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Prosecution Service

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Attorney-General what account he is taking of the representations being made to him about the structure of the new prosecution service and the pay levels involved; and if he will make a statement.

I have received representations from the Crown Prosecution Service Trade Union Group, the Prosecuting Solicitors Society of England and Wales and the National Association of Prosecuting Solicitors' Staffs as well as from a number of individuals and hon. Members. I have met the CPSTUG on three occasions and officers of PSSEW also on three occasions. They explained to me their concern about the published proposals as to pay, grading and complementing. In addition, they alleged a lack of information on important matters affecting their members. The most recent of these meetings took place yesterday and I was able to respond in respect of a wide range of matters affecting conditions of service in a way which met a large proportion of the requests made by CPSTUG.As regards three matters identified as giving rise to particular concern, I informed the CPSTUG and PSSEW as follows:

First, the salary scale for the crown prosecutor grade will now be substantially improved, so that it will extend from £10,500 to £15,000 (£9,700—£14,000 was formerly proposed). The intermediate points will be as follows: £11,100; £11,700; £12,300; £12,950; £13,600; £14,250. This will mean a substantial reduction in the number of transferring staff to whom pay protection will need to apply.
Secondly, the ratio of crown prosecutor to senior crown prosecutor posts will now be improved from 3: 1 to 2: 1. This, too, will reduce the number of transferring staff who will require pay protection, and will certainly enhance career prospects within the new service not only in terms of an increase in the number of senior crown prosecutor posts, but also because the improved ration means some consequential increase in the number and grading of the more senior posts.
Thirdly, the provisions for pay protection have also been improved. Here, it has previously been announced there will be full pay protection for 10 years from the date of transfer so that, if they wish, staff may stay on their original local government pay scale and receive local government pay rises. This 10-year period will be followed by one of four years during which the individual's salary will be tapered by five equal annual instalments towards the appropriate Civil Service salary. It has now also been decided, exceptionally, that if at the end of this overall period of 14 years the individual's salary still represents a lead over the appropriate Civil Service salary there will be a provision whereby the higher salary may be retained on a mark-time basis until such time as the Civil Service salary appropriate to his-her grade equals or exceeds the mark-time salary.

With regard to each item of a wider range of issues ancillary to the main questions of pay and grading, I informed the CPSTUG and PSSEW of our specific intentions, and the Director of Public Prosecutions has written to all chief crown prosecutors designate with these details so that they may be promulgated to transferring staff.

Wherever possible existing conditions will be carried over when staff transfer, sometimes on a short-term transitional basis, sometimes on an individual reserved rights or mark-time basis. The overall approach has been to try to ensure that staff will not be disadvantaged by transferring, while at the same time having necessary and proper regard to the general terms and conditions which apply to the rest of the Civil Service.

I am satisfied that these proposals are appropriate to the Government's dual objectives, namely, of ensuring that the new service attracts and retains staff of the calibre necessary for its important work, and of avoiding the imposition on the taxpayer of an unnecessarily heavy bill.