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Defendants Strategy Action Plan 2022 – 2023

Strategic AimActionTiming
Our People1.1 Review and update CPS Youth Offender Legal Guidance to provide up-to-date practical support to prosecutors to ensure the delivery of justice for children.Q4
1.2 Review and update all CPS Youth Justice training packages to reflect our new approach to Youth Justice casework to deliver high quality decision making in all cases involving children.Q2
1.3 Review and update the CPS Youth Justice Specialist role and training to upskill our prosecutors when dealing with complex youth casework and mentoring colleagues dealing with more standard cases involving children.Q2
1.4 Review and refresh our training and guidance on introductory conversations with defendants at court to operate in a child friendly way, adapting our communication style to assist children when engaging with proceedings.Q3
1.5 Refresh and expand the CPS Youth and Mental Health SPOC network roles, with membership from a diverse range of colleagues, reflective of the society that we live in.Q2
Digital Capability

2.1 Develop and implement a new Mental Health Monitoring Code on the CPS Case Management System.

2.2 Create an information guide on our website for suspects and defendants, in clear and simple language.Q4
2.3 Monitor and evaluate the use of the new Mental Health Monitoring Code, identifying thematic trends, improving our response to suspects and defendants with mental health conditions and disorders.Q4
2.4 Review how decisions are made regarding virtual hearings and how a defendant’s needs are identified and supported during this process.Q3
Strategic Partnerships

3.1 In accordance with the upcoming changes to the Criminal Procedure Rules, review and update our legal guidance for suspects and defendants with mental health conditions or disorders.

3.2 Work with criminal justice partners where necessary, providing key expertise and insight, to inform legislative reform.Q4
3.3 Pilot the joint CPS/NPCC Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental (MHND) Checklist.Q2
3.4 Conduct an evaluation of the MHND Checklist, ensuring suspect and defendant needs are understood and met by those in the criminal justice system.Q4
3.5 Develop and implement an Action Plan to ensure partnership working between the CPS and the Liaison and Diversion Services, promoting early information sharing between agencies to contribute to better case management.Q3
3.6 Review our processes in identifying and engaging with litigants in person.Q3
3.7 Inform the MoJ review of the Youth Justice System and the role of the CPS, and suggest ways in which the system can be improved to assist child suspects and defendants.Q4
Casework Quality

4.1 Assist with the drafting and embedding of the new national Disparity Protocol to reduce existing disparity between experiences of, and outcomes for, children from an ethnic minority background in relation to the criminal justice system.

4.2 Work with partners to develop a new Youth Gravity Matrix which treats under 18s as children, ensuring consistent decision making that considers the child’s individual circumstances and those of the offence.Q3
4.3 Inform wider CPS work to ensure that Out of Court Disposals are considered at the earliest opportunity, acknowledging that diversion is a positive and appropriate outcome for many defendants, particularly children from minority ethnic and/or lower socio-economic backgrounds. Q2
4.4 Review and update the 10-point checklist for charging decisions involving Children in Care.Q3
Public Confidence

5.1 Hold a Community Accountability Forum on Mental Health and Youth Justice.

5.2 Area Youth Justice Leads to coordinate local community and stakeholder engagement to better understand local issues concerning child suspects and defendants, and where appropriate, escalating these concerns at a national level via network meetings.Q4
5.3 Enhance the Youth Justice Specialist role to ensure that justice is delivered effectively and efficiently for children, and the voices of those directly impacted are at the heart of our strategy.Q4
5.4 Implement the recommendations from the 2021 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders.Q4
5.5 Pilot a Mental Health stakeholder forum.Q2
5.6 Hold a Community Accountability Forum on Defendants, with a particular focus on women and girls in the criminal justice system.Q1 23/24
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