January - March

Paula McCullough joins CJI as an Administrative Support Officer
Kit Chivers was a panel speaker, along with ACC Paul Leighton, Prison Director Robin Masefield, Victim Support’s Susan Reid and Guardian columnist Erwin James, at the Probation Board’s Centenary Celebration at the Galgorm Resort Centre near Ballymena.  Kit spoke about the growing importance of the Probation Service as the lead agency in assessing the danger posed by offenders.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published a follow-up review of its inspection report on the provision of care for victims and witnesses in Northern Ireland. The report notes that 25 of the 37 recommendations made in the Inspectorate’s original 2005 report have been achieved, but it has urged those involved in strengthening the existing arrangements to ensure the outstanding recommendations are implemented as soon as possible.  Chief Inspector Kit Chivers stressed the needs of victims and witnesses must continue to be given priority as they played a vital role in the criminal justice system.

Kit Chivers, Brendan McGuigan and James Corrigan James Corrigan, kit Chivers and Brendan McGuigangave evidence to the Assembly’s Environment Committee on the recommendations made by the Inspectorate in its report on Enforcement by the Department of the Environment.  They were warmly welcomed by Committee Chairman Patsy McGlone MLA.  Speaking after the event, Kit said: “Members of the Environment Committee were extremely interested in the work CJI had undertaken on road safety as well as on environmental crime.  We had a very useful exchange with the Committee and look forward to meeting with it again to discuss the DOE’s response to our report and to talk about our inspection of Roads Policing when it is published.”

 

Criminal Justice Inspection has published its first inspection report on the Youth Justice Agency’s Youth Conference Service. The inspection found the Youth Conference Service (YCS) to be delivering an effective and useful service which focuses on getting the balance right between the needs of young offenders and victims.  The report also indicated that the Youth Conference Service was nearing its capacity and would be unable to sustain its current workload of about 2000 referrals per year unless steps were taken and additional resources made available.  CJI’s Deputy Chief  Inspector, Brendan McGuigan presented the main findings of the report to an invited audience attending a simulated Youth Conference hosted by the Youth Justice Agency at Youth Action Northern Ireland in Belfast.  For further details of the event, see the separate blog entry.
Criminal Justice Inspection has launched a public survey encouraging members of local communities from across Northern Ireland to tell the Inspectorate what matters to them.  The short survey, which can be completed by following this link aims to find out directly from local people what are the main issues concerning crime and how it is dealt with that interest them.  Adverts publicising the survey and encouraging local participation have been placed in local newspapers across Northern Ireland to coincide with Criminal Justice Week.  Information received through this community engagement exercise will help CJI to shape future inspection programmes

Criminal Justice Inspection hosted its annual Stakeholder Conference at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.  The one-day conference looked at the benefits and challenges the devolution of policing and criminal justice would present for statutory and voluntary and community organisations working within the criminal justice sector.  The conference was opened by the Attorney General, the Rt. Hon Baroness Scotland QC.  Other speakers who addressed the audience of over 100 delegates included the Lord Advocate of Scotland, the Rt. Hon Elish Angiolini QC and the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Sir Patrick Cormack MP.  They were joined by Aideen Glimore, Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice and Steve Costello, Chairman of the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

During the one-day conference Kit Chivers gave his annual review during which he spoke of the work undertaken by the Inspectorate during the course of the year and examined the issue of the devolution of policing and criminal justice.  The conference also provided an opportunity for CJI to consult its stakeholders on its draft inspection programme for 2008-09.  Brendan McGuigan gave a brief overview of the topics and areas within the criminal justice system that CJI intended to inspect and review.  He encouraged delegates to help shape the organisation’s next three-year Corporate Plan by indicating the areas where they, as participants within the criminal justice system, felt the Inspectorate should focus its efforts in the future.

Kit Chivers was invited to meet President Mary McAleese at the Aras an Uachtarain as part of a group of Ombudsmen and regulators which included Human Rights Commissioner Monica McWilliams, Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson and Information Commissioner Marie Anderson.
Kit Chivers and Tom McGonigle met with a group of newly promoted Governors in the NI Prison Service to discuss current issues in the Prison Service and recommendations arising out of recent inspections.
CJI has advertised to recruit an Administration Support Officer to join its Business Support Team in Belfast.  Candidates can obtain further information on the selection criteria and the duties and responsibilities of the post by contacting Brenda Ferris at Grafton Recruitment on 028 90 895803 or via e-mail [email protected]