The standard of work expected of public prosecutors, at every stage of the prosecution process, is being published today for consultation for the first time.
Members of the public are being asked for their views on these proposed minimum standards by the Director of Public Prosecutions over the next 12 weeks. The consultation document on Core Quality Standards for prosecutors covers 12 key areas, from providing advice to police before a charge to sentencing and appeal processes.
Mr Starmer said: This is a real step forward in ensuring that we deliver in terms of quality and consistency across England and Wales. These standards define a new relationship between the prosecution service and the public we serve, who can now see in plain English what to expect from us at every stage of a prosecution.
If anyone - victim, witness, defendant or other member of the public- wants to know more about the prosecutors role, then they should read this document. It lays out standards which cover every major aspect of our work: from advising the police, supporting victims and witnesses, through to every stage of the prosecutors role in court from first appearance to appeal.
This is a new approach to delivering a core public service and it is important that the public is made aware of these standards and has the opportunity to comment before we adopt them across the organisation from April next year.
The standards are listed and explained in detail in the document Core Quality Standards which is available on the CPS website. They include:
- Providing the police and other investigators with advice to assist in tackling crime effectively and bringing offenders to justice;
Engaging with communities so that we are aware of their concerns when we make decisions;
Presenting cases fairly and firmly;
Assisting the court in the sentencing process and seeking to confiscate the proceeds of crime.
Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has welcomed the standards. He said: The Core Quality Standards for prosecutors will assist in the delivery of a more efficient and effective criminal justice service.
In July, the DPP set out the future of the organisation in Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard, which announced the Core Quality Standards as the key to a transparent and accountable prosecution service. He said at the time: Core Quality Standards lie at the heart of ensuring that excellence is delivered as the norm throughout the national service.
The standards will be supported by a set of service delivery requirements which detail the performance for each standard.
Mr Starmer said: This is how the public can hold us to account and also the means by which our performance will be assessed. We expect the public to hold us to account when our performance does fall below these high standards, and we will judge our success as prosecutors by our ability to consistently deliver them.
Therefore it is essential we get them right and that is why I urge everyone to read them carefully and let me have your comments.
The consultation on the Core Quality Standards will remain open until 18 January 2010.