6 Mar 2002 : Column 307W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General what the turnover of staff, broken down by type was in each region in each year since the inception of the CPS. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 February 2002]: The available turnover figures are set out in table 1 and table 2.
|As at now 1 January 2002||1 April 2001||1 April 2000|
|Avon and Somerset||3.6||3.6||13|
|Devon and Cornwall||2.7||4.1||5.1|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||8.6||8.2||10.4|
(1) Less than 1 per cent.
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|31 March 1999||1 April 1998||1 April 1997||1 April 1996||1 April 1995||1 April 1994|
(2) Less than 1 per cent.
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Solicitor-General what steps are being taken to assess the feasibility of implementing the recommendation made by Sir Robin Auld that the Crown Prosecution Service should take over from the police responsibility for charging defendants at the outset of a prosecution. 
The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General has agreed with the Home Secretary that the Crown Prosecution Service and police should pilot the proposals over a period of six months in five different areas: in Bath, the Medway area, Essex, the Wrexham area and in Halifax. The objective of the pilot is to identify the practical implications of implementing Sir Robin's recommendation that the Crown Prosecution Service should determine the charge in all but minor, routine offences or where, because of the circumstances, there is a need for a holding charge before seeking the advice of the Service. Where there may be practical difficulties, the pilot will seek to identify how these can best be overcome. The Crown Prosecution Service and ACPO have been working closely together to set up the pilot which commenced on 18 February 2002. An evaluation report will be produced in autumn 2002.
Further details of the pilot are contained in a background note, copies of which I have caused to be put in the Libraries of both Houses.
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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General what budget was allocated to each CPS region; and how much of the annual budget was allocated to training, in actual terms and as a percentage of the total budget in each year since its inception. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 February 2002]: The table shows the non-ring-fenced running cost(NRFRC) budget allocated to each Area, the amount of this budget locally allocated by each Area to fund
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training courses in actual terms and then as a percentage of the NRFRC budget.
The figures are shown for each year since the establishment of a 42 Area structure in the CPS. They exclude the costs of trainee time attending courses and the associated travel and subsistence costs. These are not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
|01 Avon and Somerset||3,460,000||20,520||0.59||3,782,397||6,500||0.17||4,426,805||16,500||0.37|
|09 Devon and Cornwall||3,266,665||17,900||0.55||3,444,300||9,050||0.26||3,964,709||21,725||0.55|
|12 Dyfed Powys||1,619,000||8,000||0.49||1,728,500||11,800||0.68||1,973,107||11,250||0.57|
|15 Greater Manchester||9,415,075||20,000||0.21||9,752,500||19,706||0.20||11,293,480||40,378||0.36|
|25 Metropolitan and City||27,787,531||116,000||0.42||28,585,703||130,000||0.45||34,940,980||160,000||0.46|
|29 North Wales||2,140,400||9,000||0.42||2,132,872||4,500||0.21||2,361,101||5,677||0.24|
|30 North Yorkshire||1,933,000||0||0.00||2,008,095||6,000||0.30||2,188,262||5,000||0.23|
|32 South Wales||4,977,000||34,329||0.69||5,138,183||9,720||0.19||5,961,745||36,917||0.62|
|33 South Yorkshire||3,746,000||7,557||0.20||4,004,200||6,000||0.15||4,687,606||8,782||0.19|
|38 Thames Valley||4,452,580||31,174||0.70||4,706,700||22,100||0.47||5,229,848||25,000||0.48|
|40 West Mercia||2,737,116||13,730||0.50||2,831,352||4,700||0.17||3,171,313||13,000||0.41|
|41 West Midlands||8,835,565||46,800||0.53||9,770,500||54,500||0.56||11,360,398||38,100||0.34|
|42 West Yorkshire||7,315,000||57,500||0.79||7,809,185||31,419||0.40||9,159,749||54,900||0.60|
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General what progress has been made in respect of Cm 3960, Summary of the report, paragraph 26, concerning the shift in CPS priorities from involvement in relatively minor cases to serious crime cases in the Crown Court. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 February 2002]: The CPS is making steady progress implementing changes to deliver the reforms recommended by Sir Iain Glidewell in his review of the CPS to bring about better justice.
The CPS has been restructuring its front-line operation, working more closely with the police in the preparation of magistrates and Crown Court cases, by establishing co-located criminal justice units and trial units, which focus resources towards the more serious cases and better support for victims and witnesses. By the end of March 2002, the CPS will have 51 dedicated trial units in place across 29 areas, focusing efforts on Crown Court cases. These structural changes are enabling early legal advice before charge, to ensure that prosecutions are built on secure ground. The CPS and police are currently piloting the recommendations of Sir Robin Auld that the CPS should take over responsibility from the police for determining the charge from the outset of the case.
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More Crown Prosecutors are benefiting from greater exposure to Crown Court proceedings and their skills, experience and expertise in dealing with the more serious cases are being developed. The CPS is presently training 100 Crown Prosecutors annually to secure accreditation as Higher Court Advocates with full rights of audience to appear in the Crown Court on a more regular basis. They have gained positive feedback from the judiciary.
To support Crown Prosecutors, a modern IT infrastructure has been deployed providing a suite of up-to-date electronic legal reference products and a new electronic case management application is planned for 2003. More lawyers, caseworkers and administrative staff have been recruited in the last 12 months, from resources provided by the last spending review.
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