Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

PPS review aims to boost efficiency

Barra McGrory is confident the PPS could rise to the challenges highlighted in the report

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has carried out a management review in a move to improve efficiency.

Director Barra McGrory QC confirmed he had also introduced a new training programme for senior managers as part of the process.

"A particular issue which the PPS is keen to address is that of performance management. A number of steps have already been taken including a major senior management review and the extension of the role of the deputy director to include taking the lead in performance management," he said.

A report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate assessed how the PPS was directed and controlled, how it governed its activities and managed its performance and risk and identified a number of issues.

"I am confident that the PPS can rise to the challenges highlighted in this report and I look forward to leading the organisation through this next phase in its development," added Mr McGrory.

The PPS was established in 2005 and recruited a large number of young lawyers to support a small cadre of more experienced staff from the previous Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). It prosecutes up to 55,000 criminal cases a year.

Inspectors found that the organisation was constrained by its management structures, staff levels, information flows and performance regime. There was room to expand the role of operational managers and introduce a more consistent approach to performance management and accountability.

"What is not in question is the energy, commitment and enthusiasm displayed by the staff within the PPS. However, enthusiasm and energy do not in themselves automatically translate into the delivery of successful outcomes," the report said.

Barriers arising from the culture within the PPS, the legacy of their operating environment and a need for more management expertise were among the other concerns raised.

Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice said the pressure to drive improvements in service delivery, meet the changing needs of stakeholders and reduce costs had placed new demands on the resources and resourcefulness of the PPS which required a fresh approach. Mr McGuigan suggested that the PPS should re-focus its attention on service delivery and holding managers to account.

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