Asset Management Strategy
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales and currently employs over 8,000 staff. The CPS was created by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and is a government department that has primary responsibility for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 gave the CPS responsibility for deciding whether defendants should be charged and what the charges should be in all but the most routine cases.
- The CPS has a central role in the delivery of justice and plays an important part in ensuring the Government's objectives for the Criminal Justice System (CJS) are met. The CPS seeks to reduce both crime and the fear of crime, thereby promoting public confidence in the rule of law. It seeks to do this through the consistent, fair and independent review of cases and through their fair, thorough and firm presentation at court.
- The principal functions of the CPS are:
The CPS Asset Management Strategy (AMS) outlines the main investment programmes for the department over the three years covered by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, 2008-9 to 2010-11. The AMS describes how that investment will support the achievement of CPS objectives and Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets both for the CPS and for the criminal justice system (CJS) as a whole.
The CPS capital expenditure plans are focused on the maintenance of the current asset base in a “fit for purpose” state. No major additional new investment is planned over the three years covered by the Comprehensive Spending Review. The CPS is planning to maximize the efficient use of existing assets and reduce annual expenditure from the baseline position of £7.4 million in 2007-08 to £5 million pa by 2010-11. Delivery of this plan will represent a cash saving of £2.4 million and a real terms reduction of 37% against the baseline budget.
- advising the police on cases for possible prosecution;
- reviewing cases submitted by the police;
- preparing cases for the Magistrates' courts and the Crown Court;
- presenting cases at court and, where appropriate, instructing private advocates; and
- working with other criminal justice system organisations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system.
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Capital stock survey
Value of assets
The CPS has a small capital asset stock, valued at £29 million as at March 2007, excluding off balance sheet PFI IT assets. The value of the CPS asset stock in 1997 fell below the reporting threshold.
Office furniture and fittings, currently valued at £17 million are the basic tools required to do the job. Investment to date has enabled the CPS to effectively maintain the capital stock as fit for purpose. The CPS has been able to maintain its office equipment and furniture to a good standard and ensure that the department has kept pace with Health and Safety requirements. Wherever possible individual local furniture replacement projects have been used to optimise space efficiency.
Table 1: Departmental capital asset base 31 March 2007 - net book values
|FIXED ASSET CATEGORY
|Freehold land and buildings
|Furniture and fittings (including office equipment)
|Intangible fixed assets - software licences
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The Crown Prosecution Service Estate currently has financial responsibility for around 100 sites, although only 90 premises are in operational use. Eight sites are either vacant and being marketed for commercial sub-let or already have commercial under tenants occupying the floor space. These sites are not used by the CPS because of earlier structural reorganisation and the nature of the existing lease arrangements. It is not possible to dispose of them at this time. At the end of financial year 2006-07 the department owned Crown Freeholds on three properties, which had a total value of £6.1 million. One previously owned freehold property was sold at the end of the year and the details are given below. The remaining properties are owned by commercial landlords.
The current freehold sites on the CPS Estate are:
The freehold land and buildings were last independently professionally valued in 2005 and have been revalued during 2006 and 2007. A process of indexation has been used to calculate the annual interim values.
All the other premises used by the CPS are either held on operating leases or tenancy by way of an Inter-Departmental Occupancy Agreement.
Most buildings on the CPS Estate are used as offices with some parts of the building designated for storage. One site (Ponteland) is used exclusively for storage. There are offices in all the major urban centres across England and Wales. The greatest share of the CPS Estate is located in smaller urban centres or market towns. CPS offices are generally located close to the courts so that attendance at court can be achieved quickly and at minimum cost.
Since 1996, the Department has adopted key measures to assess the performance of its Estate and by setting challenging targets for each measure seek to achieve improvements in capital management. The key performance measures are:
- Greenfield House, Sheffield
- Crown House, Portsmouth
- Caebanc, Carmarthen
These benchmarks are measured against those collated by a Special Interest Group within the Office for Government Commerce. The CPS Central Property Unit actively manages the estate to ensure that the CPS performs at a high standard.
- cost of occupancy - expressed as a ratio of annual occupancy costs (rent, rates, service charges, maintenance, professional fees and other building related operating costs) to the total floor area for which the Department remains financially liable;
- space utilisation - expressed as a ratio of the number of full time equivalent staff to the combined floor area in both operational use and that declared surplus to operational requirements;
- operational to void space ratio - net of the floor areas that have been sub-let to commercial under-tenants and that occupied by Other Government;
- occupancy cost per head - this ratio represents the annual occupancy costs expressed to the number of full time equivalent staff.
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Non Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit Investment
The Compass Programme
The Crown Prosecution Service's COMPASS Programme is a 10 year Public Finance Initiative (PFI) partnership between the Crown Prosecution Service and LogicaCMG to modernise Information Technology services within the Crown Prosecution Service. The infrastructure and other assets are owned and accounted for by LogicaCMG. The contract was entered into at the end of December 2001.
The capital value of assets (including hardware and software) within the contract are valued at:
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What it provides/delivers
The COMPASS contract with LogicaCMG provides for four main streams of service as follows:
A monthly service charge is paid to LogicaCMG which covers the provision of hardware and software applications, support, maintenance, technical refresh of all hardware and software and associated support such as training and helpdesk.
- work in partnership to complement the CPS Strategy and deliver business benefits;
- support and maintenance of the IT infrastructure and systems;
- develop and implement the prosecution Case Management System (CMS) - rollout of the Initial Case Management System was completed in Dec 2003, with 4 further releases delivered by December 2004 and 2 new releases during 2005/6 a further 2 during 2006/7 and a further 2 scheduled for 2007/08;
- technology refresh of hardware and software throughout the contract period.
The COMPASS Programme has delivered nationally:
The COMPASS programme has transformed the way the Crown Prosecution Service conducts its core business of prosecution, providing:
- a prosecution case management system (COMPASS CMS). This is a business critical application.
- a management information system (COMPASS MIS).
- a Witness Management System (WMS).
The COMPASS Programme represents a major investment in ICT infrastructure and tools: it has already been successfully rolled out to more than 8,000 CPS users and approximately 2,000 Police users.
The COMPASS infrastructure has grown from supporting staff in less than 100 sites in 2001, to supporting staff working in 680 sites, with the added dimension of 1,000 staff having access to our systems from anywhere in the United Kingdom with a telephone line. The number of users, including police staff, has grown by 31%; court links have increased by 300%; and over 100 CPS Direct staff now have IT links to work from home, enabling the Service to provide a 24/7 advice service to the police.
- a reduction in bureaucracy and paper handling, leading to an increased focus on operational priorities;
- an infrastructure which can facilitate enhanced communication links with the police, the courts, other criminal justice organisations, the bar and the defence thus playing a key role in delivering a modernised, joined up Criminal Justice System; and
- comprehensive and visible management information.
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Asset disposal plan
The CPS asset stock comprises freehold buildings, software development and office furniture and fixtures and fittings.
There are currently no proposals to dispose of any of the freehold property assets as a continuing operational requirement has been confirmed for each site over the long term. If requirements change in the future the possibility of achieving the expected disposal price will be dependent upon the strength of local markets. Disposals of the leasehold obligations are far more challenging as each will be dependent upon the terms set out in individual leases and local demand for the office premises that become surplus to CPS requirements.
The freehold buildings are occupied by frontline staff delivering the organisations key objectives. The nature of the CPS business means that frontline staff must be located close to the courts. The CPS Central Property Unit reviews the CPS estate to ensure that the utilisation of the assets is maximised and that they remain suitable and economic. When there is a change in circumstances, for example an internal reorganisation or a rationalisation of the HMCS estate the accommodation of the affected CPS Area is further reviewed and requirements analyzed. If a change is warranted a full business case is prepared and submitted to the Finance Director for consideration.
Administrative systems software development is agreed through the submission of a formal business case to the Corporate Services Design Authority (CSDA) and, if agreed, to the Finance Committee to agree funding. Achievement of anticipated benefits are reported each quarter and if the asset no longer provides an acceptable return on investment it will be referred to the CSDA for consideration for disposal.
Office furniture and fixtures and fittings are managed locally and are expected to perform until the end of the useful economic life of the asset group. Local management are responsible for ensuring that the assets are maintained in good condition. At the end of the UEL the assets are disposed of for a nominal sum.
CPS has reviewed current accommodation requirements and concluded that a freehold property, Winchway House, Haverfordwest was no longer needed and was sold on 31st March 2006 for £0.5 million.
|Asset Disposal 1 - Winchway House, Winch Lane, Haverfordwest - Transfer to National Assembly for Wales
Asset Disposal 2 - description
Asset Disposal 3 - description
Asset Disposal 4 - description
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Forward investment plans
CPS capital investment plans fall into three main categories: the maintenance of freehold land and buildings, appropriate enhancements to leasehold buildings and the routine replacement of office furniture and equipment when it has reached the end of its useful economic life. There are no current plans for any significant increase in the scope, functionality, coverage or lifespan of the asset base.
The CPS plans to spend £2 million pa on a planned forward programme of capitalized maintenance for freehold and leasehold buildings. Almost all CPS buildings are occupied by frontline staff, who are a key part of the delivery chain for the achievement of the department's objectives and CJS PSA targets. This level of investment is the minimum necessary to maintain the CPS estate in an acceptable condition and to avoid significantly higher costs in the future.
The balance of investment, £3 million pa will be targeted to a rolling programme of replacement of office furniture and equipment that has reached the end of its useful economic life. The new furniture will routinely have a smaller footprint than that it replaces and will help the department achieve optimal space efficiency on each site and minimize the need for additional office accommodation.
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Asset management practices
The CPS seeks to make the best use of its capital and current assets and recognises the clear links between capital and current spending. All business cases for capital expenditure consider the running cost implications of additional capital and where appropriate the need for training to maximise the usefulness of an asset. The options will include an assessment of the costs and benefits, a benefits realisation plan and the arguments for capital purchase compared with obtaining the services through alternative means. In determining the allocation of investment, the department also takes full account of the levels of current expenditure that will be required to finance the capital investment.
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Procedures to ensure assets are maintained in suitable condition
Since stewardship of the Estate was devolved to the CPS in 1996, the CPS has adopted a Maintenance Strategy to ensure that all premises managed by the CPS are maintained to a standard that prevents the core business of the Department from being disrupted.
The maintenance programme, which is reviewed annually, reflects a combination of a regime of planned preventative maintenance in accordance to statutory and contractual obligations with some building repairs required to redress wear and tear as buildings are used taking into account some factor of obsolescence and ageing. There is no backlog on the maintenance of the CPS Estate. The CPS annually spends over £2m on repairs to the premises it occupies.
The CPS regularly undertakes a property condition survey - the criteria are set out in the CPS Maintenance Strategy for which there are five classifications. In expenditure terms, approximately 60 percent of all building maintenance works identified during an annual survey conducted in September 1999 are of an essential nature.
The department regularly reviews how Estates services are provided taking into account market innovations such as PFI providers. Consultation with external professional property advisers indicates that the CPS Estate and its expenditure on property costs is not sufficiently large enough either in portfolio size or financial terms to be commercially viable to PFI based providers.
CPS has an Asset Replacement Strategy in line with Health and Safety, Sustainable Development Targets and employment legislation. The budget is centrally managed in Finance and Accounts Branch.
The department regularly reviews the assets on the register and seeks to replace those that have reached their useful economic life.
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The CPS Board is the senior decision making body of the CPS and supports the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Chief Executive, the Department's Accounting Officer and Additional Accounting Officer, in delivering the department's Business Plan and objectives. The Board includes the DPP, the Chief Executive, the Chief Executive of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, three Non-Executive Directors, the CPS Chief Operating Officer and the Finance Director. Corporate governance and the role of the CPS Board and its sub-committees is currently under review as part of the CPS response to the Cabinet Office 2007 Capability Review.
Hitherto all significant investment decisions have been subject to the scrutiny of the Finance Committee, a sub-group of the CPS Board. The Finance Director is a member of both the Finance Committee and the CPS Board. Substantial new investment decisions are referred by the Finance Committee to the Board. Prior to submission to the Finance Committee the Finance Director and his staff perform an assessment and challenge function to ensure that all proposals are properly supported and follow the Treasury's Green Book approach to cost benefit analysis and represent good value for money for the department.
Assets greater than £500k, that are in need of immediate replacement, are prioritised against set criteria, through internal business bids by the Capital Management Group (CMG), which includes representatives of CPS Areas, HQ Directorates and is chaired by the Finance Directorate. Administrative systems' software development is agreed through the submission of a formal business case to the Corporate Services Design Authority (CSDA) which has similar representation to the CMG and is chaired by the Business Information Systems Directorate. If proposals are agreed by these groups they are referred to the to the Finance Committee to consider funding.
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The CPS has a formal system of financial delegation which is described in the CPS Financial Operations and Accounting Manual. Budgets are allocated by the Chief Executive Officer to Chief Crown Prosecutors and HQ Directors. They in turn may formally delegate budgets to cost centre managers. For each level of delegation there are prescribed value limits. Contracts or commitments at the highest level may only be approved by the Chief Executive or the Finance Director as appropriate.
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Investment appraisal systems
The CPS follows the Treasury Green Book when developing business cases and cost benefit analyses. All significant investment decisions are supported by a fully costed business case, which is reviewed by the Finance Directorate before submission to a decision making group.
The CPS also has a Centre of Excellence that sets the framework for programme and project management in the CPS. Every project must go through a Business Change Checklist that will identify the potential impact on the business and whether the project is considered to be business critical. If the project is classified as business critical OGC Gateway Reviews will be applied. If the project is not classified as business critical internal independent gateway reviews will be applied as part of the formal project management process.
Projects are evaluated on completion to ensure that they have achieved the goals that were set and to identify good practice that could be incorporated into the plans for subsequent projects. Where appropriate the CPS will seek an independent expert view on the completed project and commission a report that will detail whether the objectives of the project have been achieved and an assessment of whether the project represents good value for money.
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Security considerations for the CPS constrain the department's ability to introduce wider market initiatives, especially with the private sector. Where accommodation is not fully utilised the CPS Central Property Unit actively markets it to appropriate tenants.
Other opportunities do exist within the public sector and the CPS seeks to exploit them to the full. The COMPASS IT modernisation programme will generate wider efficiencies across the Criminal Justice System by use of a national computer network, delivering business critical management information and standardisation to Courts and Police.
Hermes is a collaborative initiative to implement a supplier hosted (via the government secure intranet) HR Management System for the Law Officers' Departments. When fully implemented Hermes will deliver efficiencies not only for the CPS, but also the Treasury Solicitor's Department, Serious Fraud Office, and Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office.
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