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


Memorandum submitted by the Whitehall Prosecutors' Group

JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE OF THE PROSECUTOR—WRITTEN MEMORANDUM ON BEHALF OF THE WHITEHALL PROSECUTORS' GROUP

  1.  On behalf of the Whitehall Prosecutors' Group ("WPG") I would like to thank the Justice Committee for the invitation to submit written evidence about our work for consideration as part of the Committee's Inquiry into the role of the prosecutor.

  2.  The WPG, as the name suggests, is a coming together of senior members of the various governmental prosecuting authorities for the purpose of sharing knowledge, discussing and co-ordinating action on issues of mutual concern and acting as a voice for our members. Please find enclosed: Appendix A, our terms of reference and Appendix B, a list of the organisations that are invited attend our meetings. We believe that one of our strengths lies in the diversity of the voices represented, from the large well-known prosecuting authorities such as the Revenue & Customs Prosecuting Office through to the smaller, more regulatory-focussed organisations.

  3.  We meet quarterly but communicate regularly by email between meetings. Recent agenda items that have generated a high level of interest and fruitful collaborative working have been: a "refreshing" of the Prosecutors' Convention, proposed changes to the Code for Crown Prosecutors, data security between government litigators and counsel at the independent Bar, and the Fraud Review and the development of Attorney General's guidelines on the Plea Discussions Framework in Cases of Serious or Complex Fraud.

  4.  Reporting to our quarterly meetings are four practitioner sub-groups, each specialising in a key aspect of prosecutorial work: confiscation and asset recovery; disclosure; international issues; and investigative powers. The sub-groups identify key developments in law and practice in their respective areas and support prosecutors in their day to day work by providing expertise, guidance and sign-posting on the prosecutors' section of the Legal Information Online Network ("LION") intranet site. WPG also receives regular updates from the Prosecutors' Training Steering Group about the training and development opportunities afforded by the Government Legal Service in conjunction with the National School of Government.

  5.  I hope that this information enhances the Committee's understanding of the co-operation and joint-working that is facilitated by the WPG in support of the valuable work of all of the organisations that prosecute on behalf of the government.

Susanna McGibbon

Chair

1 April 2009

APPENDIX A

WHITEHALL PROSECUTORS' GROUP: TERMS OF REFERENCE

  To consider issues relating to prosecution work undertaken on behalf of government departments and other public bodies with a view to:

    (a) sharing knowledge, in particular in relation to legal and other developments affecting government prosecutors;

    (b) providing a forum for prosecuting lawyers where issues of mutual concern can be discussed;

    (c) acting as a co-ordinating body for its members on issues of concern; and

    (d) where appropriate, acting as a voice for the non-CPS prosecuting community within Whitehall.

  The Group will meet these aims through quarterly plenary meetings and through the dissemination of information to the members of the Group at other times. The Group will also establish standing sub-groups to consider particular issues in greater depth. These sub-groups will report back to the plenary meetings of the Group.

APPENDIX B

BODIES INVITED TO ATTEND MEETINGS OF THE WHITEHALL PROSECUTORS' GROUP

Attorney General's Office;

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs;

Her Majesty's Treasury;

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform;

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;

Department for Transport;

Department for Work & Pensions;

Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office;

Serious Fraud Office;

Treasury Solicitors Department;

Naval Prosecuting Authority;

Royal Air Force;

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Office;

National Assembly for Wales;

Bank of England;

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency;

Environment Agency;

Health and Safety Executive;

Maritime and Coastguard Agency;

National Health Service;

Office for Criminal Justice Reform;

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency;

Financial Services Authority;

Gambling Commission;

Healthcare Commission;

Information Commissioner's Office;

Office of the Rail Regulator;

Crown Prosecution Service (observer).





 
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