HC Deb 08 July 1994 vol 246 c337W
Mr. Boateng

To ask the Attorney-General when and by whom the decision was taken to set up a committee to investigate the possibility that the Crown Prosecution Service might be privatised; who are the members of that committee and what other positions they hold; how many times the committee has met; what provisional date has been set for privatisation; what plans he has to publish a Green Paper and to consult publicly on the proposed privatisation; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

I announced on 6 December 1993,Official Report, column 59, that consideration would be given to whether the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Treasury Solicitor's Department should become executive agencies under the "next steps" initiative. I further announced on 27 April 1994, Official Report, column 234, that prior options studies were being undertaken, to establish whether agency status or other options would be appropriate. The Government's first report on the citizens charter, published in 1992, announced that privatisation is one of the options considered before an agency is set up. Other options include contractorisation and market testing.

The prior options and agency studies for CPS and SFO are being overseen by an interdepartmental steering group which comprises officials from my own Department, CPS, SFO, the Lawyers Management Unit, Home Office, Lord Chancellors Department, Treasury and Office of Public Service and Science. The steering group has so far met on two occasions and is charged with reporting to me by late autumn this year. No decisions have yet been made nor will they be made until the process is completed. In my announcement on 27 April I invited contributions from interested parties. These continue to be welcome and should be sent to:

  • Mr. S. Guy
  • Crown Prosecution Service,
  • 50 Ludgate Hill,
  • London EC4M 7EX
  • Ms J. Rowe
  • Serious Fraud Office,
  • Elm House,
  • 10–16 Elm Street,
  • London, WC1X OBJ