HC Deb 31 October 2001 vol 373 c756W
Geraint Davies

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will publish the annual report of the chief inspector of the magistrates courts service; and if he will make a statement. [12013]

Mr. Wills

Copies of the chief inspector's annual report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The chief inspector's report describes the work of the Inspectorate over the past year and reports some of its principal findings. Magistrates courts committees (MCCs) are seen to have made improvements in many areas. In particular, the co-operation between the courts, police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) at an operational level, has strengthened further. The progress made on the operation of the 'Narey' reforms aimed at reducing delay in the magistrates courts and the Government's pledge to reduce the time taken to deal with persistent young offenders are examples of the benefits of close working.

There have been advances made in the collection of performance information, and in the way it is represented to the MCC, but effective analysis of this information remains a weakness for a number of MCCs. This is in spite of the situation being highlighted in last year's report. MCCs are, however, demonstrating a better awareness of the need to provide the strategic direction and of leaving operational matters to their officers.

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