New prosecutors are well supported when they join CPS says HMCPSI

New legal starters at the CPS are provided with a comprehensive induction programme when they join the prosecution body, says HMCPSI in a report published today.

HMCPSI has conducted a thematic inspection of CPS’s induction processes for new prosecutors. The Inspectorate found that the CPS has developed and continues to support and deliver a comprehensive induction programme.

Inspectors note in the report that the CPS has recruited a significant number of new legal staff following the 2020 government spending review.  Many new joiners started during the COVID pandemic and the CPS very successfully incorporated new working practices into their induction programme as a result of the pandemic.

HMCPSI has advised CPS that the new prosecutors’ induction experience would be vastly improved if there was better signposting on training to use the Case Management System, and more consistent use of the ‘buddy system’ across all CPS Areas.

Lead Inspector for HMCPSI, Eleanor Reyland, said:

“For starters joining a new organisation, especially as one as big and prestigious as CPS, it can be an exciting yet daunting experience. Robust and comprehensive induction processes are absolutely key to help settle new prosecutors and equip them to deliver CPS’s aim and objectives.

“Our inspections found that CPS are on the right track and are doing excellent work to equip new prosecutors with the skills and knowledge to be able to carry out their role.

“However, we found there is room for improvement, and we urge CPS to improve their case management system guidance signposting and make sure all Areas adopt the buddy system, which is a great support to new starters – particularly when working remotely.”

Surveys were conducted with new prosecutors who had joined the CPS between March 2022 and April 2023 and their line managers. Inspectors also conducted interviews and focus groups with staff in the North East, Wessex and West Midlands Areas, as well as interviews with teams based at CPS’s central headquarters.

HMCPSI has suggested to CPS that the following areas are addressed:

  • Ensure national Case Management System training is prominently accessible and identifiable for new prosecutors and take steps to maintain consistency in training materials across all Areas.
  • Line managers should ensure that they are providing their new starters with the latest and most accurate information and using the up-to-date versions of the induction checklist.
  • Ensure appropriate records are kept of new starter meetings to ensure issues of conduct and performance can be addressed at earliest opportunity.
  • Make sure the exit interview process is clear and applied consistently across all Areas.