- Current News
- Details of the Scheme
- Advocate Panel Members' Commitment
- Pre-qualification Questions
- Equalities Monitoring
- Explanatory Note to Referees (All Panels)
- Appeals Process Overview (All Panels)
- Advocate Panel List
Last updated – 8 February 2023
Advocate Panels Refresh
The General Crime and RASSO Panels were last refreshed in 2020 and had been due to undergo a similar process in 2024. The scheduled refresh for the Specialist Panels for Counter Terrorism, Extradition, Fraud, Serious Crime, and Proceeds of Crime in 2022 was postponed. Refreshes of all panels (excluding the Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel) will now take place in 2026.
2022 Application Window
All results from the September application window have now been sent. Appeals are currently being assessed and results of appeals should be returned to applicants by the end of March 2023.
Magistrates' and Youth Court Panel Applications, Level 1 and RASSO Applications
The CPS continues to accept applications from solicitor agents to join the new Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel. Barrister agents who are not currently members of the Advocate Panel and wish to prosecute exclusively in the Magistrates’ and Youth Court are required to apply to join the Crown Court General Crime Panel at Level 1.
Level 1 and RASSO applications are also accepted all year round.
The application window for temporary memberships at levels 2,3 and 4 on the General Crime List is open and will close on 31 July 2023.
Specialist Panel Refresh
The CPS has decided to defer the refresh of the Specialist Panels which had been scheduled to take place in 2022. A further announcement about this will be made in due course.
Further guidance for applicants and referees on how to use the application portal, including a series of short explainer videos, can be accessed using the Advocate Panel Portal link on this page.
Personal Details Updates
If your personal details have changed, for example: your chambers, chambers email address, Circuit choices or preferred Crown Courts, please click on the personal details tab on your Applicant Dashboard to make these changes. The Advocate Panel Team are not able to amend email addresses for advocates on the panel but the team can assist with making other changes.
All queries regarding the CPS Advocate Panel should be directed to: Advocate.Panels@cps.gov.uk.
Details of the Scheme and further information
Details of the Advocate Panel (updated March 2022)
The CPS Advocate Panel is a time limited list of quality assured advocates to undertake criminal prosecution advocacy for CPS in the Magistrates’ courts, Youth courts, Crown Courts and Higher Courts.
The panels for Crown Court General Crime and Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) came into effect in February 2012. These were followed by the creation of the following Specialist Panels in April 2013:
- Counter Terrorism Panel
- Extradition Panel
- Fraud Panel (including fiscal fraud)
- Serious Crime Group Panel
- Proceeds of Crime Panel
The Panel was extended further in March 2022 to include Magistrates’ court and Youth court prosecutors.
The aim of the Panel arrangements is to appoint advocates who have met the selection criteria and have relevant, up to date skills and experience. Any advocate appointed must be able to deliver high quality prosecution advocacy services and have a commitment to meet the aims and objectives of the CPS.
The CPS requires that all prosecution advocates provide advocacy services of the highest quality. This extends beyond technical ability and includes attitudes and behaviours. All advocates instructed by the CPS, whether in-house or external, will be expected to behave in accordance with published CPS values, which are:
To be independent and fair:
We will prosecute independently, without bias and will seek to deliver justice in every case.
To be honest and open:
We will explain our decisions, set clear standards about the service the public can expect from us and be honest if we make a mistake.
To treat everyone with respect:
We will respect each other, our colleagues and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.
To behave professionally and strive for excellence:
We will work as one team, always seeking new and better ways to deliver the best possible service for the public. We will be efficient and responsible with tax-payers' money.
The aim is for all new instructions, and returns, for advocacy to be delivered to Panel members or in-house advocates at an appropriate level for the case.
Membership of the 2020 Panel will provide no guarantee of instruction but does provide advocates with a greater opportunity of prosecution work in accordance with CPS business need.
Notwithstanding the panel arrangements, CPS has discretion to instruct advocates off-Panel in accordance with current practice, for example, where CPS requires an advocate with particular skills, experience and availability.
There will be no restriction to the defence practice of any advocate appointed to the Panel.
The Advocate Panel process is open and transparent and provides equal opportunity to all applicants.
The Panel arrangements do not apply to the following categories of advocate for whom different assessment and selection processes apply:
- Junior and Senior Treasury Counsel
- King’s Counsel
- CPS in-house advocates
For the avoidance of doubt, the panel arrangements do apply to Treasury Counsel monitorees.
Refreshing the Panel
The Panel is refreshed periodically to ensure that members remain available and committed to prosecuting for the CPS. The refresh process typically happens every four years and sees existing members who have previously met the assessment criteria and been actively undertaking prosecution work for CPS, thereby demonstrating that their skills and experience are up to date invited to join the next iteration of the Panel without the requirement to make an application.
Appointment by invitation is subject to members agreeing to comply with the Advocate Panel Members’ Commitment.
Applications to join the Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel can be made at any time.
Applications to join the Advocate Panel at level 1 for General Crime can be made at any time.
Applications to join the Advocate Panel at levels 2, 3 or 4, or upgrade a level can be made during the annual application window each September.
All applications must be submitted online in accordance with the Application/Upgrade Process. Email applications are no longer accepted.
Duration of 2020 Panel
The 2020 Panel will run from 2020 to 2024. CPS will have authority to adjust the period but will do so in consultation with the Bar Council and Law Society.
Details regarding the arrangements for the 2024 Advocate Panel for General Crime and ‘RASSO’ will be published in due course and be subject to discussion with the Bar Council and Law Society.
2020 Panel Numbers
The number of places on the Panel at each level has no limit but this can be revisited by local CALCs and a limit can be set in accordance with CPS business need. The business need will take into account potential future caseload, future court sittings, numbers of instructions anticipated, availability of in-house advocacy resource and historical data on the number of active external advocates.
Advocates who successfully apply to join a Circuit, and select a secondary Circuit, will be appointed at the same level for both Circuits.
Management of Circuit Lists
Each Circuit based list is managed by the local Circuit Advocate Liaison Committee (CALC). Maintenance of the Advocate Panel and Specialist Panels is managed by the Advocate Panel team and queries regarding the list should always be directed to the Advocate Panels mailbox.
The local CALC, which is attended by the Circuit Leader, will convene on a regular basis.
The role of the CALC includes the performance management of advocates. CALCs can decide to remove or downgrade panel members in accordance with the CPS Errant Conduct and Poor Performance by External Advocates Guidance.
CPS looks critically at the performance of Panel members to make sure they meet the standards required, in terms of technical ability, outcomes being achieved and attitudes and behaviours. CPS requires advocates, particularly at level 4 and members of the ‘RASSO' Panel, to consistently perform to a very high standard.
CPS will work closely with the chambers of any barrister appointed to the Panel to ensure compliance with the CPS Diversity and Inclusion Statement for the Bar.
CPS will also work closely with barristers’ chambers in relation to performance of chambers and advocates. Any performance issue in relation to an individual advocate will be raised directly with the advocate concerned and with the Head of Chambers or Senior Clerk.
In relation to solicitor advocates, CPS are at liberty to alert a Senior Partner of a firm to any performance issue in relation to an employed advocate.
All advocates appointed to the CPS Advocate Panel or the Specialist Panels, by invitation or application, will commit to meet the expectations CPS has of its Panel members. The initial expectations are outlined below but could be subject to change. Any change will be published by CPS on its website and on the External Prosecution College. Panel members will also be advised of any significant changes by email. Failure to comply with the expectations could result in removal from the Panel.
The Panel members’ commitment applies to advocates whilst acting for CPS and, more generally, in their capacity as Panel members.
Advocate Panel members will commit as follows:
1. To be familiar with and comply with the requirements of the Code for Crown Prosecutors
2. To meet CPS Casework Quality Standards, in particular the presentation standard.
3. To act in accordance with the Farquharson guidelines on the role of the prosecution advocate, or any other guideline or standard agreed between the CPS and Bar Council. Panel Members are reminded it is the duty of prosecution advocate to read the Instructions expeditiously and to advise or confer with those instructing on all aspects of the case well before its commencement. The prosecution advocate will respond within five working days of receiving instructions, or within such period as may be specified or agreed where the case is substantial or the issues complex.
4. On receipt of instructions the prosecution advocate will consider the papers and advise the CPS (in writing, or orally in cases of urgency). Where appropriate, an advice can be provided as a list of bullet points in the body of a secure email. The advocate should advise that the case is satisfactory and no further work is required, or where:
- The prosecution advocate takes a different view to that expressed by the CPS (or where applicable a previous prosecution advocate) on acceptability of plea
- The indictment as preferred requires amendment
- Additional evidence is required
- There is an evidential deficiency (which cannot be addressed by the obtaining of further evidence) and, applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is no realistic prospect of conviction; or the prosecution advocate believes it is not in the public interest to continue the prosecution
- In order to expedite and simplify proceedings certain formal admissions should be made
- The prosecution advocate, having reviewed previous disclosure decisions, disagrees with a decision that has been made; or is not satisfied that he or she is in possession of all relevant documentation; or considers that he or she has not been fully instructed regarding disclosure matters
- A case conference is required (particularly where there is a sensitive issue e.g. informant, PII, rape etc.)
- Parameters on acceptable plea(s) are required
- The presentation of the case to the court requires special preparation of material for the jury or presentational aids.
5. Except for overnight returns, to acknowledge receipt of instructions and advise CPS of their contact details.
6. To comply with duties requiring action or compliance from the prosecution advocate, in particular:
- Judges’ orders
- Criminal Procedure Rules
- Case management requirements, including engagement with advocates representing the defence
- Timescales in relation to appeals or potential appeals
7. To secure appropriate level security clearance, as required for advocates undertaking specialist organised crime work, particularly terrorism.
8. To ensure the approach to prosecuting is efficient and effective, minimizing unnecessary or avoidable cost to the public purse.
9. To provide an adverse case report as required in RASSO or other cases.
10. For counsel, to comply with the security arrangements agreed between the Law Officers’ Departments and the Bar, in particular the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Information Security and Government Work. Solicitor advocates will also be expected to comply with these principles.
11. To meet the National Standards of Advocacy published on the CPS website.
12. To follow CPS policy guidance and legal policy in relation to advocacy and the prosecution function.
13. To comply with the CPS advocacy assessment process and be available for assessment, if required
14. To follow agreed procedures and guidance on the care and treatment of victims and witnesses, particularly those who may be vulnerable or have special needs. To ensure professional and sensitive interaction with victims and witnesses as an essential part of the role of the prosecution advocate.
15. To follow policy guidance available on the CPS web-site particularly in relation to speaking to witnesses at court.
16. To pay particular attention to the appropriate and timely handling of cases where a custody time limit applies, and to announce the agreed CTL during each hearing.
17. To announce their attendance to CPS staff, or sign-in, on each occasion when attending court.
18. To inform CPS without delay when they are likely to be unavailable to undertake a prosecution or have conflicting diary clashes. The early notification of unavailability is particularly important in complex or serious cases with a fixed trial date.
Communication and digital working
19. To meet any requirement for digital working agreed with the Bar Council and published on the CPS web-site (in due course).
20. To maintain an active secure email account and keep CPS informed of the secure email address and contact details at all times
21. To have access to a secure operational email account, which must:
- be able to send and receive emails, which may contain sensitive information, over the Government Secure Intranet
- be used as the address by which the CPS will serve or make available evidence and communicate electronically
- be capable of being used to work electronically within the criminal justice system and with other criminal justice agencies. This means (without limitation) that the system must be able to connect to any standards based video link conference system (i.e. IP (internet Protocol) based system).
- be capable of being accessed and used remotely (for example at courts and police stations).
22. To comply with the requirements of digital working, including use of the Digital Case System in the Crown Court and to complete and return the Hearing Record Sheet (HRS) within 24 hours of the conclusion of a hearing. Notwithstanding completion of the HRS, matters of urgency must be reported to a CPS representative without delay.
23. When the CJS Common Platform becomes available in a court centre to register for, obtain and use a CJS CP digital identity and use the platform to:
- Access evidence that is served or made available direct on the platform
- Undertake any case progression activity, as required.
- Serve any documents required on the court or parties
- Make any applications to court
- Professional Conduct and training
24. To meet the requirements of their professional regulator, in particular to hold a current practising certificate
25. To act and behave at all times in accordance with CPS Values
26. When instructed by CPS, to refrain from commenting on cases inappropriately, or criticising those instructing inappropriately, including through social media
27. To advise CPS of any arrest on a criminal charge, caution, conviction or referral to a disciplinary tribunal.
28. To undertake mandatory training requirements as determined by CPS and published on the CPS website and External Prosecution College.
29. To advise CPS of a material change in circumstances; for example change of chambers / business address, contact details, withdrawal from practice etc.
30. To comply with CPS remuneration and billing arrangements
If applicants are unclear about the requirements listed above, or require further information, they should contact Advocate.Panels@cps.gov.uk.
All new applicants to any Panel with the exception of RASSO must answer pre-qualification questions as part of the application process. RASSO applicants are excluded from this process as members of the RASSO panel must already be on the Crown Court General Crime list at level 3 or 4.
The pre-qualification questions require new applicants to disclose details and dates of:
- criminal investigations, charges or prosecutions relating to them;
- criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and out of court disposals recorded against them;
- disciplinary findings found against them by their professional body or Regulator;
- civil proceedings for negligence or breach of trust, and
- instances where the CPS has deemed it necessary formally to remove instructions from them.
The pre-qualification questions also require disclosure of allegations which are pending resolution.
The CPS reserves the right not to accept or further consider applications where, in the view of the CPS, the CPS or other criminal justice participant would not have adequate confidence in the applicant’s judgement or integrity if the applicant was appointed to the Panel, based on the answers to the pre-qualification questions or resulting enquiries.
In this respect the CPS will assess the level of confidence likely to be held in the applicant by;
- victims and witnesses
- the general public
- other practitioners, and
- the police.
In assessing public confidence, the degree of media interest and notoriety arising from any incident or behaviour listed in the pre-qualification questionnaire will be taken into account.
In respect of the pre-qualification issues, including unresolved allegations, all factors will be considered including:
- nature and seriousness of the allegations;
- the age of the allegations;
- individual’s age at time of allegation;
- circumstances of victims;
- level of sentence or potential sentence, and
- appeal procedures.
Responses to pre-qualification questions and any additional information subsequently provided will be anonymised and assessed independently, prior to the full assessment of the applicant’s written application. In most cases pre-qualification assessments will be conducted by a single independent CPS assessor. However, more serious or complex assessments may be considered by a three-person panel. If the application is accepted and proceeds to a full assessment, the answers to pre-qualification questions will play no part in the assessment of the application. If the Independent assessor(s) decide the application should not proceed to full assessment, the applicant will be notified. The applicant has a right to appeal this decision and should do so within 28 days of the notification date. The grounds of appeal should be set out in an email and must not exceed 500 words. All appeals will be considered by the relevant Circuit Advocate Liaison Committee.
Under no circumstances should an applicant include sensitive case information that can be linked to a specific case or individual. For example, providing a case/defendant/witness name and confirmation that the matter involved a CHIS, protected witnesses, ex parté application or other sensitive hearing. Where this occurs, a score of zero (0) will be given for the relevant section.
Applicants are permitted to use case names and case information in applications and supporting documents where that information is either in the public domain or contained in documents served on the parties to proceedings – court, prosecution and/or defence. However, it is recommended that applicants use initials, rather than full names e.g. R v W and others.
Reference to dealing with sensitive information/issues is also permitted provided the case/defendant/witness name(s) cannot be identified. Where sensitive information is contained in a supporting document it must be redacted.
The Advocate Panel arrangements follow the fundamental principles of the Equality Act 2010 and our Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). Accordingly, all applicants to join the Advocate Panel (General Crime or Specialist Panels) are required to complete equalities monitoring questions.
The Duty covers age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, gender and sexual orientation and to a limited extent marriage and civil partnership referred to in the Act as ‘protected characteristics’.
The general equality duty is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act and requires that public bodies, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimization;
- Advance equality of opportunity between different groups; and
- Foster good relations between different groups.
In order to demonstrate compliance with the PSED the CPS is charged with taking reasonable and practicable steps to show due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity. We are also required to publish relevant and proportionate information to demonstrate compliance.
One of the ways the CPS meets this duty, is by collecting and analysing data on the protected characteristics of applicants to the Panel. This enables us to identify whether groups with protected characteristics are proportionately represented and take action where a group(s) is underrepresented.
Whilst we have a statutory obligation to do this, we believe there is a strong link between a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, public trust and confidence in the CPS. Our approach also supports the government social mobility agenda, which welcomes applicants from all backgrounds.
None of the information provided will be visible to those assessing your application. It will only be used anonymously to monitor the inclusivity of our selection processes.
Applicants to the Panel should identify referees who will provide references to support their application and ensure that any reference upon which they rely is submitted within the permitted timeframe.
Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel applicants should have one reference.
The requirement for references for the General Crime (Crown Court) List ‘RASSO’ Panel are as follows:
- Level 1 applicants should have one reference
- Level 2 and 3 applicants should have two references (new joiner applicants only - not required for upgrade applications)
- Level 4 applicants should have three references (new joiner applicants only - one reference optional for upgrade applicants)
- RASSO Panel applicants (already at level 3 or 4) should have one reference
The requirement for the Specialist Panels are as follows:
- Level 1 applicants (Extradition Panel only) should have one reference
- Level 2 and 3 applicants should have two references (new joiner applicants only - not required for upgrade applications)
- Level 4 applicants should have three references (new joiner applicants only - one reference optional for upgrade applicants)
References can be obtained from any person whom the applicant believes best supports their application and is prepared to stand as a referee. The table below provides examples of suitable referees for each level. Please note that there is no longer an expectation that Level 2 applications will be supported by a judicial reference.
|Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel||Level 1 (General Crime and Extradition Panel)||Level 2 (All Panels)||Level 3 and 4 (All Panels)/RASSO List|
CPS lawyers may compose a reference for an Advocate Panel applicant. Any reference provided by a CPS lawyer must be approved by either the Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) or Head of Casework Division, or someone delegated by the CCP/Head of Casework Division. Approval must be sought by emailing the contents to the approver prior to submission to the online application portal. CPS referees providing letters of support for applicants appealing must also seek approval. Once approved, letters of support should have the applicant’s name redacted from the document and emailed to the applicant.
Once notified of a referee request, referees must complete the online form using the application portal which will automatically link to the applicant. In order to maintain anonymity of assessment, referees should not refer to the applicant by name within the reference comments section. Referees will be reminded to remove an applicant’s name if it has been inadvertently included when trying to submit.
Referees should be aware that if the CPS subsequently receives a Freedom of Information Act request for release of the reference the request will be considered in line with the guidance from the Information Commissioner.
It remains the applicant’s responsibility to secure the referee’s agreement to provide a reference, to notify the referee using the online application portal and to ensure that the reference is submitted to the CPS by the deadline date. Accordingly, applicants should ensure that potential referees are given sufficient notice (28 days) of what they are required to provide and the date for submission.
Referees should complete the appropriate reference form and will be directed to do so using the online application portal.
Referees should be able to speak with authority about the skills specified in the selection criteria. The assessment boards are aware it is generally more difficult for applicants at level 2 to find referees who can speak with authority on all of the required skills and allowances are made for this.
Referees will be asked to consider the competencies of the applicant in respect of the level applied for under the following headings:
- Knowledge of the applicant’s work
- Legal decision making and case strategy
- Interpersonal skills
- Additional information which would assist
Please note: The Advocate Panel team will not contact referees regarding outstanding references.
Referees can contact the Advocate Panel Team for technical assistance prior to submission or to discuss a deadline extension, where necessary.
In the event that an Panel applicant is unsuccessful in their application to join or upgrade, they may appeal the result.
Enquiries from applicants regarding the appeal process should be directed by email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scope for Appeal
|Decision at pre-qualification stage not to accept application into the process||Appeal against decision not to proceed to full assessment - Appeal via email. See full details below|
|Unsuccessful application to join the Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel or at Level 1||Appeal against the assessment decision can be submitted via the online application portal.|
|Unsuccessful at the level applied for but successful at the next level down||Appeal against the higher level assessment can be submitted via the online application portal.|
|Unsuccessful at the level applied for and unsuccessful at the next level down||A single appeal against both assessments or against the lower level assessment can be submitted via the online application portal.|
|Unsuccessful application to join the ‘RASSO’ Panel||Applicants can appeal against non-appointment to the ‘RASSO’ Panel, via the online application portal.|
|Unsuccessful application to upgrade||Appeals can be submitted via the online application portal.|
|Unsuccessful application for temporary membership (General Crime only)|
No avenue of appeal.
Applications for full membership are permitted during the annual application window, however.
Submitting an Appeal
Applicants can appeal the decision taken by a pre-qualification assessor(s) for their application not to proceed to full assessment. The appeal should be submitted by email to the Advocate Panel mailbox within 28 days of receiving the notification. The appeal must not exceed 500 words. This appeal will be considered by the relevant Circuit Advocate Liaison Committee.
Full Application Appeals
Advocates who apply to join the Advocate Panel/Specialist Panels or upgrade their level and are unsuccessful for either the level applied for or the next level down may appeal.
Where an applicant is unsuccessful, they will receive feedback outlining where the assessment panel considered the application failed to meet the acceptable standard. This will help applicants to focus their appeal on the selection criteria which let down their application most. Applicants can view their feedback by clicking on the download button next to the relevant application on their Dashboard.
If an applicant wishes to appeal, they will have the opportunity to provide reasons for the appeal and additional evidence using the online appeal form. To access the online appeal form, applicant’s will need to access their Dashboard and click on the appeal button next to the relevant application. Any appeal submission will be restricted to a word count.
Applicants may submit one new additional supporting document with their appeal. The document must be attached to the online appeal by the appellant and must only be a single document from one author e.g. a letter of support, an example of written work, a reference etc, but it must not be a compendium of documents. Supporting documentation must not include the applicant’s name. Letters of support should be redacted prior to submission.
Applicants who wish to appeal are advised to review their original application form against the original guidance on the selection criteria and to address gaps and weaknesses in their appeal.
All appeals All appeals in respect of the Magistrates’ and Youth Court Panel or at Level 1 of the General Crime Panel will be considered by a single member of CPS staff, who has not previously been involved in the assessment of the appellant’s application.
All appeals at levels 2, 3 and 4 will be considered by an Appeal board for their first-choice circuit or, in the case of the Specialist Panels, the relevant Casework Division. Appeal Boards will consist of a minimum of three members and comprise of CPS staff and/or a senior representative of the Bar. Appeal Boards will proceed with two members where, due to a conflict of interest, a member has to recuse themselves from the assessment process. The Chair for the Appeal Board must be either a Chief Crown Prosecutor/Head of Casework Division or Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor/Deputy Head of Casework Division. The process will allow original applications to be re-assessed along with the additional information in the appeal. Any revised score resulting from the appeal will also apply to the applicant’s second choice of circuit.
All appeals must be submitted online (following the guidance above) within 28 days of being informed of the result of the application (the deadline for submission will be visible on the Applicant’s Dashboard). There is limited scope for applicants to submit a late appeal. Any appeals received after the closing date will not be accepted unless it is for good reason and by prior agreement, for example for reasons of pregnancy, maternity or extended paternity leave.
Under no circumstances should an applicant include sensitive case information that can be linked to a specific case or individual. For example, providing a case/defendant/witness name and confirmation that the matter involved a CHIS, protected witnesses, ex parté application or other sensitive hearing. Please refer to the Sensitive Identifying Case Information section on the main Advocate Panels page for further guidance.
Applicants will receive the outcome of their appeal via email. This marks the end of the appeal process. There is no further avenue of appeal.
If the appeal is unsuccessful for a new joiner application at levels 2, 3 or 4, applicants will not be permitted to apply again at that level until the next application window. Temporary membership applications are not permitted for applicants who are unsuccessful in their new joiner applications. Applications for level 1 are accepted at any time throughout the year.
If the appeal is unsuccessful for an upgrade application, the applicant will be required to wait until the next application window before submitting a further application to upgrade their level.
At the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) we have a strong track record on diversity and inclusion and we’re one of the leading departments in the Civil Service in terms of our diversity profile. This is something we’re incredibly proud of and have worked hard to achieve.
We understand the value and importance of equality and ensuring that all parts of our workforce are diverse and inclusive. These principles extend to how we work with the Bar and the arrangements we have in place for our Advocate Panel.
Understanding our diversity data allows us to work out what we're doing right and where improvements can be made. But first, we need to have accurate information, which is why our Diversity and Inclusion Statement for the Bar includes an expectation that Panel members will make an online declaration in respect of their protected characteristics.
Why is it important that the CPS capture this information about me?
You may think that letting the CPS know if you are bisexual, disabled, of a particular faith or ethnicity, or what kind of school you went to has nothing to do with your role as a prosecuting advocate member and doesn't benefit you, but knowing about what makes you the individual you are is very important.
Why? Because we want every member of our Advocate Panel to be themselves, to progress and reach their full potential. When you declare this information, we can identify and remove barriers to full inclusion, and measure our success in making the Panel arrangements and the way we work with external advocates fully inclusive and fair.
What difference does providing this information make?
Providing us with your information makes a difference because it helps us to:
- Map the diversity of the Advocate Panel at all levels against wider criminal Bar;
- Explore areas of under-representation in specific groups of people;
- Plan changes to the Panel arrangements so they are fair for everyone;
- Ensure our assessment panels are as diverse as possible;
- Monitor compliance against our Briefing Principles, particularly in respect of equality of opportunity;
- Look at fee payment proportionality across different protected characteristics at all advocate levels;
- Track the development and progression of advocates through the Panel levels;
- Identify opportunities and support that can be offered to support progression;
- Inform on-going joint work with the Bar Council and others on diversity and inclusion.
How do I provide this information?
You can provide this information by logging on to the Advocate Panel portal.
To assist you, we have produced a two-minute video, which explains the steps you need to take.
The portal is the Advocate Panel’s new online home. Here you will find full details about your Panel membership and guidance regarding the application process. You can also check that your contact details remain up to date.
Some of the questions are a bit personal aren’t they?
The information you provide isn't so we can find things out about you personally - it’s a way of progressing on inclusion by having evidence to show how we are including you and where we need to do more. The CPS doesn’t use it to identify you - we just need to know the true, collective make up of the Panel to make sure we are fair and inclusive for all.
Who will see the information I provide?
The information you provide will be processed and protected by the Advocate Panel team within CPS HQ. The team manage the Panel arrangements but are not involved in the allocation of cases.
The team will produce anonymised reports periodically, based on the personal information Panel members provide. These reports will allow analysis to be conducted at national, Circuit and Area level to ascertain the diversity profile of Panel members and proportionality of case allocation and fee payments.
Is the information going to be assessed as part of my Panel application?
No. Information provided will not be visible to those assessing Panel applications. It will only be used anonymously to monitor the inclusivity of our selection processes and briefing practices, and compliance with the Duty. Everyone will have the right to “Prefer not to say” in declaring their protected characteristics.
I’m worried my information will be accessed by others who have no reason to do so...
It’s understandable to be concerned about protecting your information as none of us want our details to fall into the wrong hands. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out the rules that individuals and organisations must follow when handling personal data for general purposes. Obviously, if you don’t want to tell us all your information for whatever reason - you can pick the ‘prefer not to say’ option... it’s your choice!
Why am I being asked questions about Social Mobility?
The CPS has long seen itself as an organisation in which people, whatever their background, can rise to the very top. Making this a reality is the right thing to do; not just because it is fair, but because it allows us to make the most of the talents of Panel members.
To ensure that the Advocate Panel is as diverse as possible, it is essential that we have a better understanding of the make-up of our workforce. Collecting this data is a significant milestone for our work on social mobility. It will mean that the action we take to increase socio-economic diversity will be based on stronger evidence than ever before and that Panel members progress through merit and not their background.
I have provided this information before so why do I need to do so again?
You might have previously completed your personal data but individual`s circumstances and characteristics do change. For example, you might have recently been diagnosed with a long-term health condition. Or perhaps your faith has become more important in your life and you want to tick that box - you might not even remember if you have provided your details at all!
We also update the questions from time to time to capture additional information and change certain classifications. We would therefore be grateful if you could just spend a couple of minutes logging onto Panel portal to check and update these details.