PPS publishes its Annual Report and Resource Accounts 2011-12

Publication date:

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its 2011-12 Annual Report and Resource Accounts. 
The report provides an overview of PPS’s work during the financial year as well as a summary of the progress made against the objectives set out in the PPS Annual Business Plan for 2011-12. It also includes details of PPS expenditure and the financial position at the end of the year and forewords by both the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland, Dominic Grieve MP QC. 

Commenting on key aspects contained in the report, the first produced since his appointment in November 2011, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, said: “The Annual Business Plan for 2011-12 presented a challenging programme for the year and included twenty-six performance milestones. Sixteen of these milestones were achieved in full and a further four were achieved in part. It should be noted that five milestones were deferred by the PPS Management Board as they could not be achieved, largely due to factors beyond our control. These included the introduction of a new fees payment scheme for external counsel and the refresh of the Service’s Panel Scheme for the instruction of counsel. I have ensured that these initiatives will now be implemented during 2012-13, building on the significant preparatory steps already taken in 2011-12.   

“The improvement of service delivery, and, in particular, a reduction in avoidable delay in expediting prosecution cases, is a priority for the PPS. There has been an overall improvement in the time taken to issue summary prosecutions and diversions which together account for over seventy percent of the prosecutorial decisions issued. During 2011-12 more than seven-tenths of summary prosecution decisions and four-fifths of diversionary decisions were issued within 20 calendar days. It is recognised that not all of the timeliness targets were met. However this performance must be viewed in context. While there was a reduction in the overall number of cases received compared with 2010-11, there was a significant increase in the most serious categories of case.  

“Improving services and support is vital to building effective relationships between victims and witnesses, the PPS, and the criminal justice system. Based on research conducted by the Department of Justice (NI Victim and Witness Survey 2011-12), just under 70% of victims and witnesses are satisfied with the overall service provided by the PPS.  “During 2011-12 PPS commenced a review of its Victims and Witnesses Policy to bring it up to date with current practice and legislative and policy changes. In examining the policy statement, PPS is taking on board the various recommendations made by CJINI in their December 2011 report on the services provided to victims and witnesses across the criminal justice system. 
“In January 2012, the PPS commissioned questions for inclusion in the Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey, carried out by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The purpose of the survey was to gauge public perceptions of the PPS and its role. Seven-tenths (70%) of those who had heard of the PPS were very or fairly confident regarding the fairness and impartiality of the Service. This compared with 67.5% in 2011.  
“The total operating cost for the PPS of £35,976k represents a saving of £2,947k against Estimate and reflects an effective performance in terms of the management of the Service’s resources. It should be noted that a substantial proportion of this saving has arisen from the early implementation of savings initiatives planned for the later years of the Budget 2010 period”.  

Notes to Editors 

A copy of the Annual Report and Resource Accounts 2011-12 is available via the PPS website at www.ppsni.gov.uk
Since the devolution of policing and justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly in April 2010, the PPS has been designated as a non-ministerial government department. Funding for the PPS is provided by the Northern Ireland Assembly. As Accounting Officer for the Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for ensuring that the public monies provided are used efficiently and effectively. All members of staff are Northern Ireland Civil Servants.  
This is the second annual report and resource accounts to be produced by the Service since becoming a non-ministerial Department. The resource expenditure of the PPS up to 2009-10 was reported within the Resource Accounts of the Northern Ireland Office. 
In May 2010 John Larkin QC was appointed the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, as part of the devolved justice arrangements. The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 provides for the Director and Attorney General to consult with each other on any matter for which the Attorney General is accountable to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

At present a number of prosecutorial matters are reserved to Parliament at Westminster. Duties in respect of these matters are performed by the Advocate General for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, who is the Attorney General for England and Wales.