CPS Community Accountability Forum (CAF)
What is the Community Accountability Forum?
The CAF is a meeting that we hold once every three months to discuss important and emerging issues in the criminal justice sector.
It’s one of the key ways that the CPS engages with academics, criminal justice and public sector organisations, support services and charities with relevant expertise.
The meetings provide us with insight and feedback which helps us better understand people’s experiences of the CPS and the criminal justice system and in turn improve our policies and the way we work.
The CAFs are organised by the CPS Inclusion and Community Engagement team and are co-chaired by Rebecca Lawrence, CPS Chief Executive Officer, and Fiyaz Mughal OBE, founder of Tell MAMA and the Director of Faith Matters.
How do the CAFs work?
Our Inclusion and Community Engagement team decide the topics for the CAF based on the priorities we’ve set out in our 2025 organisational strategy or based on issues which we know are important right now to the communities we serve. For example, in 2020 we held CAFs on ‘the impact of COVID-19' to discuss how criminal justice was impacted by the pandemic and on ‘Race and the criminal justice system’ in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.
For each CAF we invite a range of speakers with expertise on the topic who give short presentations. We then discuss how these issues relate to the CPS, what actions we’re already taking and what more we could do.
After the CAF we share all the feedback we’ve gathered with colleagues in our policy and HR teams to help us develop actions to make improvements where we need to.
We’re writing a new blog series about the things we’ve achieved as the result of the CAF so look out for that on our social media channels.
Why are CAFs important?
Our CAFs help us to better understand and respond to the needs of the communities we serve. They’re also an opportunity for us to hear from a range of experts on issues relating to criminal justice. The feedback and ideas we gather from the CAFs help us to improve the way we work.
The CAFs also give us a great opportunity to share our work with our partners and build public confidence in the CPS.
The CAFs are a core part of our wider Inclusion and Community Engagement Strategy. The forums run alongside other meetings such as the Local Scrutiny and Involvement panels which we run in each local CPS area to discuss local issues and identify areas where we’ve done well or could improve. We also host two national External Consultation Groups on Hate Crime and Violence Against Women and Girls to help us keep in touch with our stakeholders on these key issues.
Our recent CAFs
The CPS held three CAFs in the second half of 2020:
- 5 August - Disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on health and criminal justice outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
- 1 October - The impact of COVID-19 on victims and witnesses of domestic abuse and so-called ‘honour’ based abuse
- 27 November - Race and the criminal justice system
- June 2021: Volunteering at the Community Accountability Forum, Neena Samota, Programme Director for Criminology and Sociology at St Mary’s University
- April 2021: Engaging with communities on race and the criminal justice system, Baljit Ubhey, Director of Strategy and Policy, CPS Race and Ethnicity Champion