The Availability and use of Management and Performance Management Information in the Criminal Justice System

Publication: 21/09/17
Made to Measure
Inspectorate calls for overhaul of how criminal justice bodies evaluate performance and report results

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland has urged criminal justice organisations to make a 'step change' in how they measure and report their performance to focus more on results achieved through collaborative working.

Speaking  today (21 September 2017) following the publication of the latest inspection report, James Corrigan said: "This report by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) found there was a wealth of high quality, detailed information available across the criminal justice system.  This information has traditionally been used by organisations to assess performance against their own objectives and targets.
"This approach now needs to change so that criminal justice bodies begin to measure performance - and organisational success - from a collective as well as individual basis.  They need to focus on whether what they do is delivering an outcome that will make a measurable, positive difference to the lives of local people," said Mr Corrigan.
He continued: "The Northern Ireland Executive's draft Programme for Government is focused on delivering outcomes over a five year period that will deliver real change in society, but its success depends on widespread collaboration. 
"As an Inspectorate, we have been a strong advocate of greater partnership working across the criminal justice system and beyond.  The importance of this partnership approach to solving criminal justice issues is now greater than ever."
Mr Corrigan said maintaining a focus on long term results and collecting the right type of information from which to assess performance was central to this new approach.
“Given the current financial climate and pressures, we need to know that what we are doing is working, and that senior managers are making the best use of available resources to secure positive outcomes that deliver long term change for our community," continued Mr Corrigan.
The Deputy Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice concluded by urging the criminal justice bodies to make this key information on performance more accessible to the public.
"The public needs to be able to clearly see where either progress is, or is not, being made by the various criminal justice bodies. 
"We suggest Northern Ireland could learn from work already undertaken in Scotland and have recommended a score or report card system be introduced, with information made available online similar to the Scotland Performs website used by the Scottish Government," said Mr Corrigan.