CPS brings out the best

I should like to endorse the sentiment of the headline to your leading article (The Lawyer19 March), 'No call for secrecy' and your related front page article.

There is no "can of worms"; details of the training scheme have been in the public domain for some time.

The Crown Prosecution Service has no plans to use non-lawyers as magistrates court prosecutors. This would require legislation and we have not sought it.

We do, however, want to make the best use of all our staff in support of the service's key lawyer functions; the making of final decisions on the continuance and discontinuance of cases and advocacy.

To this end we have developed a training package for caseworkers in our branches in conjunction with ITC, the training arm of the Institute of Legal Executives.

In this we would see ourselves as being in line with private sector best practice and I fail to see the supposed "longer-term civil liberties and constitutional implications".

The training package was piloted in our London area and the service's trade unions were invited to the launch and the debriefing.

News of this and details of the scheme as a whole were given prominence in a two-page article in our in-house Journal for January-February 1995 which goes to all staff. This was shortly after Mr Addison had left the service.

A copy of the Journal was sent at the time to The Lawyer and a copy of the article was faxed to you last week for information.

The Crown Prosecution Service, along with all other government departments, is subject to budgetary constraints but we have made it clear that we intend to maintain the quality of our service within our reduced total budget.

To this end I am in regular discussion with Chief Crown Prosecutors who, as part of the senior management team of the CPS, are able to use their knowledge and expertise to ensure that the service delivers the best value for money from available resources.

Barbara Mills QC

Director of Public Prosecutions.