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Crown Prosecution Service Accessible Communication: Public Statement

About the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

The CPS is the principal criminal prosecuting authority in England and Wales; we are responsible for:

  • Advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • Reviewing cases submitted by police
  • Determining the charge in the more serious and complex cases
  • Preparing cases for court
  • Presenting cases at court

Why we have made this statement

For more information about the CPS, including our Core Quality Standards which set out what level of service can be expected from us, please see our website.

The CPS is committed to digital working and becoming a fully digital service. As part of this commitment we will ensure that the information we provide to the public about who we are and what we do is accessible to everyone.

This statement explains what we do in order to make our information and communications accessible, in other words, what we do to make sure that everyone can easily get the information they need, and that it is easy to understand.

By communications we mean all the different ways in which we communicate with people including telephone calls, meetings, presentations, public events, publications, our intranet and website, press releases, working with media (e.g. TV, newspapers, radio etc), emails and written correspondence.

The Equality Act 2010 places a legal obligation on public authorities including the CPS, to promote equality, consider the needs of all individuals in our day to day work and to publish data in a manner that is reasonably accessible to the public. For more information, please see the Equality Act guidance on GOV.UK.

To fulfil our duties under the Act, this statement illustrates how we anticipate the needs of disabled people and take positive steps to make sure disabled people can access our services, for example, by providing alternative formats of our publications and information.

The Victims' Code

When we communicate with all victims and witnesses we are guided by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (the 'Victims' Code'). The Victims' Code identifies the CPS as a 'service provider' required to provide services to victims of crime; it sets out a minimum standard of service and aims to ensure that victims are provided with timely accurate information about their case at all stages of the criminal justice process.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime can be found on the CPS website along with all other relevant CPS legal guidance.

This statement does not cover the process for Freedom of Information requests; this process is handled by the Freedom of Information Unit. For more information, please see elsewhere on this website.

How we aim to make communications accessible

1. Communicating with us by telephone or in person

We will always speak to people who contact our service with respect and give information in a way that is clear and understandable.

The CPS welcomes calls from Typetalk users. Typetalk is a service managed by Action on Hearing Loss (previously called RNID) enabling members of the public with hearing impairments, who have the required equipment, to make telephone calls. For more information on Typetalk and how to use it, click here for the Typetalk website.

To meet the needs of disabled, vulnerable or intimidated victims and prosecution witnesses we will apply to the court for 'special measures' at the earliest opportunity. These are changes to the court process or environment.

Where a prosecution witness is to give evidence through an interpreter, because they are disabled or do not have English as their first language, it is the responsibility of the CPS to arrange for an appropriately qualified interpreter to attend court.

For people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment the CPS will arrange the use of a registered British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter or a Lipspeaker (for those who do not know or use BSL).

Where necessary, the CPS will also make sure that in face to face meetings arranged by us, all of the people who attend can fully take part. This includes organising access to spoken language interpreters, registered BSL interpreters or Lipspeakers.

2. Making our website accessible

The CPS will make certain that our websites are accessible by continuing to ensure compliance with all Government-wide website standards for accessibility. A separate and specific document about this is available on the CPS website.

We aim to publish all our public facing documents online for easy access.

3. Making written documents easy to understand

We aim to follow Plain English guidance when developing all written documents for the public. This means we will aim to reduce jargon and help to make our information clear and concise so that it can be understood by everyone.

For further information regarding the use of Plain English, please visit the Plain English Campaign's website.

We explain what the CPS does in our main publications, and if appropriate we provide a glossary of terms used in a publication. All of our public policies are available to the public on our website. In some cases a summarised version of the policy is also available. We no longer issue printed policies, however they can be made available on request by telephoning 020 3357 0913, emailing publicity.branch@cps.gsi.gov.uk or alternatively, they can be collected from your local CPS office.

We will follow Government guidelines and guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which will help us to make sure that the performance data we provide to the public can be understood – this relates to how we present our data and how we provide the written explanation of the data.

4. Providing information in different languages and formats

Everyone should be able to access information on an equal basis. Therefore, when we produce a public facing document for our website we will consider the need for translation into other languages and alternative formats.

Existing translations and alternative formats of our publications are available on our website.

Language

It is a legal requirement that our key public facing documents that set out how to do business with the CPS are available on our website in the same formats and in both the English and Welsh languages. The CPS' Welsh Language Scheme sets out the criteria for which documents we publish in Welsh. The key CPS publications available in Welsh are available elsewhere on the CPS website. This statement is also available in Welsh.

Some of our main publications on our website are translated into languages other than English and Welsh. If you would like to request a publication in a language not already available, you will need to contact your local CPS office to see if it can be ordered. However, this will be considered on a case by case basis and you may need to organise the translation independently.

Alternative Formats

We aim to ensure where possible that publications and information are available to those who need them in the format which best suits their needs, for example as plain text, Braille, audio or Easy Read.

5. Communicating through the media

We explain and promote the work of the CPS to national and local media. As part of this, we actively engage with media outlets whose primary audiences are specialist and diverse, such as black and minority ethnic, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), disabled, youth and older people. These outlets include online, print and broadcast.

6. Consulting and engaging with diverse communities

The CPS engages with diverse communities to raise awareness of the CPS and what we do, provide us with feedback on our performance, promote equality and inform us of local and national priorities. This includes consultation on public policies and scrutiny of our performance.

When we engage with communities we aim to do this in ways which meet people's diverse needs, for example by considering the location, timing and format of the consultation.

7. Handling feedback and complaints

Members of the public are welcome to provide feedback or make a complaint about any aspect of our service by using our online or printed form, email and telephone.

You can find the form and view our full Feedback and Complaints guidance, in accessible formats, by going to the Feedback and Complaints section of this website.

We aim to acknowledge receipt of the form within three working days and to fully respond to complaints within 20 working days. All feedback received will be recorded and analysed in order to identify improvements which can be made to develop our services so that they continue to meet the needs of the public.

The feedback and complaints form can also be downloaded and printed from the CPS website and sent via email or post to the relevant CPS area. Email addresses for all CPS offices are available on our website.

Contact us about this statement

We welcome feedback on how accessible our communications are and how they can be improved.

All requests for reasonable adjustments (a change that would make it easier for disabled people to communicate with us) will be considered.

To provide feedback, please use the process described in Section 7.