Manchester

Manchester signs devolution deal for more criminal justice system powers

Manchester Town Hall and Crown Court
Image caption Greater Manchester Combined Authority will be given new power over criminal justice

A deal has been signed to give Greater Manchester devolved powers over large parts of the criminal justice system.

Approaches to education in prisons, work with youth offenders, and offender management schemes will be decided at a local level rather than nationally.

Under a deal signed by interim mayor Tony Lloyd, Westminster will transfer those powers to the region's new devolved authority.

Greater Manchester is the first English region to gain such responsibilities.

The deal will see Greater Manchester, the Ministry of Justice, the National Offender Management Service, the Youth Justice Board and other partner agencies commit to devolution by April 2017.

The move was first announced by Chancellor George Osborne in March's Budget.

Image caption "It's about transformation", said Greater Manchester interim mayor Tony Lloyd

Mr Lloyd said: "Justice devolution will strengthen the work Greater Manchester is already doing to deliver effective local justice and reduce offending and reoffending.

"This is not just about devolution, it's about transformation - we will work together to see what needs to change and co-design an effective criminal justice system that meets the needs of local people and our conurbation."

'Transformation'

Greater Manchester Combined Authority, comprising the region's 10 councils, will have more control of funding to support offenders and victims of crime.

Other budgets to be devolved will include the management of female offenders, young offenders and those sentenced to less than two years in prison.

Justice Minister Andrew Selous said: "This commitment underpins the Ministry of Justice's reform programme across courts, prisons and the probation service. It is this transformation that will allow us to design together an effective criminal justice system that better meets the needs of Greater Manchester".

Greater Manchester has already begun taking responsibility for its health budget after a devolution agreement was signed by the Chancellor in February.

It has also agreed to take control of fire services, land commission and children's services.

In May 2017, Greater Manchester will elect a "metro mayor".

Mr Lloyd, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham and Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, have declared their intention to seek Labour's nomination.

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