Inspection report notes determination to improve

11/11/2010

Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate has published a report into its inspection of CPS South Wales, carried out in April this year.

The inspectors were encouraged by recent changes made by the management team and their determination to deal with the challenges outlined in the report.

The Area's work in relation to violence against women, its service to victims and witnesses and gaining community confidence is assessed as good by the Inspectorate. Aspects of work such as decision making, preparation and progression in Crown Court cases and the prosecution of cases at court are rated as fair. However, the report states that performance in pre-charge advice and decision making, preparation and progression in magistrates' court cases, custody time limits and disclosure is poor; although disclosure performance is noted as improving. The report summarises the Area's performance as poor overall.

Interim Chief Crown Prosecutor for South Wales, Jim Brisbane, responded to the report, saying: "We have moved on since the inspection and, although the report does not make easy reading in parts, we acknowledge the findings of the inspectors and accept the recommendations they make. 

"While the overall rating of poor is disappointing, particularly for our hard working staff, I am heartened that the report acknowledges the changes that have already been put in place to improve the efficiency of CPS South Wales.  I am also pleased that elements of our work, for example in the fields of rape, violence against women and community confidence, are rated as good. 

"However, we recognise the importance of continually improving our service to the communities we serve.  Our new Core Quality Standards, which set out what the public can expect from the CPS at each stage of a prosecution, are already helping our staff to focus on improving and maintaining performance across all areas of our work.

"In the current financial climate, we recognise the challenges we face but we are determined to bring about positive change, working closely with our police colleagues and others in the criminal justice service.  We have a clear focus on what we need to do and clear plans for improvement."

Since the inspection was carried out in April this year, the Area has:

  • Reviewed its management and operational structures and introduced a new performance monitoring system based on CPS Core Quality Standards.
  • Started on collaborative work, particularly with the police, designed to increase efficiency and improve the way partner organisations within the criminal justice system work together.
  • Developed specific improvement plans to address the main areas of concern highlighted by the inspection. The inspection report notes that this activity is already producing benefits.