Jonathan Ley, the CEO of Make Time Count, standing with 2 gentlemen from Cranstoun

The Criminal Justice System is facing a multitude of challenges, including court backlogs and lengthy waiting times. This can leave both victims and offenders feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. Out of Court Resolutions (OoCRs) offer a potential solution to ease this burden and deliver swifter justice. However, OoCRs have sparked both controversy and curiosity.

While the recent government pause on the new two-tier framework for OoCRs presents a temporary hurdle, Make Time Count remains committed to offering efficient solutions adaptable to future policy developments. Some forces across the UK are beginning to implement OoCRs, but the nationwide deployment is still disjointed, with forces each adopting their own approach. As discussions continue about its efficacy and impact, it’s crucial to delve deeper into what these resolutions entail and how they fit within the broader legislative landscape.

After attending the National Police Chiefs’​ Council event on Out of Court Resolutions earlier this month, and hearing Robert Nixon, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, here are five key takeaways shedding light on OoCRs and their role in the evolving legal landscape:

1. A Timely Advantage:
We cannot overlook the growing significance of OoCRs in the realm of justice administration. OoCRs present a significant benefit by expediting the justice process. Compared to the traditional court route, which can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, OoCRs offer a much quicker resolution. This is crucial, not only for easing the burden on courts but also for victims who can receive closure much faster. Justice delayed is justice denied, and OoCRs hold the potential to address this issue.

2. Challenges in Meeting Demand:
The growing demand on courts is undeniable, leading to backlogs and capacity issues. Record numbers of cases are piling up, with the Crown Case backlog reaching 65,000. The backlog creates an overburdened system, straining resources and hindering its ability to function effectively. This leads to longer waiting times for all cases, creating a vicious cycle of inefficiency.

This challenge is further amplified by the requirement to detain individuals who have committed more serious crimes while awaiting their sentencing. Not only does this add to the backlog itself, but the associated cost of incarceration (averaging around £40,000 per year) creates a significant financial burden on the system.

Fortunately, OoCRs serve as a means to manage this demand by diverting suitable cases outside of the formal court system. This frees up valuable court resources for handling more serious offences.

3. A Victim-Centric Approach:
Efficiency in delivering justice is not the sole merit of OoCRs; it also significantly impacts the experience of victims. By providing swift resolutions and closure, OoCRs ensure that victims do not endure prolonged periods of uncertainty and anxiety associated with court proceedings. OoCRs maintain the integrity of justice outcomes, delivering similar outcomes as the court process but without the extended wait times.

4. Linking OoCR to Meaningful Change:
Simply using OoCRs to clear the backlog isn’t enough. For OoCRs to be truly effective, they must be more than just a checkbox exercise for the Criminal Justice System. It should be intricately linked to meaningful solutions and treatments aimed at addressing the root causes of criminal behaviour. Whether it’s rehabilitation programmes, community schemes, or other interventions, OoCRs should serve as a conduit for constructive change. Striking a balance between utilising OoCRs and ensuring their alignment with targeted, end-user-centric approaches is paramount for its success.

5. Dispelling Myths and Recognising Benefits:
It’s essential to recognise the tangible benefits of OoCRs within the criminal justice sector. Contrary to some beliefs, government bodies and HMIs (Her Majesty’s Inspectorates) do recognise the potential of OoCRs and there is a growing consensus among police forces and governmental bodies regarding their value. OoCRs align with the broader prevention agenda advocated by the UK government, emphasising diversionary activities aimed at addressing underlying issues. Any notion suggesting a lack of recognition for the need to reform the criminal justice system is, indeed, a myth; and the move to a two-tier framework and increased use of OoCRs is a matter of when, not if.

While OoCRs offer a promising path towards a more efficient and effective criminal justice system, a national push is necessary to unlock their full potential. Setting a clear national start date will also be critical to avoid losing momentum within individual forces. This requires a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, setting a clear national start date will also be critical to avoid losing momentum within individual forces. Sustainable funding is also crucial to ensure long-term investment in OoCR infrastructure and support services. Clear guidance and national communications from both the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) will be essential, providing a standardised framework for implementation across all forces. Finally, equipping frontline officers with a standardised national technology platform for OoCR decision-making is essential.

By embracing the evolving landscape of criminal justice, we can truly make time count and pave the way for a more equitable and efficient system.

Find out more about our Out of Court Resolution technology here: and book a free demo with our team.

Leave a Comment