The Crown Prosecution Service: Gatekeeper of the Criminal Justice System - Justice Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the Crown Prosecution Service


  1.1  This memorandum addresses the Justice Committee's Terms of Reference set out in its Press Notice of 3 April 2008 and is structured as follows:

    — the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), its organisation, its vision and priority programmes and the Code for Crown Prosecutors;

    — bringing offences to justice, including casework in the magistrates' courts, diversion from prosecution, prosecuting rape and domestic violence, and its role in Anti-Social Behaviour Orders;

    — working in partnership, including the National and Local Criminal Justice Boards, charging, sentencing and the courts, major terrorism cases, and with other prosecuting authorities;

    — victim and witness issues;

    — working with communities; and

    — how the CPS is transforming itself.

  1.2  The CPS will provide supplementary submissions as the Committee wishes.


  2.1  The CPS was established in 1986 as an independent authority to prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. In undertaking this role, the CPS:

    — advises the police (including, in appropriate cases, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency) during the early stages of investigations;

    — determines the appropriate charges in all but the most minor cases;

    — keeps all cases under continuous review;

    — prepares cases for prosecution in court and prosecutes the cases with in-house advocates or instructs agents and counsel to present cases; and

    — provides information and assistance to victims and prosecution witnesses.

  2.2  The CPS is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer QC. Peter Lewis, Chief Executive, is responsible for day-to-day running of the business, and for human resources, finance, business information systems, and business development, allowing the DPP to concentrate on prosecution, legal issues and criminal justice policy.

  2.3  The DPP is superintended by the Attorney General who is accountable to Parliament for the Service. The CPS has worked closely with the Attorney General in developing the proposals for reforming her role, in so far as they impact upon the CPS, and is committed to the way forward identified in the Governance of Britain White Paper and the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill. The DPP will remain accountable for all casework decisions taken by the CPS.

Code for Crown Prosecutors

  2.4  Crown Prosecutors review each case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors (Annex 1) (not printed). They decide:

    — whether there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each defendant on each charge; and, if so,

    — whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest.

CPS organisation

  2.5  The CPS is divided into 42 Areas across England and Wales, brigaded into 15 Groups. Each CPS Area corresponds to a police force; CPS London deals with the Metropolitan and City of London police services. Every CPS Area is headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor [CCP], responsible for the delivery of a high quality prosecution service in their local community. A "virtual" 43rd Area, CPS Direct, is also headed by a CCP and provides out-of-hours charging advice to the police. Three HQ-based casework divisions deal with the prosecution of organised crime, terrorism and other specialised prosecution cases.

  2.6  CPS key statistics are at Annex 2.

The CPS Vision, priority programmes and business plan

  2.7  The CPS Vision Statement for 2008-11 is:

    The CPS is a prosecution service that is confident and independent, efficient and effective—becoming truly world class. Everything that we do aims to deliver justice for all and to make our communities safer.

  2.8  The CPS has identified six priority programmes to deliver this vision:

    — achieving the agreed CJS PSA targets for 2008-11;

    — improving performance in the magistrates' courts;

    — completing and embedding our Advocacy Strategy;

    — focusing our support to victims and witnesses;

    — restructuring our delivery model to improve performance, particularly on serious cases, and improving value for money;

    — ensuring that we lead and manage well to get the best from all CPS people, and that we engage with them, partners and communities to improve our service.

  2.9  The CPS Strategy and Business Plan for 2008-11 is at Annex 3 (not printed). The CPS budget in 2007-08 was £639.5 million. Following the 2007 spending review, the budget will reduce in real terms over the next three years by 3.5% per annum.


  3.1  Annex 2 shows the success that the CPS has had in contributing to the achievement of the Government's PSA target to bring more offences to justice and the CPS has introduced business systems and policies to underpin that success.

Optimum Business Model

  3.2  The CPS' Optimum Business Model (OBM) improves the handling of magistrates' courts' work. It ensures that consistent casework systems and processes are in place so that the CPS maximises effective progress in every case at every stage in and out of court.

  3.3  Legal and administrative staff working closely together ensures that tasks are completed by the right person at the earliest opportunity. The Case Progression Manager, dedicated to managing trial cases proactively, is essential to improving performance and ensuring the CPS is trial ready two weeks before the trial date. The OBM was introduced in September 2007 and was implemented in all 42 Areas by September 2008.

Reviewing performance

  3.4  Service performance is reviewed quarterly through the Area Performance Review (APR) process. The DPP, Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer hold CCPs to account for service delivery against 15 Key Performance Indicators. The most recent assessments are at Annex 4 (not printed).

  3.5  The Committee sought information about prosecuting rape and domestic violence. Both are addressed in the new Violence Against Women (VAW) Strategy and Action Plans with targets for reducing unsuccessful outcomes (Annex 5) (not printed).

Prosecuting rape cases

  3.6  The CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape recognises rape as one of the most serious offences and aims to prosecute each case effectively. The policy statement (Annex 6) (not printed) covers the handling of all rape cases against male and female victims of all ages, and is currently being updated.

  3.7  Every CPS Area allocates rape cases to specialist prosecutors. Rape specialists work closely with the police to ensure all possible avenues of evidence are explored and the correct charge identified. They take responsibility for the case from the pre-charge stage to its conclusion.

  3.8  The CPS is also:

    — issuing a new Rape Manual for prosecutors providing guidance on dealing with medical, scientific and forensic evidence;

    — preparing a joint manual with the National Police Improvement Agency setting out best practice for both investigators and prosecutors;

    — rolling out a new training course for all rape specialists, with external speakers on rape trauma syndrome and the role of the forensic physician;

    — providing additional training for in-house rape specialist High Court Advocates, similar to that provided by the Bar;

    — working with ACPO and the medical profession to devise a protocol regarding the handling of sensitive images in rape and other cases.

  3.9  The CPS instructs advocates who possess the necessary expertise and knowledge for rape prosecutions; who understand the impact that a serious sexual offence can have on a victim; and who deal with witnesses in a sensitive and dignified manner. Advocates must have attended a CPS-accredited training course that includes the substantive law, the experience of victims and CPS policy. All advocates are monitored to ensure they reach the required standard.

  3.10  The CPS monitors all rape files for compliance with CPS policies and good practice. In addition, a sample of files is monitored for the quality of decision-making by each Area's rape coordinator who provides a quarterly report detailing local performance. This work is overseen nationally by the Rape Prosecutions Delivery Unit that provides advice and support on all aspects of rape prosecutions. This recently included a model Protocol between the police and CPS in the Investigation and Prosecution of Rape Allegations (Annex 7) (not printed) for CPS Areas and their respective police forces to adapt and implement locally.

Prosecuting Domestic Violence

  3.11  The CPS is committed to raising the awareness and effective prosecution of domestic violence. Comprehensive policy and guidance (Annex 8) (not printed) on domestic violence were first developed in 2001. A Domestic Violence Coordinator (DVC) was appointed in every CPS Area to oversee the policy's implementation. These documents were revised in 2005, and are being revised again this year. A Domestic Violence Training Manual was developed jointly with the National Policing Improvement Agency. Good Practice Guidance was also issued to CPS Areas in 2005 (Annex 9) (not printed).

  3.12  The CPS has built capability in its staff through training for all prosecutors and caseworkers and for prosecutors working in specialist domestic violence courts. The CPS has been a driving force in the developments of these specialist courts.

  3.13  Unsuccessful outcomes in domestic violence cases have fallen significantly since 2004-05, alongside a reduction in cases that have been discontinued and those which resulted in a bind-over against a background of increasing volumes.

TimeframeDV Numbers % successful% unsuccessful DiscontinuanceBind overs

Q2 2008-0917,07172.1% 27.9%21.7%4.4%
Q1 2008-0916,36872.5% 27.5%21.3%5.3%
Q4 2007-0816,36870.7% 29.3%22.9%5.3%
2007-0863,81968.9% 31.1%24.7%6.6%
2004-0534,83955.0% 45.0%37.0%18.2%

  3.14  There is a target to reduce unsuccessful domestic violence prosecutions to 28% for 2008-09 and the figures for the first two quarters of 2008-09 show that target has already been exceeded.

CPS involvement in diversion from prosecution

  3.15  Since 2003, the CPS has been able to recommend that a suspect is conditionally cautioned in appropriate circumstances, rather than charged. A conditional caution suspends prosecution pending the successful completion of the conditions within a specified timeframe.

  3.16  Full implementation in all CPS Areas was achieved in April 2008. Up to September 2008, 11,004 conditional cautions have been issued.

The CPS and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

  3.17 The CPS has two roles in respect of ASBOs:

    — applying for orders following convictions; and

    — prosecution breaches of ASBOs.

  3.18  The CPS has a network of specialist ASB prosecutors. Their main duties are to:

    — provide expert assistance to CPS prosecutors on ASB cases;

    — prosecute sensitive or high-profile ASB cases;

    — identify and deliver ASB training needs; and

    — work with partner agencies to identify and respond to local communities' concerns about ASB issues.

  3.19  Guidance was issued to prosecutors (latest edition issued in May 2008—see Annex 10) (not printed) on applying for ASBOs in criminal cases and prosecution of breaches.

  3.20  The CPS ASB Delivery Unit trains prosecutors and works closely with the Home Office and HM Courts Service. During 2007-08, the CPS jointly ran workshops for ASB practitioners looking at the effective use of the tools and powers available to address anti-social behaviour.


National and Local Criminal Justice Boards

  4.1  The CPS is an integral part of the criminal justice system (CJS) and works jointly with its CJS partners through the National Criminal Justice Board and 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards. These Boards agree and implement joint actions to address key criminal justice issues, such as public confidence and victim and witness care.


  4.2  The CPS is at the centre of the criminal justice process, routinely providing face-to-face charging service to 43 police forces, and other forces such as British Transport Police.

  4.3  The CPS is responsible for authorising the charge in all but the most minor cases. CPS advice at the early investigative stages enables cases to be strengthened and prevents weak cases proceeding to court and being subsequently discontinued.

  4.4  Before the introduction of statutory charging, 36% of cases heard in the magistrates' courts were discontinued. At March 2008, that figure had dropped to 13.2%.

  4.5  CPS Direct was introduced to support this significant change in responsibilities. This telephone-based service enables the CPS to provide charging advice to the police 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. During 2007-08, CPS Direct provided 135,813 charging advices. The service is highly responsive and on average a police officer is able to speak to a Duty Prosecutor within 15 seconds of the call being presented.

Prosecutors and sentencing in the courts

  4.6  Prosecution advocates have a role in assisting the court to reach appropriate sentencing decisions although it is not the prosecutor's role to recommend any particular sentence: see the Code for Crown Prosecutors (Annex 1) (not printed) and the Attorney General's Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas and the Prosecutor's Role in the Sentencing Exercise (2005) and its Addendum (2007) (Annex 11) (not printed).

  4.7  CPS advocates prepare a Plea and Sentence Document in Crown Court cases and appropriate cases in the magistrates' courts. This document identifies aggravating and mitigating factors in the case as well as relevant statutory provisions and case law.

Electronic information sharing

  4.8  The CPS Case Management System (CMS) and Management Information System were major projects that were delivered on time and within budget. They support the CPS and police by enabling electronic information sharing through:

    — providing prosecutors working in over 300 Charging centres with access to CMS, email and electronic legal reference services;

    — introducing technology to 140 home-based prosecutors who deliver CPS Direct; and

    — developing an interface that enables police IT systems (NSPIS, NICHE and Consortium) to send information to CMS.

  4.9  The interface will be live in 39 Areas by the end of 2008; the major constraint on information sharing is that the interface does not currently support the return of information from the CPS to the police.

  4.10  Keeping victims and witness informed about their cases is being enabled through the Witness Management System (WMS) in use in 165 Witness Care Units (WCUs) staffed by Police (70%+) and the CPS.

Terrorism cases

  4.11  All counter terrorism cases in England and Wales are prosecuted by CPS Counter Terrorism Division in headquarters. Prosecutors work very closely with Counter Terrorism Command, the Counter Terrorism Units and the Intelligence Services at all stages of a case, often before any arrest is made. Further, where appropriate, prosecutors will engage foreign partners to assist in building the strongest possible case. Twenty-four hour cover is provided for police to seek expert advice.

  4.12  The workload of the Division has grown considerably since its inception and there have been high profile terrorism trials running almost continuously since early 2005. Guilty verdicts and pleas are currently being returned in approximately 90% of cases.

Other prosecuting authorities

  4.13  The CPS' relationship with 16 UK-based prosecutors is covered by the Prosecutors' Convention (Annex 12) (not printed). The Convention addresses the situation when two or more prosecuting authorities wish to proceed against a suspect. It recognises the need for effective and early lines of communication, lists the issues to be covered in preliminary inter-agency discussions and requires each authority to identify a liaison officer to be responsible for effective communication and for monitoring compliance.


  4.14  The CPS works closely with the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on a range of issues common to prosecutors:

    — CPS, RCPO and SFO are currently working together on defining security requirements and the approach to security of case information when dealing with external partners, such as the Bar;

    — CPS and RCPO are members of a CJS inter-agency contingency planning forum to ensure the continuation of criminal justice services through periods of possible disruption; and

    — CPS, RCPO and SFO are working on a procurement exercise seeking external suppliers to provide scanning and electronic presentation of evidence services for major prosecutions.

Fraud prosecutions

  4.15  The CPS Fraud Prosecution Service prosecutes serious fraud cases and works closely with other prosecuting agencies, the City of London Police Economic Crime Unit, and with the Metropolitan Police who provide 75% of its cases. A joint vetting committee decides the allocation of cases between the CPS, SFO and other prosecuting authorities and considers issues of common interest.

Serious Organised Crime Agency

  4.16  Cases investigated by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) are prosecuted, either by the Organised Crime Division in CPS headquarters or RCPO, depending on the nature of the offences (Annex 13) (not printed). The need to decide on case allocation arises when expertise is shared between prosecutors; this typically relates to drug and gun trafficking and money laundering. Other cases are allocated to the prosecuting agency which has the expertise in those matters; for example, the CPS deals with human trafficking, immigration, hi-tech crime, non-fiscal fraud and work from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.


  5.1  The CPS is committed to improving the level of service to victims of crime and launched a new Victim and Witness Strategy in June 2008. This will provide a framework to support delivery of existing commitments and identify a clear direction for future policy development to improve the service provided yet further.

  5.2  The CPS does not act for victims or their families as solicitors do for their clients (see paragraph 5.12 of the Code), but when considering whether it is in the public interest to proceed with a prosecution, Crown Prosecutors always take into account the consequences for the victim of whether to prosecute and any views expressed by the victim or victim's family.

The Prosecutors' Pledge

  5.3  The 2005 Prosecutors' Pledge (Annex 14) (not printed) sets out the support that victims can expect from the CPS. This includes: taking into account the impact on the victim or their family when making a charging decision; informing the victim where the charge is withdrawn, discontinued or substantially altered; where practicable, seeking the victim's view when considering the acceptability of a plea; introducing him/herself to the victim at court; answering any questions the victim has about court procedure; challenging derogatory mitigation; explaining any judgement; and advising the victim about the appeal process.

Direct Communication with Victims

  5.4  Direct Communication with Victims (DCV) was introduced in September 2002. It allows the CPS to communicate directly with victims of crime rather than via the police. The CPS' DCV commitments are contained in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Annex 15) (not printed). The CPS must:

    — communicate any decision to drop or substantially alter the charge direct to the victim rather than via the police;

    — give an explanation of the decision with as much detail as possible of the reasons for the decision, bearing in mind the sensitive and important issues which may restrict the amount of information that can be given;

    — if a further explanation is required, offer a meeting in cases in certain serious categories of cases. The relevant offences are set out in the Code. Further, the reviewing lawyer has discretion to offer a meeting if it is considered appropriate in the circumstances of the case; and

    — notify the victim of a decision where a Crown Prosecutor takes the decision that no criminal proceedings should be brought following receipt of a full evidential report, and other than in discussion with the Investigating Officer. In other situations, before charge, it is the responsibility of the police to inform the victim of the decision.

No Witness, No Justice Witness care programme

  5.5  The "No Witness, No Justice" (NWNJ) victim and witness care programme is a CPS and Police initiative. Following a successful pilot study, 165 Witness Care Units were established across England and Wales by the end of 2005.

  5.6  The Units, staffed by trained specialists, provide a single point of contact for victims and witnesses from the point of charge until the conclusion of the case. Dedicated Witness Care Officers ensure the individual needs of victims and witnesses are identified and met so that they have all the support and information they need to enable them to attend court and give their best evidence. They provide a tailored service, for example, making practical arrangements such as pre-trial familiarisation visits to the court, childcare, transport etc. Witness Care Officers keep victims and witnesses informed of case progress including the outcome and thank them for giving evidence.

  5.7  This initiative has led to an increase in witness attendance from 77% to 85% (national average).

Victim Focus

  5.8  In October 2007, the CPS introduced a new enhanced service to bereaved relatives in which, in certain cases, the reviewing lawyer offers to meet bereaved relatives to explain the charging decision, the court process and to highlight the opportunity to make a victim personal statement (Annex 16) (not printed).

  5.9  Eligible cases are: murder; manslaughter; corporate manslaughter; familial homicide; causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs; and aggravated vehicle taking where death is caused and the case is heard in the Crown Court.

  5.10  By making a victim personal statement, the bereaved family can say how the crime has affected them. Following conviction, and before sentence, the prosecutor will—with the court's approval—either read the statement to the court or invite the judge to read the statement in private.

Post-acquittal meetings

  5.11  Post-acquittal meetings are an extension of the service to bereaved relatives introduced under Victim Focus. A meeting is offered post-acquittal to answer any questions the family may have about the trial (Annex 17) (not printed). Arrangements are being piloted in CPS Merseyside, Northumbria and South Wales. Eligible offences are those under the Victim Focus scheme.

Pre-Trial Witness Interviews

  5.12  National implementation of the pre-trial witness interview initiative (PTWI) was completed in April 2008.

  5.13  The external evaluation of the pilot schemes confirmed that: "PTWI improves the quality of prosecutorial decision-making both by strengthening cases that proceed to trial and by timely rejection of evidentially weak cases."

  5.14  The purpose of the interview is three-fold:

    — to assess the reliability of the witness's evidence;

    — to assist the prosecutor in understanding complex evidence; and

    — to explain court process and procedures to the witness.

  5.15  A witness cannot be compelled to attend an interview and they are held at the prosecutor's discretion. Interviews are recorded and the tape is disclosed to the defence.

Special Measures

  5.16  Special measures were introduced in 1999. They assist vulnerable and intimidated witnesses to give their best evidence in criminal proceedings. The current internal CPS guidance (which supplements inter-agency guidance contained in Achieving Best Evidence) is at Annex 15 (not printed). Prosecutors work with the police at an early stage to identify whether a witness may be eligible for special measures and, if so, which measures are the most suitable.

  5.17  The witness may ask to meet the CPS prosecutor to discuss the decisions made concerning special measures either before or after the prosecutor applies to the court for the special measures direction. The evidence in the case should not be discussed.

  5.18  Information concerning these meetings is included in: "Early Special Measures Meetings between the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service and Meetings between the Crown Prosecution Service and Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses: Practice Guidance" (Annex 18) (not printed). A revised version is being published in early 2009.

Child victims and witnesses

  5.19  The CPS has issued a number of polices which set out how it prosecutes cases involving children and young people as victims and witnesses: Children and Young People (Annex 19) (not printed); Jerome—a Witness in Court aimed at 10-14 year olds; and Millie the Witness aimed at 5-9 year olds (Annexes 20-21) (not printed).

  5.20  Guidance to prosecutors: Safeguarding Children—Guidance on Children as Victims and Witnesses (Annex 22) (not printed) was issued in 2008. It provides detailed guidance on the role of prosecutors in safeguarding children.

Victims of hate crimes

  5.21  Under the Single Equality Scheme 2006-10, the CPS has published policies aimed at specific groups of victims or victims of a particular type of crime: race and religious hate crime; homophobic and transphobic hate crime; disability hate crime and crimes against older people (Annexes 23-25) (not printed).


  6.1  The CPS has a Community Engagement Strategy which sets the high level framework for CPS engagement at national, Group and Area level (Annex 26) (not printed). The Strategy seeks to embed a multi-strand approach to community engagement, including: the provision of information as appropriate; community consultation on key policies and practices; and community participation through Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels at Area Level, Community Involvement Panels at Group Level and a Community Accountability Forum nationally.

  6.2  The CPS emphasises engagement with groups with historically low levels of confidence in the CJS or who have historically been excluded or under-represented, including BME, faith, LGBT communities, disabled groups, women's groups and more recently older people's interest groups.

  6.3  The CPS has made significant progress in recent years in involving community stakeholders in informing key CPS public policies. This approach often involves:

    — establishing project groups involving CPS staff and community stakeholders in considering policy proposals together from the outset;

    — consulting on draft policies with a wider range of stakeholders, through public consultation; and

    — complementing the public consultation with more qualitative and innovative consultation methods including interactive workshops with consultees; focus groups to probe more qualitative concerns; and wider project reference/advisory groups bringing in a broad range of consultees.

  6.4  Elements of this approach have been applied in developing CPS Domestic Violence Policy; all CPS Hate Crimes Policies; and work on the VAW Strategy. This approach will be applied to the revised CPS Rape Policy and the Domestic Violence Policy, and was singled out for particular commendation in the Capability Review (June 2007). Further, the Commission for Racial Equality has recognised that the CPS is "at the forefront of good practice in the field of equalities in employment".

CPS Single Equality Scheme and the linked Community Accountability Forum

  6.5  The CPS adopted a Single Equality Scheme (SES) in December 2006 addressing our commitments to equality in respect of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religious or belief and sexuality (Annex 27) (not printed).

  6.6  The SES was positively received by community stakeholders across the equality strands. It was cited in the Government's Green Paper on a Single Equality Act as a case study of a SES in advance of the legal requirement to produce such schemes.

  6.7  Following the launch of the SES, the CPS established a national Community Accountability Forum, comprising 15 community stakeholders across the six equality strands together with senior CPS representatives and CPS equality Staff Networks.

CPS Area and Group focused activities

  6.8  Between 2005 and 2007, the CPS ran a number of community engagement pilots to inform future practice at Area level. Following independent evaluation, the CPS agreed to roll out:

    — Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels at the 42 Area level; and

    — Community Involvement Panels at the 15 CPS Group level.

  6.9  Simultaneously, the CPS issued:

    Community Engagement Handbook (Annex 28) (not printed).

    Community Engagement Good Practice Guidance (Annex 29) (not printed).

Annual community engagement at Area level

  6.10  Since 2005, each CPS Area must undertake community engagement with a diverse range of local communities on an annual basis; to evaluate this engagement; and to use the results of this engagement to inform service improvements. This has led to a step change in performance on community engagement across CPS Areas.


  7.1  The CPS is committed to developing its staff and the Service to fulfil its vision of becoming a world class prosecution service. It is transforming itself through a number of important initiatives.

Advocacy strategy

  7.2  The CPS is deploying an increasing number of Higher Court Advocates (HCAs) to handle a growing volume of Crown Court cases previously handled almost exclusively by the self-employed Bar.

  7.3  The CPS currently has 977.6 Higher Court Advocates (FTE as of 30 September 2008). In Q1 and Q2 of 2008-09 they presented 79,947 hearings in the Crown Court compared to 131,463 hearings in 2007-08 and 21,111 Crown Court hearings in 2004-05. These include 4,373 Crown Court trial hearings in Q1 and Q2 as compared to 6,083 hearings in 2007-08 and 276 Crown Court trial hearings in 2004-05.

  7.4  This development enables the CPS to operate continuous case ownership of more serious casework which strengthens consistency of decision-making.

  7.5  The CPS is committed to developing the full potential of its advocates and has a comprehensive training and development plan for this.

Associate Prosecutors (Designated Caseworkers)

  7.6  As of 30 September 2008, the CPS has appointed 423.4 (FTE) Associate Prosecutors (formerly known as Designated Caseworkers) who are trained members of staff and able to appear in the magistrates' courts to prosecute a defined range of non-contested proceedings. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 extends their powers to allow them, in due course, to conduct trials of summary non-imprisonable offences and introduces a regulatory regime.

  7.7  The CPS has trained all Associate Prosecutors (APs) in the new non-contested powers and has developed a training programme for APs who now undertake contested prosecutions.

Proactive Prosecutor Programme

  7.8  To ensure consistent and high quality decision-making across the Service, the CPS introduced the Proactive Prosecutor Programme (PPP) in 2005, a tailored training and development programme for all prosecutors. We have built on this programme by embedding the PPP method in our training courses and introducing new case studies to update and reflect current priorities.

People Strategy

  7.9  The CPS People Strategy sets out the vision for how we want to lead, manage and engage staff to build capability to deliver the CPS business strategy 2008-11. Since May 2008, there have been a number of significant developments, including a new leadership model designed, agreed and introduced throughout its Human Resources and Development Processes and bespoke leadership development has been introduced for all senior grades and for operational managers.

  7.10  Significant progress has also been made in the Workforce Planning Project and Hermes (the new HR IT system). Both of these projects are important in improving the CPS' ability to have the right people with the right skills, in the right place at the right time to deliver the service required.

Staff Survey 2008

  7.11  Following publication of the results of the latest Staff Survey in August 2008, workshops have taken place around the country and actions arising have been included in Area and Headquarter planning processes. Challenging targets for improvement have been agreed by the Board, with the intent that that CPS results will be in the top quartile of the Civil Service by 2012.


  8.1  Last year's Capability Review described the CPS as: "a well led organisation with many strengths, which has enabled it to transform its role, performance and reputation over recent years". Building on that endorsement, the CPS continually considers ways to improve its delivery further in order to deliver its vision of becoming truly world class and to ensure that it is a prosecution service of the highest possible quality, serving all members of the community.

December 2008



The Code for Crown Prosecutors

Annex 2



  At the end of March 2008, the CPS employed a total of 8,351 people, 54 fewer than at the same time the previous year. This includes 2,913 prosecutors and 4,946 caseworkers and administrators. Over 91% of all staff are engaged in, or support, frontline prosecutions. The CPS had 945 prosecutors able to advocate in the Crown Court and on cases in the Higher Courts and 419 DCWs able to present cases in magistrates' courts.



  In the year to March 2008 (2007-08), the CPS provided 547,649 pre-charge decisions, and completed 966,626 cases in magistrates' courts and a further 96,992 in the Crown Court. This compared with a 2006-07 workload of 584,216 pre-charge decisions, 987,981 cases in magistrates' courts, and 89,408 cases in the Crown Court.

Source: CPS

Case Outcomes

  There were continued improvements in reducing unsuccessful outcomes in CPS cases**. Magistrates' courts unsuccessful outcomes represented 14.3% of the total compared with 15.8% in the preceding year and 23.6% in 2001-02, meeting an annual target of 15%.

  Crown Court unsuccessful outcomes represented 20.7% of the total compared with 22.7% in 2006-07 and 26.8% in 2001-02. Annual performance in the Crown Court fell just outside the target of 20%: however, performance for the quarter January-March 2008 improved to 19.7%, falling just within target.

  Total unsuccessful outcomes in magistrates' courts and in the Crown Court represented 14.9% of the total compared with 16.4% in 2006-07.

Guilty pleas and contests

  During 2007-08, 641,541 defendants pleaded guilty to all charges in magistrates' courts, representing 66.4% of all completed cases, and a further 10,477 (1.1%) entered guilty pleas to some charges while others proceeded to a contested hearing. 139,618 cases (mostly minor motoring matters) were proved in the absence of the defendant, representing 14.4% of the total. 57,557 cases proceeded to a contested hearing with no guilty pleas being entered, representing 6% of the total.

  In the same period, 66,700 defendants pleaded guilty to all charges in the Crown Court, representing 68.8% of completed cases, and a further 2,542 (2.6%) pleaded guilty to some charges while others proceeded to a contested hearing. 14,164 cases proceeded to a contested hearing with no guilty pleas being entered, representing 14.6% of the total.


  The CPS budget for 2005-06 to 2007-08 was set in SR 2004 and the budget for 2008-09 to 2010-11 was set in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2007:

£ million

Administration Costs
54 525356 5553
Programme Costs546564 584580575 571
Total600 616637636 630624

  Over the three years up to 2007-08, the SR 2004 settlement represented an average increase in real terms of 3% a year.

  **Unsuccessful outcomes represent all prosecution outcomes other than a conviction (including discontinuances and acquittals after trial). These are expressed as a proportion of all defendant cases completed during the period.


The CPS Strategy and Business Plan 2008-11
4 & 4aArea Performance Assessments and Performance Dashboard
5Violence Against Women Action Plan
6CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape£_02
7CPS/Police Protocol in the Investigation and Prosecution of Rape Allegations
8 & 8aPolicy and Guidance for Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence
9Domestic Violence Good Practice Guidance
10Anti-Social Behaviour Guidance
11 & 11aAttorney General's Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas and the Prosecutor's Role in the Sentencing Exercise (2005) and its Addendum (2007)
12Prosecutors' Convention
13Director's Guidance to SOCA as to the appropriate prosecutor (not printed)
14The Prosecutors' Pledge
15Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
16Victim Focus—victim personal statement
17 & 17aPost-acquittal meetings and Pilot Guidance (not printed)
18Practice Guidance on Early Special Measures Meetings (not printed)
19CPS Policy on Children and Young People
20Jerome—a Witness in Court
21Millie the Witness
22Safeguarding Children—Guidance on Children as Victims and Witnesses
23CPS Policy on Race and Religious Hate Crime
24CPS Policy on Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime policy.pdf
25CPS Policy on Disability Hate Crime
25aCPS Crimes against older people policy
26Community Engagement Strategy (not printed and not available on internet)
27Single Equality Scheme
28Community Engagement Handbook (not printed and not available on internet)
29Community Engagement Good Practice (not printed and not available on internet)

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Prepared 6 August 2009