Categorized | Criminal Justice

Public Prosecution Service – DPP sets out core quality standards

Public Prosecution Service – DPP sets out core quality standards

The standard of work expected of public prosecutors, at every stage of the prosecution process, has been published this week and is open for consultation. The consultation document on core quality standards for prosecutors covers 12 key areas, from providing advice to police before a charge to sentencing and appeal processes.

Prosecutors exercise powers on behalf of the public. They deliver a public service. And that requires prosecutors to deliver their service in accordance with a set of “publicly facing core quality standards”, which says DPP Keir Starmer “lie at the heart of ensuring that excellence is delivered as the norm throughout the national service. They will lay down the minimum in terms of quality and delivery that the public are entitled to expect from those who prosecute on their behalf”. The standards will cover every major aspect of CPS work, from protecting the public to advising the investigator; through to defining the standards of service in respect of every aspect of the prosecutor’s role in court; and from supporting victims and witnesses to dealing with complaints.

This is a time of change for the prosecution service. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) are merging. The aim is to provide for a more flexible and resilient organisation, claimed to be better placed to deal with specialist, organised, crime. The merged organisation will provide advice and prosecution services not only to the police, but also to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency. Writing this week in the ‘Guardian’, Keir Starmer said that “the merged organisation will prosecute over 1.1 million cases a year. And its cases will range from extremely serious terrorist ones and international organised crime at one end to antisocial conduct and disorder at the other, not to mention the challenge of prosecuting fraud and financial crime and tackling violence against women”. Was that final category a hasty afterthought?

There is a pledge to use IT systems fully and to be willing to embrace technological advances. In future the electronic case file will allow all the current paperwork that supports a case to be made available electronically to all those who need to see it. Accepting that criminal justice is currently not delivered as effectively and efficiently as it should be, henceforth the electronic case file and electronic case management systems will “become the main currency in the criminal justice service”.

The consultation paper concludes that “a criminal justice service underpinned by the rule of law and respect for human rights is at the heart of modern democracy. A modern public prosecution service – focused on protecting the public, delivering justice and supporting victims and witnesses – is at the centre of such a service. Core quality standards will ensure that we deliver what is expected in every key aspect of our work”. Consultation is open until 18 January 2010, and the full text of ‘Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard’ is at:-

http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/articles/the_public_prosecution_service_-_setting_the_standard/

This post was written by:

- who has written 462 posts on Upper Case – The Anya Legal Journal.

Mike Gribbin is a retired Civil Servant with wide experience, including the drafting and implementation of Parliamentary legislation and regulations. He is the editor of “Criminal Offences Handbook”, a uniquely comprehensive guide to more than one thousand ways to fall foul of UK criminal law. He is Editor of the Upper Case Legal Journal and has been writing blog posts for the past eight years.

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