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In the last three years, more than 100 miscarriages of justice have been quashed following CCRC referrals
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Board minutes

In the interests of transparency, the CCRC publishes minutes of our Board meetings, which are generally held every other month.

We also hold a public Board meeting once per year, which is typically held in November. This meeting provides an opportunity for members of the public to gain insight into the important work that the CCRC carries out.

We hope that this page provides you with the information you need to better understand the workings of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and its commitment to ensuring that the best possible reviews of potential miscarriages of justice take place.

Most recent Board minutes – 26 September 2023

Meeting held at CCRC, 23 Stephenson St, Birmingham 82 48H

Present:

Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Ms Amanda Pearce (Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies:

Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)

In attendance for item S(ii & iii):

Mr Wayne Gough (Head of Business Planning & Performance)

1. Welcome and declarations of interest:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised that she had received apologies from Mr Andre Katz, Independent Non-Executive Director.

There were no declarations of interest.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising:

The minutes of the Board meeting held on 25 July 2023 were approved.

3. Actions update:

The Chief Executive explained that there was no further update to provide on the Channel 4 documentary but that an update will be provided to the Board when there is further news.

4. Chairman’s update:

The Chairman provided a verbal update to the Board on recent meetings including meetings with MoJ and with Circuit Judges; the latter in respect of raising awareness of the CCRC and providing opportunities for CCRC staff to visit them.

It was noted that the Chairman worked throughout the entirety of August and September for the Commission.

The Chairman had productive meetings with Dame Sarah Thornton, former Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and with Robyn Phillips, Director of the Human Trafficking Foundation. Both were keen to raise awareness of the Commission’s work in this area.

The Chairman noted recent planning that had gone into today’s all-staff event and thanked those involved.

The recent press coverage was noted; it was observed that positive feedback about the Commission had not received coverage. The Chairman’s letter to The Times, Passion for Truth, had been published making clear that Mr. Malkinson’s case raises serious questions for the whole Criminal Justice System and reinforced that staff and Commissioners at the Commission were dedicated to uncovering miscarriages of justice. The Chairman also updated the Board following her meeting with the Lord Chancellor.

5. Chief Executive’s update:

The Chief Executive provided a verbal update including a discussion around press coverage.

In-house Counsel is finalising our draft response to the Law Commission which would be shared with the Board.

The Chief Executive updated the Board about her recent meeting with the Prison Reform Trust, a charity working with prisoners and focus groups. They are happy to work with us and to raise awareness of our work. It was agreed they should be invited to our next Stakeholder Forum.

The Head of Business Planning & Performance attended and presented a paper on the revised Management Information Pack and invited comments on content and layout. David Brown, Commissioner, had some observations which he will pick up with the Head of BP&P after the meeting. The new look MIP was well received, and its contents noted.

6. Casework report:

The report was received and noted.

The Casework Operations Director updated the Board on plans, prompted by three recent CCRC cases, to conduct a trawl of closed cases to find those where the identity of the offender was in issue and where there might now be forensic opportunities.

The high number of cases per Case Review Manager (CRM) was noted; the Casework Operations Director explained that the portfolio sizes should fall once the new CRMs were up to speed but that she was monitoring this closely. The Board agreed with the COD that the pressure of additional case numbers must not have an impact on the quality of reviews; Group Leaders work closely with CRMs to ensure quality is protected. However, it is clear that smaller portfolio sizes will reduce pressures on CRMs.

The Board was updated about the recent round of Kalisher Internship recruitment in which no interns were appointed. Candidate numbers for the Kalisher internship are traditionally low, perhaps because of the requirement to demonstrate social hardship. However, the CCRC is committed to working with the Kalisher Trust to improve diversity at the criminal bar and support those from non-traditional legal backgrounds so the vacancies would be re­ advertised.

7. Cyber Update:

The report on cyber issues was noted. It was agreed that cyber threat was a significant risk for all organisations. The Finance and Corporate Services Director reported that he is liaising with MoJ regarding additional support they can provide in the event of an attack and he is also putting other measures in place.

8. Emerging Technologies Programme Scope:

The update report on Emerging Technologies Programme Scope was received and noted.

The Board discussed ways that the use of different types of Al technology could benefit the Commission including providing for a sophisticated search function.

The Programme will also look at recruitment, taking a holistic approach at process, to see where we can reduce timescales and improve processes such as the sift stage which is currently very resource heavy. It was agreed that crucial to this was how we manage the volume of applications and identify the right candidates.

It was noted that the MoJ are currently recruiting a Chief Technology Officer who may be able to assist with the programme.

9. Any other business:

The Board discussed the referral and Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Mr. Malkinson, as well as the public inquiry and the independent Chris Henley KC review. It was noted that there was support available to any member of staff who might be concerned.

The date of the next Board meeting is Monday 27 November 2023.

2023 Board minutes

March 2023

Minutes of the board meeting
March 2023
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman) 
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive) 
Ms Amanda Pearce (Casework Operations Director) 
Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director) 
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director) 
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director) 
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director) 
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)  
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)                    

Apologies:
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)     

Presenters:
Wayne Gough – Head of Business Planning & Performance
Robin Davis – Head of HR

Welcome:
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the purpose of this interim meeting was to seek Board approval for the Corporate Plan and to discuss the Staff Survey Results, ahead of the all-staff event on 28 March 2023. Martin Spencer, INED, had forwarded his comments in advance of the meeting, which the Chairman incorporated into the discussion.


Corporate Plan:
The Head of Business Planning & Performance introduced the Corporate Plan which the Board discussed. Apart from a few minor tweaks, the Board was content to approve the plan.


Staff Survey:
Robin provided an update on the results of the 2022 People Survey. 74% of employees took part in the survey. The overall Employee Engagement Index is at 71% which is an increase on last year’s result of 68%. The Board noted that overall it was a very good outcome. There remain areas of concern particularly regarding pay, learning and development, and managing change. The Board noted that the Internal Communications Group was developing a staff-led Action Plan as a live document for colleagues to see progress. The Head of HR anticipated that the Action Plan will go to the Internal Communications Group week commencing 13 March 2023 and once approved, shared with the Board and all of staff. It was agreed that there would be an ‘Ask the Board’ session at the staff event, with staff being invited to send in questions, including anonymously in advance of the session.

Any other business:
The Chairman updated the Board on the result of the Board Effectiveness Evaluation. The results were very positive with the Board scoring above average in all areas.


Next Meeting:
28 March 2023 at 10.30am

May 2023

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Tuesday 23 May 2023 at 10.30-12.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference


Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Ms Amanda Pearce (Casework Operations Director) Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director) Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director) Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director) Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)
 
In attendance for item 10:
Ms Cathy Dilks (Head of Applicant Engagement and Customer Service)
 
1. Welcome and Declarations of Interest
There were no apologies and no declarations of interest. 
 
2. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising:

Save for a number of minor typographical amendments, the minutes of the previous Board meetings held on 28 March 2023 were approved. There were no matters arising. 
 
3. Chairman’s update: 
The Chairman provided a verbal update to the Board including a report of her meetings with Alex Chalk KC, the new Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor; and Sir Robert Buckland KC, former Secretary of State. The Chairman has also held further meetings with the judiciary regarding outreach work and raising awareness of the work of the CCRC more generally.
 
On 4 May 2023, the Chairman was joined by Mr Ward, Commissioner, and Mr Curtis, In­ house Counsel, for a panel discussion at Doughty Street Chambers on the work of the CCRC. The feedback has been very positive; the recording is on the CCRC website.
 
4. Chief Executive’s report:
The CEO provided a verbal update. She reported that there remained several issues outstanding with the Ministry of Justice including the launch of a recruitment campaign for Commissioners.
 
The Corporate and Business Plans have now been published on our website.
 
MoJ has confirmed that there would be an increase in budget of £600,000. This will ensure an increase in headcount; enhance recruitment technology; and support the Emerging Technologies work being led by the Finance & Corporate Services Director.
 
Recruitment continues to be an issue. A question was asked if we could convert existing fixed term appointments to permanent positions; posts are advertised to ensure compliance with good practice.
 
The Management Information Pack was noted. The CEO invited feedback on the communications update given the expansion of the work in that area. The feedback was positive, and it was agreed that going forward the narrative would be helped if set against the strategic communications framework. 
 
5.  Casework report:
The casework report was noted by the Board and casework performance discussed. Duration of review is increasing because of insufficient case review managers and the need to launch a campaign for more Commissioners.
 
The Board was advised that there is a programme of outreach visits which could be circulated to the Board and Commissioners in advance should they wish to join a visit. 
 
6. Long Running Cases Annual Report:
The Long Running Cases Annual Report was received. The majority of long running cases are because of their complexity. However, the Committee is concerned about the pipeline of cases although it is expected that this risk will be mitigated as new Case Review Managers get up to speed.
 
 
7.  Business Continuity Plan:
The Finance & Corporate Services Director reported that the 2022 BCP had been updated but with no substantive changes. A Crisis Management Exercise will take place later this year. A discussion ensued regarding critical individuals, and the need to ensure that the relevant people/deputies are available should there be an incident. The importance of the role of the communications team in the Business Continuity plan was also agreed.
 
The FCSD confirmed that we would have the right level of support from Rock IT should there be an incident. Our current IT recovery plans will be used by them in an exercise later in the year to provide the necessary assurances.
 
The Board approved the plan.
 
8. Annual Strategic Risk Register:
The Board reviewed the Annual Strategic Risk Register. This was approved.

 
9. Audit & Risk Assurance Annual Report:
Mr Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director) presented the Annual Report of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee. A discussion took place on the recommendation made in a recent GIAA internal audit. The Finance & Corporate Services Director will bring a more detailed paper to the Board for further discussion.
 
The Board approved the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee Report for 2022/23. 
 
10. Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report :
The Head of Applicant Engagement and Customer Service presented the report. There has been an increase in the number of applicants from vulnerable and under-represented groups, such as women, children and young people. Outreach work is ongoing, with particular focus on those groups. Work will continue with specialist organisations and charities regarding targeting our initiatives.
 
The collaborative work with prisons has been excellent, as has the training of prison staff in relation to raising awareness of CCRC. Awareness sessions are offered as both face to face and on-line sessions.
 
The Applicant Engagement Team will arrange to share this report with staff on SharePoint.
 
11. Any other business:
The Board Effectiveness Review was discussed, the outcome of which had been excellent. Some follow-up work will now be actioned by the Chairman and CEO.
 
INSEAD, the global business school, would like to research a case study of the CCRC and its journey to good governance. The Board welcomed this.
 
The CEO will explore with MoJ the flexibility to reappoint Commissioners for more than one term up to the ten year statutory limit to address succession planning.
 
The Chairman said that she Is looking forward to seeing Commissioners on 5 June, when Minister Argar will be visiting the office to learn about the work of the CCRC. 
 
13. Date of next meeting:
Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 10.30am.

July 2023

Minutes of the interim board meeting
Monday 3 July at 13.00-13.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Ms Amanda Pearce (Casework Operations Director)
Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies:
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)

Presenters:
Mr Matt Reville – Head of Communications and External Affairs

Welcome:
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the purpose of this interim meeting was to seek Board approval for the Annual Report and Accounts, which was due to be published, and laid before Parliament on 13 July 2023.

Annual Report and Accounts 2022/23:
The Head of Communications and External Affairs presented the report to the Board.

Mr Martin Spencer, and Mrs Linda Lee, were unable to join today’s meeting, but had confirmed in advance that they had reviewed the report, did not have any additional comments, and that they were content to approve it. Owing to connectivity issues, Mr David Brown was also unable to join the meeting. He therefore submitted his comments, following the meeting. The remaining Board members confirmed that they had also reviewed the report and apart from some minor typographical amendments, they were content to delegate authority to the Chairman and Chief Executive to sign off the 2022/23 Annual Report and Accounts. The Chairman acknowledged and thanked everyone for their hard work in compiling this report.

Staff Survey:
Robin provided an update on the results of the 2022 People Survey. 74% of employees took part in the survey. The overall Employee Engagement Index is at 71% which is an increase on last year’s result of 68%. The Board noted that overall it was a very good outcome. There remain areas of concern particularly regarding pay, learning and development, and managing change. The Board noted that the Internal Communications Group was developing a staff-led Action Plan as a live document for colleagues to see progress. The Head of HR anticipated that the Action Plan will go to the Internal Communications Group week commencing 13 March 2023 and once approved, shared with the Board and all of staff. It was agreed that there would be an ‘Ask the Board’ session at the staff event, with staff being invited to send in questions, including anonymously in advance of the session.

Any other business:
None

Next Meeting:
25 July 2023 at 10.30am

July 2023

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Tuesday 25 July at 10.30-12.30

Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Ms Amanda Pearce (Casework Operations Director)
Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

1. Welcome and Apologies:
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Board meeting and advised that she had received apologies from Mr Rob Ward Commissioner.

2. Declarations of Interest:
None

3. Minutes of the previous meetings and matters arising:
The minutes of the Board meeting on 23 May 2023, and the minutes of the Special Purpose Board meeting held on 3 July 2023 to approve the Annual Report and Accounts, were both approved. There were no matters arising.

4. Chairman’s update:
The Chairman provided a verbal update to the Board.

Filming for a Channel 4 documentary on juries had been postponed by the production company and may take place later in the year. The Board will be kept updated.

The Chairman had taken part in a discussion on Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme regarding human trafficking.

The Chairman has had several meetings with the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Alex Chalk KC. He is hoping to visit our offices in the new year.

In addition, the Chairman has had catch-up meetings with officials at the Ministry of Justice in respect of Commissioner fees and recruitment; and also regarding the recruitment of a new INED to replace Andre Katz (INED), whose term expires January 2024.

The Chairman has also attended a meeting with the Miscarriage of Justice Support Service with a view to increasing our collaboration with them.

Later in the year, the Chairman, accompanied by CCRC colleagues, are planning to visit Northern Ireland to meet with various officials within the Department of Justice.

5. Chief Executive’s update:
The Chief Executive provided a verbal update to the Board.

She reported that the PCS union will ballot its members later in the year regarding pay. This is a national ballot.

The Law Commission will be publishing a consultation paper on 27 July 2023. One of the areas they will be looking at is the real possibility test. We will prepare a response led by In-house Counsel.

The current digital platform used for corporate papers will be replaced in September with ‘Admin Control’. The feedback from other users of ‘Admin Control has been good and it provides good value for money.

The Head of Communications and External Affairs has taken a new approach to the Management Information Pack to set outcomes against the communications strategic framework.

The Management Information Pack was received and noted.

6. Casework report to note:
The Casework report was noted by the Board. The COD will refresh the report to add CRM FTE to cases completed.

The COD reported that intake has increased by 29% and case completions by 37%, compared to the same quarter last year. There had been 6 referrals in May and June. It was reported that timeliness in most cases was good although there has been a slight increase in long running cases which reflects an increase in portfolio sizes. The long running cases committee is concerned that this will mean an increasing number of cases open for over two years. The recruitment of additional Case Review Managers will help mitigate the situation.

The COD reminded the Board that Commissioner decision making capacity is an on­ going and worsening position. The Chairman will ask the Commissioners if any of them have any spare capacity. The Board was advised that there is a business case with the Ministry of Justice to reappoint three Commissioners whose terms expire in 2024.

7. Emerging Technologies Programme Scope – for approval
The Financial and Corporate Services Director (FCSD) introduced his paper. He explained that the focus of this work is about how we can improve the experience for applicants and staff.

The governance structure used for the Transformation Programme will be adopted. Martin Spencer (INED) has agreed to be the Board sponsor.

Five workstreams have been identified and the Board agreed that it would be beneficial to look at prioritisation across the workstreams. The FCSD agreed to present a further paper for discussion at the next Board meeting in September 2023.

8. IT Managed Service update
The FCSD introduced this paper. He explained that we currently have a two-year contract with Rock IT, with a break clause after one year. We are now seeking a longer­ term IT partner.

He advised that work has been taking place in conjunction with the commercial team at the Ministry of Justice, and a shortlist of eight suppliers has been identified. It is estimated that selection will be completed within the next few weeks, and a contract signed by 31 August 2023.

The Board emphasised that with the start of the Emerging Technology Programme, it is essential that we ensure that a new supplier is able to meet all our requirements going forward, given the work of the Emerging Technologies Programme.

9. AOB
The Chairman updated the Board regarding the proposed interviews with Board members by INSEAD, the global business school. The interviews will be used for INSEAD case studies. She said that these will be useful for us, the Ministry of Justice, and wider government.

10. Date of next meeting
Tuesday 26 September 2023 at 10.30

Board minutes archive

Our archive of meetings goes back to April 2020, allowing you to review the decisions and discussions made by the Commission since then.

2022 Board minutes

2021 Board minutes

2020 Board minutes