Core Quality Standards to become the focus for CPS


Today, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, issued the first set of Core Quality Standards for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Starmer said, "The Core Quality Standards set out in plain language the key requirements for a successful prosecution. They inform members of the public of the level of service they can expect from those who prosecute on their behalf. Likewise, they inform CPS staff of what is expected of them and how they will be held to account for the quality of the service provided.  

 "From now on, Core Quality Standards will become the focus for the CPS, allowing us to build on existing good practice and to tackle poor performance effectively."

The standards are listed and explained in detail in the Core Quality Standards booklet, which is available on the CPS website. Each standard covers a particular area of work:

 Standard 1: We will provide the police and other investigators with advice to assist in tackling crime effectively and bringing offenders to justice. 

Standard 2: We will make timely, effective and fair charging decisions in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Standard 3: We will use out-of-court disposals as alternatives to prosecution, where appropriate, to gain speedy reparation for victims and to rehabilitate or punish offenders.

Standard 4: We will oppose bail for defendants where appropriate, taking particular account of the risk posed to victims and the public.

Standard 5: We will prepare all our cases promptly and in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Rules so that guilty pleas can be entered at the earliest opportunity, and fair trials can take place on the appointed dates.

Standard 6: We will present our cases fairly and firmly.

Standard 7: We will assess the needs of victims and witnesses, keep them informed about the progress of their case and seek appropriate support to help them to give their best evidence.

Standard 8: We will explain our decisions to victims when we stop cases or substantially alter the charge.

Standard 9: We will assist the court in the sentencing process and seek to confiscate the proceeds of crime.

Standard 10: We will consider whether to exercise our rights of appeal when we believe the court has made the wrong legal decision.

Standard 11: We will deal promptly and openly with complaints about our decisions and the service we provide.

Standard 12: We will engage with communities so that we are aware of their concerns when we make decisions.

Members of the public and those involved with the criminal justice system had the opportunity to comment on the Standards as part of a consultation exercise which ended in January 2010.

Mr Starmer said, "The responses to the consultation were very useful to us. They focused on issues including how they will impact on our work with partners in the criminal justice system.

"I was particularly pleased by responses from our staff who discussed them in team meetings and their comments underlined how those who work for the CPS are committed to providing a quality service."

In July 2009, the DPP set out the future of the organisation in Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard, which announced the Core Quality Standards as the key to a transparent and accountable prosecution service. He said at the time, "Core Quality Standards lie at the heart of ensuring that excellence is delivered as the norm throughout the national service."