Statement from PAC Chair on NAO report on the CPS

02 November 2011

National Audit Office: The Crown Prosecution Service: the introduction of the Streamlined Process.

A statement from The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:

At a time when police forces are facing a 20% reduction in central funding, it is disappointing that an initiative to cut paperwork is not achieving value for money.

Police forces continue to spend more time on building case files than they need to. Cutting down on needless paperwork is vital if frontline services are to be protected. This report estimates that over half a million police hours could be saved each year. Currently almost four out of every five prosecution files contain more paperwork than is required.

The Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service failed to secure local buy-in for this work. This does not bode well for future reforms. The new protocols set out in guidance are voluntary and awareness of the guidance is poor amongst those preparing cases. Those responsible for cutting bureaucracy in this area failed to learn the lessons from pilots before issuing their guidance across the country.

These simple changes have the potential to achieve efficiency savings but will not do so without better working between national crime agencies and local police forces.  

The report is available to read on the National Audit Office website.

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