The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is facing a massive brain drain of its most senior lawyers following the planned shake-up on 1 April.
More than half the country's 13 chief crown prosecutors (CCPs) will quit the CPS, cashing in on potentially lucrative early retirement and redundancy packages that will cost the service hundreds of thousands of pounds.
In an interview with The Lawyer, Director of Public Prosecutions David Calvert-Smith QC says: “It is fair to say I am going to be losing some experience and I shall obviously be sad I have to do so. But there it is.”
He refused to say how many of the CCPs were quitting but reliable sources put the number at seven. They will be offered either redundancy or early retirement deals depending on age.
The department's remaining six CCPs must reapply for new jobs in charge of the 42 areas created through recommendations made in the Glidewell Report.
Calvert-Smith adds: “Although one regrets the loss of experience at the top from people who have served the organisation in times of great change, this is the time for people of energy and ability to make a good career move themselves and do a new job.
“The concern has got to be not so much morale as handling the mechanics of all this because we cannot allow cases to suffer because of the large scale changes of personnel there are going to be. This has to be very carefully handled.”
Interviewing begins next week for the 42 new posts of mini-director of public prosecutions – the largest civil service recruitment drive at such a senior level. The CPS has received 211 applications for the jobs – a quarter from non-CPS candidates – that will pay between £35,000 and £90,000 depending on experience and the size of the area covered.
Eighty-eight people have been shortlisted for interview, conducted by a civil service panel, that includes Calvert-Smith and CPS chief executive Mark Addison.