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What next for the Sentencing Council?

MA response

18 September 2020
What next for the Sentencing Council?

The MA has responded to the Sentencing Council’s What next for the Sentencing Council? consultation. The consultation focused on the Council’s future objectives and priorities, and invited views on all aspects of the Council’s work.

The MA's response made the following points:

  • The production of sentencing guidelines is the core work of the Council and supports sentencers in ensuring that sentencing is consistent, fair and proportionate. We therefore suggest that producing guidelines should be the primary focus of the Council
  • Analysis of how guidelines are being used is essential to ensure they are being applied appropriately, and to inform the development of future guidelines, and should be continued
  • It is important that the Council is funded by the government, and a commercial model is inappropriate for a body setting sentencing guidelines. Other sources of funding should be approached with caution
  • We welcomed the fact the Council liaises with the MA about their planned programme, especially in relation to what existing guidelines need amending, or where there is a clear lack of guidance. The Council should continue to consult with stakeholders annually, setting out what guidelines are in place and their planned programme of work
  • We suggested that given the findings of the Lammy Review of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people’s experiences of the justice system, the Council should consider analysing the impact of guidelines on this specific demographic group
  • We also suggested that, where possible, the Council should ensure that information made available on its website and through the media is presented in accessible language. Guidelines must also be written as clearly as possible to maximise the extent to which they can be understood by offenders, victims and members of the public

The full response can be found here.

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