Baljit Ubhey, Chief Crown Prosecutor, London
Since joining the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 1992 I've carried out a number of roles before my current post of Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames Valley and Group Chair for CPS Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire. I joined as a legal trainee - never having intended to work as a prosecutor or indeed for the CPS - and I have never looked back.
Even once qualified and working in London, dealing with high profile aspects of law such as fraud and organised crime, my training continued. I received in house training in specialist areas and, much to my benefit, had the support system of a large team of very experienced colleagues. This luxury has remained important throughout my legal career, allowing discussion and debate about the strengths and weakness of evidence and providing continuous knowledge exchange and further development through team working.
After working as a prosecutor I took up a secondment as Legal Adviser in Headquarters Policy department, representing the service nationally regarding aspects of law such as proceeds of crime and fraud and drafting speeches for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Attorney General on pertinent issues. Another secondment as Diversity Manager followed, a political role requiring close work with DPP and Chief Executive. I gained valuable boardroom experience and understanding of the challenge of getting buy in to agendas and instigating positive development.
My first management experience came as Senior Policy Adviser where I received fantastic support and training developing self awareness and management skills on the job. This experience without a doubt prepared me for my subsequent role as Chief Crown Prosecutor. In this varied and challenging role I have continued to develop management skills and strategic experience at a local level, whilst maintaining an overview of legal issues and experiencing operational delivery, being on the front line making changes and seeing the effects.
The position of Group Chair adds further challenges to my role as I work to establish the best way to share resources across three areas, developing a group identity and moving forward together.
I received fantastic support and training developing self awareness and management skills on the jobThe responsibility which comes with working in the public sector means I deal with people's lives and am constantly making big decisions. Carrying out such an important public service is a privilege unlike that found in any private law firm and the associated rewards make the challenges worthwhile, at CPS these rewards are numerous.
With a CPS career spanning 16 years thus far I have developed a very broad skills set: with high level experience in management, policy, advocacy, strategic development and operational delivery. I don't believe this varied experience would have been achievable in another legal area or even another government department. Now, with extended powers allowing CPS prosecutors to develop advocacy skills through to Crown Court, the variety of work has grown even further.
My personality dictates that once I have mastered something I like to move on to something new. If you share this ambition then the CPS is a fantastic employer - there is always the opportunity for change.
Further to this the flexibility provided by CPS is second to none. The potential job variety and opportunity to develop, whilst maintaining a healthy work life balance, is remarkable. I took advantage of a 6 month career break for travel in 2002 returning to my post refreshed and with a new appetite for a challenge. In addition to this and my extensive CPS career I have held external roles such as non executive director for BARTS and the Royal London Hospital and had the chance to work with a number of external charities. This broadened my experience and proved a positive influence on my CPS role. I have always had control over my own development and been allowed to manage my own time and commitments, this approach to working is liberating.
I have found through my time here that lack of experience in a role hasn't held me back; looking for potential as well as experience means the CPS recognises those who may grow into roles. For people with potential and a positive attitude, as well as experienced candidates, I would recommend the CPS; I believe, from my (extensive!) experience, that this is a great place of work.
In 2013, I became CCP for CPS London following Alison Saunder's promotion to DPP.