Amid complaints over the perceived independence of the Northern Ireland Youth Justice Review, established by the Minister for Justice, David Ford – the review team has been reformulated as the press release issued by the Department of Justice indicates. Paula Jack, the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Agency will be replaced on the review by Kathleen Marshall, who was formerly Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland. The appointment of the Chief Executive of an agency to a review of that agency and the youth justice system more broadly had been criticised in a number of quarters particularly in relation to the ‘independence’ of the review.
Additionally, the Review Team have been given a further three months to complete their work.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
29 November 2010
Justice Minister, David Ford, has today announced a restructuring of the Youth Justice Review Team.
Kathleen Marshall will replace Paula Jack on the Review Team and their reporting timetable has been extended until June 2011.
David Ford said: “I sought views from the Review Team regarding its composition and timeframe and I listened to the points they raised. One was around perceived independence and to address that issue Kathleen Marshall will join the Team.
“As someone who has written and spoken extensively on children’s issues and served on a number of bodies concerned with the rights of children, Kathleen brings a wealth of experience to the role.”
The Minister thanked Paula Jack for her contribution to the initial workings of the Review Team and welcomed that as Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Agency, she will continue to be available to them in an advisory capacity.
David Ford said: “I have also agreed to extend the Review Team’s timetable by three months until June 2011.
“Since being elected Justice Minister, I have set out a wide ranging programme to reshape the justice system and this review will play a fundamental part of that agenda.”
Notes to editors:
1. The Hillsborough Castle Agreement included a commitment to a “Review of how children and young people are processed at all stages of the criminal justice system, including detention, to ensure compliance with international obligations and best practice.”
2. On 1 November 2010, David Ford formally announced the launch of the Review by way of a Statement in the Assembly. The Review Team appointed to take forward the work were: John Graham, Director of the Police Foundation for England & Wales; Stella Perrott, former head of the Care and Justice Division in the Scottish Government; and Paula Jack, Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Agency.
3. Kathleen Marshall will replace Paula Jack on the Review Team. She will take up her post immediately.
4. Kathleen Marshall served as Scotland’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People from 2004 to 2009. Prior to this appointment, she assisted Lord Clyde in his role of Justice Oversight Commissioner in Northern Ireland. She chaired the Edinburgh Inquiry into Abuse and Protection of Children in Care, which reported in 1999. She has undertaken research into children’s participation, both in general and within the court system and has written extensively on child protection issues. Since 1994 she has acted as a consultant, providing advice, research, training and assistance to universities, central, local and foreign governments and voluntary agencies. She has written and spoken extensively on children’s issues and served on a number of bodies concerned with the rights of children.