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Crown Prosecution Service: Databases

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Solicitor-General what the (a) process and (b) timescale is for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to update its electronic records relating to those who (i) are awaiting charge and (ii) have been charged and are awaiting a trial or hearing; what guidelines apply to the updating of electronic records at the CPS; and who is responsible for the updating of electronic records of CPS cases. (208346)

The process of the CPS creating an electronic record for those awaiting a charge is dependent on how the police have sought a pre-charge decision (PCD) from the CPS. The four factors that influence the process are:

ix1. Where the Exchange Links interface currently rolling out across the country, linking police and CPS case systems, is live in the area, and the police case systems can provide the electronic information to the CPS at the pre-charge stage.

This is the quickest process for creating the electronic record as the police case systems can send the pre-charge decision information via the Exchange Link. This message is then automatically registered on the CPS COMPASS case management system (CMS) as a pre-charge decision case.

2. Where it is a face to face consultation with a duty prosecutor (at a charging centre).

The pre-charge decision case record will be created on CMS either by the duty prosecutor at the time of the consultation, or subsequently registered by administration staff from the paper record.

3. Where it is over the telephone with CPS Direct (out of office hours).

Administration staff will create the case record on CMS when an email has been received from CPS Direct with the outcome of their pre-charge decisions.

4. Where only the paper file is received from the police.

Administration staff will create the record on CMS.

The timescales for creating the electronic case records have not been centrally mandated; however, the optimum business model process, currently being rolled out across the CPS, aims to ensure all case registrations are within 24 hours of receipt of the information, regardless of the process of receipt in the CPS.

For those who have been charged and are awaiting a trial or a hearing, the aim is for all electronic records on CMS to be updated within 24 hours of each hearing, to ensure timely information is available to enable the CPS to meet its commitments under the Victims' Code. To achieve this aim, the target set for all areas during 2007-08 was for 60 per cent. of cases to be updated within 24 hours; this target was met. For 2008-09 the target is 75 per cent; the early indications are that this target will be met. These updates are input by administration staff from information on the paper file.