Civil Justice Council and Family Justice Council: Triennial Reviews

House of Lords written statement – made on 4th November 2013.

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Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

In March 2011 the Government responded to the Public Accounts Select Committee report ‘Smaller Government: Shrinking the Quango state’ setting out the Coalition’s plans for reforming the public bodies sector. It included the requirement to undertake Triennial Reviews of Executive and Advisory Non Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs).

The Civil Justice Council was established under the Civil Procedure Act 1997. It is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the modernisation of the civil justice system and for providing advice to the Lord Chancellor and others on the effectiveness of aspects of the civil justice system. It also makes recommendations to test, review or conduct research into specific areas.

The primary role of the Family Justice Council is to promote an interdisciplinary approach to family justice and it is an advisory body to the Family Justice Board. The Council also monitors how effectively the family justice system delivers the service the Government and the public need, providing advice to the Family Justice Board. The FJC was not established under statute.

To deliver the Coalition Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability across our public bodies, the Civil Justice Council and the Family Justice Council will each be subject to a Triennial Review. The Judicial Office, which is undertaking the Triennial Reviews has today launched a consultation which will last until 25 November 2013 inviting views. In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the reviews will consider the following:

• the continuing need for the Civil Justice and Family Justice Councils – both their functions and their form; and • where it is agreed that the bodies should remain, to review the control and governance arrangements in place to ensure that these public bodies are complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance.

In conducting the Triennial Review, officials will be engaging with a broad range of stakeholders and users of the Civil Justice Council and the Family Justice Council. The review will be aligned with guidance published by the Cabinet Office: ‘Guidance on Reviews of Non Departmental Public Bodies’. The final report and findings will be laid in this House.