Making Ireland a safer and fairer place to live and work is the central aim of the Government’s commitments in the Programme for Government to deliver reform across all elements of the Justice and Equality sector.
The remit of the Justice family of agencies and services stretches across a range of human concerns and touches on aspects of national life as diverse as the protection of life and property; the prevention and detection of crime; the operation of the probation, youth justice and prison services; the maintenance and promotion of fairness and equality; the provision of services for the buying and selling of property; the management of inward migration to the State; and providing a Courts Service and other forms of investigative tribunals.
Reform is needed in the Justice and Equality sector so that it will continue to have the capacity to deliver services with maximum efficiency and effectiveness and be able to respond to the challenges facing it in the future in the context of emerging demographic and social changes and significantly reduced budgets.
To address this, the Minister for Justice and Equality is driving the implementation of an ambitious system-wide reform programme, informed by the key principles that:[i]
the citizen and service user must be the key focus; [ii]
value for money is paramount; [iii]
the use of ICT is optimised; and [iv]
shared services and common approaches are utilised wherever advantageous.
Under this programme, which is underpinned by a very significant programme of legislative reform, the organisations across the sector are reforming their models of service delivery, in partnership with each other, concentrating on the front-line and working together in new ways to prevent crime, reduce re-offending, enable more secure communities, advance the security of the State, achieve a more equitable and inclusive society and fair, effective, efficient and accessible justice systems.
The key reform priorities for the sector in the short to medium term are:[i] Tackling Crime:
a White Paper on Crime (incorporating a National Anti-Crime Strategy), to be published in 2014, outlines a strategy and sets priorities to tackle crime in the period to 2018. The Department will work towards improving the coordination of activities and processes across the criminal justice system in order to use resources to best effect and to get the best outcomes for members of the public and victims. A Criminal Justice Strategic Committee will be established to support integration in the context of this strategy in 2014;