To ask the Attorney General, what discussions she had with relevant stakeholders prior to implementing the recent changes to the Crown Prosecution Service Director’s Guidance on Charging.
The Director’s Guidance on Charging is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under section 37A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The current version of the Director’s Guidance is the sixth version of Guidance that was first published in 2004.
The Director’s Guidance recognises the significant changes in the way that cases are investigated, charged, and prosecuted since the last edition was published in 2013.
Those changes include, in particular, the provisions of the 8th Edition of the Code for Crown Prosecutors published in October 2018, the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure 2020 and the revised Codes of Practice issued in 2020 under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.
The CPS consulted police forces through the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on the contents of the Director’s Guidance before its publication in December 2020. That consultation included the sharing of initial drafts with all police forces via the NPCC, Police and Crime Commissioners and the Senior Presiding Judge. That was followed by the establishment of a joint CPS/police working group to discuss and where appropriate amend the Director’s Guidance. A further period of consultation followed with the police before it was finalised and the DPP also personally addressed all Chief Constables directly about the changes being made in version 6 of the Director’s Guidance at an event held by the NPCC in November 2020.