CPS Bedfordshire is praised in performance ratings report

07/10/2010

CPS Bedfordshire has improved its performance, with many aspects being better than the national average, according to HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), which published its inspection report yesterday, 6 October.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for Bedfordshire, Richard Newcombe, said: 'I am very pleased that HMCPSI have recognised the hard work put in by all staff to achieve an improved rating for CPS Bedfordshire. This year we have achieved an excellent rating in one of their criteria for the first time. They have also mentioned other excellent parts of our work. In common with the rest of the public service CPS Bedfordshire is working hard to deliver improved performance and cost savings at the same time.'

The Area was rated as 'good' overall. Serious casework is handled well; the effective trial rate is good and appropriate care and attention is given to the treatment of victims and witnesses. Progress is being achieved with the Area's community engagement strategy and its rating has improved. There are good working relationships with criminal justice partners and the application of the custody time limit regime was rated as 'excellent'.

Chair of CPS Thames and Chiltern, Baljit Ubhey OBE, said: 'I am delighted with the report for CPS Bedfordshire; there have been significant improvements in a range of areas. I am confident that the management team will successfully address the financial challenges that the report has highlighted.'

HM Chief Inspector, Michael Fuller QPM, said: 'I am pleased that this inspection has found that overall CPS Bedfordshire's casework is dealt with to a good standard. The handling of Crown Court casework is particularly encouraging; there has been a marked improvement since our last assessment in the handling of the disclosure of unused material and the application of the custody time limit regime which we found to be excellent.

'Overall we found that the Area was 'good'. Aspects of performance which have attracted critical comment for some time, particularly the Area's approach to community engagement, are now being addressed. The primary challenge in this and future years will be to achieve the necessary savings to make up its projected budget shortfall. 

'The Area needs to review its current structure and identify options for making substantive cost savings. Our recommendations should result in budgetary savings, which is a key CPS national priority.'

Additional information:

  • The full report can be found on the HMCPSI website
  • CPS Bedfordshire was the subject of an overall performance assessment in June 2007 which rated performance as fair. This inspection included detailed scrutiny of finalised case files and some current cases were observed at court. Inspectors considered a wide aspect of casework including decision-making and casework handling together with the systems, management and structured monitoring of performance, which underpin good casework.
  • The inspection team comprised legal and business management inspectors working closely together, with a lay inspector who helped examine the way in which the CPS relates to the public with dealing with witnesses and victims, its engagement with the community including minority groups, its handling of complaints and the application of the public interest test contained in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
  • HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate is an independent statutory body established by the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act 2000, which came into force on 1 October 2000. The Chief Inspector is appointed by, and reports to, the Attorney General.