As we have already heard this afternoon, the Parole Board plays an important role in our justice system, but it can be finely balanced, and the Parole Board’s processes are not always obvious to those outside the criminal justice system. I believe that one of the most important things that we must pursue in the justice system is transparency, which is what amendment 129 seeks to do by setting out a statutory requirement for the Parole Board to specify the test or tests that it will apply when making its decisions.
The current position is that some tests are specified, but they vary and the legislation is silent in other areas. That leads to an inconsistent and confusing situation for all who are involved. The Parole Board raised the issue in its written evidence to the committee and I believe that the adoption of a test will enhance transparency in the justice system. I thank the cabinet secretary for the dialogue that we have had in this regard—it has been incredibly useful.
I point out to members that, although the amendment sets out the requirement for a test, it leaves it to the Parole Board to devise and publish the test. I believe that that approach provides for the flexibility that will be required in order to take the provisions forward.
I move amendment 129.