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CPS Business Plan 2010-2011

Introduction by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Chief Executive

This plan sets out at a high level the work we have done so far in 2010-11 and the work we intend to do. Much of this work is focused on preparing for the next four years, the period covered by the 2010 Spending Review.

Like all public services, the CPS will undergo a period of significant change in the years ahead as it strives to deliver a quality service to the public and achieve significant reductions in cost. These cost reductions will impact from next April and it is important that the CPS responds positively, quickly and authoritatively to the challenge.

Our vision for the CPS is a simple but robust one: - we must build our service on the quality of our decisions and actions and at the same time, be cost-effective in all we do. We believe that quality and efficiency go hand in hand. The drive for greater efficiency does not have to come at the expense of quality. These themes run through all that is in this brief plan.

We are entering a new era. The outcome of the Spending Review means challenging demands are being placed on us all. It means that we must find new ways of working, but without compromising the quality of service.

The budget for the CPS will decrease by 25% by 2015. Achieving this reduction will be very difficult but we have been making careful preparations for some time and we believe that the organisation is as well placed as it can be to deliver these savings.

The scale of the cuts required means that it is not just a question of doing more for less. We need a new mindset, a new approach to our work; we have to look at new ways of doing business and ensuring we get best value from every pound spent. There is a real opportunity for us here; this is the best chance in a generation to modernise the way we work together with our CJS partners to drive out waste. This will enable us to maintain delivery of a high quality service to the public on a much reduced budget.

With the hard work and dedication of our staff, we know that in 2015, the CPS will be a fitter, leaner and an exciting place to work.

Keir Starmer QC
Director of Public Prosecutions

Peter Lewis
Chief Executive

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About us

The CPS was set up in 1986 as an independent authority to prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. In undertaking this role, the CPS:

  • Advises the police during the early stages of investigations;
  • Determines the appropriate charges in more serious or complex cases;
  • Keeps all cases under continuous review and decides which cases should be prosecuted;
  • prepares cases for prosecution and prosecutes cases using in-house advocates, self-employed advocates or agents to present cases in court, and
  • Provides information and assistance to victims and prosecution witnesses.

The way in which the CPS undertakes its role is governed by two key documents: the Code for Crown Prosecutors; and Core Quality Standards (CQS). The CQS lay down the quality of service that the public are entitled to expect from those who prosecute on their behalf. They apply to all those who deliver the prosecution service.

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Our vision for the CPS

The following vision for the CPS applies now, in 2010-11, and for the Spending Review period to 2015.

What will we be?

A high-performing, stream-lined, prosecution service relentlessly focussed on quality and respected for its professionalism.

We will be confident and strong.

Our prosecutors will be trusted, making sound prosecution decisions without unnecessary referral. They will be well prepared for court and will challenge others who are not. All our staff will be ready to solve problems and take responsibility. We will exert our influence with our justice partners to deliver whole system efficiencies and improvements.

We will be independent in our decision-making.

We will take all prosecution decisions free from improper influence and in the interests of justice. We will respect and stand-up for the rights of victims. We will engage positively with our justice partners. But our casework decisions will be our own.

We will be transparent, accountable and fair.

We will explain our decisions and account for the service we deliver.

We will treat our staff fairly and with respect and dignity, embedding a One CPS philosophy in all our teams.

Our staff will have clearly defined career options and the opportunity to develop to their full potential.

We will be efficient.

We will reduce expenditure through embedding a culture of cost consciousness at every level and getting best value for money.

We will simplify our policies and processes, making prosecutions as straightforward as possible.

We will deliver year on year improvements in efficiency and economy by streamlining our business processes and optimising our use of IT.

We will work with our CJ partners to develop and deliver an efficient and effective Criminal Justice System.

Local responsibility and accountability

The CPS is a national Service headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP is superintended by Her Majesty's Attorney General who is accountable to Parliament for the Service.

The DPP sets the strategy, policy, and national priorities for the CPS. The national Service is delivered locally by 42 Chief Crown Prosecutors brigaded into thirteen Groups. Chief Crown Prosecutors are responsible for the quality and efficiency for the service they deliver to the public.

Specialist Casework Divisions deal with complex or sensitive cases, including terrorism, organised crime, fraud and particularly sensitive cases like assisted suicide. CPS Direct provides 24 hours charging advice to the police.

We want to ensure that Chief Crown Prosecutors (CCPs) have the freedom and flexibility to deliver an effective prosecution service. We will set fewer but clearer national objectives and priorities which will be confined to those areas where it is essential to achieve national consistency, for example, in respect of the Core Quality Standards.

As a first step towards this new approach, we will not set national targets for particular casework this year. This does not mean that we are less concerned about those cases we have previously targeted. Every offence we prosecute will be subject to our Core Quality Standards to ensure it receives the care and attention it deserves. Particularly sensitive or difficult areas of our work will receive the attention of specialist lawyers and we will ensure that these specialists receive clear information and guidance to deliver Core Quality Standards in these cases.

The CPS has a commitment to engage with communities which is set out in our Core Quality Standards. We have a number of local forums that CCPs use for doing this, including Community Involvement Panels. We also work closely with our local partners to share information about community concerns and issues.

As part of the devolution of responsibility to Groups, CPS Headquarters (HQ) will reduce in size by 50% over the period to 2015. During 2010-11, we have implemented our review of CPS HQ to produce a leaner and more focussed HQ which sets the national framework within which the CPS operates, attends to those issues that need some central agreement, for example, in our relations with the Association of Chief Police Officers and delivers those services that can only be efficiently delivered centrally.

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Our priorities

The following describe our most important priorities, what we have done thus far in 2010-11 and what we intend to do. This does not cover all our work.

Core Quality Standards (CQS)

CQS cover every major aspect of our work. They make clear to the public what service they can expect of us, and the standard to which we will deliver it. CQS will make us more transparent to and accountable to the local communities we serve.

What we have done

Introduced a comprehensive quality assurance programme (known as CQSM) to ensure that our casework is consistent with the requirements of CQS.

What we intend to do

Develop some productivity expectations for specific prosecution activities to sit alongside CQS. These will be available for use in 2011-12

Efficiency

As a public service, our duty is to work to the highest standard at the lowest possible cost. We will constructively and energetically engage with the Spending Review to make sure we have explored every opportunity to deliver our service in the most cost effective way.

What we have done

Set targets to ensure that our operational Units manage their budgets within their allocated financial provision, and reduce the Unit Costs of cases in the Crown Court and the magistrates' courts.

Relocated London headquarters and implemented plans for reducing the overall cost of headquarters (London and York) by 50 per cent by 2015. This includes managing staff numbers and strict controls on new recruitment.

Implemented new procurement process to ensure we get maximum value for money from all our contracts and purchases.

What we intend to do

Work with our CJS partners at a national and local level to develop ways to provide the very best cost-effective business and increase efficiency savings. This includes new and effective ways of dealing with guilty pleas in the Crown Court and testing the use of a single file and administration process with the police.

Developing an accommodation strategy for reducing the size and cost of our estate over the period to 2015.

Simplifying policies and processes to make prosecution as straightforward as possible and remove any unnecessary bureaucracy.

Review our accountability structures to ensure they are best suited to the coming years.

Transforming through technology (T3)

T3 enables us to work more efficiently and effectively by moving away from paper-based working to an organisation where all key information is available electronically, regardless of role and location. T3 forms an integral and discrete part of CPS and CJS efficiency plans.

What we have done

Completed implementation of a refreshed IT infrastructure.

Developed new ways of working using the refreshed IT, including ways of working digitally on large, complex cases with large amounts of evidence.

What we intend to do

Work with our CJS partners at a national and local level to maximise the use of digital means to exchange information and conduct prosecutions. This includes local testing of exchange of case data between police and CPS and the use of video link technology for court hearings.

Victims & witnesses

The provision of support and case information to victims and prosecution witnesses is central to ensuring they are willing to attend court and are able to give their best evidence. In recent years a number of policies and initiatives have been developed in relation to the service provided to victims and witnesses and the focus is now on streamlining and clarifying those commitments

What we have done

Completed a series of Witness Care Manager training workshops to address the recommendations within the joint Inspectorate Thematic Review of victim and witness experiences, resulting in a National Action Plan for delivery.

Updated Direct Communication with Victims (DCV) guidance, with a greater focus on the quality of communications and best practice.

Designed a more realistic performance measure in relation to quantity of DCV letters.

Completed a compliance review of the Victim Focus Scheme

Commenced preparation of a Witness Care Unit Manual of Guidance

What we intend to do

Undertake a project to review all CPS and cross CJS commitments to victims and witnesses to ensure that they are effective and coherent and targeted to where they are most needed, ensuring effective management of victim and witness expectations over the support they will receive.

Modernising Charging

The Modernising Charging Programme of work builds upon the benefits Statutory Charging has already realised.

This is designed to deliver:

  • improved quality by better tailoring of volume and face-to-face consultations, in terms of time and specialist skill, and allowing more consistent decisions;
  • easier access by quicker decisions and through more timely advice; and
  • better value for money through reducing delays and unnecessary paperwork, and
  • increased productivity for both CPS and police.

What we have done

Introduced the new national daytime charging arrangements to provide real time access for police investigators to CPS Prosecutors for volume cases using IT and telephony, whilst retaining face-to-face advice in the more serious cases.

Introduced the joint charging standards and delivery measures. These provide police and CPS managers with data on case throughput and outcomes. The Standards also complement the CPS Core Quality Standards (CQS).

Conducted pilots to test and evaluate the return of the following offences to the police for charge.

  • All Summary only offences, irrespective of plea;
  • Criminal damage to property valued at less than £5000 irrespective of plea;
  • Handling stolen goods - anticipated Guilty plea; and
  • All Fraud Act 2006 offences suitable for summary disposal- anticipated Guilty plea.

Offences involving domestic violence and hate crime were excluded, in addition to any motoring offences involving a fatality, terrorism offences and any cases requiring the consent of the Attorney General and DPP.

What we intend to do

Based on the Pilots and evaluation, rollout the revised Charging arrangements across all areas by 31 June 2011. Rollout will proceed on the basis of the offences tested in the pilots.

With ACPO, consider any further offences that could be returned to the police to charge and the risks and impacts that this may have. Develop a proposal to pilot the preferred option and undertake further piloting of this work.

Optimum Business Model (OBM)

The responsibility for continuous improvement lies with our Operational Units. We want to ensure we have exploited the benefits of OBM in the Crown Court and the magistrates' courts and implemented the paralegal structure to use our talented paralegal staff more effectively.

What we have done

Completed the introduction of OBM to support our Crown Court work.

What we intend to do

Further increase efficiency by reducing the number of administrative tasks that need to be undertaken.

Maximise the use of paralegal officers to support our prosecutions.

Violence against women and girls (VAWAG)

To secure an improved prosecution response to a range of crimes that fall under the umbrella of VAWAG, including: Domestic Violence, including harassment; so-called honour crimes; Rape and sexual offences; and human trafficking, with a focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation

What we have done

Announced measures to improve the prosecution of rape cases and introduced specific sampling of rape crimes in CQSM to monitor the quality of our performance.

Improved our capability at Group level to oversee VAWAG performance.

Issued legal guidance on conditional cautions with women specific conditions and incorporated specific guidance on victims of rape or sexual violence in the DCV guidance.

What we intend to do

Work with others across government to develop a response to the independent review of rape cases.

Improved People Policies

A modern prosecution service needs to be underpinned by polices that support the flexible deployment and management of its people.

What we have done

Reviewed and revised our people policies to ensure that they match our current and future needs.

What we intend to do

Develop staffing profiles to match our resourcing and operational demands for 2011-15.

Implement the policies through 2011 and beyond.

Advocacy

To undertake high quality, cost effective advocacy in magistrates' courts, the Crown Court and higher courts.

What we have done

Established Associate Prosecutors (APs) as advocates in magistrates' courts.

Tested deployment of APs in Youth Courts.

Developed and established Crown Advocates (CAs) as advocates in the Crown Court.

Developed and implemented an electronic CA Diary, to aid the deployment of CAs.

Improved our relationship with the Bar, which represents the key providers of advocacy services.

Worked with the Bar to develop proposals for Advocate Panels - a new approach to provide smaller, time-limited panels of self-employed advocates selected against set criteria.

Worked closely with ILEX to pave the way for ILEX to become the professional regulator of Associate Prosecutors.

Merged CPS and RCPO fee schemes.

What we intend to do

Continue discussions and seek agreements with the Bar to simplify counsel fee schemes and reduce counsel fee expenditure over the spending review period and implement new counsel fee schemes.

Implement Advocate Panels.

Revise and adjust the CPS approach to advocacy assessment for 2011-12.

Develop a model(s) for optimum advocacy deployment in the Crown Court.

Continue to develop the role of APs, particularly in relation to youth Court work.

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Our performance

In 2010-11 we have introduced a new assurance framework for groups and casework divisions, built on qualitative and quantitative data. The new approach is more sophisticated than in previous years and will encompass:

  • the quality of the service we provide (measured against CQS);
  • our handling of the near 1 million cases we prosecute each year and reviewing the outcomes;
  • our management of budgets and delivery of cost reductions;
  • the results of the staff survey and other people measures; and
  • the views of the inspectorate and other key CJS partners.

In contrast with previous years, only two targets have been set for 2010-11:

  • to ensure that we manage within the budget allocated to us; and
  • to ensure Groups reduce average cost of each case prosecuted.

In addition to the two targets, validation measures have been developed to report performance on finance, productivity, and people management. These are additional data to ensure that performance is managed in the round, but they do not have targets set.

At a national level, we will report under the Governments transparency agenda by publishing data in line with Government policy, including on:

  • New items of spending over £25,000;
  • Salary costs for our Senior Staff at Senior Civil Service level 2 and above.

We also have a duty to report against a number of measures in respect of sustainability covering:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions;
  • Waste minimisation and management;
  • Finite Resource Consumption;
  • Biodiversity Action Planning; and
  • Sustainable Procurement.

Finally, we will also report on the representation of our workforce in respect of equality and diversity issues, including ethnicity, gender and disability.

These will all be included in our Annual report for 2010-11 (to be published later in 2011).

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Our resources and risks

Our funding (our Department Expenditure Limit) for this financial year currently stands at £646M. We also receive additional income from costs awarded to the CPS, receipts from the recovery of criminal assets, and transfers from other departments. Our projection is that these will produce income of £68M. Overall funding for the year 2010-11 represents a significant reduction on the previous year's budget and when inflation is taken into account we need to deliver a further £26M in efficiency savings increasing the headline value for money target for 2010-11 to £83M.

Improvements in frontline activities will produce savings of £52M and greater efficiency in administrative and support services will produce further savings of £17M.

As a result of the merger of the CPS and RCPO, we will be able to deliver additional savings of £14M.

We have already taken extensive measures to prepare for the outcome of SR2010, including the introduction of controls on recruitment, expenditure on consultancy, marketing and travel and subsistence and renegotiating the contract for IT and communications. There is a new Estates Strategy which, together with the T3 Programme will ensure that we make best use of our buildings and infrastructure.

HQ Directors and Group Chairs are continuing to prepare detailed plans in readiness to meet the financial challenges to be faced over the next four years to 2014-15 to deliver real terms savings of 25%. All parts of the CPS will be affected and we will be working closely with the rest of the CJS to ensure that we maintain quality and provide the level of service that the public rightly expect.

Risks

We face a range of risks and threats to maintaining an effective service to the public. The most important risks are outlined in our corporate risk register. These risks are managed at CPS Board level through a series of counter measures and actions. Our performance framework contains measures that reflect how successfully we are managing the key risks.

Our corporate risk register covers a period beyond 2010-11, and the management of the risks contains a mix of national and locally led approaches. Our current key risks are based on:

  • Our ability to respond effectively to changing patterns of crime, disposal and volumes;
  • Managing our commitments to victims and witnesses with reducing resources and changing priorities;
  • The more demanding financial environment stretching our financial management capability;
  • Inconsistent application of the Core Quality Standards across the operational Areas, affecting our overall delivery;
  • Our ability to identify poor performance trends and intervene in a timely fashion where necessary;
  • Managing locally informed priorities against national priorities and standards; and
  • The effects of financial constraints on CJ Partners and other stakeholders limits their engagement with CPS and impacts on our ability to deliver our key priorities.

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