In 2016 the Prime Minister asked the Right Honourable Member for Tottenham to chair ‘An Independent Review into the Treatment of, and Outcomes for, BAME Individuals in the CJS’. The Review made 35 recommendations for the Government to implement, and today the Government publishes its response.
The Government welcomes the impetus that the Lammy Review brings to the debate about ethnicity and race, and would like to thank the Honourable Member for Tottenham for his thorough and incisive research on the topic. We welcome the core principles detailed in the Review - transparency, fairness, and responsibility - as a framework on which policy and practice should stand.
In the response, we have clearly outlined the actions we have taken or will take in relation to each recommendation. We have also examined the review to find ideas that, while not being explicit recommendations, nevertheless warrant greater attention and action.
There are already a number of steps the Government has taken in line with the Review recommendations, announced at the publication of the Race Disparity Audit. We are already moving to publish more and better data, and will adopt a co-ordinated approach to improving data quality to determine where disparities occur and why. In addition, the Government has adopted the principle of “explain or change” to identify and objectively assess disparities, and then decide whether and how changes need to be applied. We feel this principle is particularly valuable in relation to smaller groups in the criminal justice system, such as Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, and BAME women.
On a small number of the recommendations we have indicated that we need to proceed with caution, if significant barriers exist that prevent us from implementing a recommendation as it stands. Where this is the case, we aim to be transparent about the reasons and open to change, as circumstances alter.
Beyond the Review’s recommendations, we will set up governance procedures to monitor our progress driven by a Race and Ethnicity Board of senior officials, chaired at the level of Director General within the MoJ. It will update the Criminal Justice Board, of which I am chair. The Race and Ethnicity Board will consider and agree the scope and timelines for the work needed to reduce race disparities. This will include timings for the actions set out in the Government’s response.
These governance structures will cover the agenda articulated by David Lammy, contribute to the wider work around tackling race disparities Government, and direct sustained effort to give this agenda the longevity it deserves.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords