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Minutes of the CPS Board meeting 17 December 2014


Peter Lewis (Chair)
Jim Brisbane
Paul Staff
Alan Jenkins
Jeremy Newman


Jack Newby
Dave Cass
Stephen Shaw
Mark Summerfield
Patrick Harwood
Steve White


Hannah Kappler
Helen Kershaw

Item 1: Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising

1. The minutes of the last meeting held on 23 September 2014 were agreed. The one action arising from the previous meeting was now closed.

Item 2: Strategic Update

2. The Chief Executive updated the Board on the following:

  • High Profile Casework
  • AGO Review Meetings
  • HQ Review
  • Disability Action Plan
  • Recent Senior Staff Appointments
  • Activity of DPP since the last Board meeting in September

3. Jim Brisbane provided further updates on Transforming Summary Justice (TSJ), the current review of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Units and Lord Justice Leveson’s review of court efficiency.

4. The Non-Executive Directors updated the Board on their recent meeting with the Attorney General and matters raised. This included discussion on the need for a more active communications strategy to promote CPS successes and good news stories.

5. The recent senior management conference was discussed and ideas were suggested for the 2015 event.

ACTION 1: Director of Communications to be invited to the next Board Meeting and provide a paper on work already being undertaken and next steps.

ACTION 2: Senior Managers Conference 2015 to be added to the June 2015 Board agenda.

Item 3: SR Review 2015

6. Paul Staff outlined planning for the next spending review period and said a detailed analysis would be completed within the next five weeks. The Board highlighted the impact of future caseload trends and the capability of the organisation to deal with these. The future structure of the organisation was also discussed.

Item 4: Q2 Corporate Performance Report

7. Jack Newby presented the Q2 Corporate Performance Report. The Board's views were sought on whether the overall content and format provided sufficient visibility on progress and what specific issues should be focused on in advance of the next Departmental Improvement Plan (DIP). Jack Newby said the date of the challenge session was not yet confirmed but that a pre-election publication date for the DIP was likely.

8. The Board made the following comments:

  • Absence levels were a weakness.
  • Not achieving all the measures in the plan was understandable but it was important to be honest about what had been achieved.
  • It would be helpful to have further information on how measuring digitalisation would be achieved.
  • It was important to identify true CPS performance wherever possible, recognising that a number of agencies contribute to the overall performance of the system.
  • They key issue was to ensure there was good data, that the organisation understood it and that programmes were in place to deal with any issues.

ACTION 3: Jim Brisbane to meet with Jack Newby to discuss ways of measuring digitalisation.

Item 5: Q2 Area Performance Review

9. Dave Cass provided an overview of the key aspects of Q2 Area performance. The following points were highlighted for the Board to note:

  • There had been a small overall decline in performance but Q2 tended to be the most challenging quarter.
  • There had been improvement in the bigger Areas such as London and West Midlands but a decline in some of the smaller Areas.
  • Following an action from the previous Board meeting in September some comparative data had been included in the report for Central Casework Divisions.

10. Jim Brisbane provided a further narrative on how performance was monitored in the Central Casework Divisions, explaining the Director's Case Management and Sensitive Case List review processes.

ACTION 4: Sensitive Case List assurance process to be added to a future CPS Board agenda.

Item 6: Independent Assessor of Complaints Report

11. Stephen Shaw, Independent Assessor of Complaints for CPS, provided an overview of the headlines from his bi-annual report (covering a six month period from April – September 2014). He also presented his first audit of complaints that had not progressed beyond stages one and two of the CPS Complaints Procedure. He highlighted the following points:

  • There had been a continued increase in the number of complaints received.
  • The quality of stage two replies was impressive and it was clear lessons had been learnt.
  • The CPS had brought itself in line with the rest of the Civil Service in terms of providing compensation.
  • The complaints audit showed there had been an overall improvement in the way the CPS handled complaints.
  • Receiving information from the Area in a timely manner was still sometimes a challenge.

12. Views from the Board were sought on whether future reports should focus on a specific Area or type of case. It was agreed that the next report should continue to take an across the board approach.

ACTION 5: Board Secretariat to liaise to Director of Communications regarding timely publication of the annual complaints report and the CPS response to it.

ACTION 6: Board Secretariat to liaise with Parliamentary Complaints Unit to ensure a new escalation process is put in place, should there be any delays in the Independent Assessor of Complaints receiving information required from the Areas.

Item 7: Nominations and Governance Committee Annual Report

13. Derek Manuel presented the first annual report of the Nominations and Governance Committee. He outlined the remit and membership of the Committee, along with the work undertaken during the year. He said that a separate meeting was planned with the DPP to discuss succession planning for the CPS Board and its associated Committees.

Item 8: Talent Management and Succession Planning

14. Derek Manuel introduced the paper, explaining it followed discussions at the October meeting of the Nominations and Governance Committee. Mark Summerfield updated the Board on the current talent management list and succession planning table, along with work being undertaken on monitoring diversity data.

15. It was agreed the Nominations and Governance Committee would review the succession planning table in June and report back to the Board thereafter with an update. Formal reporting would be annually in December.

ACTION 7: Board Secretariat to add to the NGC agenda for June and Board agenda for July and December.

Item 9: People Survey 2014 - Results and Analysis

16. Mark Summerfield and Steve White presented the results and analysis of the recent People Survey. It was noted that Employee Engagement Index had reduced slightly by 1% but the response rate at increased to 62%. The results showed a mixed picture and further detailed analysis of each individual Area was required due to the complex picture. The Board made a number of observations:

  • If the results are mixed then a variable response seemed appropriate.
  • CCPs could be invited to present to the Board on their People Survey results in the same way they do on performance.
  • More should be done to emphasise the value of working for the CPS amongst staff.
  • Further work was required on creating a "corporate brand", being more active in celebrating success and instilling a sense of pride in staff. Celebrating success could be the theme of the next Senior Managers Conference.
  • There needs to be a better understanding of which leaders are better at tasks and which are better at people matters.

17. It was noted that the demographic breakdown was not available but would be brought to the next Board meeting.

Item 10: Corporate Governance

18. Helen Kershaw presented a paper on revised CPS corporate governance arrangements and took the opportunity to thank Rachel Gough, Board Secretariat for her excellent work in supporting the CPS Board. The Board were content with the new arrangements and the next steps outlined for 2015. The revised Terms of Reference were approved.

Item 11: Common Platform Programme Business Case

19. Peter Lewis provided the Board with an update on the Common Platform Programme (CPP). The Board confirmed they formally supported the CPP Business Case.

20. It was agreed that when the risk register and progress reports were provided to the HMCTS Board, these should also be circulated to the CPS Board to allow the Board to monitor progress.

ACTION 8: A short paper to be presented at the February Board meeting on the CJS CPP proposals and how progress will be monitored.

Item 6: AOB

21. Paul Staff noted that by the end of January new IT devices would be available to the Board to replace the MoJ iPads.

Board Secretariat, December 2014
Date of next meeting 24 February 2015