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Serious Fraud Office: Standards

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Solicitor-General whether the (a) targets and (b) priorities of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) are to be reviewed following the review of the SFO Final Report published by the Attorney General in June. (214971)

The SFO is currently involved in a fundamental review as a result of the arrival of a new Director on 21 April 2008 and the publication of Jessica de Grazia’s Report on the Serious Fraud Office published in June 2008.

As part of this review the Director has already made a number of changes designed to strengthen the leadership team, improve staff training and to shorten the time it takes to get SFO cases into Court. The recommendations made in Jessica de Grazia’s report which relate to the operation and management of the SFO are currently being considered very carefully as part of this, and further developments to build on the performance of the SFO will be introduced over the coming year.

To ask the Solicitor-General whether there are proposals to (a) improve the Serious Fraud Office’s case management procedures and (b) seek efficiency savings in Serious Fraud Office investigations and prosecutions. (215315)

The recently appointed director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has already stated on several occasions that one of his priorities is to enable cases to be brought to court more quickly.

In addition, in March 2007 the SFO established the Case Management Reform Programme (CMRP), which is a business change programme designed to contribute to the strategic aims and objectives of the SFO. In particular, the CMRP aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of SFO casework processes, thus increasing the probability that cases will withstand procedural challenge and be concluded within much shorter time frames.