Tivoli Wallington, Prosecutor with CPS Direct
I joined the Prosecuting Solicitors Department in Bristol in November 1985, a week before I was admitted as a Solicitor. I'd been on an advocacy training course with Thamesdown Borough Council (in Swindon) where I was articled and had met Oliver Lovibond, the Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) of Avon and Somerset at that time, and he said he'd give me a job! Those were the days. He was as good as his word.
For me, the virtual family atmosphere on shift is one of the key features of working for CPS DirectI worked in Bristol for two years and was promoted in 1987 when I went to work in Bath. I became a Prosecution Team Leader in 1994 and returned to Bristol, eventually running the team there, managing a team of 12 or so lawyers and a similar number of support staff. I also created a Youth Team and managed that for Bristol and the surrounding area.
I left Bristol in 2003 to work for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Policy Directorate in York, leading on Domestic Violence, and later Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses.
It was during 2004-6, when my husband had joined CPS Direct that I began to see the benefits of working for CPS Direct, not least because I spent the best part of my time hurtling backwards and forwards to London and never seeing my home in daylight. I could also see the attraction of managing again, doing frontline legal work in a way that was not possible as a manager in Area or as a Policy lawyer. I also missed going to court, a part of the job that I still love.
When I joined CPS Direct in 2007 I'd been out of charging for years - the last time had been setting up a charging station in Bristol with advice provided on a triplicate form: one copy for the officer; one for the file; one in a ring-binder at the station!
At first I had three months as a Duty Prosecutor, learning the ropes and familiarising myself with all the legislation that I hadn't needed to know in Policy Directorate. In June 2007 I took on the management role I'd been employed to do and have never looked back.
I feel much sharper as a lawyer, being bang up to date on current law. I feel I know my team well now, over a year into it, in spite of hardly ever seeing them. We have such regular email contact that I'm sure I manage at least as well as in an office where we hardly ever saw each other because of court commitments.
For me, the virtual family atmosphere on shift is one of the key features of working for CPS Direct; there's a real spirit of mutual help and support between colleagues. I also enjoy working structured hours, allowing me to plan ahead, whilst retaining the flexibility to complete my administrative work at a time that's convenient to me.
I thought I would miss Policy work - so high profile - so cutting edge - but my responsibilities in CPS Direct mean that I have not lost contact with Domestic Violence and Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses, far from it.
Working for CPS Direct has also delivered personal benefits. Working from home means I see my husband and children a lot more. I also have time to myself to pursue my own interests, such as going regularly into my children's school and taking part in their activities.
Overall, I am happier here than at any other time in my career. I find I am much better at working at night than I thought I would be. I like the 21:00-05:00 shift and seem to snap to attention at 20:50 or so, and there is something really lovely at 05:00, slipping into a hot bath and knowing that bed is just across the hall. No travelling, no dress code, and a ready second opinion from the other lawyer in the house.