Antonia Romeo on delivering a ‘game changer for victims’ and balancing the MoJ's competing priorities

Inflationary pressures will continue in 2023, but the Ministry of Justice has made some great strides forward 
Getting the Crown Court and other caseloads down after the pandemic is a challenge. Photo: David Dixon/Alamy Stock Photo

By Civil Service World

16 Dec 2022

 

What has been your highlight of the last 12 months?   

The first ever publication of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard was a genuine game changer for victims of crime, and is one of the most significant things I’ve been involved in during my public service career. The dashboard brings transparency to different parts of the Criminal Justice System such as victim engagement, quality of justice and timeliness. The result of a collaboration between MoJ, the Home Office, the AGO, National Police Chiefs’ Council, and the CPS. 

What was your most difficult decision in 2022? 

As perm sec I am principal accounting officer, which means I’m responsible for the department’s overall budget of around £11bn per annum. Making financial allocations when we have so many competing priorities across the justice system, as well as a changing fiscal backdrop, has been an ongoing challenge. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the MoJ in 2023, and how will you meet that challenge?  

At an organisation like MoJ, where we employ more than 80,000 people, and are delivering a major infrastructure project by building more prisons, working in the context of inflationary pressures is going to be challenging. Expanding prison capacity to meet the increasing demand for prison places, getting the Crown Court and other outstanding caseloads down post-pandemic, and work to support victims and to reduce reoffending are other major priorities.  

“Making financial allocations when we have so many competing priorities, as well as a changing fiscal backdrop, has been a challenge” 

And personally, as a leader? 

The fiscal and economic context will impact on all colleagues and focusing on what we can do to support colleagues is a top priority of mine. All MoJ staff are doing a huge amount of work to ensure we become an excellent, purpose-led department. 

It's not only Santa who has to work at Christmas. What is your best, worst or weirdest experience of working in the festive season? 

The justice system never sleeps and the majority of MoJ frontline colleagues in prisons, probation, and courts will keep things moving to protect the public throughout Christmas and the New Year. Thank you to them! 

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