To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to extend the availability of Bail Information Services in England and Wales.
7 September 2020
Currently, no courts or prisons have a full and pro-active Bail Information Service (BIS) with dedicated Bail Information Officers. Although there are no dedicated bail officers, bail assessments can be requested by the Judiciary and HM Prison and Probation Service staff will acknowledge and respond accordingly. Throughout April to August, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) introduced a temporary BIS in response to Covid-19. As courts and HMPPS services begin returning to business as usual, the service remains available on a reactive basis at the request of the court.
The Government will be implementing a BIS pilot involving a number of courts and prisons in England and Wales in the Autumn. These courts and prisons will each have a dedicated Bail Information Officer, and the pilot will aim to inform the design and delivery of a potential full and pro-active national service. The pilot is due to be completed by Spring 2021, and HM Prison and Probation Service intends to publish a report of findings as soon as practicable after that. This will include plans on the potential extending of BIS availability across England and Wales.