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Parliamentary Questions Data Caveats


Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) caseload data are available through its Case Management System (CMS) and associated Management Information System (MIS).

The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data which constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. This data has been drawn from the CPS's administrative IT systems, which (as with any large scale recording system) is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the CPS. We are committed to improving the quality of our data and from mid June 2015 introduced a new data assurance regime which may explain some unexpected variance in some sets of data.

The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and the official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Prosecution caseload

  • Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecution outcomes are recorded on a defendant basis. In some cases, a number of defendants may be prosecuted together. All defendants may be convicted; all may be acquitted; or some may be convicted and others acquitted.
  • Convictions comprise guilty pleas, convictions after trial and cases proved in the absence of the defendant. Unsuccessful outcomes represent all outcomes other than a conviction, comprising discontinuances & withdrawals, discharged committals, dismissals and acquittals, and administrative finalisations.
  • Administrative finalisations are recorded where a case cannot proceed because a warrant for the arrest of the defendant remains unexecuted, or where the defendant cannot be traced by the police for a summons to be served, or the defendant has died or been found unfit to plead.

Data Source: The CPS Case Management Information System.

Principal Offence Category

  • The Principal Offence Category indicates the most serious offence with which the defendant is charged at the time of finalisation. Where the nature of the charges alters during the life of a case, the Principal Offence at the time of finalisation may be different than would have seemed appropriate at an earlier stage of proceedings. In all such cases the Principal Offence category to be recorded is that which applies at finalisation, regardless of whether this is more serious, or less serious, than would have applied earlier in the life of the case.
  • The Principal Offence Category comprises a range of individual offences. These cannot be disaggregated to report prosecution outcomes by a specific offence.
  • Offences are divided into 12 categories: homicide, offences against the person, sexual offences, burglary, robbery, theft & handling, fraud & forgery, criminal damage, drugs offences, public order, motoring, and all other offences excluding motoring.
  • CPS records do not identify the principal offence for cases resulting in an administrative finalisation or where the proceeding is not completely finalised, such as defendants committed to the Crown Court for sentence.

Data Source: The CPS Case Management Information System.

Offences charged

  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced and reached a first hearing at magistrates’ courts.
  • There is no indication of final outcome or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time the case was finalised.
  • A single defendant may be prosecuted for multiple offences.

Data Source: The CPS Case Management Information System.


Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) financial data are available through its Finance & Accounting Records Managed Service (FARMS). These data are subject to audit by the National Audit Office (NAO), and are published as the Departmental Resource Accounts within the CPS Annual Report and Accounts.

  • CPS financial data are monitored and reported in FARMS in accordance with a structured chart of account headings and cost centres. If financial information is required for which the data are not readily available from that structure then it may be economically prohibitive to attempt to manually collect that information.

Data Source: The CPS Finance & Accounting Records Managed Service

CPS employee/people data

  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains records relating to employees via a central HR database (currently iTrent) and through our payroll systems (ePayFact). Other software (CIS – Corporate Information System) is used to process and manipulate certain information derived from payroll records for certain planning and reporting purposes.
  • Certain personal information is collected from employees at recruitment stages in addition to their ability to update via the Employee Self Service functions of the HR system. Other data is input manually or loaded via interface by HR and Finance teams.
  • There are generally two specifications we use to report on:
    • the ONS (Office for National Statistics) specification counts all employees except those not in receipt of a salary at the reference point, or who have not been paid at all in the current pay period. Employees on temporary leave of absence (maternity/sickness etc.) or Career Breaks, as well as non-salaried employees/Directors will therefore be excluded. Permanent Secretary is also excluded.
    • our internal management information specification includes all employees with the exception of non-salaried grades or career breaks. This also excludes non-executive Directors and Permanent Secretary
  • Official statistics are prepared (according to the above ONS specification) regularly on a range of key measures. Where possible these official statistics will be quoted in response to requests for information. If a question cannot be answered from officially published data we will use internal management information to respond
  • Data may be prepared to alternative specifications should the need arise and all responses will indicate the source
  • All data, however, is subject to change and may differ from other published data that has been prepared to a different specification. All responses are accurate reflections of records held at that point in time.

Data Source/s

  • CPS HR Management System (iTrent)
  • CPS Payroll system (ePayFact)
  • CPS Corporate Information System

Note: Relevant Source will be quoted in all responses.