The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has made substantial progress in its equality and diversity employment strategy, an official report has found.
In 2001, the CPS was labelled institutionally racist following the independent Denham inquiry. Although the service escaped a formal investigation, it agreed to work with the Commission for Racial Equality to implement wide-ranging improvements. HR director Angela O’Connor, who joined the CPS in the wake of the inquiry, made tackling racism her top priority.
The report by the CPS Inspectorate found that, since the inquiry, progress has been made in developing a positive culture in the CPS and raising awareness of equality and diversity issues. The service has also developed a more representative workforce in relation to the proportion of black and minority ethnic staff – running at 12%, which is above the Civil Service average.
“The CPS is to be congratulated on the progress it has achieved. That progress is clearly underpinned by strong policies and practice that should ensure sustainability,” the report said.
However, inspectors tempered these words of praise with some concerns.
The review found that a small minority of staff did not recognise the importance of the equality and diversity agenda. It also found that not all managers were confident in their ability to deal effectively with equality and diversity workplace issues, such as tackling poor performance.
Ken Macdonald, director of public prosecutions, said the CPS recognised there was still a lot of work to do. “We now have one of the most diverse workforces in Whitehall at all levels. While proud of our achievements, we are not complacent,” he said.