CPS Yorkshire and Humberside partnership working has improved victim and witness care, inspectors find

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CPS Yorkshire and Humberside is a well-managed Area which provides a good level of service although some aspects of casework need to improve, a recent inspection found.

Inspectors looked at whether the CPS in Yorkshire and Humberside delivers the maximum benefit for users and stakeholders with the resources available. They found that through collaboration with different partners, performance has improved – for example partnership working with one police force has improved domestic abuse conviction rates and feedback from stakeholders has resulted in improved letters to victims of crime.

The Area manages resources well, has excellent financial controls in place, and has consistently come within budget for a number of years. However there are still improvements to be made in certain aspects such as ensuring all cases are reviewed properly within the required timescales and improving case progression.

The Area has good conviction rates, but the Area’s main performance issues relates to trial effectiveness in both the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court:

• The magistrates’ court effective trial rate has decreased slightly and for the 12 months to September 2016 was 41.4% which is significantly worse than the national average of 47.2%

• The Crown Court effective trial rate for the 12 months to September 2016 was 38.2% which is again significantly worse than the national average of 50.5%

Chief Inspector Kevin McGinty said: “CPS Yorkshire and Humberside are doing well in managing their resources, and have a high level of engagement with local criminal justice partners. We also found that the Area had established an excellent Victims Liaison Unit made up of experienced staff which meant that all communications with victims and witnesses were of good quality.

“However, the quality of its casework in both the magistrates’ and Crown Courts was not up to the standard it should be. It is important that the right checks and procedures are in place to make sure that cases go through the courts efficiently.”

CPS Yorkshire and Humberside has offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull and are aligned with North, South and West Yorkshire and Humberside police forces. The area covers 15 magistrates’ courts and 6 Crown Court centres.

Inspectors examined 150 magistrates’ court and Crown Court files which were finalised between July and September 2016. Fieldwork took place in December 2016 and inspectors spoke to members of the judiciary, representatives of partner agencies and CPS staff. Court observations also took place during this period.