No cause for CPS concern

Your article ('Revealed: future for CPS Lawyers' 16 April) is wholly misleading.

It seems the document passed to you by "a current CPS employee" is a discussion document produced in CPS London for its managers. It is a list of possible actions produced by a group of CPS London staff.

It has long been my policy to involve as many members of the office as possible in the management of their area.

When we knew we were to face a cut in funding, in common with all government departments, area managers (including branch Crown prosecutors) spent 20 minutes brainstorming ways to improve efficiency and make savings. This implies no commitment to any idea produced.

The lists were passed to a small group of office members, lawyers and non-lawyers for consideration. They produced a report, a copy of which you seem to have. This was provided to senior managers, most of whom are lawyers, to be discussed "and for decisions to be made as to whether they are practical and acceptable".

There is no need for consternation among lawyers or others. Good managers should look at all options, if only to reject them, so even the more outlandish will creep into lists of this type – if they do not, then the process to identify the options has not been sufficiently thorough. What matters is the decision the area's managers reached on paper.

The idea of reducing the lawyer's input to review was rejected. The service of S9 statements by police in minor summons cases was recommended. The Metropolitan Police are now introducing this across London to save police and CPS staff time, letting both concentrate on more important work by abandoning unnecessary and costly administrative procedures. And most important of all, it was decided the efforts of branch Crown Prosecutors to negotiate with magistrates' clerks to reduce court sittings in line with a reduced caseload, should be supported by a variety of area initiatives.

If anyone doubts the revealed report was anything other than a discussion paper I need only refer to the idea: "all lawyers to be made redundant and re-employed on new, fixed-term contracts". Such an option is absurd. It would cost the CPS a fortune and bring no benefits.

I am sorry you appear to have been led into error by the mischievous disclosure of my management team's paper. This was a document contributed to by people at most levels in the office. The working group consulted widely and the document was available for discussion by branch Crown prosecutors as they thought appropriate. They cannot make policy for the service and thus, for example, as to rights of audience for executive officers, the position remains as stated by the Director of Public Prosecutions, that she is not planning to replace lawyers in court by caseworkers.

I am greatly disappointed that my policy of frank and open discussion by managers with all members of the office has been abused so that needless anxiety could be caused on this and other issues. It is sad that your anonymous informant did not have the sense to talk to me or other managers about his or her concerns.

GD Etherington

Chief Crown prosecutor.