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Minutes of the CPS Board meeting 24 February 2015

Present

Alison Saunders (Chair)
Peter Lewis
Jim Brisbane
Paul Staff
Alan Jenkins
Jeremy Newman
Alison Porter
Derek Manuel

Guests

Jack Newby
Dave Cass
Sara Carnegie
Adrian Foster
Jean Ashton
Naheed Hissain

Secretariat

Rachel Gough
Helen Kershaw


Item 1: CPS Board Succession Planning

1. Closed discussion took place between the Director, Chief Executive and non-executive Directors on succession planning for the CPS Board. This was linked to discussion at the October 2014 meeting of the Nominations and Governance Committee and the follow up report on talent management and succession planning to the CPS Board in December.

Item 2: Minutes and Actions of Last Meeting

2. The minutes of the last meeting held on 16 December 2014 were agreed. Progress was noted against the eight actions arising.

Item 3: Strategic Update

3. The Director updated the Board on the following matters:

  • Meeting with the Chief Executive of the Civil Service
  • CPS Area visits
  • Latest progress on the RASSO Review
  • Consultation on the Guidance for Speaking to Victims and Witnesses at Court
  • Sir Brian Leveson's Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings
  • House Affairs Select Committee on Police Bail
  • Recent high profile cases

4. The Chief Executive provided a summary of recent activity in relation to criminal justice system reforms. This included progress on the CJS Common Platform Programme which had now met the necessary approvals to proceed.

Item 4: Spending Review 2015 Planning

5. Paul Staff provided an overview of the current financial position and planning for SR15.

Item 5: Q3 Corporate Performance

6. Jack Newby presented the report, which detailed progress against metrics published in the Departmental Improvement Plan (DIP). He summarised Q3 in terms of a core headline narrative of overall CPS performance showing a continued upward trend despite working within reduced funding, while indicating that the Service had still to meet many of its more detailed levels of ambition.

7. The Board noted that some ambitious targets had been set and while positive progress had been made toward achieving them, an explanation would be required for those not met.

8. In considering how performance improvements might be achieved, the Board made the following observations:

  • Clarity at local leadership level as to what the priorities were for the Service would be particularly important.
  • Staff in front line prosecution roles should be able to see alignment between the performance framework and priority work areas, such as Transforming Summary Justice (TSJ) in the magistrates' court.
  • TSJ was a key priority for the Service and would serve as the foundation for our Crown Court operations.
  • The output of metrics was key. This was particularly relevant for the Cabinet Office 5 days learning and development target. Further consideration would be given to identifying a reliable method for capturing the necessary data. One option might be to use a representative sample of the organisation, as was the approach taken by some other departments.
  • Tools and Skills for the Job was within our control and this should be reflected in our performance.

Item 6: 2015/16 Business Planning

9. Jack Newby outlined the current position with regards to the CPS Departmental Improvement Plan and Business Plan for 2015/16 and invited the Board to consider both the approach and timetable for taking these forward.

10. The Board agreed the proposals outlined in the paper.

11. The Board was advised of the suggested approach for the Business Plan format. The document should detail current essential work to be delivered by the organisation over the next year in a way that would resonate with our people in front line prosecuting roles.

Item 7: Q3 Area Performance

12. Dave Cass provided an overview of Q3 performance, advising the Board on: performance trends; comparative performance; national performance; and performance for CPS Direct and the Central Casework Divisions.

13. The Board commended the clarity of the report. It was queried whether there would be benefit in incorporating additional data on long term Area trends so that any decline in performance could be more readily identified and remedial action initiated. [ACTION F1]

14. Discussion took place on the importance of monitoring changes in casework dealt with by CPS. In particular, it would be necessary to anticipate the impact of these changes, including effect on future performance. It was agreed that the Board should have sight of the work being undertaken by Operations Directorate to identify future casework trends. The Board could then give consideration to what the resource requirements might be for different types of case, including any necessary skills for handling. [ACTION F2]

15. Performance in relation CPS enforcement activity was noted, which had been provided in a separate paper for information purposes. In particular, the Board recognised the good progress made in this area which was reflected in the data.

Item 8: Environmental Analysis

Sara Carnegie referred the Board to the key points of the analysis report, requesting views on areas for further investigation, as well as any priority tasks for CPS to undertake.

17. The Board reiterated earlier comments about the need to take a forward look at future trends in casework with a view to considering resource requirements for different types of work. Board members provided further views on areas where they felt further information would be useful. These were noted for further action/feedback [ACTION F3].

Item 9: Serious Casework Review

18. The Board was presented with a report on emerging findings from the review, which aimed to identify the optimum structure to ensure efficient management of CPS's most serious casework.

19. Four potential structure options were presented. It was agreed that two of the options should be subject to further detailed analysis, including cost analysis, and a further update provided to the Board.

Item 10: AOB

20. Paul Staff provided updates in respect of the CPS ICT Procurement Programme, advising on the PFI, PSN and Print contracts.

21. Jeremy Newman noted that two new independent members were due to be recruited to the CPS Audit and Risk Committee. This was following the expiration of current members' contracts later this year (with no option for extension).

Board Secretariat, February 2015
Date of next meeting 24 March 2015