New Justice Data Lab to help cut reoffending

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A pioneering new service giving charities and voluntary organisations more information about what works to reduce reoffending has been launched today.

The Justice Data Lab will for the first time give voluntary and community sector (VCS) agencies access to high-quality reoffending data tailored to their needs. This will allow them to better understand the impact of their work and design more effective interventions.

Expert analysts at the Ministry of Justice will match data from organisations working with offenders with national records to produce reoffending rates for that group of individuals. This will be compared with a control group to prove the effectiveness of a particular intervention. 

Through sharing the data, we will also build a library of valuable information that can be used to inform rehabilitation schemes up and down the country, creating a culture of best practice and transparency, driving better outcomes and creating safer communities.

The innovative new service has been set up as part of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda, which proposes a greater role for the VCS and private sector in tackling reoffending on a payment by results basis.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

'Reoffending has been too high for too long and we need a revolution in the way we tackle it. Providers must be able to see what works if they are to break the depressing cycle of crime.

'Giving the voluntary sector the right tools to understand their impact will allow them to compete for contracts on a level playing field with the confidence that they are working from sound evidence and proven success.

'This will help good organisations to become even more successful.'

The Data Lab has been developed in close consultation with the VCS and tailored to meet their needs. 

Dan Corry, Chief Executive at New Philanthropy Capital, a charity think-tank which helped Government develop the new service, said:

'We are very pleased the Ministry of Justice has acted so swiftly to set up the Justice Data Lab.

'Access to reoffending data will enable voluntary sector organisations to prove their efficacy and fine-tune their services. This is particularly pertinent as the payment by results approach starts to sweep through the criminal justice system.'

The service is being trialled for one year with a view to making it a permanent fixture. All organisations working with offenders will be able to use it, but it is anticipated the highest demand will come from the VCS.

Notes to editors:

  1. Visit the Data Lab page.
  2. For more information on the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation visit www.justice.gov.uk/news/features/less-crime-fewer-victims-safer-communities.
  3. For more information contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.

Ministry of Justice

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