HC Deb 30 November 1998 vol 321 cc67-72W
Mr. Donald Anderson

To ask the Attorney-General what steps have been taken to implement the recommendations of the report of the Review of the Crown Prosecution Service by the Right Hon. Sir kin Glidewell. [62017]

The Attorney-General

My statement to the House on publication of the Glidewell Report on 1 June 1998,Official Report, column 42, undertook to publish a formal response setting out the Government response to each recommendation, whether it would be implemented and, if so, how. I then said that a plan of action would be drawn up and published.

A programme of change based on recommendations made by the Glidewell Report and our prior decision to restructure the Crown Prosecution Service into 42 areas is being taken forward briskly under the leadership of Mr. David Calvert-Smith QC, whose appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions took effect on 1 November, and Mr. Mark Addison, who was appointed Chief Executive on 5 June. They expect to take decisions in the near future about the senior management structure within CPS headquarters and an open competition for the appointment of Chief Crown Prosecutors for each of the 42 new areas commenced with the placing of advertisements on 16 November. The selection process for the Area Business Managers recommended by the Glidewell Report is currently under way.

All this will be taken forward within the framework of the Government's overall strategy for developing a properly co-ordinated criminal justice system working to a common set of overarching aims and objectives. The emphasis will be on clear central policies for the criminal justice system delivered locally.

The objectives set for the change programme are: The organisation should be taken as an opportunity for a fresh start for the CPS, building on the achievements of the past 12 years; The development of a form of CPS management at both national and local levels which reflects the new structure and the demands of a decentralised national service; CPS priorities should be reordered to focus more on the core business of prosecuting, placing greater emphasis on the more serious cases and providing greater separation of management from legal work, greater autonomy for the areas and better prospects for staff; The agencies which make up the criminal justice system should have shared and mutually reinforcing objectives, and should co-operate together to achieve better results across the system as a whole, in accordance with the Government's decisions on the outcome of the cross-cutting spending review of the criminal justice system; Decisions on the Glidewell recommendations should be reached as soon as possible and implementation of those decisions should be rapid and purposeful taking account of the need for phasing to provide a smooth transition and to contain costs.

Detailed consideration of the recommendations contained in the Glidewell Report has taken one of two forms. First, the Chief Executive has been energetically pursuing recommendations specific to the CPS with the support of an internal steering group and working parties to consider specific issues. He as also put in place mechanisms for obtaining the views of CPS staff at all levels. This has included work on internal structures, training, career prospects, central and special casework and the development of an independent element for the CPS Inspectorate.

Secondly, those recommendations which also affect other criminal justice agencies have been the subject of consideration within existing or specially established inter-departmental groups. The work is being carried forward under the auspices of the Strategic Planning Group which the Home Secretary, myself and the Lord Chancellor established earlier this year to co-ordinate planning within the criminal justice system. I have today placed in the Library of the House a chart setting out the present position in relation to each of the recommendations in the Glidewell Report. It shows those which have been accepted, in whole or in part, and the manner in which consideration of the remaining recommendations is being progressed, together with the anticipated timetable. Of the recommendations internal to the CPS, it is proposed that 39 should be accepted, in whole or in part, with 13 under consideration, considered or noted. Of the 23 inter-agency recommendations, 7 have been accepted, wholly or in part, with 16 remaining under consideration or considered.

My statement to the House on 1 June contained an invitation to interested parties to comment on the recommendations made in the Glidewell Report. I am grateful to all those who took the trouble to respond for the care and effort which went into their responses. These have been carefully considered and will continue to inform decisions about those recommendations still under consideration.

I draw the attention of my hon. Friend to three specific aspects of the work so far undertaken. First, the recommendations in respect of Criminal Justice Units (recommendations 13–16 and 20) contain some of the most important and sensitive proposals in the Report. It recommended greater priority for all casework and sees the working arrangements between the CPS and the police service as crucial to successful handling of casework and therefore to achieving that priority. Acceptance would lead to major changes in the way in which CPS officers and the police operate. They are being considered by a newly formed Criminal Justice Units Project Group, which is chaired jointly by the CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers. The issues raised will inevitably take some time to address, but it is hoped conclusions can be reached in the Spring of 1999 so as to provide the new Chief Crown Prosecutors with a firm basis for planning the operations in their areas. The proposal for the establishment of Trial Units (recommendation 18) is so closely linked to the question of Criminal Justice Units that it must remain under consideration until the position in that respect is clearer.

Secondly, the Report contains a number of recommendations (recommendations 21, 22 and 26) concerning the CPS's relationship with the courts, and suggests that the CPS should play a greater part in the listing of cases in both the Magistrates' Courts and the Crown Court. These recommendations are accepted.

Listing is ultimately the sole responsibility of the courts. The CPS, however, should play a close part in co-operative arrangements among all relevant agencies, necessary to ensure effective listing by the courts. The text of the report makes clear that greater involvement of the CPS in Magistrates' Courts listing would come about only by agreement, at local level, between the courts and the CPS. Although it should not inhibit CPS liaison and closer involvement in the overall listing process, any such agreement must recognise that the courts are the neutral and independent arbiters of the cases brought before them, and that a decision concerning the listing of an individual case is ultimately a judicial function.

Co-operation is needed at a local level to ensure that listing practices are effective and bring about significant improvements in, for example, the level of cracked and ineffective trials. In the Crown Court, improved case preparation and inter-agency moves towards better case management should lead to more effective listing practices, ensuring that cases are prepared and listed for trial more quickly.

Thirdly, the Glidewell Report made recommendations (68 to 72) for changes to the structure and remit of the CPS Inspectorate to incorporate a greater independent element. Those recommendations are being accepted in principle but with some modifications as to the detail. I propose that in future the CPS Inspectorate should be headed by a Chief Inspector appointed by me who would report to me. I also propose that there should be a non-executive Advisory Board which would include a lay member and that Inspectorate staff would include as well as CPS staff on secondment some individuals from outside the CPS. In addition, I propose that the remit of the Inspectorate should be widened to include performance efficiency and effectiveness so that it examines not only the quality of casework decisions and casework decision-making processes (as it does now), but also any other areas of CPS performance where they impact on issues surrounding casework, excluding financial audit. Consideration will be given to whether these arrangements should be placed on a statutory footing.

I take this opportunity to commend all those who have participated in the work so far undertaken, whether within the CPS or in other criminal justice agencies, on the progress made. I am confident that the position we have reached provides a sound basis for the CPS to go forward as a national but decentralised service with effect from April 1999 and so obtain maximum benefit from the "fresh start" which the Glidewell Report advocated.

I shall provide the House with a further report in the first half of 1999.

Mr. Donald Anderson

To ask the Attorney-General how many wasted costs orders have been made by courts against the Crown Prosecution Service in (i) 1996–97, (ii) 1997–98 and (iii) 1998–99 to date, with the breakdown of each Crown Prosecution Service Area and the total sums for such areas and further broken down by the Crown courts and the magistrates courts. [61161]

The Attorney-General

Wasted cost orders are usually understood to be orders against individuals pursuant to section 19A of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. These are extremely rare in relation to representatives of the Crown Prosecution Service.

My hon. Friend's question is taken to refer to orders made under section 19(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, and regulation 3 of the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986, these being orders based on an unnecessary or improper act or omission for which the prosecution is held responsible. The numbers of such orders made against the Crown Prosecution Service are set out for each year in the tables, with the totals for each Area, broken down to show awards made in the Crown Court and those made in magistrates courts. The final column of each table shows the amounts actually paid out by the Crown Prosecution Service, but it is not possible to divide this into sums paid in respect of orders made in the Crown Court and orders made in magistrates courts.

The number of orders made does not necessarily equate with the numbers of orders paid. No central record is kept of the amounts ordered to be made, although the Crown Prosecution Service accounting system records the payments actually made in the relevant accounting year.

Costs awarded against CPS—1998–99 (figures for April-September 1998 only)
Number of costs awards against CPS
Crown Court Magistrates Courts Amount paid (£)
North 1 1 3,497.16
Yorkshire 0 6 2,859.10
Mersey/Lancashire 4 30 245.00
Humber 0 0 3,180.55
North West 3 7 11,602.38
East Midlands 0 2 10,787.52
Wales 4 8 3,212.03
Midlands 3 6 2,871.16
Anglia 1 5 3,510.04
Severn/Thames 0 7 6,117.83
South West 4 4 1,549.68
South East 12 40 28,681.58
London 11 12 62,262.10
Central Casework 3 1 21,773.14
Total 46 129 162,149.27
Costs awarded against CPS—1996–97
Number of costs awards against CPS
Crown Court Magistrates Courts Amount paid (£)
North 5 13 10,231.05
Yorkshire 12 10 10,623.21
Mersey/Lancashire 8 13 889.53
Humber 10 5 16,712.45
North West 9 25 5,874.16
East Midlands 11 8 18,164.41
Wales 4 2 5,863.78
Midlands 0 11 9,351.70
Anglia 8 8 53,847.27
Severn/Thames 13 4 8,768.53
South West 0 14 4,319.44
South East 11 41 15,039.59
London 95 35 67,876.30
Central Casework 5 49,948.01
Total 191 189 277,509.43
Costs awarded against CPS—1997–98
Number of costs awards against CPS
Crown Court Magistrates Courts Amount paid (£)
North 1 2 448.60
Yorkshire 0 4 14,459.22
Mersey/Lancashire 6 9 2,957.47
Humber 2 1 8,800.04
North West 5 11 6,495.46
East Midlands 0 1 10,867.38
Wales 7 11 15,034.97
Midlands 3 23 8,899.79
Anglia 16 5 27,693.63
Severn/Thames 7 8 9,942.23
South West 5 4 18,142.06
Costs awarded against CPS—1997–98
Number of costs awards against CPS
Crown Court Magistrates Courts Amount paid (£)
South East 16 104 18,344.32
London 37 39 76,150.34
Central Casework 7 1 125,203.08
Total 112 223 343,478.59


  1. 1. Information is not available to establish the enactment under which the orders were made and awards of costs made otherwise than in accordance with the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 may be included.
  2. 2. The information in relation to the number of awards is limited to Crown Court and Magistrates Courts cases. It does not include costs awards made in the Higher Court.
  3. 3. Information about the amounts paid includes payments in respect of orders made in the Higher Courts, but the amounts cannot be broken down by the type of court.

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