DOWNLOAD: Annual JLOS Performance Report 2015/16
The Four years of implementation of the Third Strategic Investment Plan (SIP III) have been a concerted and combined effort of Government, JLOS stakeholders and Development Partners that has resulted in increased public trust, increased stakeholder engagement, awareness and higher satisfaction by the people who seek services from JLOS institutions.
In terms of impact, public confidence in JLOS institutions has increased significantly from the baseline average of 26% in 2012 to 48%, while public knowledge about JLOS services and institutions has increased to over 90% in 2015/16 on the average. Public engagement with JLOS institutions and use of JLOS services grew three fold on the average compared to the baselines.
For those persons that have accessed JLOS services the level of satisfaction has increased from the average baseline position of 59% to 72%. The index of judicial independence grew by 22% from 2.8 in 2014/15 to 3.41 in 2015/16, implying that judicial processes in Uganda have become more independent. The country’s judicial independence ranking too has improved from position 128 in 2014 to 91 in 2015/16 according the Global Competitiveness Report, 2016.
According to the World Justice Project Report 2015 Uganda is ranked 68th in the World, 9th Africa and the first in East Africa in accessibility and affordability of civil justice with a score of 0.43 out of 1 this is comparable to USA which has a score of 0.47 out of 1. The country is also ranked in the 1st position in East Africa and 12th in Africa in effectiveness of criminal investigation, adjudication and correctional systems as well as controlling criminal and civil conflict and the fight against violence (order and security) with a score of 0.61 out of 1.
The sector monitored and processed 10 critical bills that impact on JLOS service delivery including the fight against corruption, regulation of CSO’s, elections, functionality of LCCs, and vulnerability among others. Laws were also enacted are that will promote national development objectives and improve the environment for doing business in Uganda. As a result of the interventions in legal reform and other innovations, Uganda moved from position 135 in 2014 to 122 in 2015/16 in the doing business index. While the Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016 ranks Uganda’s competitiveness at position 115 out of 144 countries in the world. In terms of protection of property rights, Uganda’s ranking improved from position 112 in 2014 to 97 in 2015/16 and its property rights index also increased by 14.4% from 3.4 in 2014 to 3.89 in 2015/16.
The sector is now functionally present in 82% of the districts compared to 75% functional presence in 2014/15. Also the number of districts with a complete chain of infrastructure for frontline JLOS services increased from 53% in 2014/15 to 59.8% in 2015/16 following completion of various construction projects in UPF, UPS, Court and DPP.
Following appointment of staff, increased use of initiatives such as plea bargaining, investments in staff training, enhanced coordination and performance management the sector recorded a 20% reduction in pending cases, posting a case clearance rate of 125%. As a result, the average length of stay on remand reduced from 10.5 months to 10.4 months for capital offenders and case backlog reduced from 32% in 2014/15 to 25% in 2015/16. Use of ADR recorded a resounding success with a 55% success rate compared to 26% in 2014/15 arising out of investments in training and advocacy.
The crime rate reduced from 298 per 100,000 in 2014 to 296 per 100,000 in the reporting period despite the election period because of improved crime response and coordination of criminal justice agencies. Also the quality of investigation and prosecution improved as shown in the high conviction rate of 61% over the reporting period.
The sector continued to invest in correctional services and rehabilitation of offenders which resulted in a reduction in the rate of recidivism from 27% in 2014/15 to 21%. This is one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world.
The number of children arrested per 100,000 child population reduced to 8.4 compared to 9.4 for every 100,000 child population in 2014/15 and 84.1% diversion rate of juveniles from formal judicial proceedings was registered. The challenge however is the higher than targeted number of children on remand per 100,000 standing at 2.07 for every 100,000 child population compared to the targeted 01 child per 100,000 child population.
In terms of human rights observance, the number of reported human rights violations by JLOS agencies reduced by 41% during the reporting period. This is partly due to the adoption of a human rights culture and accountability and sensitisation of police and prisons that have always featured high in terms of human rights violations.
Improvements were recorded in UPS with 90% of the prison units eliminating the Bucket system and there are on-going efforts to provide decent water-borne sanitation facilities in all prisons by the end of 2017. However, the welfare of prison warders and lower police cadres remains largely unaddressed, especially with respect to housing and living conditions. In addition, the congestion in prisons remains high with the existing holding capacity exceeded by up to two times.
The fight against corruption is on course with 12% increased case disposal and improved internal disciplinary mechanisms that were implemented. The Chief Justice strengthened the inspectorate function in Judiciary, by appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court as Chief Inspector of Courts.
The performance would have been much higher; however, the sector faces various challenges that must be addressed to enhance or even maintain the current levels of performance. One of the challenges is the slow, expensive and complex business processes that are largely manual. These among others have led to prevalence of high lead times, increased cost of access, opportunistic corruption and slow decision making. It is therefore important to re-engineer and automate most of the business processes.
Challenges also still remain with case disposal in some areas such as the Human Rights Commission and Judicial Service Commission that were affected by the expiry of the terms of service of their Commissioners. These institutions need to be supported to clear their backlog.
The sector institutions remain largely urban based and unavailable in 18% of the districts while many operate from premises not fit for the purpose. This is compounded by the high cost of rent which has eroded funds required for critical operations. There is therefore need to fast track the construction of the JLOS house project and justice centres country wide. Efforts should also be put at opening new service points and deconcentrating service delivery. The concept of a one stop centre should also be strengthened.
The other challenge is the changing crime trends and proliferation of new crimes such as cybercrime, trafficking in persons, terrorism, white collar crime and other violent crime including sex and gender based violence which tests the preparedness of most crime fighting agencies. This is made worse by the fact that the more sophisticated crimes that are cross border crimes in nature are on the rise. There is need to enhance crime response and invest in strategies to prevent the occurrence of such crimes.
Justice delivery is a function of numbers. The sector requires the right number of staff both in quantity and quality to deliver effective and expeditious services. This is not possible with the current judge to population ratio of 1: 720,000, a police to population ratio of 1:764, and warder to prisoner ratio of 1:7.
One of the factors that continue to dampen public confidence in the justice system is corruption both real and perceived. It is therefore necessary that the sector efforts to fully implement its anti-corruption strategy are supported. Initiatives to deal with public complaints should be strengthened and supported while internal disciplinary processes should be respected.
By and large, given the performance of the sector over the SIPIII period and during the reporting period, there is a strong belief that enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery enhances public satisfaction and grows public trust. It is therefore important that efforts which promote greater public satisfaction with JLOS services should be harnessed and strengthened under the proposed new strategic planning framework. In addition, the 3cs (communication, coordination and cooperation) which is the foundation upon which the sector is built should be demystified among all sector stakeholders for the sector remain valid, vocal and visible.
[Adopted from the 2015/16 JLOS Annual Performance Report]