Disclosure Manual: Chapter 6 - Scheduling
The National Disclosure Standards for completion of the MG6 schedules and the Streamlined Disclosure Certificate (SDC) provides details of the core standards which police forces are expected to meet in the preparation of disclosure schedules and the continuing duty of disclosure under CPIA and the Code of Practice.
There is no longer a discrete approach to summary disclosure. The Code and the AG’s Guidelines no longer distinguish between Streamlined Disclosure Certificates and MG6C. The generic term “schedules” is used instead. Both SDCs and the MG6 series are expected to continue to be used, as agreed locally. The template for Streamlined Disclosure Certificates may still be used for anticipated not guilty plea cases which are reasonably expected to be suitable for summary trial. These should be provided to the prosecutor in accordance with DG6.
The disclosure officer is responsible for preparing the schedules and submitting them to the prosecutor. The schedules, signed and dated by the disclosure officer, accompanied by an MG6E, should be submitted to the prosecutor with the case file and in accordance with DG6 (see below). Any comments, observations or explanations regarding the contents of the schedules should be made on the MG6, which should accompany the submission of the MG6C (non-sensitive unused material, see Chapter 7) and MG6D (sensitive unused material, see Chapter 8). All items of material relevant to the investigation must be described on one of the above schedules for the prosecutor.
If the schedules or descriptions are not sufficient for the prosecutor to carry out their disclosure duties properly, they should be returned immediately with a request to rectify the issues and resubmit them.
The disclosure officer must also indicate on the MG6 if the investigation started before 4 April 2005. This will tell the prosecutor which provisions to apply.
The officer in charge of the investigation will need to consider preparing the schedules as early in the process as possible, and to appoint a disclosure officer. Disclosure issues should be an integral part of a good investigation and not something that exists separately.
Schedules should also contain all material that falls within the categories meeting the rebuttable presumption. The categories of material to which the presumption applies are set out in paras 87-91 of the AG’s Guidelines and para 6.6 of the Code of Practice and reflected above in Chapter 1.
Timing of provision of schedules
Under the CPIA Code of Practice, a disclosure schedule should be prepared if:
- the accused is charged with an indictable only offence;
- the accused is charged with an either-way offence and it is considered likely that they are likely to be tried on indictment;
- the accused is charged with an either-way offence likely to remain in the magistrate’s court or summary only offence, and it is considered likely that they will plead not guilty.
However, paragraph 6.4 of the CPIA Code states that a schedule is not required if it is considered that the accused will plead guilty to a summary only or either-way offence. However, a schedule should be prepared if they subsequently enter or indicate a not guilty plea.
This is reflected in the Director’s Guidance on Charging (sixth edition) which sets out that any request for a charging decision should be accompanied by the following material:
- Where a not guilty plea is anticipated and either the referral is made for a charging decision on the Full Code Test or a file is submitted to the CPS after the police have authorised charge in accordance with DG6 on the Full Code Test;
- schedules of unused material;
- copies of relevant potentially disclosable material and the rationale for reaching that conclusion; and
- copies of material presumed to be disclosable and an explanation of whether, or not, it is considered to satisfy the test for prosecution disclosure, and in either case an explanation for the reasons for reaching that conclusion.
- In all other cases the disclosure officer must provide the schedules as soon as possible after a not guilty plea has either been indicated or entered.
Where a not guilty plea is anticipated and the referral is made for a charging decision on the Full Code Test and it has not been feasible to provide the unused material schedules at the same time as seeking a charging decision e.g. because the arrest was not planned and the suspect cannot be bailed; or the referral is on the Threshold Test, the prosecutor should be provided with:
- information about any material identified as potentially undermining the prosecution case or assisting the defence case, in addition to the investigators’ rationale for that assessment; and
- copies of any such potentially disclosable material where available.
It should be noted that the principles of Better Case Management (BCM) envisage that the prosecution team will have at an early stage an agreed strategy and plan, with sufficient resources attached, for completing the disclosure exercise. The CPS prosecutor is expected to lead on the expeditious management of cases towards trial and to enable the judge to make sensible directions to the parties to achieve this. BCM with the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH) and related procedures provide a single national process to be used in all Crown Courts.
For scheduling in large scale cases, see Chapter 29.