

On Brexit, as you will have seen, the UK and the EU have agreed the terms of the UK’s smooth and orderly exit from the EU. In parallel, both parties have also been working to set out a vision for a close and mutually beneficial future relationship.

A draft of the Political Declaration was published on Thursday, and the Prime Minister is meeting the EU today ahead of leaders putting the deal to final agreement at the special November European Council on Sunday.

The negotiations have been tough, and we have pushed the EU hard. We have not got everything we would want, but we have secured important commitments in a number of areas.

The Political Declaration includes a commitment to conclude ambitious arrangements for services and investment, alongside new arrangements on financial services.

Nevertheless, we know that leaving the Single Market will have implications for market access and that some UK and EU service suppliers will not enjoy the same rights as they do today.

On civil judicial cooperation, the UK and the EU have agreed to explore a bilateral arrangement on matrimonial, parental responsibility and other related matters. In addition, the UK intends to apply to accede to the Lugano Convention.

This deal provides certainty for the UK and avoids the very significant disruption associated with a no-deal exit. The precise details of our future relationship with the EU will be the focus of further negotiations once the UK has left on 29 March 2019, and we will continue to press for the best outcome for the UK justice system.

The saying goes that ‘the wheels of justice turn slowly’.

The transformation in the way people use and work in the justice system, as well as the white heat from the LawTech revolution, means those wheels are speeding up.

Yes, there are challenges we need to overcome in the justice system – including challenges for the legal profession. I want to overcome them by working with you. It is important that the reforms we need to make to our justice system carry the general support of those who work in them.

Within the context of that reform, I want to work with you to support and strengthen the legal profession, to make it more inclusive, more diverse and to put it on a sound footing for the future so it can continue to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

David Gauke – 2018 Speech on Diversity in the Legal Profession

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 7 November 2018.

Introduction

Thank you, Jo.

It is such a pleasure to be here today, supporting Spark21’s Levelling the Playing Field event. As we lead into the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 – which took the first steps in breaking down the barriers to the involvement of women in civic life, including in practising the law – I think it is important that we consider what ‘celebrating the past to the shape the future for women in law’ really means. It is an opportunity for each of us to re-examine and renew our commitment to a strong, equal and diverse legal profession.

Gender inequality is an issue that affects all people and is not just “a struggle for women by women”, men need to be agents for change too.

The trailblazers on this have of course been representatives of diverse groups themselves. From Eliza Orme – the first woman in England to gain a law degree, to Baroness Hale – the first woman Law Lord and later first woman President of the Supreme Court, the people who have led the way on this have done so by demonstrating the breadth of their talent.

I think perhaps ‘champion’ is too grand a word but if I as the Lord Chancellor and a former solicitor myself can play a part in championing diversity in the legal profession then I will do so. And I don’t say that for its sake. I don’t say it because it’s trendy or because it is ‘the done thing’. I say it because I think it would be foolish not to do so.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that maintaining the status quo could damage our potential as a nation. In that sense, this isn’t just an issue for the 47% of the UK workforce who are women – it’s one that 100% of us are invested in.

In terms of the huge pool of female talent that exists in this country, McKinsey estimate that bridging the gender gap in work could add £150 billion to the UK economy by 2025 – £150 billion! That is a figure that we simply cannot afford to ignore.

What’s more, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have profits above their industry average. Those are astonishing figures and should serve as a call to arms to all of us that committing to gender equality – becoming champions for change – is the smart thing to do.

A diverse justice system is a healthy one

I’m pleased to say that there is much for us to celebrate in terms of diversity in the legal profession. It is important we remember that for the first time in the UK’s history the Presidents of the three Law Societies are all women. It is encouraging to see our Law Societies not only lead in this area, but practice what they preach!

More than 50% of all practising solicitors are women; while BAME lawyers now account for 21% of lawyers working in law firms. These figures surpass the UK generally where women make up 47% of the workforce; and BAME people make up 11% of the workforce.

And this isn’t just encouraging because of the financial benefits it no doubt brings, it’s also crucial to maintaining healthy outcomes in justice – because a well-functioning justice system should accurately reflect the society it serves.

Despite some encouraging progress in the legal profession, we can aim for more.

The figures show us that the diversity of entrants to the profession is not where the problem is – it’s in the senior roles and leadership that gaps appear. When we look at the senior leadership in law firms, while women make up 59% of non-partner solicitors, they account for just a third of partners.

In the biggest firms that figure falls to just 29%. And while figures at the Bar have been moving in the right direction over the last few years – with a greater proportion of female pupils than males – just 37% of barristers currently practising are women. And just under 15% of Queen’s Counsel are women.

Judicial diversity

That means fewer women in the pipeline of candidates to join the judiciary. Appointing by merit is, of course, the most important criterion for retaining the quality, independence and impartiality of our judges. But we should remove the barriers to talented women and other under-represented groups applying to join the judiciary. That’s why government, alongside the legal professional bodies, judicial representatives and the Judicial Appointments Commission, supports the work of the Judicial Diversity Forum. At its heart, the forum aims to remove the barriers to talented women and other under-represented groups applying to join the judiciary.

I am particularly pleased that we’ve gone from having just one female justice in the Supreme Court to now having three. However there is more to do.

I know the Lord Chief Justice shares this view. That’s why the Judicial Diversity Committee, chaired by Lady Justice Hallett, run a number of schemes to encourage and support under-represented groups. As well as pre-application seminars, the Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme provides insight into the work of judges and the Judicial Mentoring Scheme ensures there are role models for lawyers intending to apply for their first judicial appointment. They also run an annual support programme for women and other under-represented groups interested specifically in applying to the Deputy High Court Judge selection exercise.

In April this year I announced Ministry of Justice funding for the Pre-Application Judicial Education Programme. The programme is the first joint initiative of the Judicial Diversity Forum, designed to support and encourage lawyers from under-represented groups to apply for judicial roles.

We are working with the senior judiciary, Judicial College, Judicial Appointments Commission and the legal professional bodies to develop an online learning platform and judge facilitated discussion groups which will launch in the Spring.

And I do think it is absolutely right that we encourage people from across the legal professions – including solicitors and other non-barristers – to apply for judicial roles. The government will therefore be doing everything it can to promote people from all legal backgrounds bringing their talent and skills to strengthen the judiciary. To this end we are working with the Law Society, who have kindly agreed to chair and host a joint roundtable for senior partners and law firms to explore what support is needed to encourage more solicitors to apply for judicial office.

Broad leadership will bring lasting change

Ultimately, turning the dial on diversity in the legal profession requires a joined up and wide-ranging response from us in government and the profession itself.

Some of the figures highlighting the disparities in the profession are stark but I think the legal profession has a real opportunity to blaze a trail on this. And I’m pleased to say that it is already doing some amazing work to address the issue head on.

The Law Society’s recently published ‘Women in Leadership in Law: Toolkit’ is one example of that work and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to contact the Law Society for a copy. It not only brings together research and key statistics on female diversity in the law, it also gives practical advice on the challenges – in unconscious bias, the gender pay gap, flexible working, and best practice – that the profession faces in tackling the diversity question.

I want to pay tribute to Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society, not just for getting the Toolkit published, but in her wider leadership on this issue, where she is making women in leadership in law a key theme of her tenure. That drive for change should inspire others to follow suit.

As one of the oldest and most recognised professions in the world, it would be fitting for the legal sector to lead the way on this more generally in our country – in making progress on diversity not just for its sake but in the interests of excellence.

We must all promote diversity throughout the law. I really want to see things change so that it’s the norm to see women at the very top of their professions, rather than a rarity.

Conclusion

As we head into 2019 and mark the centenary of women being able to practise law in this country, I think it is absolutely right that we renew our commitment to diversity within the legal profession. My message is clear – this isn’t a ‘nice to have’ and we should not be paying lip service to it. A truly diverse legal profession is absolutely crucial to maintaining and improving the performance of our sector.

When we consider that legal services is currently worth £24 billion every year to our economy, it would be remiss of us to ignore how that figure could grow if we encouraged a more diverse workforce. The potential for adding billions to the economy by 2025 is too big a prize to pass up – certainly not for the sake of maintaining a tired and outdated status quo.

By making sure that the profession mirrors the make-up of our society as it exists today, we can build trust in a system that works for all people – no matter their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or any other factor.

Together we can show real leadership on this issue, demonstrating its practical benefits to become one of the leading lights on diversity in our country as a whole. I know that’s what our legal profession is capable of and I am committing myself anew to doing everything I can to support it in that endeavour.

David Gauke – 2018 Speech on Prisons

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice, at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the National Police Chiefs Council at the 2018 Partnership Summit on 1 November 2018.

Introduction

It’s a great pleasure to be here – I’m grateful to the Association and Council for inviting me to speak to you today.

I want to start by saying thank you.

Thank you for everything you and your teams do every day to reduce and prevent crime, to keep people safe – and feeling safe – in their communities.

Your work, your dedication, your sense of public duty, is part of the reason the police continues to be one of the most trusted professions in our country.

As the son of a police officer, I understand some of the difficulties and challenges that go with the job. Growing up, I soon learned about how the police had to put themselves in physical danger, had to drop everything in order to respond to an emergency, had to take responsibility when things got difficult. And the sense that society as a whole did not – could not – fully appreciate the nature of the role. So thank you.

The justice system

We talk a lot – and hear a lot – about ‘the justice system’. That system is in fact a web of connected and interacting agencies, organisations and professions.

What happens in one part of the system can have a direct impact on another – and there is much we can share and learn from each other in different parts of that system.

That’s why partnerships and collaboration, as exemplified by this summit, are so important if we are to rise to the modern-day challenges facing policing and justice.

One of the main challenges is the changing nature of crime. The technology and innovation that is transforming our lives for the better is also creating opportunities for criminals. I will come, in a moment, to some of the particular threats we face in our prisons.

But these new developments can frustrate our collective ability to ensure that justice is done – particularly when those crimes are complex, highly organised, and use methods that simply were not around 10 or even 5 years ago.

So it is important that we continue to work together to tackle the emerging, as well as the enduring, challenges head on; to find smarter and more joined-up ways of working.

Justice devolution: role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC’s)

The need for that kind of approach is one of the reasons this government is proud to have played a role in establishing the offices of democratically-elected Police and Crime Commissioners across the country.

The unique nature of your role allows you to view crime across the whole justice system in a way that is also rooted in your local area, as I see in Hertfordshire so often.

In meeting many of you, what has struck me is your passion for, understanding of, and dedication to, your local areas and the people who live there.

That’s exactly what these posts are all about – helping to deliver local results that are accountable to local communities.

A really important role you have is around delivering victim and witness services – it’s a role I know you care a lot about and are ambitious for.

For example, we’re seeing some PCCs take steps to improve monitoring of compliance with the Victims Code, as well as some PCCs developing innovative approaches to delivering services for victims.

Take for example the work of Northumbria and Cambridgeshire who have developed single points of contact for victims and are bringing services together to reduce the need for victims to go through the ordeal of re-telling their story.

I know other PCCs are taking a similar direction too.

I’d like to thank the APCC and the NPCC for working closely with the Ministry of Justice on our recent Victims Strategy – and now helping us to deliver on the commitments in the Strategy.

For example, we’re working with you on improving the information sent to victims and I know the NPCC lead for victims and witnesses, Assistant Chief Constable Emma Barnett, has set up a cross-agency group to look at the commitment in the strategy around simplifying the justice experience of victims.

I know all PCC areas have also been working closely with us to make sure the right support is in place in the event of a major crime incident such as a terrorist attack. This will ensure that wherever a crime occurs, and wherever the victims and families live, they will be referred to the support they need.

These are good examples of the work you do to bring together local partners and ensure the justice system as a whole meets the needs of communities. It’s why we committed in our manifesto to strengthen and enhance the office of PCCs.

Both the Ministry of Justice and Home Office are already working very closely with you – and we’re making good progress in some important areas.

The work we’re doing in cities like Manchester and London is showing what can be done, and I will be taking a very close interest in the results.

Emerging data from places like Manchester shows that a whole system approach is associated with a 40% reduction in adult women being handed immediate custodial sentences, compared to a reduction of just 3% across England and Wales.

Any future changes will, of course, need to be considered carefully and some areas are rightly out of bounds – the role of PCCs needs to respect judicial and prosecutorial independence, for example.

But I think it is absolutely right that we look at areas where an enhanced role for PCCs could improve the justice system.

To that end, we’re also working closely with you following our recent consultation on the future of probation and the expanded role that PCCs can play.

I had the pleasure of meeting with a cross-party group of PCCs to discuss some of our proposals, and we have committed to further engagement over the coming months as we develop and refine our ideas.

Tackling crime in prisons is tackling crime on our streets

When we look at overall justice outcomes, I think it’s important to look at the strategic position prisons have in terms of crime.

I believe prisons have emerged as a new front line in the fight against crime.

The fact is, new technology and sophisticated approaches mean that prison walls alone are no longer effective in stopping crime – inside or outside of prison.

Offenders who commit crime in prison have a disruptive, and often, devastating impact on the prospects of those who are trying to turn their lives around and who see prison as a pivotal turning-point in their lives.

But the impact of that crime not only affects prison staff and fellow prisoners, but reaches far beyond the prison gate. While offenders are rightly separated from society, prisons exist within communities.

There is a direct link between crime on the wings and landings and crime in our towns and cities. Ensuring there is less crime in our prisons means less crime in communities.

Crime is being fuelled by organised gangs and networks who see prisons as a highly lucrative and literally captive market to push drugs like Spice, as well as mobile phones and other contraband into prisons. This creates a thriving illicit economy within a prison.

As a result, we are seeing high levels of violence as individuals and groups vie for control of this internal market and enforce drug debts. Not to mention the effect the drugs themselves have in terms of violence. The availability of illicit mobile phones means more prisoners are committing online fraud and money laundering; harassing, extorting and threatening members of the public and grooming and victimising innocent people on social media – all from inside prison.

Of course, if you’re a victim of crime, you don’t necessarily care about the type of criminal network behind it, or that it was committed from inside a prison. You see it as a crime – and you want justice to be done and for it not to happen to someone else.

Whether a crime is committed on a prison landing or in the street, in a cell or in a shop – it is a crime. One of the primary purposes of prison is the protection of the public. We cannot allow our prisons to become incubators of crime. That puts prison officers and prisoners at risk, undermines rehabilitation and ultimately makes our streets less safe.

Joint approaches to disrupting crime in prison

That’s why we have been taking measures to make our prisons safer, crack down on the criminal gangs exploiting our prisons and we have been denying prisoners the space and means to prey on innocent – and often vulnerable – members of the public.

As announced in the Budget on Monday, we will spend an extra £30 million this financial year, on top of the £40 million we announced over the summer, to further improve decency, safety and security in prisons.

The Budget also provided funding for a new prison at Glen Parva in Leicestershire that will help us towards delivering on our commitment to building up to 10,000 new decent prison places.

But as well as investment, creating safer prisons relies on multiple agencies working together in a coordinated way.

Let me give you a specific example.

Earlier this year, a highly dangerous criminal with significant influence in an East Midlands prison came to the attention of the Prison Service’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit and the police.

During his time in prison, he was involved in the trade of drugs, assaulted prison staff and prisoners and was frequently found with improvised weapons.

Collaboration between the prison and police made the difference here: it meant that we were able to seize illegal mobile phones which disrupted his criminal activity and resulted in charges being brought and his sentence extended.

With this sort of joint work between police and the prison, he will find it a much tougher place to continue criminality.

And last year, it was also through a joint operation by prison intelligence officers and police that, together, we broke up a major organised crime gang that used drones to smuggle £1.2 million worth of drugs, weapons and mobile phones into prisons across the UK.

In the last few weeks, more joint operational work has led to a further 15 members of this gang receiving prison sentences of up to 10 years.

I want to build on these successes by following and targeting the money behind the gangs.

The Financial Investigations Unit I announced last month will track and seize the money that criminal kingpins use to deal drugs in prison – with police from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit embedded within it, bringing their expertise and powers.

And today, the government has announced its updated Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, which sets out how we will relentlessly disrupt the activities of high priority offenders, whether they are being investigated by the police, or managed by prisons or probation.

Approaches to dealing with crime in prison

It is right that we focus on this kind of intelligence-led and joint approach. But when crime does occur, we should be clear about how it will be dealt with and that those responsible are brought to justice.

One of the most despicable crimes we see in prisons are attacks on prison officers. Over the last 3 years there has been a 59% increase in assaults on prison staff.

That is shocking and sickening.

Let me be clear: an attack on a prison officer – or a police officer, or an ambulance worker, on NHS staff, fire officers or other emergency workers – is an attack on all of us.

That’s why I’m pleased we’ve changed the law and doubled the maximum sentence for attacking an emergency worker, including prison officers.

This will send a clear message that assaults on those who serve and protect the public will not be tolerated and they will feel the full force of the law.

Alongside changes to the law, we are taking steps to make the fullest use of the powers available to your forces, the CPS and the courts.

When a prison officer is attacked, the suspected perpetrator may well be moved to another prison later and as a result another police force.

This can cause delays and disruption to an investigation so, through close joint working between police and prisons, a new Memorandum of Understanding will make sure that police forces provide mutual assistance to each other when interviewing prisoner suspects.

Over the last few months we have been working with the police and CPS to revise and re-issue the cross-agency protocol on how crimes in prison should be handled. The updated protocol will set the standard for how we tackle crimes committed in prison in the future.

We are also investing in the training prison officers receive so they are able to collect and catalogue the evidence that is so crucial to prosecuting crimes in prison successfully.

Collaborative models

These are important practical measures, but we must also look more fundamentally at the models for policing our prisons.

I know there are a number of operating models already being used by some police forces, including having a single point of contact for the prison or dedicated investigative officers. As a result, there is some really encouraging work going in some parts of the country.

I want to particularly highlight the new unit set up within Greater Manchester Police. The unit is made up of police officers and detectives, supported by two lawyers from the CPS, who are dedicated solely to investigating crimes that take place inside HMP Manchester.

Of course, this approach won’t be right in every area. There needs to be a tailored approach to cutting crime in prisons. But as you look at your own responses, I know you will come up with new and innovative ways of doing it that can then be replicated in other areas across the country.

Conclusion

Tackling this new frontier of crime in prisons doesn’t just keep prison officers and prisoners safe from harm, it keeps all of us safer – in the short term and the long term. It is vital for rehabilitation and to give those offenders who want to turn their back on crime the best chance possible to do so. But we will only be successful if we continue to embrace a spirit of collaboration that has been the hallmark of the successes we have already seen.

I would like to take the opportunity to re-affirm my commitment to working with you in that spirit on tackling crime from within prison, but also as we strive for better outcomes across the criminal justice system.

As PCCs continue to cement their place in the justice system, I am proud of the role this government has played in establishing and supporting them and I am confident that there is an even greater role for you to play in the future. I look forward to exploring the possibilities with you.

In closing, let me reiterate my thanks – not just for the work you are doing with us at the Ministry of Justice but the work you do every day to protect the public from crime.

David Gauke – 2018 Statement on Justice and Home Affairs Council

Below is the text of the statement made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice, in the House of Commons on 18 October 2018.

I attended the Justice and Home Affairs Council for Justice day on Thursday 11 October in Luxembourg.

The Council reached a general approach on the insolvency restructuring and second chance directive.

During the discussion on e-evidence legislation, Ministers agreed not to include real-time interception within the scope of the regulation and asked for further work on the extent of the obligation to notify other states when data is sought direct from a service provider. I offered to share UK experience from our bilateral discussions with the US on a data access agreement, which was welcomed by the Commission.

With regard to the draft conclusions on the application of the charter of fundamental rights in 2017, 20 member states, including the UK, supported the Netherlands proposal for the adoption of “presidency conclusions” given the lack of consensus for Council conclusions.

The director of the Fundamental Rights Agency presented his annual review of the fundamental rights situation in the European Union (EU), noting rising levels of hate crime, including anti-Semitism, and ​discrimination faced by immigrants and minority groups. He also referred to Roma communities living without basic amenities such as electricity and water. Member states noted these concerns.

The Commission updated Ministers on implementation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The European Council will discuss the proposal to extend the EPPO to cross-border terrorism offences.

The discussion on enhancing mutual trust focused on the importance of mutual recognition, while noting the importance of an independent judiciary and the rule of law. The UK intervened to recognise the mutual benefits of continued co-operation, and the UK’s commitment to the principle of mutual trust. The presidency will prepare conclusions on mutual trust for the December JHA Council.

The Commission presented its communication on securing free and fair European elections, including protection from personal data misuse and cyber incidents.

The Home Secretary attended Interior day.

The Commission set out ambitious plans for a stronger, more effective European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) including a standing corps of 10,000 officers, which would provide substantial support to member states in protecting the external border. Member states underlined their support for a stronger Frontex, but expressed concerns about the size of the standing corps, its impact on national authorities and the consequences for member state competence on border protection.

The Commission briefly presented the new return directive recast and member states discussed accelerated borders procedures, linking the asylum and returns processes, with asylum claims processed as close to the border as possible and, if refused, the failed asylum seeker returned fast and smoothly. Some member states focused on the need to maximise third-country co-operation on returns and readmission of own nationals. Member states were divided on the mandatory nature of the border procedures. Some member states supported manifestly unfounded claims at the border leading to an entry refusal rather than a returns decision.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed the EU’s comprehensive “whole of route” approach to tackling illegal migration. The Home Secretary focused on strengthening the EU’s response to human traffickers and smugglers advertising online, and boosting our work with African partners on economic development, strategic communications and behavioural insights to prevent migrants from starting dangerous journeys to Europe.

Ministers also discussed the balance between solidarity and responsibility. The presidency, supported by some member states, proposed broadening the idea of “solidarity” to avoid compulsory reallocation of refugees to member states who reject this, but who are content to make substantial contributions to other aspects of migration management, including external partnerships with third countries.

The Council discussed the JHA funding programmes within the next multi-annual financial framework. The UK will not participate in these programmes as a member state. The presidency called on member states to establish a strong steering structure to ensure the optimal use of funds. Member states supported provisions to step up co-operation with third countries on migration, but raised questions around flexibility and allocations to member states.​
The presidency updated on progress on the files within the common European asylum system (CEAS) package. The Dublin IV proposal, as it links to the issue of solidarity and burden sharing, will be discussed among leaders at the October European Council.

David Gauke – 2018 Statement on John Worboys

Below is the text of the statement made by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice, in the House of Commons on 28 March 2018.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I’d like to make a statement on the High Court judgment handed down this morning in the case relating to the Parole Board decision to release John Radford, formerly known as John Worboys.

This is an important and unprecedented case. The President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson, the most senior judge who heard this case said – it is wholly exceptional. It is the first time that a Parole Board decision to release a prisoner has been challenged and the first time that the rules on the non-disclosure of Parole Board decisions have been called into question.

The judgment quashes the Parole Board’s decision to release Worboys and finds that Rule 25 of the Parole Board Rules is unlawful.

This means that Worboys’ case will now be resubmitted to the Parole Board. A new panel will be constituted and updated evidence on his risk from prison and probation professionals will be provided. The panel will then assess anew whether Worboys is suitable for release.

Those victims, covered by the Victim Contact Scheme, will be fully informed and involved in this process.

My department also has to reformulate the Parole Board’s rules to allow more transparency around decision making and reasoning.

Mr Speaker, it is clear that there was widespread concern about the decision by the Parole Board to release Worboys. As I have previously told the House, I share these concerns and, consequently I welcome the judgment.

I want to congratulate the victims who brought the judicial review and to reiterate my heartfelt sympathy for all victims who have suffered as a result of Worboys’ hideous crimes.

Mr Speaker, I want to set out, in greater detail than I have previously been able, the reasons why I did not bring a judicial review.

As I told the House on 19 January, I looked carefully at whether I could challenge this decision. It would have been unprecedented for the Secretary of State to bring a judicial review against the Parole Board – a body which is independent but for which my department is responsible.

I took expert legal advice from Leading Counsel on whether I should bring a challenge. The bar for judicial review is set high. I considered whether the decision was legally irrational – in other words, a decision which no reasonable Parole Board could have made.

The advice I received was that such an argument was highly unlikely to succeed. And, indeed, this argument did not succeed. However, the victims succeeded in a different argument.

They challenged that, while Ministry of Justice officials opposed release, they should have done more to put forward all the relevant material on other offending.

They also highlighted very significant failures on the part of the Parole Board to make all the necessary inquiries and so fully take into account wider evidence about Worboys’ offending.

I also received advice on the failure of process argument and was advised that this was not one that I as Secretary of State would have been able to successfully advance.

The victims were better placed to make this argument and this was the argument on which they have won their case.

It is right that the actions of Ministry officials, as well as the Parole Board, in this important and unusual case have been laid open to judicial scrutiny.

I have always said I fully support the right of victims to bring this action. I have been very concerned at every point not to do anything to hinder the victims’ right to challenge and to bring their arguments and their personal evidence before the court.

Indeed, the judgment suggests that, had I brought a case, the standing of the victims may have been compromised.

The Court’s findings around how this decision was reached give rise to serious concerns.

The Court has found that “the credibility and reliability” of Worboys’ account in relation to his previous offending behaviour “was not probed to any extent, if at all” by the Parole Board. And that although the Parole Board was entitled to make enquiries of the police in relation to his offending it did not do so.

These are serious failings which need serious action to address. In these circumstances, I have accepted Professor Nick Hardwick’s resignation as Chair of the organisation.

I am also taking the following actions:

Instructing my officials to issue new guidance that all relevant evidence of past offending should be included in the dossiers submitted to the Parole Board, including possibly police evidence, so that it can be robustly tested in each Parole Board hearing.

Putting in place robust procedures to check that every dossier sent by HMPPS to the Parole Board contains every necessary piece of evidence – including sentencing remarks or other relevant material from previous trials or other civil legal action.

Boosting the role of the Secretary of State’s representative at Parole Board hearings – with a greater presumption that they should be present for those more complex cases where HM Prison and Probation Service is arguing strongly against release, as was the case here.

Working with the Parole Board to review the composition of panels so that the Parole Board includes greater judicial expertise for complex, high profile cases – particularly where multiple victims are involved or where there is a significant dispute between expert witnesses as to the suitability for release.
And develop more specialist training for Parole Board panel members.
The judgment also found that blanket ban on the transparency of Parole Board proceedings is unlawful. I accept the finding of the Court and will not be challenging this.

It was my view from the beginning that very good reasons would be needed to persuade me we should continue with a law that doesn’t allow any transparency. I am now considering how the Rule should be reformulated. When I addressed the House on this matter in January, I said I had commissioned a review into how victims were involved in Parole Board decisions, in the transparency of the Parole Board and on whether there should be a way of challenging Parole Board decisions. That work has been continuing for these past two and a half months.

Given the very serious issues identified in this case, I can announce today that I intend to conduct further work to examine the Parole Board rules in their entirety.

As a result of the work that has been completed to date, I have already decided to abolish rule 25 in its current form and will do so as soon as possible after the Easter recess. This will enable us to provide for the Parole Board to make available summaries of the decisions they make to victims.

In addition, I will bring forward proposals for Parole Board decisions to be challenged through an internal review mechanism where a separate judge-led panel will look again at cases which meet a designated criterion.

I intend to consult on the detail of these proposals by the end of April alongside other proposals to improve the way that victims are kept informed about the parole process. I am grateful to Baroness Newlove for her help with this part of the review and to Dame Glenys Stacey for her helpful suggestions and review of the way that victim liaison operated in this case.

I will come back to the House with further proposals as these are developed. But in conclusion Mr Speaker, let no-one doubt the seriousness with which I take the issues raised by this morning’s judgment – nor the bravery of the victims who brought this case to Court.

I commend this statement to the House.

David Gauke – 2018 Speech on Prison Reform

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, at the Royal Society of Arts in London on 6 March 2018.

Well thank you Rachel [O’Brien] for that introduction and for the work you and the RSA do on prison reform and the important contribution you make to public policy in this area.

It is a huge privilege to have been appointed Justice Secretary and I am grateful for the opportunity to set out my thoughts, after two months in post, on our prison system.

Purpose of prison

Depriving someone of their liberty for a period of time is one of the most significant powers available to the State and must be imposed with respect for the rule of law and with purpose.

Prison is the sharp end of our justice system. By imposing this serious sanction, we must be clear about what prison is for.

I believe its purpose is threefold:

First, protection of the public – prison protects the public from the most dangerous and violent individuals.

Second, punishment – prison deprives offenders of their liberty and certain freedoms enjoyed by the rest of society and acts as a deterrent. It is not the only sanction available, but it is an important one.

And third, rehabilitation – prison provides offenders with the opportunity to reflect on, and take responsibility for, their crimes and prepare them for a law-abiding life when they are released.

It is only by prioritising rehabilitation that we can reduce reoffending and, in turn, the numbers of future victims of crime.

Getting the basics right – secure, safe and decent

And yet it’s clear that prisons don’t always achieve what they are there to do.

The reasons for this are varied and complex, but I am determined to ensure prisons can fulfil those three purposes I have set out.

As the Minister for Prisons, Rory Stewart, has made clear, for prisons to be effective, we must get the basics right.

Getting the basics right means creating prisons that are secure: with the physical integrity of the prison a priority to prevent prisoners from getting out – and drugs, mobile phones and other contraband from getting in.

It means creating prisons that are safe: with orderly, purposeful and structured regimes, free from violence, intimidation and self-harm.

And it means creating prisons that are decent: with clean wings and humane living conditions.

It is clear that some of our prisons have, frankly, fallen below the standards that we expect.

I want the prison service to have a relentless focus on these fundamentals in the months ahead.

That’s why I am giving renewed focus to our programme of prison maintenance to drive the much-needed improvements to our estate.

I will also carry on with my predecessor, David Lidington’s, important work to ensure inspection reports are acted upon.

Prison staffing

I am also continuing to push hard on improving not just the number of prison officers, but also how we deploy them.

Liz Truss, as Secretary of State, committed to raising the number of prison officers by 2,500 by the end of this year.

I’m pleased to say that we’re on track to deliver those officers, and ended last year with the highest number of officers in post since 2013.

The reason increased staffing levels are important is that they are allowing us to introduce a new ‘key worker’ model – with prison officers spending much more time, one-to-one, with small groups of prisoners.

As we introduce this new model, we should start to make a difference in the levels of violence we are seeing, which are currently far too high.

28,000 incidents were recorded in our prisons last year alone.

That figure includes 20,246 attacks by prisoners against fellow inmates….

….and 7,828 assaults against prison officers by prisoners.

The violence against prison officers is particularly shocking.

No prison officer should go to work in fear for their safety simply for doing their job.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of prison staff across the country who do incredibly important work each and every day.

By its nature, the work is often hidden from view but it protects the public and keeps our prisons secure and prisoners safe.

And I want to thank the families of prison staff.

As the son of a police officer, I know the worries they carry, and the pride they take, in knowing their loved one is performing such an important public service.

The drug problem and how it’s been exploited

Increasing the numbers of prison officers and deploying them in a more effective way will help create more positive relationships between offenders and prison officers.

But if we are to bear down on the levels of violence we are seeing, we need to deal with the biggest cause of the violence, which is drugs.

Now, the problem of drugs entering and circulating in our prison system has always been a challenge.

But the nature of the challenge has changed over the past few years, with the emergence of cheap and highly addictive new psychoactive substances, like Spice, in our prisons….

….something exploited by criminal gangs who have capitalised on the control they can exert and the money they can bring in.

After all, what better place to target than a captive market made up of some of society’s most susceptible and vulnerable groups when it comes to drug use and addiction.

The economics mean that Spice can sell in prison for many times its street value – bringing in a healthy return for the criminals.

At the same time, it is relatively cheap to buy in prison compared to other drugs – so is financially attractive for prisoners.

In exploiting the emergence of new psychoactive substances, prisons have proved a perfect marketplace for the criminal gangs.

And for our prisons, it has created a perfect storm.

And while there have always been low-level networks dealing in cigarettes or illegal contraband, the criminal networks and supply chains have recently got larger and more complex….

…..and new technologies have empowered gangs to be more sophisticated and brazen about the way drugs are smuggled in.

Many of you will be aware of the kind of things I’m talking about….

Spice, and other drugs, ordered with a ‘Deliveroo-style’ responsiveness on tiny mobile phones from prison cells and delivered by drones direct to cell windows…..

the paint used in supposed children’s drawings sent to their parents in prison laced with liquid psychoactive drugs, or the pages of fake legal letters purporting to be from a prisoner’s solicitor soaked in drugs….

gangs engineering situations where a prisoner, who has been released from prison, deliberately breaches their license conditions so they are sent back to smuggle in more drugs….

gangs enforcing control by using threats and violence towards prisoners, extorting their families and attempting to corrupt prison staff….

From the conventional to the cunning, by design or device, through fear or intimidation….

….these criminal gangs will stop at nothing to maintain their access to such a lucrative market.

We need to make prison less congenial for the modern-day Harry Grouts.

It is clear that the reason drugs are so prevalent in our prisons is in large part because gangs are fuelling demand, boosting the supply and catching prisoners in a cycle of debt and further criminality from which they struggle to break free.

As I’ve been visiting prisons, the conversations I’ve had so far with prison governors have brought home to me the scale and nature of the criminal gang activity and the impact of drugs in our prisons.

Governors tell me that it’s not just when the drugs come in that there is an issue, but a couple of weeks later, when they see a spike in violence….

….a spike caused by prisoners carrying out attacks on fellow inmates and on staff as a payment in kind to pay back debts they have accrued by taking the drugs.

And it is not just about attacks on other inmates or staff.

We are seeing a rise in the incidents of self-harm.

Last year there were 42,837 incidents of self-harm in our prisons, involving 11,428 individuals. These statistics, together with the figures for assaults I highlighted earlier, are sobering.

But they only give us half the story….

Behind all the numbers, is a catalogue of physical and mental injury, of intimidation and of abuse.

I have been shocked and sickened watching some of the videos filmed by prisoners using illicit mobile phones that are posted on social media.

They show the terrifying and debilitating impact Spice can have and the drug-fuelled violence and humiliation it unleashes.

One of these videos shows inmates laughing and joking as the Spice takes over the mind and body of a fellow prisoner. The effect is immediate and shocking. Within a few seconds they are having a fit on the floor.

Another video shows two naked prisoners believing they are dogs, with makeshift muzzles and leads around their neck, barking at and fighting each other, goaded on by other prisoners.

Another shows a prisoner climbing into a tumble dryer in the prison laundry room. Other prisoners then turn the machine on and he is spun around inside – a dangerous act of humiliation to ‘earn’ himself some more Spice.

And I’m afraid, these videos are merely a short snapshot of a grim reality.

Many of the attacks against prison officers have been linked to Spice.

Last year for example, a prisoner viciously attacked an officer with a table leg at HMP Northumberland after the officer intervened to break up a fight. The attack left him with bruising and tissue damage.

The prisoner had no memory of the attack and subsequently described the officer as being a nice man who was thoroughly decent towards him whilst he was in prison.

Cases like this show starkly how drugs like Spice are leading to violence and undermining efforts to create safe environments and respectful relationships in prisons.

And it’s clearly not just physical damage that drugs like Spice cause.

There is an enormous toll on the mental health of prisoners, often exacerbating existing mental health conditions and long-term issues with alcohol and drug abuse.

Prison staff have a key role to identify and support prisoners with mental health needs. That’s why we are investing more in mental health awareness training for staff.

We have also increased our grant to the Samaritans to fund the continued delivery of a peer support scheme called ‘Listeners’ which supports prisoner mental health.

We must ensure offenders have access to the treatment they need to come off drugs and support their recovery – whether that’s in prison or in the community.

That’s why we have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care and others to improve access to mental health and substance abuse services for offenders, including agreeing a clear set of standards across all the various agencies involved.

Tackling the drugs problem in our prisons and the gangs beyond prison

Every prisoner who attends one of these drug agencies will have their own story about what happened to them and it will very often involve, in some way, criminal gangs.

This government has undertaken many important reforms and cracking down on drugs and criminality has always been and remains a priority.

But the sophistication and reach of these criminal gangs into our prisons is a relatively recent development.

It is therefore right that we continue to adjust our approach to tackling it.

So, today, I am doubling down on our commitment to target organised criminal gangs and cut off their ability to do business in our prisons.

That’s why I can announce today that we are investing £14 million to tackle the threat of serious and organised crime against our prisons.

This includes creating new intelligence and serious and organised crime teams.

Working with the National Crime Agency, they will enhance our intelligence and information-gathering capability across the country to help us identify and stop the gangs’ ability to operate in our prisons.

This improved intelligence picture is already delivering major successes, including at least 30 successful convictions for drone activity following joint intelligence-led operations.

And in December, following an investigation by prison intelligence officers and police, 11 gang members were handed sentences totalling over 32 years for using drones to smuggle drugs, weapons and mobile phones into prison.

To build on that success, I can also announce today that we are installing technology at 30 prisons that will allow officers to quickly download data from illicit phones seized from prisoners.

This means officers can access information on a phone on the same day it is seized rather than having to send it away to be processed – something that can currently take months.

If a phone has details about an expected drone drop later that day, officers will be able to know where, how and when and can act on that intelligence and intercept it.

In doing so, we will be able to collect vital intelligence about the criminals’ contacts and associates, who they are buying from and selling to and the bank accounts they are using.

This will help us to stop drugs getting in and give the police the intel they need to target the source of the drugs.

But technology can’t be the only solution to tackling gangs….

Understanding and managing security risks

The fact is, there are around 6,500 prisoners who have links to organised crime.

At the moment, these offenders are spread across the estate and are helping to perpetuate the cycle of crime by drawing fellow prisoners into the clutches of the gangs.

So, I want to rethink how we categorise prisoners – that means looking again at who goes to higher security-level prisons.

Rather than just considering their length of sentence and risk of escape in determining which prison an offender goes to – or moves to – I want to look, as well, at their behaviour in prison and their risk of directing crime and violence whilst in prison.

This would ensure those ringleaders, who ostensibly behave but have others do their bidding, would be cut off from their network and prevent them from operating.

Incentives of hope over despair – the route to rehabilitation

Removing the ringleaders also means that prisons can then focus on maintaining an orderly environment and, crucially, get on with helping prisoners rehabilitate so that they don’t re-offend when they leave prison.

We have to make it absolutely clear to prisoners that the path of further criminality only leads to more punishment and less freedom….

….that there is another, better way.

We also need to recognise that there is a better way for the whole of society.

Re-offending and the cycle of crime costs society £15 billion a year.

It creates more victims.

And, it leads to the perpetuation of unfulfilled potential on the part of offenders.

If the third and final purpose of prison is for rehabilitation, then we need to look again at what works.

I believe rehabilitation starts with conformity with the prison rules and a rejection of further criminality, a commitment to change and an embrace of opportunities that help offenders to leave prison as law-abiding, and tax-paying citizens.

I want to make those the desirable and attainable choices that prisoners make.

I believe harnessing the power of incentives in our prisons is an important way to do that.

My experience and the large amount of research out there shows that ‘incentives work’.

As Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, I saw how a mixture of positive incentives, support and sanctions can influence behaviour and help people change their lives for the better.

For example, the incentive of making work always pay more than benefits is a fundamental principle of our welfare system and has helped bring about record levels of employment in this country.

I believe we can not only make prisons safer and more secure, but also help to break the cycle of reoffending….

….supporting and incentivising people to make the right choices that will prepare them to lead crime-free lives when they leave prison.

An offenders’ experience in prison is too often one of detention and boredom, which leads to drug abuse and despondency, which in turn, leads to debt and despair.

I am clear that offenders go to prison as punishment, not for punishment.

So, I want prisons to be places of humanity, hope and aspiration.

I want prisoners to know that there is a route to a better life….

….that there is a life to be had free from the clutches of gangs and free from the intimidation and abuse…

….and that the route to that better life is through purposeful activity, through education, through skills and through employment.

The way I see it is that prisoners have a contract with the state.

By serving your sentence and conforming to the rules, you are repaying your debt to society.

If you do that, you will find the State and the prison system backing you up, supporting you, and you will be able to earn greater rights and privileges.

This is beneficial for prisoners but even more so for wider society.

So, I want to reset and reinvigorate the system of incentives in our prisons so they work much more in the favour of those prisoners who play by the rules and who want to turn their lives around, whilst coming down harder on those who show no intention of doing so.

However, prisoners should be under no illusions that a failure to abide by the rules will be met with strong sanctions.

I am supportive of the steps that have been taken to improve the punishment of unacceptable and illegal behaviour in prisons.

Just the other month, we introduced a new protocol between the Ministry of Justice and CPS to ensure that, where there is sufficient evidence, we bring to justice prisoners who commit violent attacks against prison officers and other prisoners.

But for those offenders who see their time in prison as a genuine opportunity to reflect and take responsibility for their crime and to be rehabilitated, to build the skills and behaviour they need to re-join society, I want to create the incentives that will support and encourage them in that effort.

That means prisoners having the opportunity to earn rights and freedoms, an opportunity to live in a more liberal environment with greater personal responsibility, and therefore have more to lose if they fall foul of the rules.

After all, incentives are given, and they can be taken away.

I know that prison governors feel strongly that the current approach to using incentives in our prisons is not working.

I hear that.

I also know that governors want more flexibility for what and how incentives are used in their own prisons.

I agree.

I believe governors should govern.

They are the best judge for what will work best in their prison.

So this is not about me imposing a top-down system or a list of incentives.

But I do want to give a couple of examples where I think we can more effectively use incentives.

Prisons are required to provide a minimum amount of contact between an offender and their family whilst in prison.

I think we could reinforce good behaviour by offering a prisoner extra and additional time to see family members, for example by using technology like Skype, to allow contact they would otherwise be unable to have.

Another example is giving an offender a better prospect of securing a job after release by providing access to certain training and experience.

For example, I want to look at the availability and use of “release on temporary license”.

Specifically, I want to see how we can use ROTL to allow those prisoners, who have earned it, to have a routine where they, with close monitoring, leave prison each day to go to work nearby.

Work is the best route out of crime

I have seen how getting and keeping a job can change people’s lives.

The prison and probation service have an important role to help offenders build the skills and experience they need whilst they’re in prison so they can have the right attitude for work and get a job when they’re released.

To do that, prisons and probation need to act more as brokers between prisoners and the local community, employers and education and skills providers.

We will shortly be launching our Education and Employment Strategy that will set out our approach to helping offenders get the skills they need to find a job and avoid the activities that landed them in prison in the first place.

Cross-government work

Having a job after release is a crucial factor that determines likelihood of reoffending….

….but it is only one of several.

For someone coming out of prison, having a place to live and access to mental and physical health treatments are also critical.

In this sense, re-offending is not solely a justice problem for my department, but it is a wider issue about social justice and ensuring that offenders, many of whom have complex backgrounds, are not dismissed as part of society.

We need a cross-government approach to reoffending.

That’s why I can announce today that I will be convening a cross-government group of senior Ministers, with the full backing of the Prime Minister, to work across all relevant departments to reduce re-offending and the £15 billion cost of reoffending to society as a whole.

This approach means that we can target prisoners and ex-offenders with the support they need to find a job, a home, to get help with debt, or to get treatment for a drug addiction or, as I mentioned earlier, a mental health issue.

I met with my Cabinet colleagues yesterday to discuss this and I am encouraged that there is a consensus on the mission and energy to make real progress.

Conclusion

Now I’m clear about what purpose our prisons serve – protection, punishment, and rehabilitation.

But for prisons to do this well we must get the basics of a safe, secure and decent environment right.

Only an immediate and relentless focus on maintenance, infrastructure and staffing will allow us to make further progress, and we are acting on that.

The basics matter because organised criminal gangs have cynically and systematically exploited the rise of a drugs problem in new psychoactive substances that first reared its head on our streets and has found fertile ground in our prisons.

We are taking action to bolster our defences at the prison gate whilst also going after the organised criminal gangs.

I want them to know that as a result of the action we are taking, they have no place to hide.

Through our covert and intelligence-led operations, we will track them down….

….removing their influence from our prisons so they can become places of hope not despair, of aspiration not assaults….

…because my approach is a practical one, based on what works and what’s right….

….supporting prisoners to make the right choices and take the right path towards rehabilitation and re-joining society.

I know that incentives work, and I want to put them to work in our prisons.

By doing that, our prisons will not only be safer, more secure and more decent, but will support prisoners to do the right thing and turn their back on crime for good.

David Gauke – 2018 Lord Chancellor Swearing-In Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor, at his swearing-in ceremony on 18 January 2018.

Mr Attorney, I’d like to thank the Lord Chief Justice for that warm welcome and I look forward to working with you and other members of the bench.

I’d also like to start by thanking my predecessor and Cabinet colleague, David Lidington, who I think quickly established himself as an effective Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State. I very much hope to emulate his speedy grasp of such an important constitutional role.

Being appointed as Lord Chancellor is a huge honour and deeply humbling. Dare I say, it is also a little daunting, especially when you look back at some of the previous custodians of this historic title over the centuries.

In light of such an illustrious rollcall of historical figures, I think it is only natural for a new incumbent to look for a familiar reference point.

As the Lord Chief Justice has reminded us, a former Lord Chancellor from my home town of Ipswich was none other than Cardinal Wolsey. An auspicious connection given he went on to serve as Lord Chancellor for 14 years!

My enthusiasm was however a little tempered when I recalled how Wolsey’s time as Lord Chancellor was made fraught through dealing with Henry the Eighth and his powers: stripped of his title and his wealth, he faced charges of treason after an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a settlement with a powerful European supra-national organisation.

Thankfully, not all the duties exercised by Cardinal Wolsey continue to fall on the shoulders of the Lord Chancellor!

So, let me turn to the specific responsibilities I have affirmed to uphold today.

The Rule of Law

Defending the independence of the judiciary and respecting the Rule of Law, that is the foundation of our democracy, our way of life, and the safeguard of fairness and freedom in our society.

The pomp and the pageantry may be centuries old, but what they represent, forged from 900 years of history, remain relevant and important today.

You, the judiciary, are at the heart of the Rule of Law. You uphold and exercise that every day in the judgements and decisions you make and in being called upon to make decisions on some of the most difficult moral and technical issues of our time.

It is a job that requires expertise and deep knowledge. But your task also requires independence from the other branches of the State. You must be free to make decisions without fear or favour and without undue influence.

That’s why I take seriously the solemn affirmation I have made today to defend that independence and to respect the Rule of Law.

Efficient and effective courts

This commitment also includes ensuring efficient and effective support for courts. I want people to have confidence in every part of their justice system.

That means crimes being properly investigated. It means effective prosecutions where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest. It means courts handing down sentences that fit the crime.

It also means a justice system that supports victims and ensures a smooth and efficient process for litigants, for example, through new technology and greater innovation.

I look forward to working closely with the Lord Chief Justice and senior judiciary to build on the important work that is already underway to reform and modernise our courts and tribunals system and to make this a reality.

UK legal services and English Law

Whether in criminal or civil law, the UK’s legal system is respected around the world, something that I have seen for myself having worked in corporate law.

As a trainee solicitor over 20 years ago, I was struck working on a shipping litigation case, it was an English Tribunal applying English law that was determining a dispute involving cargo being shipped across the Pacific on a Greek-owned ship with, if I recall correctly, an Indonesian crew.

The only apparent connection to the UK was that the contracts were under English Law and determined by English tribunals.

That was the case then, it’s the case now, and it will continue to be the case after we leave the EU. Because, the UK leads the way in global legal services. English Law and UK courts provide the certainty, clarity and flexibility that clients from around the world want.

I know just how important this sector is, not just for London, but for cities and regions across the UK. That’s why I want an outcome from our negotiations with the EU that is good for our legal system and good for our position as a provider of legal services around the world, one that protects and promotes a strong and successful legal services sector.

That means ensuring close and comprehensive arrangements for civil judicial co-operation with the EU after Brexit. It means a legal services sector that benefits from and serves as a catalyst for future trade.

I want to see London continue to be an international hub for finance and legal services, but also see legal services continue to grow and thrive in regional centres serving as specialist hubs.

I look forward to working with the legal services sector and the judiciary to build on our ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign launched last year to promote the UK’s legal services on the world stage.

A final word on the judiciary

The reputation of our legal services is underpinned by our world-leading judiciary, respected for its expertise and its independence.

As Lord Chancellor, I look forward to working with you, Lord Chief Justice, and other senior members of the judiciary, to ensure we continue to attract exceptional and talented people in order for it to remain strong, free from improper influence and truly independent – indeed, to remain the envy of the world.

Conclusion

I mentioned that Cardinal Wolsey managed 14 years as Lord Chancellor. With seven years at the Treasury, seven months at DWP and having just completed my first seven days at the Ministry of Justice, that may be an ambitious record to match.

Although, I have read on Twitter and elsewhere that I may have set a record of my own by being the first solicitor to be appointed Lord Chancellor. I’m pleased that, so far at least, this record remains intact even after such careful and scrupulous deliberation from you, Lord Chief Justice! They do say that the law is an iterative process, so, I await to be revised.

But what I can commit to today is that during my time as Lord Chancellor I will be ambitious for our country’s legal services. I will be steadfast in my commitment to defend the independence of the judiciary and respect the Rule of Law, and I will be determined in our work to create a justice system that is open to all, a justice system that everyone in the country can have confidence in, and one that lives up to the deep-rooted sense of justice and fairness the United Kingdom is known for around the world.

Thank you.

David Gauke – 2017 Speech on 75th Anniversary of the Beveridge Report

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at the LSE in London on 8 December 2017.

Seventy-five years ago, in the depths of war, William Beveridge produced the report that became the foundation of the modern welfare state.

Seventy five years on, it is still at the centre of discussions on welfare. It is that rare thing – a government command paper which seized the imagination of the nation, and became a focus of hope for the post-war future.

The principles he set out – and the challenges he identified – remain an important part of the system we have today. Much has stood the test of time. But the world Beveridge knew has changed in some profoundly important ways.

We need to celebrate the strengths of the system we have, which day-in and day-out, provides essential support to millions of people.

But we need to be ready to think – as he did – about new solutions to new challenges. To test the system of today against the needs of tomorrow.

I will be arguing that the future welfare state must continue to hold work at its heart, while becoming ever more personalised and holistic, in order to meet the needs of future populations.

Above all, we need the confidence to change and adapt, to build a welfare system for the 2020s and 2030s – as Beveridge did for the 1940s and 1950s.

Beveridge’s principles

Beveridge wanted a system which was universal for those in work. He recognised, as we do today, that the state should provide support – but should never be the whole answer. He wrote:

The State should offer security for service and contribution. The State, in organising security, should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than the minimum for himself and his family.

And those words also remind us that Beveridge’s system was fundamentally based on contributions – it was, above all, a national insurance system.

Beveridge in practice

Beveridge’s proposals were hugely popular. I can tell you with some confidence that a policy with 86% popular support, and only 6% opposition, is one of which politicians’ dreams are made.

But political and economic realities intrude even on the most popular of policies. The post-war welfare state differed in some important ways from Beveridge’s vision. The country never got the contributory system that he quite envisaged.

It would have been politically unacceptable to defer the introduction of the new retirement pensions until the contributory fund had matured, necessitating the pay-as-you-go approach we still see today. We have always had a national insurance system in name only; since its foundation, it has been supplemented by taxpayers.

Perhaps more fundamentally, Beveridge didn’t, and probably couldn’t have anticipated, the profound social and economic changes of the second half of the last century.

75 years on

Seventy-five years on, the social, economic and political context has been transformed.

Real disposable income per head has almost quadrupled.

Life expectancy at birth has risen by almost 15 years.

Life expectancy at age 65 has risen by over 8 years.

Child mortality has fallen from over 55 per 1,000 live births in 1931, to just 3.7 by 2015.

And the proportion of people who own their homes has more than doubled.

Those changes are closely linked to changes in patterns of employment.

Today, more than 70% of women are in work – up from just over a quarter in 1939.

Fifteen percent of all workers are now self-employed – almost double what it was in 1950. A further 4% are estimated to work in the gig economy – something which did not exist a decade ago.

And there has been increasing recognition in recent decades of the need to support people in low-paid work, in addition to those who are without work altogether.

So the context for welfare has moved a long way since Beveridge, as have our expectations of it.

So, where are we now?

Our vision for welfare is one with work at its heart.

One that is personalised, using professional work coaches and modern digital tools to provide tailored, holistic support.

One which recognises and supports progression within work, as well as the initial move into work.

And one which balances that support with clear expectations of the claimant.

The new contributory principle

Beveridge’s principles, however, remain a good starting place for thinking about the modern welfare system. He recognised the importance of putting something in, as well as taking something out.

His was fundamentally a contributory system: you were insured because you paid your stamp – quite literally for many people. That’s still true today – though the stamps are long gone.

But our expectation now is that people also contribute in a broader sense – where they are able to do so.

That may be by looking for work.

It may be by building-up hours in work.

It may be by developing skills and earning potential.

We have a right to expect people to support themselves whenever they can, and to the full extent of their capability.

We have built these expectations into the Claimant Commitment, where welfare recipients agree to a specific set of actions to ensure that they move towards and enter work. The Commitment – and the work-focused approach behind it – is in fact the embodiment of the new contributory principle.

In other words, for many, the financial support provided by benefits is conditional upon demonstrating their determination to eventually support themselves from their own earnings.

But at the same time, we also recognise that some people will always need support from the state, and from society as a whole.

Welfare attributes

A modern welfare system should support aspiration, helping people to fulfil their potential.

It should be focused on work, enabling success in the labour market.

It should be based on evidence, continuously learning and building on the approaches that achieve its aims.

It should be both affordable and sustainable, supporting economic growth.

And it should be personalised. People are not all the same – they have different needs. So we should offer different support, with tailored expectations that reflect individual circumstances.

This mirrors changes in the wider environment. We increasingly expect personalised services in other aspects of our lives. We should expect no less of our welfare system.

Because, of course, welfare always operates within a wider economic and social context. Beveridge designed his welfare system for the world of his time, and we must do the same for ours.

Future challenges

We are now facing the challenge of what some have called the fourth industrial revolution.

The first industrial revolution harnessed the power of water and steam for mechanisation. The second brought electric power and increasing mass production. The third was about automation driven by computers.

And now the fourth heralds the arrival of a range of new technologies, which bring both great opportunities and enormous changes.

Each of the first 3 revolutions brought huge increases in productivity and in standards of living. We are immeasurably better off because of them.

But each of those revolutions also disrupted many people’s lives. Jobs which had looked secure from generation to generation vanished – sometimes with great speed. Each revolution has created many more jobs than it destroyed – but that does not mean that it was always easy for those affected.

The fourth industrial revolution brings the same challenges, and the same opportunities.

We are already seeing impacts on the pattern of jobs, as well as their content. The gig economy matches people and tasks much more dynamically than we have been used to. Communications technology allows people to access services not just here, but from the other side of the world.

There is a real opportunity though – as Matthew Taylor has argued in his report to the Prime Minister – to focus on ‘good work’. Work organised to be fulfilling in itself, as an enriching part of our lives.

We need increasingly skilled workers to deliver increasing value – for themselves, for their employers, and for the wider economy.

And good employers know how to unlock that value by investing in their people through training and development – and by being flexible in helping employees manage the balance between their work and wider lives.

Every past industrial revolution has created jobs which were unimagined – and unimaginable – from the perspective of the old world. In 1900, 13% of the workforce was employed in agriculture. That proportion is now 1%. But we are not surrounded by unemployed farm workers. The descendants of those farm labourers of a century ago work in an economy with unemployment at historically low levels, doing jobs their great-great-grandparents could not have dreamed of.

The transition will undoubtedly be challenging. For some, it will be personally stressful and painful. For others it will be a time of enormous new opportunities. But I strongly believe that the fourth industrial revolution will deliver the same positive step change in our collective wealth and wellbeing that resulted from the first 3.

We need new technologies to be spread more widely, in order to improve productivity and make jobs better. Our mission is to best position the workforce to take advantage of these new opportunities. Automation promises to liberate us from dull, dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs – to free us to work with technology to create new products, new work, and new roles – the like of which we have yet to imagine.

The fourth industrial revolution presents so many new opportunities. In our Industrial Strategy, we set our sights on making the UK a global centre for artificial Intelligence and data-driven innovation. We are determined that this country should be among the world leaders in adopting the next generation of technology. And we are determined that everyone should benefit from the changes it brings.

Universal Basic Income isn’t the answer

Of course, there is an alternative, gloomy view: that the future will be worse, that work will wither away. That a significant proportion of the workforce will become effectively unemployable, and that others will live in fear that their job will be next to go.

This leads some to conclude that the most we can do is pay out cash to everyone to compensate for this state of affairs. In other words, a Universal Basic Income.

The more positive case, I suppose, is that technology does the work, and we humans can relax and enjoy ever greater leisure time.

There’s a seeming simplicity in having no forms to fill in, no conditionality, no jobcentre to go to, no one trying to advise you. The security of knowing that you would have a stable, predictable income, indefinitely, without effort.

I have to say I am far from convinced. The arguments against a Universal Basic Income are formidable; in my view, technological and economic change is making the case weaker, not stronger. Some jobs will disappear. But work will not.

Work matters now and will matter in the future. Not just because of the income it provides, but because of the place that it gives people in society. Work can give the worker self-respect, dignity, and the confidence that they are involved, that they are contributing – that what they do matters.

We cannot give up on this.

Those receiving support have a right to expect that the government will be helping them to find work and to adapt to economic change. That is not something to be ashamed of.

A Universal Basic Income would be a retreat from the future. It would mean that we give up on this effort, that we give people a hand-out, not a hand-up.

And we shouldn’t give up on the principle of something for something. Those who can contribute, should do so.

I have talked about the importance Beveridge attached to contributions, and how we have carried that principle forward into the modern welfare system.

Payments are conditional on making a contribution – either financial, or in terms of effort to get into the labour market.

An unconditional Universal Basic Income is completely at odds with that principle.

It requires that hard-working people subsidise those who have chosen not to work. That there is no need to contribute. And human nature being what it is, we should be concerned at the prospect of legitimising the decision to simply to opt out, creating whole communities of workless dependents.

Moreover, a true universal income is – by definition – poorly targeted. The same payment, given to everyone, will not take account of disability or caring responsibilities.

It requires that we ignore the specific needs of those who most deserve our collective support.

An affordable basic income would be inadequate, and a basic income that’s adequate for all would be unaffordable.

Major welfare reforms

I have already said that the future lies in support that is increasingly tailored to the needs of the individual, not a crude single-serving for everyone. It should help the working-age population to make the most of a changing economy, not turn away from it.

This approach is already underpinning the reforms that we have introduced since 2010.

Take Universal Credit.

Universal Credit reinforces the huge practical advantages of a single, integrated support system.

It is designed so that support is withdrawn gradually, as people become more self-sufficient. The transition from unemployment into work is no longer abrupt, with far less financial disruption and uncertainty.

And it is designed to help people progress further once they are working.

It is no surprise that poverty rates are higher in families where no-one works full time. This is why we must continue to use Universal Credit, to support more people, in more households, to work full-time where they are able to do so.

A similar situation arises for those who are self-employed but on low pay. Again, we must use our integrated system to help people build-up to greater self-sufficiency.

Our pensions reforms – and our approach to Fuller Working Lives – demonstrate our response to the need to adapt – in this case, to an ageing society.

Auto-enrolment has used behavioural science to increase the number of people saving into workplace pensions.

The steps to introduce the new State Pension, and to end contracting-out, have also let people know what they can expect from the state.

This means that we are getting the right balance between the contributions people make during their working lives, and the support they receive in later life.

These measures have simplified the pensions saving journey for individuals; a clearer offer from the state allows people to plan and save for their retirement more easily, with more certainty.

Looking to the future

Implementing these current reforms is at the heart of my role. But it is also important to think about where we will go next.

Our relentless focus on helping people to get into work has delivered results. When unemployment fell to 5% early last year, many people thought it couldn’t get much lower, and yet it now stands at 4.3%.

This achievement should not make us lose sight of the need to support people still further, especially those on low incomes, to get into work and progress once in work.

We know that the jobs of the future will be different. So we should help people to benefit from the new opportunities that the coming change will bring. People will need to gain new skills to secure meaningful and productive employment throughout their lives.

In the Budget we announced a unique partnership between employers, unions and government – a new National Retraining Scheme to help people adjust to the changing world of work.

We also know that new ways of working can enable those with caring responsibilities to work flexibly, and those with health conditions to stay in work. We should seize these new possibilities too.

It means we need to build on a work coach’s ability to connect with people – to provide encouragement and support, build resilience, and develop potential. Just last week I announced a new programme of mental health awareness training for work coaches, in order to further these aims.

New technology will provide us with additional opportunities. Increased automation, machine learning and big data will provide ways of tailoring our services.

This offers huge potential to improve the customer experience, identify those most in need of help, and to successfully target the important support that only work coaches can provide. We are exploring new ways of providing support online, using a ‘test and learn’ approach to see how people respond, and making adjustments as we go along.

We are also testing new data sources, including online vacancy data. This data has the potential to help us to understand changing job and skill demands, enabling us to better signpost people to the opportunities that are out there.

We are also learning from other countries. Just this week my officials met their Dutch and Belgian counterparts. They shared insights, and built on their pioneering use of data to identify those people who need different kinds of support, so it can be better targeted towards them.

In early 2018 we will publish our Areas of Research Interest, to increase collaboration with academics in putting evidence at the heart of our decisions.

Public expectations are changing. Our own data tells us that people access their online benefit claim accounts 24 hours a day. In the rest of our lives, we are all coming to expect services – from online shopping to social media – that respond and develop to suit us and our lifestyles. The welfare state needs to be able to keep up.

We must not forget, though, that we also need to do more to support those who face the greatest barriers to work, including people with disabilities; mental health issues; lone parents with young children, and others with caring responsibilities; and those experiencing several barriers in the same household.

We will explore how to improve access to occupational health services, as well as improving interaction between people and health and welfare services

We are keen to make the best use of technology which can provide crucial support to removing barriers to work.

We will support and encourage employers to confidently recruit and retain those with health conditions.

Most importantly, we will continue to build our offer of personalised employment support.

Beyond Beveridge

More personal, more tailored, more holistic. That is the welfare state that I envisage.

Over the 75 years since Beveridge produced his report, the welfare system has constantly adapted to changing circumstances, to new priorities and to expectations.

Today’s welfare state, work, economy and society all look vastly different from those of the 1940s. The fourth industrial revolution brings with it fresh new challenges.

The best welfare systems help to ensure that societies can embrace change.

To enable people to make the most of the opportunities created by a new and fast-moving economy.

To build on new technologies to improve the support we give.

To keep hold of the principle of support for those who need it, in exchange for a commitment to contribute.

And to keep work at its heart – adapting to help those who can, while supporting those who can’t.

If we are optimistic about the future, as Beveridge was; if we take the opportunities presented by a changing world, as Beveridge did; then we can look forward to the next 75 years with confidence.