The TRUNK August 2018

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John Bache - MA ChairmanWelcome to the TRUNK, our monthly roundup of branch news. We want our branches to feel connected to each other and hope that this publication will give them a platform to share good practice and celebrate their successes, as well as announce upcoming events and activities.​

 'Our branches regularly go above and beyond, organising events, reaching out to the community and recruiting new members. As Chair, I'm delighted to be able to showcase their tireless efforts. Please read and be inspired!' John Bache, National Chairman                                                                                                                                                                          

West Glamorgan MA and Bench: taking to the fields at the Gower Show

Magistrates at the Gower showIn an innovative drive to raise awareness, members of the West Glamorgan Bench decided to have a presence at the Gower Show on the grounds of Penrice Castle Park, Reynoldston, on Sunday 5 August. 14 members of the Bench - including several members of West Glamorgan MA, one of the key HMCTS support staff and an advisory lay member - gave up their time to walk the grounds and chat to the visitors there about the role of a magistrate and encourage them to think about applying.

They were fortunate to have the support of the organisers of the show, who kindly offered a pitch and entry passes at no charge. The team were even fed and watered with the kind support of Sainsbury’s, who provided all the team with refreshments for the day, again at no cost.

Another welcome sight was the Bench Chair, Stephen Rogers, who came along to give his support - and the ice creams he gave out were very much appreciated by all!

Whilst it was an extremely hot day at the grounds, the team found that almost everyone who was approached were very open to discussing the magistracy and willing to take the proffered leaflets. They found it was good to meet visitors to the show who were not only from Wales, but from across the UK, and the team took the opportunity to encourage them to look at their own areas and apply. Even those that felt it ‘was not for them’ were very polite and friendly and encouraged open discussions.

The whole day was very enjoyable with lots of positives and one we are sure the West Glamorgan Bench will be undertaking year on year. Fingers crossed all the hard work pays off and we see applications coming forward in all areas across the UK, not just West Glamorgan, as an outcome!

To learn more about this event and perhaps look at how you can incorporate West Glamorgan’s ideas into your own activities, please contact Kelvin Hughes.

Northamptonshire MA: Vulnerabilities in Court Group

Northamptonshire MAThe Vulnerabilities in Court Group meets on a regular basis to address issues around mental health, learning disability, personality disorder, autism and substance misuse for all offenders, including adults and youths, in Northamptonshire’s courts.

The group is chaired by Northamptonshire MA's Andrew Scarborough and led by magistrates, but the branch is pleased to report that attendees are from a number of different organisations including: the National Probation Service, the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Team, the Good Loaf (a participating local business), local police forces and the University of Northampton.

High numbers of offenders continue to present within the courts with significant vulnerabilities and social issues. This group strives to address the issues which are of importance to the magistrates by raising awareness and looking for local solutions. The group has recently completed an awareness session which focused on autism, the Mental Health Act (Sec 35/6) and Mental Health Treatment Requirement update. The VIP group have been focusing for some time on the increased availability of the Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR), especially for those with lower level mental health issues who struggle to engage with local services.

Northamptonshire is one of five national pilot sites, led by the MoJ and Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and Public Health England, with a view to increasing the use of all three treatment requirements: the Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) and the Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR), as well as MHTR. The Northamptonshire pilot is providing MHTRs, initially for women but with the view to expanding to men shortly.

From 1 October 2017 to date, over 60 women have been sentenced to MHTR (some with ATR/DRR attached), which is offering an effective and robust community treatment option (attendees of the work programme at the Good Loaf pictured). The next awareness session is currently being planned and is thought to include: youths, substance misuse and Treatment Requirement update, please look out for the emails and posters informing you where and when these will be taking place.

If you would like to become involved in the group or would like any additional information please contact Andrew Scarborough.

Black Country MA: Midlands heroes recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list

CrownExtraordinary people across the Black Country and Staffordshire have been honoured and celebrated in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Black Country MA would like to congratulate two of their colleagues on being recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list:

Jill Parker MBE JP, for service to the magistracy and the communities of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

By vocation, Jill was a chartered physiotherapist in the private and NHS sectors. She was appointed to the Bench in 2001, and previously held the roles of Deputy and Bench Chairman.

Jill sat on the Black Country MA executive committee for 10 years, She is currently Chairman of both the Black Country Youth Panel and Bench Advisory Committee, having served on the latter in its previous incarnation as the Wolverhmapton Bench Advisory Committee. She also sits on the Police Scrutiny Panel.

Jill is actively involved in Magistrates in the Community and the Black Country MA annual Mock Trial events.

Jill sits on the Independent Monitoring Board of Oakwood Prison and was involved for two years in the SORI (Restorative Justice) programme at Featherstone prison. She has been awarded the prestigious Transport Police Service Award and also received an ' Outstanding Citizen of Wolverhampton’ Award for 2013/14.

She is a School Governor, a member of Soroptomists International, on the Board of Wolverhampton Interfaith, and very involved with her local church.

David Walker BEM JP, for service to the people and community of Sandwell.

From the 1970’s until the present time David has freely given his time and effort for the benefit of others. He began his volunteering as a Special Constable which then led him into becoming a magistrate at the age of 34, a role he still fulfils.

For over 20 years he has been a school governor and has also done background work for Childrens’ Contact Centres, helping children see both parents following the breakdown of relationships. David has mentored and supported teenagers in turning their lives around when they found the going tough and were dropping out of school, helping them choose more fruitful paths which gained them employment.

He has raised funds for numerous charities, including abseiling down Sandwell Council House for the MacMillan charity and completing a 24 hour bird race from Scotland to Cornwall, identifying as many birds as possible, to raise funds for the blind.

As a local councillor, David dedicated himself to helping those who were unable to represent themselves and used his experience to deal with complicated appeals in a fair way.

David has recently undertaken a new role volunteering for St Giles Church, which involves the Living Churchyard project. This programme which works to enhance wildlife and its habitat in churchyards and burial grounds through conservation management, creating an atmosphere of benefit to grieving visitors.

Congratulations to both of these extraordinary individuals. Their remarkable contributions to their local communities are being justly celebrated. Please contact Kathyrn Yarsley to request any additional information.

Bedfordshire MA and Northamptonshire MA: inter branch co-operation at its best

Mock Trial Competition competitors'I live in Buckinghamshire, sit in court in Northamptonshire and am a governor at a Bedfordshire middle school with responsibility for safeguarding. Yes, an area of the country where three county boundaries are close enough to cause confusion!

'Thanks to an invitation spotted in MA ENEWS, I was able to attend the recent Bedfordshire MA conference where I made contact with their MIC presenters. I asked if they would be able to present the cyberbullying trial to Year 6 at ‘my’ school. This was an unknown presentation to Bedfordshire MIC but had been used for some time by my Northamptonshire colleagues who were very willing to share it. One of them even came with me to support the presentations at the school. It was a great morning, leading to a huge amount of discussion by children long after we had left. I think this is a perfect example of JPs working together with willingness and co-operation regardless of boundaries!'  Angela Evans JP

Please contact Angela Evans for more information.

Magistrates Golfing Society: Magistrates Golfing Society wins prestigious match against the Law Society.

Magistrates' Golfing SocietyOn 19 July, the Magistrates Golfing Society (MGS) hosted the annual match against a strong team from the Law Society at the delightful East Hertfordshire Golf Club, a parkland course with significant challenges for golfers of all standards.

This was the thirty first time that the two Societies had competed for the impressive Mastin Pettifer trophy, an occasion made more pleasant by Brian Pettifer, one of the donors of the cup 31 years ago, being a member of the opposition’s team. Competed for over 36 holes, this is always a challenging match - but made significantly harder by the temperatures in the low 30s and the course being somewhat burnt up by the glorious summer weather.

A healthy lead built up in the morning’s four ball better ball competition enabled MGS to hold off the afternoon’s foursomes challenge to give a win of 7& 5 so that the silverware, presented at the very pleasant post match dinner, was gratefully received by MGS captain and Kent MA member, Barrie Martin JP.

This match was one of three played in June and July, the others against the Yorkshire Police and Essex Police when, it is fair to say, MGS teams came second on both occasions! These matches are part of an extensive programme of golf days in the 80th Anniversary year of MGS, at excellent locations around the country.

The MGS has had a steady flow of new members over the past 18 months and if you would like to join, please go to the website to make contact with their Secretary, Paul Coombes. Full details may be found here.

Gloucestershire MA AGM and summer event

Gloucestershire MA event flyerGloucestershire MA combined their branch AGM with an informative morning event held on 3 August at Ebley House in Stroud, courtesy of the Novalis Trust. The formal business meeting was followed by a talk on the role of Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) and highlighting opportunities for retired magistrates to get involved locally. The presentation was given by Amanda Segelov, Criminal Justice Policy Officer in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, and Judith Coney-Jones, retired JP and county ICV co-ordinator.

DCI Neil Smith, Serious Organised Crime Lead for Gloucestershire Police, then held the room spellbound with his fascinating explanation of the huge threat that rural counties face from ‘County Lines’ operated by city drug gangs. Over 30 members attended the morning event and stayed on afterwards to socialise over a delicious two-course lunch funded by the branch.

For more information on this event, please contact Sue Alexander.


500 Club champagne1st Prize: £150 -  Andrew Philips (North East & East London)
2nd Prize: £100 - Christine Hughes (Powys and Hereforshire)
3rd Prize: £75 - Graham Rowland (South & West Devon)




A day in the life of…Debbie Gibbs, JTAAAC representative

Meeting'When I first joined the Justices' Training, Approvals, Authorisations and Appraisals Committee or JTAAAC (I know the acronym is enough to put anybody off joining!) as the MA representative, but there as a full panel member, I was unaware of exactly what the JTAAAC would be doing. I know this is still the case for many magistrates.

'After over 12 months on the committee, I can honestly say that it has been a real eye opener to see how valuable the work we do is for magistrates across Thames Valley.

'Once we had looked at the constitution in detail, allocated roles to the various sub-committees – Mentor Liaison, Training and Evaluation (on which I sit) Liaison, and Appraisal Liaison – we started to get down to the real day to day business of the JTAAAC. We meet four times a year as a whole committee and have two sub-committee meetings on top of that.

'The TEC sets the training programme for the year. This includes the training as specified by the Judicial College, and the training deemed necessary by HMCTS/TEC as identified through appraisals, consultations with magistrates, new judicial guidance and through the Daily Court Review forms. It is so important that you reply to our consultations on training, so we are able to plan the training programme to suit your needs.

'All JTAAAC members are on a rolling rota to participate in the Appraisal Review dial-in meetings, approximately three times a year. This a real responsibility that we take very seriously. Although we are not all appraisers we have all attended the Appraiser Panel training so we understand the forms, how they should be filled in and what is expected of the appraisee to show competence and to maintain good practice. Therefore when we are reading appraisals we are all uniform in our approach and our comments on both the appraisee and appraiser are in accordance with the Good Practice Guide.

'I have learned a great deal since joining the JTAAAC and it has, I believe, made me more aware of my own competencies, and given me a better understanding of the workings of HMCTS and a real appreciation for the work that they do. Although HMCTS are there to guide us they do not make the decisions, we do. However, without their expertise and support we could not get the work done.

'I was initially worried that I would be out of my depth, but now I feel that my contribution is valued and worthwhile. Each of us on the committee brings a different set of skills, knowledge and approach - and that is why we are representative of all magistrates across Thames Valley. When sitting on the Bench we often see things from a different perspective than our colleagues, but in the end a general consensus is achieved resulting in a verdict or sentence achieved through structured decision making. That’s what we do on the JTAAAC.'

For more details on the work of the JTAAAC, please contact Debbie Gibbs.

Greater Manchester MA AGM

Saturday 13th October 2018 at 4pm.
Immediately following the National AGM, at the:
etc. venues 11 Portland Street, Manchester. M1 3HU

The formal invitation and AGM papers will be following shortly

If you wish to attend please contact Peter Faulkner.

Nottinghamshire MA and Derbyshire MA: upcoming conference on breaking the offending cycle

Nottinghamshire MA and Derbyshire MA are holding a mini conference on Saturday 20 October at Nottingham Justice Centre from 9am to 1pm. The event will focus on how to break the constant cycle of prison sentences and re-offending leading to more prison sentences.

Speakers will include a senior manager from the probation service, charities who deal with offenders on a regular basis and others. More details will be sent out via your ejudiciary email, the TRUNK and the Bench Newsletter.

If you wish to attend, please email Vicki Loughton as places are limited.

Worcestershire MA: upcoming events

Whenever funds permit, the branch tries to support colleagues by providing training on a wide variety of subjects. Past events have looked at domestic abuse, mental health and the use of the iPads in court.

On 28 September, HHJ Jukes, DJ Cadbury, and representatives from probation service and the CPS, will speak on such issues as ‘Totting’, Drug Crime, Drug Driving and Disclosure.

The branch’s AGM will be held at Ombersley Golf Club on 8 November. John Bache, National Chairman of the MA, will be attending. The Branch is also very fortunate to have Steve Pepper from the Parole Board as their speaker. He will outline the work of the board and cover a variety of topical issues, including ‘the John Worboys situation’.

For more details, please contact Brent Robinson.

Retired members' events in Kent

Kent MA's retired magistrates are hosting two of their regular lunches. The lunches are becoming very popular and offer a chance to catch up with colleagues.

The upcoming dates are 4 September at Cote Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells and 27 September at the Poppyfields Restaurant in Maidstone, both at 1pm. 

Please contact Margaret Rose for more information.

Half-day conference for all London branches

The London MA branches will be holding a half day conference on 6 October, 9.30am-1pm. The topic will be 'breaking the [unspoken rules], controlling and coercive behavior and how we deal with it'.

The event will take place at London School of Economics, Saw Swee Hock Centre, 1 Portugal St, WC2A 2AP

For more information and tickets click here.

If you'd like to make a submission to the September issue of the TRUNK, please contact us here