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

Memorandum submitted by the Solicitor General


  I am writing to inform you of key decisions that the Attorney General and the Directors of her Departments have made as a result of the Law Officers' Departments' Strategy Programme. You are aware that our Strategic Board has been examining the Departments to ensure that we have prosecution, fraud and legal services which are effective for the future. The Attorney referred to this work in her Memorandum of Evidence to the Committee for your current Inquiry into the Work of the Crown Prosecution Service.

  First, we have decided to bring together the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office with the CPS in order to deliver enhanced prosecution services to the public. This will create a more flexible and resilient organisation with increased capability in specialist, complex casework. The new organisation will prosecute cases investigated by the police, SOCA, HMRC and UKBA and provide a single-interface for investigators.

  Work on integration of the Departments will start now, building on the strengths of both CPS and RCPO. The merger will take place during 2009-10, with further consolidation in 2010-11. Legally, both CPS and RCPO will continue to exist, but for practical purposes we will bring them together under one banner. For a transitional period, David Green QC will lead an HMRC prosecution service within the new combined service, reporting directly to the Attorney General.

  Secondly, we will continue our work to improve the fraud landscape. This is a highly complex area and we must ensure that we are addressing the big issues. Both the Serious Fraud Office and the National Fraud Strategic Authority are committed to developing this, examining whether we have the right arrangements in place for the investigation and prosecution of serious fraud. We will examine this with other players across Government and the enforcement and regulation communities in the light of evidence and analysis.

  Thirdly, the Law Officers' Departments have also decided in principle to develop shared corporate services. This is an opportunity to provide a more effective service as well as enhanced value for money.

  We will now be establishing the next phase of our Strategy Programme to deliver the change and will continue close working CJS and other partners throughout this process.

  The Attorney or I would be very happy to discuss further with you if that would be helpful. We will keep you informed of key next steps in the transition as they arise.

Vera Baird, QC MP

8 April 2009

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