Report for AGM October 12th 2015


It is nearly a year since our professional association, Intermediaries for Justice, went live and we are now holding our first AGM. We would like to report on the activities that have already taken place and most importantly what we plan for the future.

Launch
IfJ launched officially on 10 December 2014 at City Law School, London, since when there has been a very encouraging growth in membership. We currently have a total of 116 members of whom 78 are intermediaries and 36 are associates drawn from many different professions. Two new cohorts of intermediaries have been trained this summer and autumn and we are delighted that they are beginning to join too.

Conference – Working with Defendants
In March of this year we held a very successful conference entitled ‘Working with Defendants’, again at City Law School. Some excellent keynote speakers and other members of the Justice System gave their time to be involved. We are very grateful to them and to City Law School for allowing us to use their lecture theatre and break out rooms for both the launch and our Conference. Particular thanks are due to Sharon Richardson and Catherine O’Neill for organising this event.

Website
Over the year the website has been kept up to date by Gill Darvill, our website editor, and webmaster David Wright, with information about events, news, book reviews, research articles, resources and much more. We very much welcome any new material which you think would be interesting to our members. Please contact editor@intermediaries-for-justice.org.
We are delighted to say that David will continue to look after our web site as webmaster although both he and Gill are taking a well earned step back from the committee after the AGM.

Info@intermediaries-for-justice.org
There has been active use, via the Contact Form on our website, of info@intermediaries-for-justice.org. Committee members have taken responsibility on a two-month rotation to respond to queries, requests for information and to those wishing to share information with us.

Database of intermediaries working with defendants
The database of intermediaries who work with defendants went live in March 2015, since when enquiries from solicitors and lawyers have been increasing steadily. However we are unsure at this stage how many requests have been successful. The system has recently been fine-tuned in various ways to minimise the likelihood of requests finding their way into spam folders, and to give us a clearer idea of how many intermediaries are responding to requests. A high proportion of enquiries specify trial dates as little as 2 weeks ahead, which of course stand very little chance of success. Therefore some solicitors have been unsuccessful in finding an intermediary. It would be extremely useful if solicitors could be encouraged to seek an intermediary with more advance notice.

The Future

IfJ Conference 2016
On Saturday 12 March 2016 we will be hosting a second conference entitled ‘Joined up Justice – Developments in Partnership Working within the Justice System’. Gill Darvill, Fiona Simpson and David Wright have already put together a programme for what promises to be an excellent day. Intermediaries will be co-presenting with colleagues from the Justice System and with academics. The event will take place in The Ashley Conference Centre at Staffordshire University’s well-equipped Stoke-on-Trent Campus. This means it will be easier to reach for those from the North of England and the Midlands, honouring IfJ’s promise that not all events will be held in the South East. Please note that the train service from London (Euston) is both fast and cheap.

Media
We are delighted to say and hugely grateful that an experienced media trainer has agreed to spend a day (pro bono) working with six intermediaries on 8 October. Subsequently we will have a media contact button on the website. Two people will be available via that button, backed up by two or three others who will be able to respond as necessary, according to their expertise. Thank you to Jo Parton for arranging this.
We are aware that the six trainees on this course come from south of the Midlands. It would be very welcome if this training could be replicated further north and we shall be pleased to hear from members who might be interested.

News, Events and Library
There are regular updates of news and events on our website but we would very much like there to be more. We have a member’s forum which is still in its infancy, but we would like to encourage more debate.
Those members who have looked at the library pages will have seen comprehensive lists of research articles, papers and references and resources. Again we would like more contributions particularly in our Comments section. Our website editor is always pleased to discuss potential contributions and to support authors.

Fundraising
We have been very grateful for donations from Lady Henrietta St George as David has mentioned in his Treasurer’s Report. These have enabled us to fund some very useful resources and to provide our first two Conferences FREE to members.
However, we would like to think about other ways of raising funds. If anyone knows of other potential sponsors or has any fundraising suggestions, please get in touch with us. There has been a suggestion from outside the Steering Group that we should make some charge for future events beyond March 2016.

In conclusion
Many thanks go to all of the Steering Group for their immensely hard work during IfJ’s first year. We would particularly like to thank David Wright and Gill Darvill for their huge contribution towards establishing the professional association.

Jan Jones – Chair
Tina Pereira – Secretary