New DPP can breathe life into moribund CPS

The new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), David Calvert-Smith QC, has a mountain to climb. Not only has he inherited an institution whose employee morale is at an all time low, but he will also have to lead it into a period of major change.

Calvert-Smith's appointment will be a popular one at the Bar. You do not get to be chairman of the Criminal Bar Association unless you are a heavyweight.

But when he becomes DPP, he will not only need to be a good lawyer, he will also need to become a good manager – a skill which most successful barristers do not need.

But he has a major advantage over his predecessor, Dame Barbara Mills QC. Unlike Mills, who arrived at the CPS in a hurry after the major scandal which surrounded her predecessor, the way forward has been carefully prepared for Calvert-Smith.

At his fingertips, he has a blueprint for a major overhaul of the CPS which is backed by most criminal lawyers and commentators, as well as the prosecutors working within the service. Sir Iain Glidewell's excellent inquiry report into the service came up with a tranche of recommendations that, if implemented as a package, promise to set the service on a new, happier course.

The Government has already accepted one key recommendation and created a new chief executive post, which has been filled by civil servant Mark Addison.

Although Calvert-Smith will be top dog, Addison can take much of the administrative burden of running such a large institution off the new DPP's shoulders. That will leave Calvert-Smith free to oversee the forthcoming decentralisation of the service while working at the same time to raise the morale of its demoralised prosecutors.

He is already making the right noises. Unlike Mills, he has acknowledged that the CPS has a morale problem, is underfunded and is burdened by bureaucracy.

This will be music to prosecutors' ears who had become sick to the back teeth of Mills' stubborn refusal to admit that anything was wrong, when it quite plainly was.