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Public Prosecution Service

Volume 704: debated on Monday 13 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the time taken by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to process cases; whether they have taken any steps to reduce processing times; and, if so, what those steps are. [HL5393]

The Public Prosecution Service keeps records of the times taken for cases to pass through various key stages in the prosecution process.

In order to reduce avoidable delay in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland, Ministers commissioned the Criminal Justice Board to develop performance standards to be achieved by 31 March 2011. These were announced in June 2007 and comprise three of the five KPI targets contained in the Government's Justice for All public service agreement. These standards commenced with effect from 1 April 2008 and progress will be closely monitored over the course of the next three financial years by the multiagency delay action team (DAT) on behalf of the Criminal Justice Board and Ministers. These standards augment the DAT's existing programme of work: a multifaceted joint strategy designed to deliver justice more effectively and efficiently which is aimed at speeding and streamlining communications and transactions between police and prosecution and the courts, with the overall aim to try to remove avoidable and unnecessary delay in criminal case processing in Northern Ireland. While we have only relatively recently embarked on the formal three-year process towards the achievement of these performance standards, early indications on progress thus far are positive.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many (a) full-time and (b) part-time personnel are currently employed in the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland. [HL5394]

This is an operational matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland. I have asked him to reply to the noble Lord, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Official Report and the Library of the House.