Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.





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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

CPS REPORT INEFFICIENCES

Yesterday HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate published its annual report.  Amongst its findings on summary justice was the following statement;-"The defendant’s failure to attend was the biggest single reason why first hearings were ineffective".  There is no mention that the closure of hundreds of magistrates` courts in recent years could possibly be a valid reason for this decline in defendants` reluctance to travel to a court where most will be aware that they are liable to be found guilty. It is no over simplification to assume that the financial position of many such defendants is partly to blame. When the 100+ courts were being closed representations were made that increased travelling costs and time to reach those courts remaining open would be an impediment to what government has always promulgated as "local justice" especially for lower income groups. In addition it is difficult to argue that the inefficiencies of the CPS are unconnected to severe budget cuts. The cost cutting of the CPS as per the Commons library can be read in part below.

www.parliament.uk/commons-library | intranet.parliament.uk/commons-library | papers@parliament.uk | @commonslibrary

DEBATE PACK
Number CDP-2017-0002, 9 January 2017
Funding of Crown Prosecution Service
By Jacqueline Beard
Grahame Allen
Summary
A Westminster Hall debate on the subject of the funding of the Crown Prosecution Service has been scheduled for 1630hrs on Wednesday 11 January 2017. The Member in charge of this debate is Karl Turner MP.
Contents 1. Background 2 1.1 CPS budget outturn 2 1.2 HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate 2 1.3 Director of Public Prosecution’s evidence to the Justice Committee 2 2. Media 4 2.1 Articles and blogs 4 2.2 Press releases 5 3. Parliamentary Business 6 3.1 Parliamentary Questions 6 4. Organisations and further reading 11
The House of Commons Library prepares a briefing in hard copy and/or online for most non-legislative debates in the Chamber and Westminster Hall other than half-hour debates. Debate Packs are produced quickly after the announcement of parliamentary business. They are intended to provide a summary or overview of the issue being debated and identify relevant briefings and useful documents, including press and parliamentary material. More detailed briefing can be prepared for Members on request to the Library.
2 Number CDP-2017-0002, 9 January 2017
1. Background
1.1 CPS budget outturn
The table below shows the budget outturn figures for the Crown Prosecution Service between 2010/2011 and 2015/16:
Further detail of the annual budget of the CPS can be found in its annual report and accounts which are available on the CPS website www.cps.gov.uk/publications/reports/.
The most recent of these (2015-2015) states, in the performance analysis: overview section:
The CPS’s net funding, as voted by Parliament, for the year to 31 March 2016 was £499.8 million. In delivering the public prosecution service the Department spent a total of £557 million. After taking into account £68.8 million income, the total net resource requirement (including capital) as shown in the Statement of Parliamentary Supply was £488.2 million which was £11.6 million or 2.3% less than the sum Voted to the CPS by Parliament.
1.2 HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
The most recent annual report of HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (2015-2016) makes the following comment regarding the CPS budget:
Previous recent annual reports have commented on the overall reduction in the CPS budget and the impact this has had, as reflected in reduced staffing levels and the closure of offices. However, the 2015 Government Comprehensive Spending Review confirmed that the CPS budget would be maintained with a sufficient increase to cover pay and price inflation.
1.3 Director of Public Prosecution’s evidence to the Justice Committee
In December 2015 the Director of Crown Prosecutions Alison Saunders gave evidence to the Justice Committee on the work of the CPS. Asked
Funding of Crown Prosecution Service 3
whether the CPS had the resources it needed to prosecute to the standards that we all want she said:
Yes, we think we do, particularly now that we have the CSR settlement. I am not saying that it is easy; let me say that first. Over the last five years, our budget has reduced by 23% or so. Where we have been able to make sure that we maintain or improve the service—we have improved our performance in some areas across those five years—we have taken the majority of the money out of things like IT, by becoming digital, and estates, by closing buildings and reducing the number of buildings we are in. We have reduced our headquarters by about 50% on the non-operational side. When I say non-operational, I mean people who are prosecuting. What will help us, and what we need to deliver going forward, with the spending review, is transforming summary justice, better case management in the Crown court, which is the equivalent, and continuing digitalisation. Those are all key to being able to maintain our performance.

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