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CPS Response to the HMCPSI review of Complex Casework Units


Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) has today (2 March 2021) published a report that considers how effective and efficient the Complex Casework Units are in identifying and managing their casework.

The CPS is pleased to note that the Inspectorate recognised the high standard of casework undertaken on Complex Casework Units (CCUs)and specifically highlighted the professionalism, dedication and skill of the staff on the CCUs. The CCUs are responsible for prosecuting some of the most serious and complicated casework in the CPS and it is important that this work continues to be resourced and managed as effectively and efficiently as possible. The report sets out a number of recommendations that will inform a programme of work to ensure that as well as delivering high quality casework, there will be improvements to structures and processes that will increase the resilience of CCUs and provide greater assurance and oversight of the work being undertaken.

The CPS accept all the recommendations made in the report which, alongside the existing review into the Changing Nature of Crime will be used to shape our improvement activities.

Inspectorate’s Recommendations 

1. Complex Casework Units should ensure that, pre and post charge, processes and checks are in place to ensure ongoing compliance with: case progression; mandatory casework assurance processes; Individual quality assessments; completion of the Resource and Efficiency Model to provide accurate resourcing data;  and the creation and maintenance of appropriate audit trails within the case management system (paragraph 6.26)    

CPS Response: The CPS accept this recommendation which will improve the resilience of the CCUs to deliver high quality casework and provide and allow for greater assurance and oversight of the casework. (Work is already underway to review how the Individual Quality Assessments (IQA) can be improved to enhance the quality of casework on the CCUs.)                          

2. Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters as a discrete element of the Changing Nature of Crime Review to consider how the small and medium sized complex casework units are best equipped to deal with complex casework and consider how the composition and staffing of units (including management levels and grades of prosecutor) can support and guarantee the delivery of high quality casework.” (paragraph 4.30)

CPS Response: The CPS acknowledge the importance of ensuring that all CCUs have the resources  to manage the casework and accept this recommendation to further consider how the resilience of the smaller and medium sized CCUs can be improved as part of the ongoing review into the Changing Nature of Crime.  

3. Complex Casework Units should negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with local police forces in accordance with the template agreed by CPS HQ (paragraph 5.39).

CPS Response: The CPS accept this recommendation that will build on the existing positive relationships that CCUs have with local police force areas. The more structured and detailed framework within a  Memorandum of Understanding will provide the local police areas and the CCUs with a consistent level of expectations as to the referral of cases, liaison arrangements and escalation and improve case progression.

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