Radical change to be ordered in CPS system

A WIDE-RANGING shake-up of the Crown Prosecution Service will be announced this week as its director, Barbara Mills QC, attempts to meet criticisms that it is inefficient and unpopular.

Chief prosecutors from the service's 31 areas have been summoned to London tomorrow to learn their fate under the reorganisation. Many fear they will be given a choice of demotion or redundancy. One CPS lawyer said: 'There are a lot of very worried senior managers around. It's like a roulette wheel.'

The plans involve merging areas to form regional authorities in order to streamline policy- and decision-making, according to a CPS source. The three areas in London are epected to be absorbed into a single body, giving it 'greater leverage with the Metropolitan Police'.

The majority of staff at lower levels will be unaffected, but Chief Crown Prosecutors fear they will have to re-apply for their pounds 40,000-a-year jobs, some of which will inevitably disappear.

The CPS lawyer said that Mrs Mills, the Director of Public Prosecutions, intended to rein in regional managers who have high levels of autonomy at present. 'I think she wants a better national identity and a more national way of doing things. At the moment, there are 31 areas and at least 31 ways of doing things.'

Mrs Mills is attempting to bolster the organisation's image following widely publicised blunders and criticism of some of her decisions since she became DPP in April. Earlier this year, a government committee refused to recommend that CPS lawyers be allowed to practise in higher courts, citing problems of efficiency.

In a recent interview with the Independent, Mrs Mills said the committee had been swayed by media reports of comparatively rare incidents where CPS lawyers had lost documents or arrived with the wrong files. 'But actually when you look back on it, it's one out of 100,000 cases,' she said. But critics will see the reorganisation as an attempt to get a grip on a body with a poor public image.

JUDGES should be monitored by an independent inspectorate which would pull them up short if they were lazy or rude, Lord Williams QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said yesterday.

Opening the Bar's annual conference in London, he contrasted the situation in England and Wales, where there was 'no sufficient measure of judicial quality and expertise', with other countries. 'Our colleagues abroad have judicial review bodies which are not there to harass the judiciary but to point out that if judges are rude, slow, lazy, discourteous or insensitive there might be some remedies which they might avail themselves of.'

At a press conference later, Lord Williams suggested that the new body could resemble Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. It would not have the power to discipline judges, merely to warn them if they were falling short of the required standards.

The body, which could include lay people as well as judges and lawyers, should be given powers to hear complaints from the public, he said.

The appointment of more High Court judges was important to end the 'insidious' use of deputy High Court judges.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most