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CPS response to HMCPSI Inspection of the CPS response to the COVID-19 pandemic - dealing with the ongoing backlogs

|Publication

Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) has today (9 March 2021) issued a report following their Inspection of the CPS response to the Covid-19 pandemic - dealing with the on-going backlogs. The report is a follow up to the June publication of the HMCPSI Inspection of the effectiveness of the CPS response to the coronavirus pandemic prior to and during the period of national lockdown.

The CPS welcomes the report and the acknowledgement provided of the significant challenges we have faced, and continue to face, in managing court backlogs and casework pressures.

We are pleased that the Inspectors recognised the flexibility and adaptability of the organisation in maximising the deployment of resources whilst reducing non business critical areas of activity. In particular, we welcome the report’s recognition of our continued and enhanced focus on maintaining the health, safety, and wellbeing of our staff through this period and the extensive management support and wellbeing interventions available to our people. Considerable and productive work with our Departmental Trade Unions has underpinned this positive environment and we will continue this intensity of focus to address the pressures and challenges ahead.

The continued positive CPS response to the pandemic is primarily due to the professionalism and commitment to delivering justice of all our people. Our employees continue to show outstanding dedication and commitment to the increasing and significant workload and backlog pressures, and we are wholly grateful for each of their contributions.

We recognise there will be lessons learnt from this period that will support the future challenge of working across the Criminal Justice System to manage the backlogs in the court system and the part we will play in taking this forward. Timeliness in the system will not improve whilst caseloads carried by CPS prosecutors remain so high. Resourcing one part of the system to address the backlog without considering others will produce significant and further challenges with caseloads at this level unless other mitigating steps are taken. Notwithstanding, we will continue to work in collaboration with our employees and partners as we move out of lockdown and into recovery to tackle this backlog and reduce the delayed resolution of cases for victims and witnesses of crime.

There were no recommendations or aspects for improvement in this report.

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