Dear Ed,


Thank you for your letter requesting an update on progress with our review of pre-release access lists. The Ministry of Justice publishes over 80 National and Official statistics releases every year: 1 monthly, 15 quarterly, 11 annual, and 2 biennial. Some cover a fairly narrow subject area – such as the monthly HMPPS Covid-19 statistics or quarterly Legal Aid statistics – while others bring together a wide range of statistics across a policy or operational area – for example the quarterly Offender Management statistics or biennial Women and the CJS statistics.

We have made good progress in reviewing and reducing pre-release lists by going back to first principles–that pre-release access should be limited to the minimum number of people necessary to allow the minister to respond or take action at, or shortly after the time of publication –translating that to an MoJ setting and implementing it iteratively to our statistical releases as they occur.

For the vast majority of our publications this means that pre-release lists are now substantially smaller than they were prior to the review. In addition, all pre-release lists remain under review with further reductions considered and implemented ahead of each publication.

A few annual and bi-annual outputs have not been yet produced since the review began, but reduced pre-release lists will be implemented when they are published later this year.

The exact number of people on a pre-release list varies between publications based on need in line with the general pre-release principle. Publications that span a wide policy or operational area, or multiple government departments, will necessarily have a longer pre-release list than publications with a narrow, MoJ specific focus.

We will write again in December with a final update once we have implemented the review across the full yearly cycle of publications.

Yours sincerely
Jonathan Nancekivell-Smith