Doing it Justice

Breaking Barriers to
Criminal Justice Transformation

22 February 2017

Breaking Barriers: Doing it Justice is an independent review led by the Rt. Hon Hazel Blears, Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE and Dr Jon Bashford, and the first of its kind to fully explore the opportunities a devolved approach to Criminal Justice presents.


The seven month review commenced in August 2016 and the findings were published in February 2017. The review is evidence-based and has included a focused inquiry with 30+ stakeholders from a diverse range of individuals and organisations from different sectors and systems.

The review’s focus was end-to-end and explored the following themes:

  • Prevention and early intervention, reducing demand entering or progressing unnecessarily through the system
  • Custody & Rehabilitation, ensuring the offenders journey through the system including prison is effective, beneficial and restorative
  • After Care and Continuity of Care, effective and joined-up resettlement back into the community to prevent individuals from re-entering the system

The review also stress-tested the case for devolving Criminal Justice powers, funding and accountability and taking a place-based approach to remodel the criminal justice system around the dynamics of the community.

The ambition was to see how investment can be shifted towards early intervention, incentivise integration and innovation of services, focus on individual outcomes and ensure value-for-money.

The Review was national in scope, but with a particular focus upon Greater Manchester where their Public Service Reform team has been closely engaged, along with other devolved areas.


  • the need to reduce tensions between central government and local control of services;
  • increasing capacity to drive innovation in technology, data and new relationships;
  • ensuring greater integration between criminal justice and other areas of the public sector with the greatest potential to drive long-term change such as education and employment, health, particularly mental health, substance use and welfare.


  • co-commissioning and design of services to drive place-based transformation;
  • co-production with offenders, communities and victims to encourage public engagement and new ways of working;
  • creating a life opportunities approach to preventing reoffending based on recognising the life potential of offenders;
  • better use of digital technology and data analysis to support rehabilitation;
  • cross-sector leadership and workforce development.


  • At the co-commissioning and co-design stages, strategy and planning should be pooled across broader areas of the devolution agenda in areas such as housing, education, skills and health.
  • The broad mandate of Directly Elected Mayors across health, skills, housing, education, economic development and regeneration is the best opportunity we have to demonstrate a better way of doing justice. We should ensure they have the powers and budgets to tackle the terrible waste of money and lives in our current system.


To read the full report and to download a copy of the pdf please click on the link below.

Report Partners

Report Authors

Lord Patel of Bradford OBE
Rt Hon. Hazel Blears
Dr Jonathan Bashford
Sherife Hasan

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