FIRST REPORT (HC 106): THE WORK OF THE
CRIMINAL CASES REVIEW COMMISSION
Published 29 March 1999. Government response
(published as HC 569) received 16 June 1999
The following seeks to cover all four conclusions
and recommendations on which the Committee has requested an update.
2. In its Report (paragraph 35) the Committee
noted that the Commission had at that time (March 1999) "a
substantial and growing backlog of cases waiting to be dealt with".
The case accumulation has since fallen. The number of cases awaiting
review that month was 1,176. This figure peaked in May 1999 at
1,206. By January 2000 it had fallen to 1,015, and by March to
906. It then rose again to 953 in June, and fell back to 901 in
3. The Committee also noted that applicants
were waiting around two years for a full review to begin. One
of the Commission's goals for 1999-2000 was to keep the average
time an applicant in custody waited for a detailed review of their
case to begin to below 12 months. The Commission in fact succeeded
in reducing this average to 10 months. However, at the end of
March 2000, the Commission was allocating cases for screening
(to see if they could be reviewed in five working days or fewer)
that had generally waited 12 months, and was allocating cases
for more resource-intensive detailed review that had generally
taken 27 months to reach that point.
4. As the Committee knows from hearing evidence
from the Commission in April 2000, in March this year the Home
Secretary increased the Commission's allocated grant-in aid for
2000-01 by 9 per cent to £5.415 million, and gave the Commission
authority to increase the number of Case Review Managers from
42 to 50. The Commission's funding for 2001-04 will be decided
as part of the outcome of the Government's Spending Review 2000.
The Commission remains of the view that its complement of Case
Review Managers should be 60.
5. The Home Secretary agreed to a Business
Plan for the Commission for 1999-2000 in which the Commission
set itself the performance targets of deciding 1,000 cases, having
500 under detailed review by the end of the year, and (as mentioned
above) ensuring that the average time an applicant in custody
waited for a detailed review of their case to begin was not more
than 12 months. In the event, the Commission completed 1,103 cases
during the year, had 452 under detailed review at the end of the
year, and reduced the average waiting time for applicants in custody
to 10 months. In 1999-2000 also, the Commission reduced the average
number of working days that elapsed between the beginning and
end of a detailed review from 141 in the first quarter to 112
in the fourth.
6. In October 1999, the Department asked
the Commission to set out the levels of additional resource it
believed necessary to meet one or more goals for the reduction
of its case accumulation. In response, the Commission presented
three scenarios, each assuming varying increases in the number
of Case Review Managers, and in each case projecting by when this
complement would allow case completions to match intake for various
categories of cases.
7. The Home Secretary has not yet agreed
the Commission's Business Plan for 2000-01. We are looking for
this to include clear targets for the number of cases the Commission
aims to complete this year.
Justice and Victims Unit