Independent inspectorate to monitor CPS

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be monitored by an independent inspectorate for the first time, under plans announced today in the Queen's speech.

The new watchdog body will report directly to the attorney general Lord Williams of Mostyn, the minister responsible for the CPS. The current inspectorate is not independent, reporting to the director of public prosecutions David Calvert-Smith QC, who heads the CPS.

A new chief inspector will be appointed with a broad remit – having the power to recommend reform of the service and launch investigations into the way individual cases are handled.

The surprise move follows a damning report by former judge Sir Iain Glidewell on the CPS last year, which concluded that the service had failed in its central aim of improving the “effectiveness and efficiency of the prosecution service”.