12 July 2023
Sentencing Council: Annual Report 2022/23
The Sentencing Council’s annual report for 2022/23 is Lord Justice William Davis’s first report as Chairman of the Sentencing Council. It documents the Council’s achievements of the year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 in the context of the objectives we set in our five-year strategy, Sentencing Council strategic objectives 2021-2026.
Our achievements during 2022/23 include:
- publishing new and revised offence specific definitive guidelines:
- revised guidelines for arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
- a new guideline for the offence of sexual communication with a child
- revised guidelines for domestic, non-domestic and aggravated burglary offences
- revisions to the Council’s 2018 terrorism guidelines to reflect changes introduced by the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 and the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021
- two new guidelines for sentencing retailers – organisations and individuals –who fail to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s either in-store or online, and
- revisions to the child cruelty guidelines to reflect new maximum sentences introduced by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022
- holding consultations on sentencing guidelines for:
- child cruelty offences
- sale of knives etc by retailers to persons under 18
- motoring offences, reflecting the increase in maximum penalties for causing death by dangerous driving and death by careless driving while under the influence of drunk or drugs, and
- animal cruelty offences, reflecting increases in maximum sentences introduced by the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021
We also consulted on draft revisions to the overarching guideline on totality, which sets out the approach for sentencing an offender for more than one offence or where the offender is already serving a sentence.
In September, the Council held its second miscellaneous amendments consultation. These annual consultations allow us to address issues affecting guidelines that arise from case law, commentary on sentencing and feedback from guideline users, as well as from work we have done on other guidelines. Changes resulting from the first miscellaneous amendments consultation came into effect on 1 April 2023.
The report details three externally commissioned research projects we published during the year: a review of current literature on effectiveness of sentencing; an exploration of what drives the public’s attitudes to and understanding of the criminal justice system; and an examination of equality and diversity in the work of the Sentencing Council. The findings of these three research reports will inform the Council’s work in 2023/24 and into the future.