The Ministry of Justice, one of the government’s largest departments, has a staff of approximately 70,000 and an annual budget of £9 billion. Millions of UK citizens, including those employing mediation services in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and surrounding areas, use its facilities every year. It is responsible for more than five hundred courts and tribunals, over a hundred prisons, and its work is closely linked to mediation in Redditch, Bromsgrove and across England and Wales.
Its prime duty is to protect the public by reducing rates of criminal recidivism, or reoffending. The Ministry is also responsible for ensuring the transparency of the criminal justice system as a whole, both for victims and for the larger public, which in turn connects it to national mediator services. The Ministry is responsible for courts, prisons, probation services and attendance centres. It also works in conjunction with other government agencies, mentioned above, to reform and improve the criminal justice system and to protect the human rights of citizens through drafting of new legislation.
The key stated priority of the Ministry of Justice is the improvement of public safety and reduction of reoffending through reform of prisons, probation services and youth justice services. The Ministry also has a focus of building a ‘One Nation’ justice system, with justice accessible to all, whatever their background. It has responsibility for upholding the rule of law, defending and supporting an independent judiciary, and protecting individual liberties.
Within its jurisdiction for England and Wales, the Ministry ensures all suspected offenders, including juveniles, are treated fairly from arrest to potential conviction and throughout any sentence. It is responsible for prison and rehabilitation services, including probation and parole services, the family justice system, victim support and criminal injuries compensation.
The majority of the Ministry of Justice’s work takes place in these two countries only, as it has no responsibility for criminal justice policy either in Scotland or Northern Ireland. This was not always the case. Prior to 2010, the ministry conducted relations between the UK government and the three devolved nations of Northern Ireland and Scotland. After 2010, this responsibility was transferred to the Cabinet Office. The Ministry of Justice does still, however, assume responsibility for communications between Crown dependencies such as Jersey, the Isle of Mann and Guernsey, entering into discussion with these islands regarding potential implementation of UK legislation.
The Ministry works closely across government agencies, with particular links to The Courts and Tribunals Service, The Prison Service, The Legal Aid Agency, The National Offender Management Service, The Probation Service and The Youth Justice Board.