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How guidelines are developed

The Council considers the responses and then issues a definitive guideline.

Sentencing guidelines are developed in the following way:

Step 1 – Priorities
Council identifies work plan priorities – this could be based on concerns about an existing guideline, offence types which lack a guideline or because we have been required by statute to look at a particular area.

Step 2 – Research
Research is undertaken; policy and legal investigations are carried out; the approach to the particular guideline is discussed by Council and agreed and an initial draft guideline is then created.

Step 3 – Approach
Council members discuss the draft guideline, refine the approach and agree on the broad structure and detail which will form the basis for consultation.

Step 4 – Consultation
Council consults the statutory consultees, criminal justice professionals and wider public over a 12 week period. The Council also produces a draft resource assessment and an equality impact assessment at this step.

Step 5 – Responses
Council considers the responses to the consultation and develops a response paper and definitive version of the guideline, resource assessment and equality impact assessment.

Step 6 – Publication
Council issues the definitive guideline and supports training for sentencers where necessary.

Step 7 – Monitoring
The use of the guideline is monitored via the Crown Court Sentencing Survey.