Tackling economic crime and complex fraud must be a priority and I wanted to ensure from the outset that the work of the SFO should be subject to independent inspection and that processes and practices are continually improved. I am grateful to the former director, Richard Alderman, for inviting the inspectorate into the department and for the current director, David Green CB QC, for taking the majority of the review work forward.
The report identifies a number of areas for improvement, and makes some very useful recommendations as to how casework can be handled more effectively to avoid problems that have been encountered in the past.
I am pleased that the director has accepted all of the recommendations and that the inspectorate will be returning to assess progress on implementing changes in early 2014.
However, I am also encouraged that the inspection team found that the SFO does many things well and that the direction in which the SFO is now headed is the right one. I agree with the chief inspector’s conclusions that with the new director’s focus on skills, quality assurance and mending stakeholder relations,
“the ground has been laid for the SFO to improve significantly the quality of its casework in the next two years.”