This letter provides NPC’s views on the pilot of the Justice Data Lab and recommendations for how it should be taken forward. We were instrumental in the setting up of the Justice Data Lab and are committed to its success. We continue to advise the Ministry of Justice on the operation of the lab and we advocate its use to charities and other organisations.
You can read support for each of these recommendations in the letter:
- The Ministry of Justice should base its decision on how the Justice Data Lab is supported beyond the pilot phase on its potentially substantial medium and long-term benefits, not just on its use in the short-term.
- The Ministry of Justice should continue to reduce the informational, technical, resource, and attitudinal barriers that charities face when they consider using the Justice Data Lab.
- The Ministry of Justice should allow organisations to compare the aggregate reoffending rates of participants in a randomised control trial (RCT) in addition to a matched comparison group.
- The Ministry of Justice should add effect size and p-values in the summary tables of the results to show the nuances of the results.
- The Ministry of Justice should treat the results from the Justice Data Lab with caution in these early years as the service is still in its infancy.
- If the Ministry of Justice decides to contract out the operation of the Justice Data Lab, it should allow sufficient time to allow viable competitive bids to develop.
- The government should replicate the model of the Justice Data Lab in other departments that have large data sets that contain personalised data.