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The National Operating Model for Adult Rape Prosecution

|Publication, Sexual offences


Photo of Max Hill KC, DPP
Max Hill KC, Director of Public

It’s three years since the publication of RASSO 2025, our five-year strategy for driving improvements in the way we prosecute rape and serious sexual offences. I said then that our strategy must be a turning point in how we approach this complex area of work.

I also gave an honest appraisal of where I thought the criminal justice system was in our commitment to tackling rape and violence against women and girls. There was and still is a crisis of trust in criminal justice agencies who contribute to this work, including the CPS. Collective transformation of the system will take time, but the publication of our National Operating Model for the prosecution of rape is an important milestone.

RASSO 2025 has become the foundation on which further commitments were made. In 2021 the Joint National Action Plan was launched, setting out a clear joint commitment by policing and the CPS to work together to deliver improvements in both rape investigation and prosecution.

We have come a long way since then. We responded to further challenges in the Government Rape Review by launching Operation Soteria in the CPS, an ambitious programme of work to drive reform in adult rape prosecution and improve collaborative working.

Operation Soteria has given us an opportunity to identify where we can improve our practice through the testing and evaluation that has taken place. Internal evaluation and external academic research have given us a firm evidence base on which to build the new framework, focusing on the behaviour of the suspect in the case, and not the victim.

The new framework represents a step-change in our ways of working in the CPS, as we strive towards an improved service nationally. We know we must maintain momentum and continue to seek out improvements as changes are implemented across the CPS and do so in a way that enables external stakeholders to hold us to account.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the victims, witnesses, communities and stakeholders that we serve. We want everyone to trust that we will work with the police to build the strongest possible cases, focusing on the behaviour of the suspect in the case, not the victim. We know we have further to go to build that confidence in our approach. I hope that the National Operating Model will mark a significant step in delivering change and bringing about the necessary trust, assurance and support in your contact with us.

Max Hill KC, Director of Public Prosecutions


In June 2021 the Ministry of Justice published the end-to-end Cross-Government Rape Review, in which a public commitment was made to launch Operation Soteria, harnessing academic expertise to develop new national operating models for the investigation and prosecution of adult rape. Operation Soteria has been an ambitious programme of work created to transform the criminal justice response to rape and improve victim experience.

The CPS engaged an independent academic team, comprising of Professor Vanessa Munro, Dr Alice King and Lotte Young-Andrade from the University of Warwick, to undertake research in the original five Pathfinder CPS Areas and inform the development of a new national operating model for the prosecution of adult rape. In parallel, the Home Office, working with Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and an academic team (Bluestone Soteria) have led the development of a new national model for the investigation of rape. Throughout the Operation Soteria programme, the CPS and Soteria Bluestone Academics have worked closely to ensure that the two complementary models are aligned.

The CPS national operating model for the prosecution of adult rape cases is a framework that encompasses best practice, policy and tools – from the testing of innovative activities as part of the Operation Soteria pilots and those already in existence through our RASSO Unit Enhancement Programme and the Joint National Action Plan (JNAP). The framework brings these initiatives together to set a new standard, providing greater consistency nationally across the CPS. We recognised that more needed to be done to ensure victims of rape see justice. The new framework aims to support prosecutors and operational delivery staff in making this possible by providing CPS Areas with the necessary tools, guidance, and skills to carry out their roles effectively and efficiently.

The launch of the model constitutes an important milestone for the CPS, building on our commitment to continuous improvement we will continue to work with the academic team to develop our understanding of effective practice and make decisions accordingly on our national standard.

Operation Soteria in the CPS

Operation Soteria was launched in the CPS in September 2021, initially in five CPS Areas - West Midlands, Wales, London South, South West and North East. By January 2022, to complement the Metropolitan Police academic deep-dive and to adopt a pan-London approach, Soteria was extended to London North. In October 2022 we expanded Soteria to a further three CPS Areas (Wessex, South East, North West). As a result, innovative activities have been tested in 9 of our 14 Areas.

Operation Soteria is underpinned in the CPS by a test, learn, and evaluate approach - ensuring continuous improvement in our Areas. A core aim of Operation Soteria was to embed the suspect-centric approach in our approach to rape prosecutions. This means ensuring that the actions of the suspect are at the forefront of the investigation of a rape case, and that victims do not feel like they are on trial. The development of the new operating model for the prosecution of adult rape has enabled the CPS to embed the suspect-centric approach in our policies and guidance. Its implementation will drive this approach in our case strategies, from the way in which we work with policing colleagues to focus investigations and prosecutions, to the way in which we take charging decisions and instruct RASSO prosecution advocates.

Operation Soteria Bluestone and Policing

The policing aspects of Operation Soteria (sometimes known as Operation Soteria Bluestone) is a Home Office funded programme, led by the NPCC. It is a collaborative programme which has brought together police forces and academics, using evidence and new insights to enable forces to transform their response to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO).

Between January 2021 and August 2022, a team of academics conducted sequential deep dives on the police response to rape in five police forces: Avon and Somerset Police, the Metropolitan Police Service, Durham Constabulary, West Midlands Police and South Wales Police. A wide range of data and information was gathered and examined during the deep-dives - including reviews of case files, observations of investigations and training and focus groups with support services and victims.

Following the deep dives, the forces developed tailored improvement plans to address the findings. An independent report, titled ‘Operation Soteria Year One Report’, authored by the co-academic lead from the programme, Professor Betsy Stanko, was published, setting out the findings from these deep dives across the six key areas of research.

The report reinforces the findings from the Government’s End-to-End Rape Review and highlights that policing need a capable and confident workforce, which understands the nature of rape and sexual offences, and utilises this knowledge to thoroughly investigate suspects and better support victims.

The findings were used to inform the development of the national model for the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences, which is available to all police forces in England and Wales.

The Home Office and National Police Chiefs’ Council are establishing a Joint Soteria Unit, supported by the College of Policing, to oversee and support police forces as they implement the model.

The CPS have been in close collaboration with the policing aspects of the programme, including the academics who developed the model to ensure that the two models are aligned as far as possible, and in critical areas of joint working such as early advice, to ensure that we can embed our respective changes effectively.

Test, Learn and Evaluate Approach

Operation Soteria in the CPS is built on the principle of continuous improvement and is underpinned by an ethos of ‘test, learn and evaluate’. Following an internal review of best practice, six workstreams were identified as being central to the effectiveness of rape prosecutions and having considerable potential for embedding the suspect-centric approach. In each of the 6 workstreams, and all the 9 CPS Areas participating in the Soteria programme, various innovative approaches have been tested and evaluated. A 'theory of change' for each of the 6 workstreams set out the way in which performance would be improved and monitored.

Early Partnership Working on Investigations aims to increase volumes and timeliness of rape referrals by prioritising closer joint working with the police, including initiatives such as Early Advice (EA).

Action Plan Monitoring aims to improve both the quality and timeliness of action plans given to the police by the CPS, ensuring they are clear, reasonable, and proportionate.

No Further Action (NFA) Scrutiny aims to improve the quality of our decision making as an organisation, and in turn, public confidence.

Case Progression and Trial Readiness aims to reduce ineffective and vacated trials and improve the quality and timeliness of our case progression.

Supporting Victims aims to improve overall victim confidence; increase engagement with victims and support services; ensure a stronger understanding of the criminal justice system and reduce the numbers of victims dropping out of the system.

Our People aims to prioritise the learning and development and wellbeing of our own staff, by ensuring they are equipped and supported to carry out their roles to the best of their ability.

Our Evidence Base

The CPS operating model has been informed by internal evaluation, assessing performance against the theory of change, and an external evaluation, whereby an independent academic team, comprising of Professor Vanessa Munro, Dr Alice King and Lotte Young-Andrade from the University of Warwick, have undertaken research in our original five Pathfinder CPS Areas. The academic team have conducted interviews with prosecutors, police, counsel, and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs), as well as undertaking case file reviews and observations of operational training and practice. The academic team have produced their interim findings, which include:

  • Early Advice meetings have contributed to a significant positive cultural shift in the ways in which the CPS and police work together.
  • However, without the appropriate training or investment in partnership working, there is the risk that EA can be used to prematurely NFA cases.
  • Monitoring cases based on the number of action plans created, or number of items included, is unlikely to be a helpful gauge of the scope of the investigation.
  • The most effective scrutiny panels tend to be those which include a mix of (at least) CPS, police and ISVAs– which promotes diversity of thought and maximises the scope for learning.
  • However, there are still examples of scrutiny panels not being afforded the priority that their importance deserves.
  • Whilst there is good theoretical knowledge of the suspect-centric approach, the CPS can sometimes still fall short in terms of putting knowledge into practice.
  • Communication of learning from all scrutiny panels should be clear, consistent, and shared widely to a range of stakeholders.
  • There is considerable benefit to CPS input into trial strategy, and increasing the trial experience of prosecutors can amplify this.
  • There are early indications of the benefits from having a dedicated single point of CPS contact (e.g., a victim liaison officer).
  • There is evidence of considerable improvement in CPS partnership working with ISVAs, through enhanced communication, involvement in case scrutiny and ISVA-led learning.
  • There is a need and appetite for structured training and development (for all RASSO Staff), with a particular focus on enhancing the welfare provision for RASSO Units.

You can download the full interim report via the link at the bottom of this page. We will reproduce the report as a separate web page shortly.

The academic team will continue to carry out evaluation post-implementation of the national operating model, up to November 2023, to ensure our work remains ambitious, built on best practice and in a position to deliver a consistent service, nationally.

To complement the academic research, we have also conducted in parallel an extensive internal evaluation. This expands our evidence base and builds rigour into the development of the framework. It also allows us to capture learning from the Operation Soteria expansion Areas which are not covered in the academic report. Our findings mirrored that of the academic team.

The national operating model is a culmination of a variety of expertise and specialisms – informed by a shared goal to improve the handling of adult rape cases nationally. We have worked closely with policing partners, frontline staff, and other government departments to ensure that the model is grounded in operational reality and fit to effect truly sustainable change in our approach to adult rape prosecution.

The CPS has also benefited from the expertise of specialist sexual violence sector organisations in this work.  We are grateful to them for their contributions, which have played a central role in the way in which the operating model has been developed. A list of all agencies involved can be found at Annex A.

The operating model framework

Under the principle of continuous improvement, the framework takes best practice policy and tools developed from the Joint National Action Plan (JNAP) and testing of initiatives in the Operation Soteria programme. It brings them together to set a new standard for prosecutors and operational delivery staff to follow and achieve greater consistency across the service.

Our Overarching Aim:

To transform how we prosecute adult rape, bringing more offenders to justice and building victims’ trust.


  1. Build stronger adult rape prosecutions, at an earlier stage through early advice and consultation with police investigators, with a refocus on the suspect.
  2. Increase confidence in our decision making, ensuring action plans are proportionate and reasonable, including requests for digital and third-party material.
  3. Working in partnership with police, prosecution advocates, ISVA services and the Courts to ensure effective case progression and a reduction in cracked, vacated and ineffective trials.
  4. Reduce victim attrition and increase public confidence by enhancing our approach to victim care, understanding their needs in the criminal justice process, and building a better understanding of our role. 
  5. Transform our culture, improving staff learning, confidence and prioritising staff wellbeing.

Leadership & Accountability:

This new framework represents a unique opportunity to implement sustainable change in our prosecuting practices. This is merely the beginning of our transformational journey, and we recognise that much more will need to be done to fully embed the suspect-centric approach. Our independent academic team will continue to carry out evaluation post-implementation, up to November 2023, to ensure our work remains ambitious and built on best practice. It is expected that through further evaluation, academic insight, and operational feedback the model will continue to develop and enhance our response to adult rape prosecutions.

Delivering robust leadership through clear governance and accountability is critical to the success of this framework. We know that these important changes do not take place in a vacuum and understand the critical role that leadership plays. At the Area level, we are increasing local leadership resourcing and providing all our Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Units with an additional legal manager whose primary role will be to embed the new framework and enhance partnership engagement with their local police forces. We are also mandating our wellbeing offer for managers, ensuring that local leadership have the necessary resilience to provide the necessary support to their staff.

In addition to local leadership, senior leaders will play a pivotal role in embedding truly sustainable change. Our senior leaders will continue to emphasise the importance of the cultural changes needed and serve as our internal and external champions for this transformative approach. We will also be reviewing our internal governance processes to drive delivery and hold leaders to account for local performance.

We will continue to use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data to measure progress and manage performance, identifying and sharing areas of best practice. To hold ourselves to account and be transparent with our performance we will continue to publish information through mechanisms such as the criminal justice delivery dashboards which will demonstrate progress across the whole criminal justice system, and with our CPS quarterly data releases, which we are currently reviewing to see what additional data could be added. We will also continue to engage with our external consultation stakeholder group on the best ways we can share data to enable them to hold us to account for implementation of the model. By having information publicly accessible, we can showcase our improvements and invite challenge where appropriate. We will also establish a new Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Insights and Analysis Group, utilising data from our 14 CPS Areas to identify themes of organisational importance and commissioning further work where needed. Internally, the CPS have also launched a new rape data dashboard using Power BI. The new dashboard improves our understanding of national and area level rape performance, underpin our analysis and insight activity, support policy development and drive continuous improvement in our operational delivery.

We will continue to work with His Majesty’s CPS Inspectorate (HMCPSI) on future inspections to acknowledge progress achieved and encourage external challenge, utilising recommendations to further develop the framework and ensure we are meeting our duties to victims.

We will continue to enhance our local engagement with our communities and external stakeholders through opportunities such as rape scrutiny panels and our external consultation stakeholder group. Rape scrutiny panels will serve to analyse our decisions, and the underlying processes, including the quality of early advice provided to police, proportionality of action plans and adoption of a suspect-centric approach. By having external input in these conversations, we demonstrate our commitment to continuous learning, and are able to access local expertise to enhance the quality of our decision-making. National rape scrutiny panels further build on this commitment, addressing systemic CPS themes with external partners in attendance to improve operational practice in the broadest sense.

Early Partnership Working on Investigations

By ensuring that the police and CPS are working together at the outset of a case, we can build better investigations earlier, reduce delays and ultimately increase the number of offenders brought to justice. We have strived to create a collaborative environment between police and the CPS by focusing on learning and development for our prosecutors, emphasising communication and embedding better collaboration.

We will:

Have an agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on early advice between CPS Areas and local police forces, setting out the following:

  • Provision of early advice will be provided within 21 working days.
  • This will ensure that police are provided with robust advice, focussing on pursuing all reasonable lines of enquiry in a timely manner to better benefit victims in their case.
  • An offer of an early advice discussion between the CPS and police.
    • Clear communication is central to partnership working, so ensuring productive conversations are taking place can assist in reducing the amount of back-and-forth between the CPS and police, and ensure any issues are addressed at an earlier stage and in a timely manner.

Have clear joint CPS-Police guidance on early advice:

  • This will ensure consistent and high-quality advice is being provided to the police in all CPS Areas, assisting in the efficient investigation of all reasonable lines of enquiry. Joint guidance will also be key to make sure that the police are aware of the benefits of early advice and encourage them to utilise it in all suitable cases.

Continue to work with policing partners to promote the joint benefits of dedicated case file quality supervision:

  • Our internal evaluation has shown that there is real benefit in having dedicated police supervisors and criminal justice support (sometimes known as gatekeepers or evidence review officers) carrying out reviews of investigative strategy and case file quality compliance. This reflects the importance of the role of supervision in the investigations map identified in the police national operating model.

“The Cumbria early advice pilot has significantly improved police and CPS relationships and has enabled the CPS and senior Cumbria officers to support less experienced officers in their investigative and disclosure strategy”.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West

Action Plan Monitoring

Ensuring that the CPS are providing police with action plans that focus on reasonable lines of enquiry can reduce delays in investigation and prosecution, improve overall victim engagement and build confidence in our processes. We will focus on enhancing engagement and communication between police and CPS at the pre-charge stage and prioritise scrutiny of action plans. Coupling this with learning and development, we can ensure that best practice is sustainably embedded across the CPS.

We will:

Offer a Pre-Charge discussion with the police officer in charge (OIC):

  • By encouraging the police OIC and CPS to meet at the Pre-Charge stage, we can forego unnecessary action plans through open communication.

Mandate regular Joint Operational Improvement Meetings (JOIMs), specifically focussed on RASSO, with all police forces, which will include multi-agency scrutiny of the proportionality of action plans, linked to thematic learning:

  • By scrutinising the proportionality of action plans alongside policing partners, we can encourage adoption of a ‘multi-agency’ lens, ensuring our approach to adult rape cases is joined-up.
  • By having clear JOIM guidance and identifying themes in our action plan setting and then cascading this learning, we can embed sustainable change and progress cases in an efficient and timely manner.

Ensure smart and intuitive digital solutions are at the heart of our data capture and monitoring:

  • Our internal data experts have already made significant headway in improving how we capture data as an organisation, including through the development of a comprehensive Power BI rape data dashboard.

Update the standardised national process and introduce guidance for cases marked in the CPS as ‘pending response further investigation’ (PRFI):

  • We will establish a new process for early advice cases, ensuring cases are monitored and updates provided regularly between the police and CPS in these cases. We will commit to publishing these figures separately and further breaking down the PRFI category to allow for improved transparency in these figures. We will produce joint escalation guidance with police to work to reduce the PRFI volumes for cases referred to the CPS by police for a full charging decision and PRFI volumes will be a standing agenda item on RASSO JOIMs.

No Further Action Scrutiny

Through scrutiny processes, conducted alongside our police and voluntary sector partners, we can ensure that we are maximising learning and placing empathy for victims at the heart of our decision-making. By utilising a multi-agency approach, involving academics, ISVA services and other specialist sexual violence organisations, we can cast a fresh perspective on CPS decision making and ensure the opportunity for valuable learning and development opportunities.

We will:

Hold regular Rape Scrutiny Panels, at least quarterly in every CPS Area, ensuring multi-agency representation:

  • By involving multiple agencies, CPS and police decision-making will benefit from the expertise of a range of subject matter experts, including academics and voluntary sector specialist organisations. The perspective offered by victim support services, including ISVAs and Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs), will be critical in ensuring that empathy is central to CPS processes.

Be equipped to conduct regular scrutiny, through bespoke national guidance:

  • We will be clear through our guidance that there should be a minimum standard for these panels, including the thematic focus of panels, and the way in which cases involving minoritized victims will be fully included in the process. This will allow us to properly reflect and address issues in the communities we serve, ensuring organisations can challenge us on important themes.
  • The guidance will also cover other key aspects such as how we select the cases that are considered on our panels, the make-up of the panels and what format they will take to best ensure learning and feedback can be captured and cascaded.

Embed effective mechanisms to cascade learning locally and nationally, utilising senior CPS leaders:

  • We will ensure we hold periodic national panels to share learning more widely, also involving external experts, and including regular engagement with our CPS RASSO Unit Heads who will champion sharing local insights on a national scale.
  • We will commit to evaluating and publishing our rape scrutiny insights annually, ensuring transparency and public trust in our decision-making.

Case Progression and Trial Readiness

We will ensure our staff ‘think trial’ from the outset of a case. By ensuring that trial strategy is at the forefront of case development and by effective engagement with prosecution advocates, we can ensure that we are best placed to delivering justice in the courts. We want to equip all our staff with the tools and knowledge they need to work in our rape and serious sexual offences units, acknowledging the vital role everyone plays alongside our specialist prosecutors.

We will:

Have a nationally consistent approach to instructing prosecution advocates:

  • This will include guidance for those instructing prosecution advocates, ensuring that our trial strategy and case information is effectively conveyed to the courtroom - enhancing our ability to deliver justice at trial.

Have a dedicated Case Progression Manager:

  • By resourcing Case Progression Managers in all our RASSO Units, we will ensure our lawyers have the time and space to focus on case strategy, whilst our Operational Delivery staff focus on liaising across the criminal justice system to progress cases in a timely manner.
  • We will also ensure a comprehensive learning package for our paralegals, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role. This will include regular court attendance to increase their exposure to complex legal issues.

Commit to having dedicated and sustainable resource in our RASSO Units:

  • The complexities in prosecuting rape cases requires specific skills and experienced prosecutors to deliver justice in every case. As police referrals rise, so does the demand for experienced prosecutors.
  • We will commit to ensuring each of our RASSO Units will have a Legal Manager appointed to help lead our teams of prosecutors, and we are working towards meeting our ambition under the Rape Review to increase our RASSO Units by 194 FTE.

Continue to deliver our wider programme of work improving case strategies:

  • A 12-month plan is being launched to support prosecutors to produce a bespoke case strategy in every case that demonstrates excellent legal decision making, professional accountability and a clear route to a just outcome.

“We monitor all adverse outcomes, and a report is written for each unsuccessful case.  These reports are used to identify trends which can be shared with the whole team improving our service to victims and witnesses. We also use the learning to run decision-making classes. The feedback from the team has been extremely positive, and prosecutors report feeling more confident in their decision making”.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West

Supporting Victims

By improving our offer to victims, we can build trust, empathy and compassion into our service and improve overall victim engagement and satisfaction with the criminal justice process. Supported by our long-term Victim Transformation Programme (VTP), we will deliver an improved universal service offer to all victims of crime, enhance the service we provide to victims with the greatest needs, and strengthen our victim communication and engagement.

We will:

Have a dedicated Victim Liaison Officer in all our RASSO Units:

  • We will commit valuable dedicated resource to our engagement with victims, ensuring that there is a single point of contact within all CPS Areas. This will reduce the potential for delayed communication and help improve the quality of our victim engagement.
  • This will be coupled with a comprehensive training programme to ensure they have the appropriate tools and skills required.

Increase our engagement with ISVAs and the voluntary sector:

  • We recognise the value in engaging with victim support services, so we will ensure all CPS Areas include ISVAs in their scrutiny of victim communications, have dedicated ISVA mailboxes for a direct communication channel, and promote consistent application of our ISVA Framework.
  • By including expert voluntary organisations in our victim communication scrutiny, we can ensure that our engagement with victims is rooted in expert guidance and accommodates the victim perspective, maintaining empathy at the heart of our processes. 

Deliver our wider Victim Transformation Programme, which will include an enhanced offer to victims of rape and serious sexual offences, with an increased focus on victim communication and a new right for victims to be offered a meeting:

  • By ensuring that we keep victims updated at key stages of their case, we can build confidence in our organisation and reduce the risk of victims disengaging with the process. As part of our victim transformation programme, we will prioritise adult victims of rape and serious sexual assault as the first group to receive this service.
  • Our prosecution team will offer victims a meeting once they have been notified that a case is proceeding to trial as part of the new Victims Code. This will give them the opportunity to discuss what happens next and ask any questions they might have about the process. We will train our staff so that they are better able to meet victims’ needs.
  • We are also establishing a Victim Reference Group to hear directly from victims as we develop our new service. Victims’ voices will be central to our efforts to transform our service.

“This collaborative approach has established strong partnerships, ensuring that victims are updated and that victims are properly supported through the criminal justice process. The meetings have been described by one ISVA as ‘game changing’’.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS Cymru Wales

Our People

By investing in the development and wellbeing of our people, we can maintain a comprehensive, modern and compassionate service both now and in the future. By focusing on wellbeing, we will build resilience through an engaged and supported workforce. We will instil a suspect-centric mindset in our prosecutors. Coupling this with a comprehensive RASSO training package and refresher courses, will ensure that our people maintain knowledge that is current, relevant, and fit for purpose.

We will:

Have bespoke training on the ‘suspect-centric’ approach to case management:

  • By ensuring that our people are upskilled on the ‘suspect-centric’ approach, we can ensure that case progression is built around offending behaviours and is compassionate towards the needs of the victim.
  • The ‘suspect centric’ approach will be embedded throughout all wider training materials.

Focus on professionalising the work of all our RASSO staff – through clinical supervision, refresher training and encouraging courtroom exposure:

  • Regular clinical supervision for those working in the challenging field of RASSO will proactively address wellbeing, compassion fatigue and career concerns in a way that is tailored to the individual - ensuring that our workforce remains ambitious, healthy, and engaged throughout their work.
  • We will also extend aspects of our wellbeing offer to all RASSO prosecution advocates.

Ensure a consistent, high-quality national training programme is available, including refresher courses and self-study materials:

  • By providing our people with refresher courses (at least bi-annually) and self-study materials, we can embed a culture of learning in our RASSO Units, ensuring that our knowledge and skillset is current and comprehensive.
  • The overarching training package will be a golden thread throughout our operating model, ensuring our RASSO specialists are maximising use of early advice, setting effective and proportionate action plans, and convening scrutiny panels on our work that enable our people to benefit from external expertise.

“The legal leadership team uses anonymised case studies created from unsuccessful cases to run decision-making classes… there is consistent focus on the suspect-centric approach to develop and improve decision making and prosecution strategy...

The feedback from the team has been extremely positive, and prosecutors report feeling more confident in decision making and casework strategy recording in reviews is much improved.” 

Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West

Implementation and next steps

The CPS will deliver the national operating model through an incremental approach, building on existing work through the Joint National Action Plan, the outputs of Operation Soteria, and a focus on a suspect centric approach.

Implementation will be supported through:

  • delivery of a range of products to support the approach
  • development and delivery of professional support, including training and clinical supervision
  • continuing recruitment of the right people to the right post to support cultural change

A national implementation plan is in place, supported through local discussions to enable each CPS Area to progress to full delivery of the national model. Implementation will commence from July 2023 and will continue throughout 2024 as various products are developed, embedded, and reviewed to support continuous improvement. We will continue to engage with Operation Soteria Bluestone and policing colleagues on delivery of the policing model and associated products to maintain alignment, alongside work with wider CPS programmes including the victim transformation programme to align change and support complementary actions.

The framework provides standardised expectations that will further develop as implementation rolls out and the benefits of change through the CPS and policing are delivered. Internal governance processes will monitor implementation and provide a support and challenge function alongside local opportunities that include stakeholder and third-party engagement to continue to drive local improvements.

The success of implementation will be evaluated internally alongside the outcome of the further external academic evaluation which will support the continued development of the model.


As part of the Operation Soteria Consultation Group, we have engaged and consulted with the below organisations and government departments:

  • Home Office 
  • Ministry of Justice 
  • National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) 
  • College of Policing 
  • Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) 
  • Attorney General’s Office (AGO) 
  • Emily Hunt, Independent Adviser to the Rape Review   
  • Office of the Victims’ Commissioner   
  • Claire Waxman - London Victim’s Commissioner  
  • Office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • Rape Crisis England and Wales
  • The Survivors Trust
  • National Ugly Mugs
  • Galop
  • Southall Black Sisters
  • Women’s Aid
  • Welsh Women’s Aid  
  • Stay Safe East
  • End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition (EVAW)
  • Centre for Women’s Justice
  • LimeCulture ISVA service
  • A representative from a Sexual Assault Referral Centre or NHS
  • Respond
  • Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRs)
  • Women’s Resource Centre
  • The Traveller Movement

Available to download

Operation Soteria Interim Academic Findings Report (PDF, 697b) NB: we will reproduce this report as a web page shortly.

Further reading

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