Skip to main content

Prison Reform: governor empowerment and prison performance

1 December 2016

The Justice Committee issues a further call for evidence for its inquiry on prison reform for its first sub-inquiry. This will focus on the policies announced in the Ministry of Justice's Prison Safety and Reform White Paper on governor empowerment and prison performance.

Call for written submissions

The Committee would welcome additional evidence to be submitted by 9 January 2017 covering the following specific matters:

  • The pace of devolution of budgets and responsibilities to governors
  • The capacity and skills of governors, including training and support needs
  • The relationship and delineation of responsibilities between autonomous governors, NOMS, the Ministry of Justice and the Secretary of State
  • Performance agreements, including performance measures and league tables
  • Proposed mechanisms for managing poor performance for governors
  • The devolution to governors of responsibility and budgets for commissioning education provision
  • The devolution to governors of responsibility and budgets for co-commissioning health and mental health provision
  • Offender management reforms 

The Committee is interested in the application of the Ministry's new arrangements to both private and public sector prisons.

The Government sets out in the White Paper its intention to reform the whole framework through which the prison system is run. The Ministry of Justice intends to bring forward legislation during this Session of Parliament to establish a clear set of purposes for the prison system and to clearly define the roles of the Secretary of State for Justice, the Ministry of Justice and its agencies in commissioning, providing services and performance assessment.

The Government does not propose legislation to provide a statutory basis for the increased powers delegated to prison governors, which had been the expectation following the initial announcement on prison reform in the 2016 Queen's Speech. The Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah MP told us on 29 November that he was not looking at creating prisons as independent legal entities, although this option appeared to have been left open in the White Paper. We would also welcome further evidence on this, including observations on the Government's intention to maintain centralised commissioning arrangements for prison services.

The Committee will consider any new evidence submitted, along with the evidence already submitted to its wider inquiry. If you consider that you have already covered these topics in your original contribution to the Committee's inquiry then please do not make a further submission. 

Evidence sessions

The Committee currently plans to hold a small number of evidence sessions on this sub-inquiry commencing in mid-January with the intention of reporting at an early stage.

Follow the inquiry

Further information

Image: PA