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Minutes of the CPS Board meeting 23 September 2014

Present

Alison Saunders (C)
Jim Brisbane
Paul Staff
Jeremy Newman
Alan Jenkins

Guests

Jack Newby
Dave Cass
Nick Price
Teresa Diaz
Helen Kershaw

Secretariat

Rachel Gough
Simon Jeal


Item 1: Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising

1. The minutes of the last meeting held on 24 June 2014 were agreed. The Board noted progress against the three ongoing actions.

Item 2: Director's Update

2. The Director provided an update on the following:

  • Series of briefing sessions scheduled with the new Law Officers to cover principal areas of CPS business;
  • High Profile Casework;
  • Second round of CPS Area Visits;
  • 2014 People Survey (1-31 October 2014);
  • Senior Management Conference (13 November 2014);
  • Alan Jenkins appointed the Non-Executive Equality & Diversity Champion;
  • HQ Review; and
  • Caribbean visit.

3. Jim Brisbane provided further updates on three key strands of criminal justice reform, namely in respect of the magistrates’ court (Transforming Summary Justice - TSJ), Crown Court (Senior Presiding Judge) and as part of the Sir Brian Leveson review of efficiency in the CJS.

Item 3: Q1 2014-15 Assurance Report

4. Jack Newby presented the Quarter 1 report, noting changes to the content and format following Board discussion at the June meeting. The focus of the report had now been directed to progress against measures published in the CPS Departmental Improvement Plan (DIP), as well as on some other priority measures identified. The Board’s views were sought on the revised report.

5. The Board made the following comments:

  • While it was essential for the Board to have an overview of progress against the published measures, there remained a need for additional data/information to sit behind this. Measures not featured in the DIP would still be of importance and it may be necessary for the Board to have sight of this information from time to time to obtain a more comprehensive view.
  • It would be useful to include a financial overview in the report.
  • With regard to obtaining data on the yearly 5 days staff learning and development target, in the absence of a single or central system for capturing this information, self-certification would still be a viable option. It would be better to have some rather than no data.
  • The 5 days development should be incorporated in the Performance Development Review (PDR) process to emphasise the importance.
  • Corporate risk was reported elsewhere and removal of this from the report would not create an issue.
  • Information on the Victims' Right to Review (VRR) scheme and complaints was essential to allow for any trends of concern to be identified.
  • It would be useful to identify the percentage of VRR cases taken forward for prosecution that have resulted in a conviction.
  • It was anticipated that improvements would be observed for Average Working Days Lost (AWDL) by the end of Q4 2014-15. There was a strong link with long term sickness levels which was being addressed by CPS Areas. The ongoing management of AWDL would be an issue kept under review.
  • Absence was inextricably linked to job satisfaction and staff engagement. It would be beneficial to learn from best practice by other departments to improve engagement.
  • Following changes to the focus of the report, it would be appropriate to change the report title.

Item 4: Q1 2014-15 Area Performance Review

6. Dave Cass provided an overview of the key aspects of Quarter 1 Area performance, emphasising the need to avoid direct comparison with Q4 2013/14 data due to changes in the suite of high weighted measures. The following points were highlighted for the Board to note:

Performance Trends: After a sustained period of improvement a small decline in performance had been observed for this quarter which was largely attributed to the new finance measure (Admin Cost). Finance and Operations Directorates were meeting with those Areas forecasting an overspend to identify further cost savings.

Comparative Performance: CPS Wales now held the lead position in the weighted table. While the pace of performance improvement for CPS London appeared to have slowed, this was not indicative of performance decline but instead related to the introduction of two new high weighted measures.

National Performance: The levels of ambition for the high weighted measures 2014-15 had been deliberately set at higher targets in anticipation of incremental performance improvement over the course of the year.

CPS Direct: performance couldn't be reported in the weighted table given that direct comparison couldn't be made with the weighted measures. Performance was generally strong and, despite a slight dip this quarter, there were no issues.

7. A request was made for the Board to have sight of data on the Central Casework Divisions for the purpose of giving an indication of performance (as had been provided for CPSD). A micro dashboard was available and would fit this purpose.

ACTION 1: Data on Central Casework Divisions to be provided in the Area Performance report.

8. Discussion took place on the "Unsuccessful outcomes due to victim issues" measure. The impact of this new measure would be realised once CPS Areas had the opportunity to undertake analysis and focus on the issues. It would be beneficial to know what this was as a percentage of all unsuccessful outcomes.

Item 5: National Proceeds of Crime Service (NPOCS)

9. Nick Price provided an overview of the new National Proceeds of Crime Service (NPOCS), highlighting its work and priorities. Confirmation was given that priority casework was on the right trajectory, while there would be a steady performance improvement for non-priority casework. A Public Accounts Committee was due to take place January 2015. [Addendum – this was deferred and did not take place in January. Alternative dates for this had not yet been scheduled at the point of publish of these minutes.]

10. The Board thanked Nick for the informative presentation.

Item 6: AOB

11. None.

Board Secretariat, September 2014
Date of next meeting 16 December