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Minutes of the CPS Board meeting on 24 September 2015

Present

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

Guests

Sandra McKay, Items 1-4
Cohort 6, Item 2
Project Delivery Manager, Item 5
Head of CQS Performance Management Unit, Items 6-7

Apologies

Alison Porter

Secretariat

Rachel Gough
Helen Kershaw


Item 1: Minutes and Actions of Last Meeting

1. The minutes of the last meeting held on 28 July 2015 were agreed. Progress was noted against the actions arising.

Item 2: CPS Narrative

2. Participants of the Civil Service Senior Leadership Scheme presented the findings of their analysis into CPS staff engagement. The Board was invited to consider the headline messages, recommendations and themes set out in the report which could be used to structure the next phase of this work and help shape the organisation's direction of travel.

3. This was noted as a valuable piece of work and members raised a number of queries around the key findings to gain greater insight into the staff feedback which had informed this.

4. It was agreed that the CPS Head of Communications should take forward planning for the next phase of this work and refer back to the Board for consideration. As part of this, key messages taken from the focus groups' feedback should be captured in video format and an action plan, shaped by staff, should be produced. [ACTION S1]

Item 3: Strategic Update

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

  • Launch of the CPS social media campaign #ConsentIs
  • International Association of Prosecutors conference
  • Joint visits with the Law Officers to view the digital case file pilots
  • Key meetings attended since the last Board meeting in July
  • Visit to the new Central Correspondence and Enquiries Team in CPS London
  • Publication of two key pieces of work for victims and witnesses: results of the victim and witness survey; and response to the public consultation on speaking to witnesses at court

6. The Chief Executive provided an update on the outcomes of the recent Criminal Justice Board meeting and advised of an upcoming joint meeting on hate crime. The Board was also advised of latest progress in relation to the review of CPS Area Structure.

Item 4: Spending Review

7. Paul Staff provided an overview of the CPS Spending Review submission provided to HM Treasury earlier that month. He advised that a number of Local Authorities had submitted bids for devolution which would be considered in conjunction with the Spending Review.

8. The Board was briefed on the Strategic Defence and Security Review which for the first time had included areas of CPS activity in its remit. A submission had been prepared making contributions to 13 out of the 17 work strands included in the review.

Item 5: Q1 Corporate Performance

9. The report for Q1 was presented. This reflected progress made against the new set of corporate measures published in the 2015-16 CPS Business Plan.

10. Members confirmed they were content with the current report format. This would allow for a sufficient degree of scrutiny to be given to progress against the Business Plan and there was no requirement for additional explanation or 'below the line' measures at this stage.

11. The Board was made aware of the substantial increase in the CPS' risk appetite due to two unforeseen factors: increased number of Crown Court sitting days; and a significant growth in rape and serious sexual offence (RASSO) and child sexual abuse cases. Both of these had a significant financial impact resulting in further pressures on the organisation.

12. A £15m overspend was currently forecast by the end of the financial year. Additional funding would be required in the form of a Supplementary Estimate although there was no guarantee that this would be available. Confirmation would be sought from the Treasury.

Item 6: Q1 Area Performance

13. The highlights of Area performance for Q1 were summarised and the Board was advised on: performance trends; comparative performance; national performance; and performance for Areas, CPS Direct and the Central Casework Divisions.

14. It was noted that this was the first report of this quarter reflecting an updated set of high weighted measures for 2015-16. Due to the inclusion of a number of new measures, caveats would be required when making direct comparisons with previous data.

15. The downward trend for Crown Court directions complied with on time was queried. Assurance was provided that significant changes were due to take place in the Crown Court through the introduction of a universal model. In a move to standardise processes, a form – stored on the new digital case system - would record directions made and serve as a mechanism for monitoring. This would give greater visibility to compliance with directions beyond CPS data.

16. It was agreed that the CCP and ABM(s) for CPS London be invited to the next Board meeting in November to discuss the Area's performance. [ACTION S2]

Item 7: Predictive Caseload Model

17. An update was provided on work to develop a predictive caseload model which would use historical trends to predict the changing profile of cases in the CJS.

18. It was confirmed that the model was informed by arrest rates provided by police forces and would provide figures and predictions at a national, rather than force level.

19. The Board noted that this was a useful tool and discussed ways in it could be used in future. If possible, a suggestion as made for the model to distinguish between Crown and magistrates court caseload.

Item 8: AOB

20. No other business was raised.

Board Secretariat
Date of next meeting: 25 November 2015