Area Assurance Inspection of CPS London North (Oct 18)

Date of publication
23 October 2018
Inspection
Organisation
Crown Prosecution Service
CPS Region
London North
Inspection type
CPS Areas and Headquarters Reports

Inspectors from HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate recently concluded the Area Assurance Programme (AAP) inspection of CPS London North.

Until April 2017 CPS London was the largest CPS Area – when following a review the Area was split into CPS London North and London South. Performance outcomes in CPS London had been consistently below the CPS national average. The creation of two CPS London Areas, London North and London South, was an attempt to improve performance and address some of the long standing issues that had existed.

Since the creation of the new Area, CPS London North has addressed a number of internal and external priorities. Inspectors noted that the Area had invested time and effort in undertaking effective joint working with criminal justice partners to improve performance and outcomes. Inspectors found that the Area had worked on and agreed a File Quality Improvement Plan with the Metropolitan Police – however at the time of the publication of this report it was still too early say whether this will have a lasting impact.

Internally the Area has made raising employee engagement a key strategic objective. The inspection highlights that there has been good progress made. The 2017 Civil Service People Survey (CSPS) and HMCPSI survey show that there have been a range of improvements across key measures. However, the CSPS results show that there has been a slight increase in staff who felt that they had been victims of bullying and harassment. The Area is investing significant management training and resources into addressing this issue and inspectors were assured that action being taken should have the desired effect. Inspectors found that the Area was responsive to community groups, victims, witnesses, and complainants, and has used their feedback robustly to improve delivery of services. However the Area could do more to provide letters to victims in a more timely way, in cases requiring a letter.

CPS London North has worked to increase the number of cases where the appropriate hate crime uplift in sentencing is applied. Inspectors highlighted one particular case where the Area successfully applied for a double uplift as a crime was identified as having both homophobic and racist elements.

The following are some of the strengths identified by inspectors:

  • a strong working relationship with key criminal justice partners
  • the Area has worked hard to increase the number of cases where the appropriate hate crime uplift in sentencing is sought by the prosecutor.

The following are some of the areas for improvement:

  • address issues relating to inclusion, fair treatment and bullying before the 2018 Civil Service People Survey
  • look at the rising trend in sickness absence
  • the Area should continue to influence the police to improve file quality and improve the identification of anticipated pleas, as well as facilitating timely review of cases
  • the quality of letters sent to victims need measurable improvement.

CPS London was the largest CPS Area where over a sustained period of time case outcomes had been less successful than nationally. Following a review, it was divided into two new Areas, CPS London North and CPS London South, which went live on 1 April 2017.

Area Assurance Inspection of CPS London North (Oct 18) (440.67 kB)