RCPO FOLLOW UP

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					RCPO FOLLOW-UP
AN OVERVIEW INSPECTION OF THE REVENUE AND
CUSTOMS PROSECUTIONS OFFICE (RCPO)
MANCHESTER AND LONDON OFFICES



NOVEMBER 2006




                           HM Crown Prosecution   Service Inspectorate
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
London Office
26 – 28 Old Queen Street
London SW1H 9HP

York Office
United House
Piccadilly
York
North Yorkshire
YO1 9PQ

Email: info@hmcpsi.gov.uk
http://www.hmcpsi.gov.uk
    INTRODUCTION
1   This report details the findings of Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
    (HMCPSI) arising from the visits to the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Offices in London
    and Manchester between 25 July and 3 August 2006. For reasons set out in paragraph seven
    below, the scope of the scrutiny was more limited than either HMCPSI or RCPO would
    have wished.


2   The Inspectorate had previously carried out two non-statutory inspections in respect of the
    former HM Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office (CEPO). At the time, CEPO was part of
    HM Customs and Excise and was accountable on casework matters to the Attorney General:

    • inspection of the Manchester Prosecution Unit of the Solicitor to HM Customs and Excise
      – November 2002 (the Manchester report); and
    • inspection of the London Casework Units of the Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office
      – December 2004 (the London report).


3   Since those inspections were undertaken, significant changes have occurred to the
    structure and governance of the investigation and prosecution of custom and excise cases.
    The Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (the Act) abolished the previous
    Departments of HM Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise, creating in their place one
    Department of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


4   Under the provisions of Sections 34 – 42 of the Act, the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions
    Office (RCPO) came into existence on 18 April 2005.This brought together the previous
    HM Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office (CEPO) and the Inland Revenue Crime Group
    as one independent prosecution authority.


5   The functions of the RCPO are set out in Section 35 of the Act, and allow the Director of
    RCPO to advise on investigations and to institute and conduct criminal proceedings (including
    those instituted by HMRC) relating to criminal investigations by Revenue and Customs, or in
    some instances, by the newly established Serious and Organised Crime Agency. Prosecutors
    must apply the Code for Crown Prosecutors to their advice and decision-making (Section 36).


6   HMCPSI is given a statutory power of inspection of RCPO by virtue of Section 42 of the Act.
    The previous inspections of Manchester and London, undertaken by HMCPSI in 2002 and
    2004, related only to the HM Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office.The Inspectorate had
    not undertaken any inspection activity in relation to the prosecution functions of the Inland
    Revenue. In these circumstances, it was initially envisaged that the visits would have taken the
    form of a full scrutiny of the work of RCPO, including the extent to which it had given effect
    to the findings of the two non-statutory inspections referred to above, insofar as they
    remained relevant. In fact, the defect in the legislation detailed below confined the scope
    substantially to an assessment of the changes made, even though the organisation itself wished
    to be viewed as a new one, rather than simply a merging and re-naming of its predecessors.




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7       Throughout this inspection the team were precluded from any form of file examination.
        This is because Section 40(1) of the Act prohibits disclosure of any information held by
        RCPO in connection with any of its functions and which relates to any person whose identity
        is specified in the disclosure or whose identity can be deduced from it.The case files and
        related IT systems and processes fall within this prohibition.This bar will be overcome when
        the provisions of the Police and Criminal Justice Bill are enacted. We have not therefore been
        able to reality check our findings using file and systems examination, as would normally be the
        case in any form of inspection undertaken by HMCPSI.


8       The Manchester report made nine recommendations and the London report made ten.
        These recommendations set out the steps necessary in order to address significant
        weaknesses relevant to important aspects of performance.They are set out in full in the tables
        below. Both reports also contained a number of suggestions for improvement; progress
        towards meeting these is detailed in the table at Annex A.


        RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN THE MANCHESTER REPORT

        R1      Lawyers include in advice notes an analysis of the evidential issues and public
                interest factors they have taken into account when reaching their decision
                (paragraph 2.8).


        R2      In complex cases, lawyers agree an appropriate timetable for the submission of
                papers and the provision of advice, and the Unit Head develops and implements
                a system to ensure timeliness of advice (paragraph 2.14).


        R3      Guidance be provided to lawyers on roles and responsibilities in relation to
                decision-making on proceedings orders, cases to be dropped on public interest
                grounds and stays (paragraph 3.29).


        R4      Lawyers make a full record of review decisions on the case decision record
                (paragraph 3.33).


        R5      In order to enable the Unit Head to measure performance, and improve the
                timeliness of case preparation, there should be monitoring of:
                • compliance with time scales for the submission by Law Enforcement of
                  committal, ‘sent’ case and summary trial papers, and unused material
                  schedules; and
                • timeliness of service of committal and ‘sent’ case papers and unused
                  material schedules on the defence, and the delivery of instructions to
                  counsel (paragraph 4.36).




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R6   In order to enable the Unit Head to measure performance, and improve the
     standard of review and case preparation, the quality of review and disclosure
     decisions, committal preparation (including drafting of indictments), and
     instructions to counsel are monitored (paragraph 4.42).


R7   The Unit Head ensures that effective custody time limit (CTL) monitoring
     systems are in place (paragraph 4.55).


R8   Compliance with the Case Management System is monitored (paragraph 4.58).


R9   The Unit extends participation in the business planning process to staff at Bands
     2 and 3, in order to achieve better cross-grade representation (paragraph 6.15).


RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN THE LONDON REPORT

R1   Unit Heads develop and implement a system to ensure timeliness of advice, which
     should include provision for re-allocation where necessary (paragraph 3.11).


R2   Lawyers should keep cases under continuous review to take account of changes
     in the evidential position (or circumstances affecting the public interest test)
     (paragraph 4.15).


R3   Lawyers ensure that there is a clear record of all the decisions made during the
     life of a case, including review and disclosure decisions (paragraph 5.34).


R4   Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office (CEPO) managers provide guidance on
     the handling of disclosure, in particular how to apply the Criminal Procedure and
     Investigations Act framework, and the respective roles of lawyers and counsel
     (paragraph 5.37).


R5   CEPO managers extend the monitoring of timeliness of committal and ‘sent’ case
     papers submitted by Law Enforcement to include the quality of papers, and that
     operational meetings to discuss the results be held on a regular basis (paragraph 5.44).


R6   CEPO managers:
     • make available full guidance on custody time limits within the Case
       Management System, which should be re-enforced with training
       where necessary;
     • introduce a manual back-up system on all units; and
     • introduce checks to ensure that all Case Managers are consistently using
       SOLAR to alert themselves and the case lawyer to custody time limit review
       dates at least ten working days before the expiry date (paragraph 5.76).

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        R7      CEPO managers consider replacing SOLAR with a database that reduces
                duplication of effort, provides information and records in an easily accessible
                format, and enables production of performance indicators (paragraph 5.99).


        R8      CEPO managers develop performance measures linked to the Business Plan, to
                ensure consistent and effective assessment of unit performance (paragraph 5.102).


        R9      Unit Heads ensure that all magistrates’ courts’ hearings in cases for which their
                unit is responsible are covered by CEPO (in-house advocates or agents); and that
                CEPO senior managers work towards the undertaking of advocacy in all
                Customs and Excise prosecutions (paragraph 6.8).


        R10 CEPO managers commission an external ‘bottom-up’ review of casework, to
            determine the resources and accommodation required in order to deliver an
            effective and efficient prosecution service (paragraph 8.7).


        METHODOLOGY
9       The purpose of this report is to look at the changes made in RCPO and what has been done
        in CEPO and RCPO to implement the recommendations and suggestions identified in the
        Manchester and London reports. We also look to see whether strengths identified have been
        maintained. As this Overview Inspection related to both offices of RCPO, the systems and
        processes implemented in response to the reports are generally similar. For ease of reading
        and to reduce duplication, we have therefore combined our assessment of implementation
        wherever possible. In addition this report also looks at the efforts made to integrate the two
        prosecution Departments into one independent organisation. We also consider how successful
        the new organisation has been in demonstrating the independence of its decision-making.


10      Before visiting the offices of RCPO, we requested a number of documents relating to file
        quality assurance, management information and performance data that would provide
        evidence of the progress that had been made.This also included the London and Manchester
        Action Plans to implement the reports’ recommendations and suggestions. We analysed all the
        information that was received.


11      During our visit we interviewed a number of RCPO Managers and Divisional Heads. We also
        arranged meetings with groups of lawyers and caseworkers from both the London and
        Manchester offices. We interviewed a number of members of the Judiciary and spoke to
        senior investigators from both HMRC and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).




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     OVERVIEW OF THE NEW ORGANISATION
12   RCPO are the specialist prosecution authority for HMRC, and for drugs and firearms
     importations and associated money laundering cases investigated by SOCA. Cases are
     reviewed, advice given, and prosecutions instituted in accordance with the principles contained
     in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.The cases RCPO prosecute are often complex and high
     profile, involving lengthy criminal investigations which generate voluminous paperwork and
     exhibits. In the year to March 2006, RCPO prosecuted some 2,269 defendants and collected
     £21.5 million in criminal assets.


     Staffing and accommodation
13   RCPO has a capable and dedicated staff supported by committed leadership. Since its
     inception staffing numbers have increased from 210 to 266.The induction and training of new
     staff has been dealt with promptly and effectively. A full breakdown of the current staffing
     figures is included at Annex B.


14   The increase in lawyer numbers and the London office move to spacious and good quality
     accommodation has had a significant positive impact both on the ability to undertake
     continuous review of cases and on staff morale generally. However, the Manchester Office,
     which was refurbished in 2003, is now somewhat cramped. In addition, the signing and décor
     of the Manchester Office has not been updated to the new corporate logos and colours,
     which gives it an outdated appearance, although this was being addressed at the time of our
     visit and some of the signage is now in position. A refurbishment is in the early planning stage.
     Senior managers acknowledge that the present situation does not assist in building a cohesive,
     corporate organisation. A video link between the two offices is about to be installed; this will
     also be of significant assistance in bringing the two offices together.


     Casework handling
15   Initial restructuring took place at the time of the merger with five Divisions being created to
     cover different aspects of the workload. Details of the structure are set out in the
     organisational chart at Annex C. Divisions A to D are multifunctional, although each has the
     lead on a particular subject. Division A leads on direct tax fraud and therefore handles much
     of the work of the former Inland Revenue Crime Group. Division B leads on commercial
     fraud including large scale VAT fraud and missing trader intra-community fraud (MTIC).
     Division C leads on border detections and Division D on duty and excise cases. Division E is
     the Serious Organised Crime Division, which covers large scale drug importation and money
     laundering.The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is responsible for conducting restraint,
     receivership, confiscation and enforcement proceedings including responding to requests from
     overseas jurisdictions to preserve assets.The International, Policy and Advisory Division (IPAD)
     provides advice and guidance on legal and policy matters and handles extradition and
     outgoing overseas requests, and also represents RCPO in the wider criminal justice system.


16   At the time of this report (September 2006), the predicted increase in caseload envisaged in
     the 2006-07 Business Plan has yet to materialise. However, the size and complexity of cases
     has continued to increase.This is as a result of the ever-growing sophistication and global
     nature of the criminal activity prosecuted, coupled with the continual development and
     advancement of detection and investigation methods. In the Manchester office there has been


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        a marked decline in the number of complex cases received, with the work at the moment
        being predominantly fast track cases. As a result tax credit fraud cases from the Northern
        catchment area are now going to be dealt with by the Manchester office.This also widens the
        experience of the Manchester lawyers and further promotes integration of the tax work
        within RCPO.


17      A table of current caseload is attached at Annex D. Managers accept that there is inaccuracy
        in the caseload figures. Attempts have been made to address this by a complete file audit,
        which was ongoing at the time of our visit, although there is still some concern about the
        validity of some of the information obtained.The collation of accurate caseload and
        performance data is also still hampered by the current IT system, although a new system was
        being piloted in two Divisions.


18      The Sensitive Cases List, which provides information to the Law Officers (Attorney General
        and Solicitor General) on topical and problematic cases, has been subject to extensive review
        and rationalisation. A focussed report has been prepared which provides a concise, regular
        and relevant update of all required information.


19      Prior to the establishment of RCPO, a number of high profile failed cases caused widespread
        criticism from the judiciary and led to specific enquiries into the way the cases had been
        investigated and prosecuted.The new organisation has worked hard to address the concerns
        raised. A specialist team of lawyers, including counsel on secondment, is still considering the
        impact and ramifications of those decisions on other convictions which may be affected.


        Revenue work
20      Division A leads on direct tax fraud and therefore handles much of the work of the former
        Inland Revenue Crime Group, which was transferred over from Somerset House (the Inland
        Revenue’s previous office). Initial problems due to accommodation difficulties and some
        feelings of isolation were resolved by relocating all RCPO prosecution divisions to one floor. In
        the fullness of time clearer links between customs and revenue work will be established, but
        so far the progress towards integration of staff and casework has been slow. Different working
        practices and interpretation of policy guidance have caused some difficulty. Since January, the
        ongoing movement of lawyers and case managers across Divisions has started to see some
        improvement and there is now some cross-fertilisation of systems and workloads. It will take
        some time before the organisation becomes fully integrated.


        Asset Recovery
21      The recovery of assets is an integral part of the work of RCPO. All lawyers are required to
        consider confiscation, and to record their decisions on the Case Decision Record in every
        case. We were advised that confiscation is considered to be an essential part of the process
        throughout the lifetime of the case. 2006-07 is the first year of the asset recovery incentive
        scheme. Under this scheme RCPO are allowed to keep approximately 17% of all assets
        recovered. Stretching targets have been set for the recovery of assets; the target for 2006-07
        being £22.7 million. Despite demonstrating continual increases in the amounts recovered
        RCPO are not currently meeting this target. All lawyers interviewed were aware of the
        importance of asset recovery; at present however, there are no individual Divisional targets set.

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22   The Asset Forfeiture Unit is a specialist unit which handles all cases where the minimum
     benefits figure is greater than £1 million. In addition the AFU will take over cases where a
     restraint order is already in force, cases involving recovery of assets of professionals who
     abuse their positions or where the case is complex or likely to attract media attention.
     They also have a policy and advisory role within RCPO and provide specific guidance to
     HMRC and SOCA on the conduct of investigations involving asset recovery and advise on
     practice and procedure.The AFU compiles data on confiscation receipts for performance
     measurement purposes by legislation, type of case, number of restraint orders made,
     value of assets restrained, number of receivers appointed, value of assets subject to
     receivership, number of confiscation orders made by legislation and by type of case and
     value of confiscation orders made.


23   The AFU is responsible for enforcing all confiscation orders obtained by RCPO under the
     Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, while the Enforcement Task Force (ETF) deals with RCPO
     confiscation orders obtained under the legislation that preceded the Act. ETF are a team of
     legal staff from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and RCPO, with financial investigators
     from HMRC and SOCA (who fund them). The ETF team deal exclusively with RCPO
     confiscation orders.


     Serious Crime Division
24   Division E is the Serious Crime Division, a dedicated unit set up to handle the cases dealt with
     by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency relating to drug importation, associated money
     laundering and the importation of firearms.The Division has appropriately security-cleared
     lawyers in both the Manchester and London offices.There is early consultation and focussed
     case building and management between lawyers and investigators on all SOCA cases,
     with advice being provided by RCPO on a 24/7 basis and the first SOCA cases due for trial
     shortly.The Division also works closely with the SOCA division of the CPS.


     Independence of decision-making
25   The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between RCPO and HMRC was signed on
     18 April 2005 by the Paymaster General on behalf of HM Treasury, the Attorney General,
     the Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs and the Director of the Revenue and
     Customs Prosecutions Office. It is a framework document, setting out the principles of how
     the two Departments should work together. It also provided for the development of joint
     casework standards for the discharge of their functions in relation to criminal investigations
     and prosecutions.These were agreed in September 2005 and form three annexes to the
     MOU; the Policy and Strategy Agreement, the Casework Standards Agreement (with an
     attached schedule for the timeliness of case handling) and the Disclosure Agreement. Each
     annex has an HMRC and RCPO single point of contact to ensure speed and consistency
     when dealing with issues or new developments in casework handling. Underpinning all three
     annexes is the Gower Hammond Matrix, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each
     Department in detail. Work is ongoing on the agreement of an updated version of the Matrix;
     the first draft of the Mutual Understanding on roles and responsibilities between Criminal
     Investigation and RCPO in relation to criminal casework was circulated on 28 July 2006.
     At present there is only limited monitoring of compliance with the current standards,
     which has made it difficult for both Departments to deal with issues relating to the quality
     and timeliness of case handling with any accuracy.


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26      The separation of RCPO from the investigation body of HMRC is therefore now
        clearly defined. Senior managers have taken steps to ensure that the close working
        relationships between prosecutors and investigators have been maintained. At the same time,
        they have sent out a clear message that the final decision-making is in the hands of RCPO.
        An illustration of this is the process for dealing with disagreements over decisions to
        prosecute. Clear messages have been sent out that cases will be reviewed in accordance with
        the Code for Crown Prosecutors and there is acknowledgement that financial or complexity
        reasons will not be accepted as a basis for not continuing with a prosecution.There is effective
        liaison between HMRC and RCPO at all levels and some involvement with joint training.


        Advocacy
27      RCPO has an in-house Advocacy Unit comprising five experienced Higher Court Advocates
        (HCAs). At present they conduct preliminary and plea and case management hearings, as well
        as mentions and sentencing hearings, at the Isleworth and Croydon Crown Court centres.
        Positive feedback was received from the judiciary on the standards of advocacy and
        preparation of all the HCAs who appear before them. A further expansion report is due to
        be submitted to the Director in November 2006 setting out proposals for HCAs to progress
        to trial work; this has the full support and backing of the Director.


28      In the magistrates’ courts, in-house coverage is provided for all the main courts which deal
        with border crime work at Dover, Haywards Heath (Gatwick) and Uxbridge (Heathrow).
        All other court centres are covered by counsel.


29      Counsel covering hearings in both the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts are nominated
        by the Counsel’s Fees and Nominations Team (CFNT).The lists of counsel who are approved
        to undertake RCPO work have recently been overhauled and at the time of our inspection
        were about to be published, which we understand has since occurred. Generally favourable
        comments were received about the quality of advocacy and standard of preparation by
        counsel instructed.


30      The management of counsel’s fees has recently undergone a complete re-structuring exercise
        with significantly more responsibility being given to the lawyers to manage and account for
        expenditure on counsel’s fees.This was implemented with effect from 1 September 2006.
        Until the merger, the payment of counsel’s fees had been undertaken by HMCE, based on
        information provided by CEPO. When responsibility for fee payment was passed over to
        RCPO, the amount of outstanding fees was severely underestimated. RCPO have
        acknowledged that their system for accounting for accruals – the amount of work already
        undertaken by counsel but not yet paid for – was in complete disarray and it was not possible
        to state with any accuracy the amount of payment that was outstanding. As a result a
        complete review of all current and concluded cases was undertaken. It is still not possible to
        state that the figures produced as a result of this audit are accurate. Although there has been
        significant progress to address this concern, there is a risk that the National Audit Office
        (NAO) audit, which will take place later in the year, will only be able to provide qualified
        assurance on the issue of payment of counsel’s fees.




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     Performance management
31   RCPO is committed to developing a culture of effective case building, case management and
     accountability for decision-making.The recently revised RCPO Prosecution Manual details the
     procedures, obligations and standards that are to be applied by all staff throughout the life of
     the case. It is provided to all staff in both electronic and hard copy format and is also available
     on the Intranet. Updates are circulated regularly. Repeated messages about the importance of
     using the Manual have been delivered. Compliance with it is monitored through checks
     undertaken by managers and during adverse outcome analysis.There were examples of action
     being taken when instances of non-compliance had been observed.


32   There is, however, a need to develop an effective and consistent performance monitoring
     system based on accurate performance indicators.This will ensure both individual ‘buy in’ to the
     aims and objectives of the organisation and also develop a corporate approach by all Divisions.


     STRENGTHS
33   A number of aspects of performance were commended or commented favourably upon in
     both the Manchester and London reports. In particular both locations were praised for the
     quality of advice and decision-making. In the light of the lack of file examination we are not
     able to comment on whether these standards have been maintained.The Manchester report
     also commended the unit for the efforts that had been made to learn from experience.
     Both locations have clear systems in place for the analysis of adverse outcomes.The procedures
     are followed in all relevant cases, with ‘wash up’ meetings and follow-up work being undertaken
     where required. Lessons learnt are disseminated and we found some evidence of sharing of
     learning points between the Divisions.


     IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS

     Providing advice
     • Lawyers include in advice notes an analysis of the evidential issues and public interest
       factors they have taken into account when reaching their decision (Manchester Report,
       paragraph 2.8) Achieved.
     • In complex cases, lawyers agree an appropriate timetable for the submission of papers and
       the provision of advice, and the Unit Head develops and implements a system to ensure
       timeliness of advice (Manchester Report, paragraph 2.14) Achieved.
     • Unit Heads develop and implement a system to ensure timeliness of advice, which should
       include provision for re-allocation where necessary (London Report, paragraph 3.11)
       Achieved.


34   Each Division has implemented systems, albeit different ones, to ensure that advice files are
     allocated in accordance with staff ’s capacity and ability.This information is generally recorded
     on a spreadsheet.The systems to monitor timeliness and accuracy also vary. At least one
     Division saves a copy of the advices provided for training purposes, which helps to ensure
     consistency and assists in the dissemination of good practice.


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35      The use of different styles of spreadsheet makes it difficult for senior management to tell at a
        glance how the Divisions are performing in relation to each other. A standard spreadsheet
        should be introduced across all Divisions.


36      Managers are aware that there is a discrepancy between the numbers of advice cases shown
        as live on the IT Case Management System (SOLAR) and those shown as live within the
        Divisions. Some Divisions have undertaken audits to establish the extent of this discrepancy.


37      Judicial comment indicated that there had been some occasions when defendants raised
        potential defences in interviews and these had not been investigated until after Defence
        Statements were received. In a small number of instances this had led to applications for custody
        time limit extensions being refused on the basis that the prosecution had not acted with all due
        diligence. Lawyers need to be alert to the possibility of real defences when providing advice and
        ensure that guidance is provided on following-up lines of enquiry where appropriate.


38      The lawyers in Manchester use a standardised layout for all initial advices.The advice template is
        divided into sections with headings which ensure that the lawyers cover all the relevant issues
        in the advice.This practice also ensures the advices are easy to comprehend for the HMRC
        investigators receiving them, as they are familiar with the format of the advice they will receive.
        We consider that it may benefit RCPO to introduce this for use in the London office also.


        CASEWORK HANDLING SYSTEMS AND REVIEW

        Legal and policy guidance
        • Guidance be provided to lawyers on roles and responsibilities in relation to decision-
          making on proceedings orders, cases to be dropped on public interest grounds and stays
          (Manchester Report, paragraph 3.29) Achieved.


39      Following the Manchester Report, clear guidance was issued to all staff about the roles and
        responsibilities between CEPO (as it then was) and HMCE. Since then Proceedings Orders
        and Stays of Proceedings have been abolished. Under the Commissioners for Revenue and
        Customs Act 2005, RCPO now has the same power to discontinue cases as those provided
        in sections 23 and 23A of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 for proceedings conducted
        by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).


40      The RCPO Prosecution Manual has recently been revised and re-issued to all staff.This sets
        out in clear terms the expectations of staff with regard to review and case management, and
        discontinuance and other methods of terminating cases. All staff interviewed were aware of
        the Manual and had found it helpful. Updates, inaccuracies and changes to the Manual are
        dealt with by the Best Practice Group and the Editorial Board, which are made up of
        representational staff from all Divisions. Any agreed changes are disseminated promptly via
        email bulletins and through postings on the Intranet.




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41   We were also provided with examples of reviews of unsuccessful cases and procedural
     problems which had been used to highlight the importance of regular referral to, and
     compliance, with the Manual.These are discussed at the Director’s weekly casework meetings
     with Divisional Heads with a view to advices and judgments being disseminated. Whilst there
     was evidence of this being discussed at divisional team meetings, it was unclear if these had
     been shared between the Divisions so that all could learn from the experience. A combined
     circular dealing with these matters might remedy any gaps and also reduce the risk of
     duplicated effort.


42   A thorough system of adverse case analysis is completed and learning points are disseminated.
     In large cases formal wash up meetings are held with counsel and HMRC investigators.


     File endorsements
     • Lawyers make a full record of all review decisions on the Case Decision Record
       (Manchester Report, paragraph 3.33) Achieved.
     • Lawyers ensure that there is a clear record of all the decisions made during the life of a
       case, including review and disclosure decisions (London Report, paragraph 5.34) Limited
       progress.


43   In September 2005, Case Decision Record (CDR) compliance checks were undertaken
     by the International, Policy and Advisory Division (IPAD).This concluded that there was little
     evidence of improvement since the London Inspection.They recommended that the
     importance of the CDR be re-inforced in team meetings and that an enhanced level of
     casework assurance checks should be carried out.The revised RCPO Prosecution Manual sets
     out the expectations for all staff with regard to the accurate and timely endorsements of files.
     All staff have been made aware of the importance of completing the CDR and the related
     time sheets. In interviews, lawyers confirmed that they use the CDR and the practice in
     Manchester is to print out copies to attach to the relevant file. Some were aware that regular
     compliance checks took place. In Manchester the Divisional Head’s quality assurance check of
     files specifically assesses the completion and accuracy of the CDR. In London there is some
     acknowledgement that checks could be more robust and that there were still concerns at the
     level of compliance.


     Continuous review
     • Lawyers should keep cases under continuous review to take account of changes in the
       evidential position (or circumstances affecting the public interest test) (London Report,
       paragraph 4.15) Substantial progress.


44   The increase in lawyer numbers has had a significant positive effect on the individual
     management of workloads within RCPO; all lawyers interviewed felt that they now had more
     time to keep cases under continuous review. All Divisional Heads have quality assurance
     checks in place which assess the standard and timeliness of casework handling and review;
     these checks form part of the monthly situation reports which are prepared by each Division
     for consideration by the Director. We were informed that the checks were also used for


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        individual performance appraisal.There is, however, a lack of consistency in the systems and
        monitoring criteria used by each Division, which makes it difficult to assess the full level of
        checks undertaken, and the use that is made of them.There is a close level of support and
        guidance offered to all lawyers and most, although not all, were aware of the monitoring
        undertaken by managers.The training and supervision of new lawyers has been undertaken
        promptly and effectively.


45      A ‘Developing a Different Approach to Cases’ training course has recently been delivered
        to all lawyers.This course is designed to encourage a more pro-active and probing approach
        to case management and review, with clear case ownership and less reliance on counsel.
        It is important to ensure that the benefits of this training are assessed.


46      The progress of complex cases is actively tracked by the Director through the weekly
        meetings described above. He also receives regular updates from individual lawyers and
        Divisional Heads.


47      The overarching quality assurance checks undertaken by IPAD ceased towards the end of last
        year due to other commitments of the Division.The work they undertook was valuable and
        provided an overview of the performance of the Department. However a standard and
        comprehensive programme of management checks, undertaken by all Divisional Heads,
        remains important: indeed, it would be inappropriate to encourage managers to rely solely on
        IPAD.These checks would give clear accountability and also allow IPAD to focus additionally
        on wider policy issues and liaison.


        Disclosure of unused material
        • CEPO managers provide guidance on the handling of disclosure, in particular how to apply
          the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act framework, and the respective roles of
          lawyers and counsel (London Report, paragraph 5.37) Guidance issued.


48      The Prosecution Manual contains guidance on RCPO’s approach to disclosure.The Intranet
        also contains a copy of the policy and legal guidelines on disclosure and updated case analysis,
        together with links to other helpful material. Staff have access to the HMRC Enforcement
        Handbook, an interactive Disclosure Guide which was developed by RCPO, and other
        guidance such as the Attorney General’s Guidance on Disclosure, the Disclosure Protocol and
        the CPS guidance on disclosure. Lawyers also have access to practitioners’ texts which they
        consult regularly on disclosure issues.


49      A rolling programme of compulsory disclosure training for all lawyers and caseworkers has
        recently been concluded. In addition, disclosure workgroups have recently been initiated in
        London to enable lawyers to seek guidance on difficult disclosure.This is a practice that is to
        be welcomed as it allows lawyers to seek help and guidance on difficult issues relating to
        disclosure. In Manchester, there is regular discussion between lawyers on an informal basis
        with all lawyers being prepared to discuss any problems others are having with disclosure.




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50   Some concern was raised by HMRC about different approaches between Divisions on the
     interpretation of the information to be included by investigators on the disclosure schedules.
     This was investigated promptly and as a result new guidance was given to all lawyers (which
     was also included in the disclosure training).


51   There is regular liaison between IPAD and HMRC to discuss issues regarding disclosure and
     to improve joint working. RCPO have offered to assist in providing training to senior
     investigating officers at HMRC, for them to then cascade down to other officers. RCPO also
     take a pro-active approach in disclosure issues and disclosure forums in the wider criminal
     justice system.


52   Senior managers believe there is now a more considered and robust approach to disclosure
     being taken by RCPO and that the practice of “giving the keys to the warehouse” to the
     defence has ceased.This is supported by comments from the judiciary who consider that as a
     result they can now take a firmer stance on defence applications for disclosure.


53   We are satisfied that progress has been made in respect of the discharge of the duties of
     disclosure of unused material by RCPO. However, because we were precluded from any file
     examination, we cannot in this report provide a definitive assessment of whether this high risk
     aspect of casework is being undertaken to the standards required.


     CUSTODY TIME LIMITS

     • CEPO managers:
        o   make available full guidance on custody time limits within the Case Management
            System, which should be re-inforced with training where necessary;
        o   introduce a manual back-up system on all units; and
        o   introduce checks to ensure that all Case Managers are consistently using SOLAR to
            alert themselves and the case lawyer to custody time limit review dates at least ten
            working days before the expiry date (London Report, paragraph 5.76) Substantial
            progress.
     • The Unit Head ensures that effective custody time limit (CTL) monitoring systems are in
       place (Manchester Report, paragraph 4.55) Substantial progress.


54   RCPO have updated the chapter of their Prosecution Manual devoted to CTLs, after having
     evaluated CPS policy guidance. A comprehensive guide is now available to all staff online via
     the internal Intranet. All staff are provided with the CPS ‘ready reckoner’ for calculating CTL
     expiry dates and training on CTL procedure is provided to all staff as part of their induction
     process.


55   In addition to the system implemented by the Casework Managers, the lawyers themselves
     keep electronic or paper diaries of the CTLs in their own cases.



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56      Staff in the Manchester office said that they had good co-operation from the courts who
        contact them if CTL expiry dates are approaching.


57      Compliance with the procedure laid out in the manual is to be checked by a rolling
        programme of file reviews.This has not yet been implemented. As previously stated the
        limitations on the inspection meant we were unable to check files ourselves to satisfy
        ourselves that the system is working.


58      RCPO managers stated there had not been any CTL failures since they had come into
        existence.This was confirmed by the Judges we saw, who stated that they were not aware of
        any missed CTLs.They also indicated that applications to extend the custody time limits were
        generally properly made and supported by the appropriate chronologies. As mentioned at
        paragraph 37 a few applications for CTL extensions had failed due to a lack of effective case
        building at an early stage, resulting in due expedition not being demonstrated.


        Monitoring systems
        • In order to enable the Unit Head to measure performance, and improve the timeliness of
          case preparation, there be monitoring of:
            o   compliance with time scales for the submission by Law Enforcement of committal, ‘sent’
                case and summary trial papers, and unused material schedules; and
            o   timeliness of service of committal and ‘sent’ case papers and unused material schedules
                on the defence, and the delivery of instructions to counsel (Manchester report,
                paragraph 4.36) Limited progress.
        • In order to enable the Unit Head to measure performance, and improve the standard of
          review and case preparation, the quality of review and disclosure decisions, committal
          preparation (including drafting of indictments), and instructions to counsel are monitored
          (Manchester report, paragraph 4.42) Limited progress.
        • CEPO managers extend the monitoring of timeliness of committal and sent case papers
          submitted by Law Enforcement to include the quality of papers, and that operational
          meetings to discuss the results be held on a regular basis (London Report, paragraph 5.44)
          Limited progress.
        • Compliance with the Case Management System is monitored (Manchester Report,
          paragraph 4.58) Substantial progress.


59      An effective system for monitoring the timeliness of receipt of committal papers from HMRC;
        the review and service of these papers by the lawyers; and the subsequent service on the
        defence, has been established in the Manchester Office. However, this monitoring does not
        include, for instance, the compliance by HMRC with timescales for the submission of sent
        cases, for which there is a proposed casework standard with HMRC. In addition, there is no
        monitoring of the timeliness of delivery of instructions to counsel by RCPO.




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                     Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




60   The Manchester Divisional Head undertakes some monitoring of casework quality. However it
     is acknowledged that time constraints have resulted in informal monitoring occurring on an
     infrequent basis.The size and proximity of the team, and the Divisional Head’s direct
     involvement with staff, does provide a level of management assurance.


61   In the London office, standard forms have been developed and are completed to monitor the
     timeliness and quality of submission of committal papers and sent papers. Examples of these
     forms seen were relevant and completed to a satisfactory quality. Some data is collated at a
     divisional level; however the level of compliance with the completion of these forms
     throughout the divisions is unclear.


62   All Divisions hold team meetings, although some are more frequent than others.There was
     evidence of dissemination of learning points and the discussion of action points and best
     practice.


63   We were encouraged that evidence of management checks were required in all the Divisional
     Heads’ situation reports to the Director; however, it was apparent that there was no
     consistency in the criteria examined or the number of casework checks required. We consider
     that a standard scheme should be developed as a matter of priority and clear guidelines
     issued to all Divisional Heads to effect the necessary management checks formally at an
     individual, divisional and organisational level.


64   There have been some joint performance meetings between RCPO and HMRC.There are
     individual case handling groups on missing trader intra-community fraud, Direct Tax, Borders
     and Oils and other Excise. In addition, a Casework Standards Working Group has been
     established and meets regularly. It was not possible, however, to establish the structure of
     these meetings or the depth and consistency of performance information that was being
     exchanged.


65   RCPO have recently undertaken a three month pilot which monitored the timeliness and
     quality of the provision of papers.This was being evaluated at the time of our visit and was
     expected to provide a base point for performance.There is an acknowledgement by RCPO
     managers that further work on joint performance management between HMRC and RCPO
     needs to be undertaken, which should include further development of casework standards
     agreements relating to timeliness.The HMRC and RCPO Casework Standards Group are
     currently re-drafting the roles and responsibilities of each organisation. Clear guidance is
     required on the expected standard for file submissions to ensure consistency.


     Information technology
     • CEPO managers consider replacing SOLAR with a database that reduces duplication
       of effort, provides information and records in an easily accessible format, and enables
       production of performance indicators (London Report, paragraph 5.99) Not Achieved.




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Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




66      RCPO has an Internet and an Intranet site. Both were established before it came into
        existence as an organisation and continue to be serviced by HMRC.The Internet site is
        available to members of the public.The Intranet site is an internal site, although HMRC have
        the ability to access it.This information is apparently not known by all RCPO staff. Although
        some safeguards are in place this could lead to information being disseminated on the
        Intranet, which ought not to be shared even with HMRC.The ability of HMRC to access the
        RCPO Intranet site should be reviewed, and all staff notified if HMRC or any other external
        groups have access to the site.


67      The IT support for RCPO is provided via HMRC.The effectiveness of the service provided
        needs to be examined. Elsewhere in this report we have commented on the detrimental
        effect the IT system is having on the ability of RCPO to monitor its core business and account
        for caseload and performance data. It is unclear how much of the problem relates to poor
        staff usage and how much is down to system inefficiency. A consultant has recently been
        recruited to look into all IT issues and a recent report on the provision of IT service has been
        agreed as a way forward for RCPO to address these concerns.The recommendations in that
        report should be taken forward as soon as possible.


68      The hardware used by individual staff has been upgraded with provision of new computers
        and monitors and this has generally received a favourable reaction from staff. However, there
        are a number of staff concerns such as that fact that the new equipment does not have
        floppy drives and this has caused some problems in transferring and storing data.


69      Staff have reported finding they do not have sufficient email archiving capacity.There is a lack
        of clarity regarding methods of resolving this. One person stated he had been able to get his
        email inbox increased by the IT department, whereas others say they were denied this.
        Some people said they were told to store emails on shared drives or their own PC hard drive
        whereas others were told not to adopt this method.The storage of emails is important, as
        these can be very relevant to issues - especially relating to disclosure - many months or years
        later. It is important that there is a consistent method of storing these emails, or ensuring that
        a hard copy is always placed on the file, so that they are accessible to any new lawyer taking
        over conduct of a case and provide a clear record for the future.


70      The email system is part of the Government Secure Intranet (GSI) and is approved for
        documents classified up to ‘restricted’.This limits the amount of information that can be
        sent electronically.


71      A number of staff commented that the server is slow and they have difficulties in logging-on
        to the system. Other comments were that they experienced the system crashing, especially in
        the afternoon.The HMRC-driven STRIDE programme will be replacing various infrastructure
        components, which should address some of the current problems.This is due for implementation
        in mid-November 2006.




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                     Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




72   There was a general consensus amongst managers and staff that SOLAR was a system which
     was no longer suitable for the purposes of RCPO. A number of staff, especially those from the
     former Revenue solicitor’s office, had not received training on the use of SOLAR.They were
     aware that, following the recommendation in the London Report, there were plans to replace
     SOLAR at some stage in the future. A number also indicated they had not received any IT
     training and did not feel confident using basic IT programmes.


     Advocacy
     • Unit Heads ensure that all magistrates’ courts’ hearings in cases for which their unit is
       responsible are covered by CEPO (in-house advocates or agents); and that CEPO senior
       managers work towards the undertaking of advocacy in all Customs and Excise
       prosecutions (London Report, paragraph 6.8) Achieved.


73   The Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 did not continue the rights of
     audience previously enjoyed by staff of HMCE and the Inland Revenue to the successor body.
     All magistrates’ courts’ advocacy is now conducted by in-house lawyers or counsel instructed
     by RCPO. In-house coverage is provided for all the main courts which deal with border work,
     at Dover, Haywards Heath (Gatwick) and Uxbridge (Heathrow). All other court centres are
     covered by counsel.The ‘Link Lawyer’ system was re-introduced in March 2006, for each of
     the main magistrates’ courts and Crown Court centres of work.The Link Lawyers are the
     contact point for, and provide advice to, the Investigation and Prosecution Units and also
     attend the Court User Groups for the courts they cover.The Director has the power to
     employ designated caseworkers and a ‘Small Casework Pilot’ is due to commence from 1
     September 2006 looking at the use of Band 9 lawyers and designated caseworkers to deal
     with straightforward cases.


74   Some concern was expressed that, on occasion, counsel instructed were unfamiliar with the
     procedures in the magistrates’ courts, which had a detrimental impact on the way the cases
     were presented. Consideration needs to be given to the appropriate level of counsel used in
     magistrates’ courts’ cases.


     PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND BUSINESS PLANNING

     • The Unit extends participation in the business planning process to staff at Bands 2 and 3 in
       order to achieve better cross-grade representation (Manchester Report, paragraph 6.15)
       Not achieved.
     • CEPO managers develop performance measures linked to the Business Plan, to ensure
       consistent and effective assessment of unit performance (London Report, paragraph 5.102)
       Limited progress.


75   RCPO is in the early stages of developing a performance-related culture.The second Business
     Plan was only recently published and describes the future work to be undertaken at a relevant
     and reasonably comprehensive level. Although it is acknowledged that the Plan does not
     provide in detail how business will be delivered, it was perceived to be a satisfactory first step.


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Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




        Business Plans
76      There are no individual plans for any of the Divisions and generally staff did not have the
        opportunity to participate in the development of the overall Business Plan for 2006-07 as
        any input was mainly at Divisional Head level. RCPO do need to encourage staff involvement
        with the Business Plan and also its communication to staff in order to drive the strategic vision
        and aims, and encourage a more performance-orientated culture. Staff focus was mainly
        concerned with the importance of the quality of their individual work. Inspectors found a high
        level of dedication, but this alone will not drive overall performance improvements.The newly
        developed performance appraisal system establishes links with RCPO business objectives; this
        is a positive development.


77      Staff at all grades and Divisions have participated in the Best Practice Group and the
        Prosecutions Manual Editorial Board, which were formed to implement and develop the
        Prosecution Manual. Staff views can be expressed through team meetings, although the
        frequency and regularity of meetings was different across the Divisions. Some hold them
        at set intervals and others on an ad hoc basis.


        Performance measures and reports
78      There are four key performance indicators within the 2006-07 Business Plan.These relate to
        improving on the performance achieved by RCPO in 2005-06 in relation to the rate of
        convictions, guilty pleas and asset recovery, and reducing the number of judge ordered
        acquittals. However, underpinning objectives and deliverables or targets are not clear; neither
        are there any specific milestones in place.This Plan will be used to drive the strategic and
        operational goals of the ‘new’ organisation, but it will be difficult to measure the overall and
        divisional performance, or to demonstrate improvement.


79      Historically, monthly situation reports have been produced by the Divisional Heads for the
        Director and used to hold the Heads accountable for performance; these reports include
        some caseload information and results. Whilst there is some linkage with the limited measures
        within the Business Plan, this is not fully comprehensive and information provided is for the
        month only, with no trending of previous months’ data.The reports are generally not in a
        user-friendly format, and the depth and comprehensiveness of the reports vary across the
        Divisions. From the reports it is difficult to assess divisional performance. In addition,
        inconsistencies are evident in the range of performance information and manager assurance
        checks undertaken within the Divisions.


80      Monthly Management Information System (MIS) reports have recently been developed.
        They were piloted from January to March 2006, and mainly include relevant performance
        indicators; this is a positive development. It is acknowledged that this is an ongoing process,
        and further thought should be given to the comprehensiveness and relevancy of the
        performance indicators used which are exclusively focused on case loads and outcomes.
        There should be consideration of case progression indicators and casework quality, and some
        softer measures dependent on the purpose of the reports. In addition, performance should be
        monitored against relevant targets and a more consistent and user-friendly format achieved,
        including trending with previous months as well as the year as a whole to establish any
        relevant patterns.The reports are produced at a divisional and organisational level; at the
        organisational level there is a format to compare and evaluate performance across the Divisions.

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     Accuracy of management information
81   Of concern was the accuracy of the caseload information used within the MIS reports.
     IT software limitations mean that the performance information requires manual manipulation,
     which can result in error and delay. Despite the recent extensive work undertaken, managers
     considered accuracy to be at only 80%. Managers are aware of the importance of the validity
     of this data and work continues to be progressed.


82   Managers need to consider the cohesiveness of the situation reports, the MIS reports and
     monthly management board reports to ensure they provide a clear and accurate assessment
     of the performance of the organisation. In addition, the establishment of comprehensive and
     consistently applied management checks by Divisional Heads would facilitate an effective way
     of measuring individual, divisional and overall casework quality.


     RESOURCES

     • CEPO managers commission an external ‘bottom-up’ review of casework, to determine
       the resources and accommodation required in order to deliver an effective and efficient
       prosecution service (London Report, paragraph 8.7) Limited progress.


83   CEPO managers commissioned a review that was undertaken by the Resource Assurance
     Unit of HM Customs and Excise. RCPO has since reviewed caseload according to the
     different staffing grades, and significant improvements have been made to the accommodation
     and facilities available at the London office. Staff in post figures have also increased by from
     210 to 266.


84   Managers consider that further work needs to be undertaken to ensure that the correct
     numbers of staff at each grade are in place, and to improve governance. However, work will
     be based on caseload figures and as previously stated there are currently concerns around
     the accuracy of these figures.


     CONCLUSION
85   The recommendations are all of importance, as they address issues and weaknesses of
     substance. We recognise nevertheless that not all could be prioritised.The recommendation
     on disclosure was a particular concern because of some particular case failures and ensuing
     public and judicial concern. Action has been taken in relation to this, but without examining
     some files we were not able to assess how secure the undertaking of the prosecutions duties
     of disclosure now is. In relation to the other 18 recommendations, we have made the
     following assessments:
     Achieved – 6
     Substantial progress – 4
     Limited progress – 6
     Not achieved – 2




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Of the suggestions made in the two reports progress has been assessed as follows:
Achieved - 3
Substantial progress – 5
Limited progress – 5
86      Since 2002, the structure and governance of customs and excise and revenue prosecutions
        has undergone considerable change. Out of these changes RCPO has developed into a
        prosecution authority which is now starting to demonstrate real accountability, to learn from
        experience and to play an active part in the aims and objectives of the criminal justice system.
        The dedication and professionalism of the staff is supported by committed leadership, and
        there is a clear drive to improve performance. Within the limits of this Overview Report we
        have found clear evidence of improvement in a number of key aspects of performance.
        However, the lack of performance management structures and clearly understood and shared
        performance indicators, coupled with the relatively primitive IT systems and processes,
        hampers future progress.These aspects need to be addressed as a matter of priority.




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ANNEX A: PROGRESS ON IMPLEMENTATION OF SUGGESTIONS


London Report, paragraph 5.42

Suggestion: Casework review and systems
Managers ensure that after committal, where there is a need to serve further evidence, papers are
reviewed and any necessary composite bundles served and, if appropriate, jury bundles prepared.

Position as at July 2006: Substantial progress
Procedures for ongoing review are set out in the Prosecution Manual and compliance is maintained
through the quality assurance checks. In Manchester a system has been set up that Case Managers
will attend the Crown Court to personally re-paginate and re-order Judges’ bundles in cases where
there have been a number of notices of additional evidence.The judiciary has received this practice
favourably.
A number of the judiciary interviewed consider that a short summary of the prosecution case should
be completed to assist in preliminary review of the papers.This needs to be considered by RCPO.


Manchester Report, paragraph 4.65

Suggestion: Casework review and systems
In order to continue to develop Case Managers and free lawyers to concentrate on complex
casework, the Unit Head ensures that Case Managers:
•   prepare committals in straightforward cases under the supervision of lawyers;
•   prepare all instructions to counsel, subject to input and appropriate instruction from lawyers;
•   attend conferences with counsel where issues solely relating to the presentation of cases at court,
    including jury bundles, are to be discussed;
•   take responsibility for file management; and
•   check work delegated to case support officers including, where appropriate, for clerical errors
    before it leaves the unit.

Position as at July 2006: Achieved
Since the inspection the Divisional Head has addressed the Case Manager role by developing
responsibilities as suggested. In addition, the extended role of the Case Manager is clearly outlined
within the Prosecution Manual.




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Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




Manchester Report, paragraph 4.75

Suggestion: Casework review and systems
Systems be developed to ensure work is covered in the absence of lawyers and case managers and
their operation monitored.

Position as at July 2006: Substantial progress
The Manchester Divisional Head holds individuals responsible for ensuring that work is covered in
respect of planned absences. Clear instructions have been given that staff are expected to ensure
work is brought up-to-date, and any urgent work, or work to be dealt with whilst staff are absent, is
handed over to colleagues to progress. Application of this system is not formally monitored.


London Report, paragraph 5.88

Suggestion: Casework review and systems
Managers ensure that separate files of correspondence are kept for each defendant in big
multi-handed cases.

Position as at July 2006: Achieved
Guidance on file handling and housekeeping is contained within the Prosecution Manual. We were
advised that in fast-track cases the practice remained of having only one correspondence file. In the
more complex multi-defendant cases it is now agreed practice that separate correspondence files
will be maintained.


Manchester Report, paragraph 6.9

Suggestion: Staff structure
The unit reviews and clarifies staff roles and responsibilities between lawyers, Case Managers and
administration staff, to avoid some duplication in work.

Position as at July 2006: Achieved
Staff responsibilities are now clearly defined in the Prosecution Manual.


London Report, paragraph 6.39

Suggestion: Counsel’s fees
CEPO managers ensure that all out-of-court work undertaken by counsel is checked, and that case
management planning is undertaken with counsel over reading and preparation time

Position as at July 2006: Limited progress
The detail in respect of this suggestion is set out in full at paragraph 30.




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                       Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




London Report, paragraph 6.12

Suggestion: Delivery of briefs
Managers introduce a system whereby either files are delivered to agents - or relevant parts are
faxed - the day before the court hearing, in order to ensure that agents are given the opportunity to
prepare fully.

Position as at July 2006: Substantial progress
Systems for monitoring the delivery of papers to agents are in place. However, there was little
evidence that monitoring of the systems was taking place.


Manchester Report, paragraph 5.6

Suggestion: Rationalisation of cases - magistrates’ courts
The Unit Head liaises with Manchester City Magistrates’ Court to try and establish either:
•   a weekly dedicated court for Customs and Excise prosecution cases; or
•   a reasonable listing process

Position as at July 2006: Limited progress
Some work has been commenced on the brigading of court lists, but this is very limited at present.
There is limited liaison between the magistrates’ courts’ listing and RCPO. It is acknowledged that
this work will be progressed once the work in the Crown Court has been completed.


London Report, paragraph 6.10

Suggestion: Rationalisation of cases - magistrates’ courts
CEPO managers undertake work towards the reduction of resources used in the magistrates’
courts, including taking steps to negotiate rationalisation of court lists.

Position as at July 2006: Limited progress
(Significant progress has been made on the brigading of Crown Court listing.The work done at
Southwark Crown Court in working to set up a specialist fraud court with dedicated RCPO facilities
is to be particularly commended).


London Report, paragraph 7.7

Suggestion: Liaison with the courts
CEPO managers extend the designation of individuals as contact points for court centres.

Position as at July 2006: Substantial progress
This has been addressed by the use of Link lawyers at designated court centres. RCPO is also well
represented at local Court User Group Meetings




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London Report, paragraph 6.33

Suggestion: Court endorsements
Managers ensure that a clear, central record of the results of court hearings, including the bail status
of each defendant and court directions, should be kept in or on the file.

Position as at July 2006: Substantial progress
The requirement for clear and concise court endorsements is set out in the RCPO Prosecution
Manual. Managers undertake compliance checks.


London Report, paragraph 5.82

Suggestion: IT
Managers perform periodic dip-checks to ensure that SOLAR alerts are being properly used and
actioned.

Position as at July 2006: Limited progress
Some checks are being carried out by managers. However, there is a general consensus amongst
managers and staff that SOLAR was a system that was no longer suitable for the purposes of RCPO.
A number of staff, especially those from the former Revenue solicitor’s office had not received
training on the use of SOLAR.The staff were aware that following the recommendation in the
London Report, there were plans to replace SOLAR at some stage in the future. A number of staff
indicated they had not received any IT training and did not feel confident using basic IT programmes.


Manchester Report, paragraph 6.34

Suggestion: Management and staff
Formal terms of reference (including structure and purpose) for staff meetings are set, in order to
improve effectiveness.

Position as at July 2006: Limited progress
Formal terms of reference are not in place, although regular meetings for lawyers and managers
have been held. Managers meetings include specific agenda items. Lawyer meetings have recently
become less frequent and there is an acknowledgment that more regular meetings now need to be
held. Meetings for case managers and support staff are held on an ad-hoc basis.




24
                         Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




ANNEX B

STAFFING AS AT 3 JULY 2006 (PERMANENT STAFF ONLY)


Staff Grades     Div A       Div B       Div C       Div D       Div E        IPA         AFU         COO
SCS              1           1           1           1           1            1           -           1
Grade 6          4           5           5           4           4            4           5           2
Grade 7/SEO      8           8           9           8           5            2           -           7
HEO              4           3           2           2           3            1           1           11
EO               15          15          16          13          15           5           6           11
Clerical Staff   9           12          12          4           4            -           3           12
Total            41          44          45          32          32           13          15          44          266




                                                                                                                       25
                                                                                                     ANNEX C: SENIOR MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE FOR REVENUE AND




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DIRECTOR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DAVID GREEN QC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CHIEF
Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




                                                                                                                                                                             PRIVATE OFFICE                                                                                                       OPERATING
                                                                                                                                                                                  and                                                                                                              OFFICER
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Non-Executive Director                  Non-Executive Director
                                                                                                                                                                            COMMUNICATIONS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Sarah Brown                             Paul White                      DAVE PARTRIDGE
                                                                                                     CUSTOMS PROSECUTIONS OFFICE (RCPO)




                                                                                                                                                            International,                   Division A                 Division B                    Division C         Business                      Finance
                                                                                                                                                               Policy, &                    (Direct Tax)               (Commercial)                    (Border          Management
                                                                                                                                                               Advisory                                                                               Detections)
                                                                                                                                                            SCS x1                                                    SCS x1                      SCS – 1
                                                                                                                                                            Band 12 x4                      SCS x1                    Band 12 x6                  Band 12 x4
                                                                                                                                                            Band 11 x2                      Band 12 x5                Band 11 x8                  Band 11 x6           Band 11 x1                  Band 12 x1
                                                                                                                                                            Band 9 x1                       Band 11 x9                Band 9 x1                   Band 9 x2            Band 9 x1                   Band 9 x1
                                                                                                                                                            Band 7 x2                       Band 7 x4                 Band 7 x2                   Band 7 x2            Band 7 x2                   Band 7 x1
                                                                                                                                                            Band 5 x4                       Band 5 x17                Band 5 x16                  Band 5 x16           Band 5 x5                   Band 5 x2
                                                                                                                                                            Band 2 & 3 x2                   Band 2 & 3 x8             Band 2 & 3 x7               Band 2 & 3 x10       Band 2 & 3 x8               Band 2 & 3 x5
                                                                                                                                                                              Division D                     Division E                  Asset                                           Human                     Corporate
                                                                                                                                                                              Manchester                      (SOCA)                   Forfeiture                                       Resources                   Services
                                                                                                                                                                             (Duty/Excise)                                                Unit
                                                                                                                                                                            SCS x1                          SCS x1
                                                                                                                                                                            Band 12 x5                      Band 12 x4                Band 12 x6                                       Band 12 x1
                                                                                                                                                                            Band 11 x8                      Band 11 x4                Band 11 x5                                       Band 9 x1                 Band 11 x1
                                                                                                                                                                            Band 7 x4                       Band 7 x3                 Band 7 x1                                        Band 7 x2                 Band 7 x3
                                                                                                                                                                            Band 5 x9                       Band 5 x15                Band 5 x9                                        Band 5 x2                 Band 5 x1
                                                                                                                                                                            Band 2 & 3 x3                   Band 2 & 3 x4             Band 2 & 3 x5                                    Band 2 & 3 x2             Band 2 & 3 x1




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 26
                   Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




ANNEX D

Caseload
Division      Received                         Finalised                            Live Cases
              June       Year to               June        Year to                  As at
              2006       Date                  2006        Date                     30/06/2006
A             33         123                   36          73                       239
B             26         98                    52          124                      160
C             33         101                   41          90                       132
D             27         79                    37          78                       155
E             6          25                    13          30                       91
Total Cases   125        426                   179         395                      777



Case Types and Complexity year to date (June 2006)
Case Type                 Case       Case                               Case                    Live Cases
                          Complexity Complexity                         Complexity
                          rating 1-3 rating 4-7                         rating 8-10
Drugs                     228        8                                  1                       346
Customs                   4          0                                  0                       7
Excise                    75         3                                  0                       137
Money laundering          2          8                                  0                       40
VAT (non-complex/s72) 9              4                                  0                       25
VAT (complex/MTIC)        1          2                                  0                       20
Direct Tax                12         2                                  0                       29
(non-complex/Grabiner)
Direct Tax (complex)      0          1                                  0                       40
Tax Credits (non-complex) 54         1                                  0                       105
Tax Credits               0          0                                  0                       6
(complex/organised)
National Minimum wage 0              1                                  0                       8
Other                     9          1                                  0                       14
Total Cases               394        31                                 1                       777




                                                                                                                 27
Follow-up inspections of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office Manchester and London Offices




28

				
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