003/HMCPSI

Chief responds to Inspectorate report

28/03/2011

Chief Crown Prosecutor responds to HMCPSI report on CPS Mersey-Cheshire

Paul Whittaker, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Mersey-Cheshire, responded to the report from the HMCPS Inspectorate saying that while the report was a realistic assessment of the Area's position at the time, improvements have already been made which build on their recommendations.

Mr Whittaker said: "The inspection process was extremely beneficial and helped us to focus our existing plans for improvement on the areas which would make the most difference."

The Inspection process took place over two weeks in October and November 2010, when Inspectors assessed casework and processes as well as observing court sessions across Merseyside and Cheshire.

"The report does reflect where we were when the inspections took place and while we are disappointed with our performance in some areas, especially on Merseyside, we had already started to make changes to reverse this and this work is continuing. 

"We are improving the standard and consistency of our decision making for the more routine cases, so that they align to the high quality work we do for the most serious and complex cases.  

"Our case progression teams are ensuring that we are more proactive when managing our caseload and our innovative early guilty plea scheme is continuing to achieve results and identify where justice can be achieved swiftly.

"Since the Inspection, a national restructure has been announced which will streamline our senior management team, allow us to reiterate our vision and set the foundations which will ensure we work as one Area. This also offers us the opportunity to take advantage of economies of scale and share specialist skills and best practice across Merseyside and Cheshire."

Mr Whittaker highlighted the positive aspects of the report. "Good work is undertaken in our Complex Casework Unit and the advocacy strategy across the region was assessed favourably. Financially, we have worked hard to control costs and are continuing to operate within budget. Finally, we could demonstrate examples of good service towards victims.

"The inspectors did say that improvement was apparent even at the time of the inspection and that they are confident that the recent structural changes provide a good platform for the area to build on. While we recognise that there is still more to do, I wholeheartedly agree with this."

end

For more information contact Sharon King, communications manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire, on 0151 239 6465.

Click here to read the full report on the HMCPSI website.