Crown prosecutors escape probe after culture change

The HR director at the Crown Prosecution Service is to report twice yearly
to the Commission for Racial Equality in an effort to stamp out racism in the

A planned formal investigation has been dropped because the CRE believes the
CPS has made "clear progress" in changing its culture after being
deemed institutionally racist in a review last year.

Now the service will report every six months to the CRE about the progress
it is making in eliminating racism. The reports must include evidence of robust
recruitment, selection and promotion policies and the bi-annual staff survey

Next month the CPS is to launch a new complaints procedure, including an informal
system – where staff are trained as advisers and mediators. External
investigators will also be employed to investigate formal complaints.

Rohan Collier, head of equality and diversity at the CPS, believes tackling
problems informally will improve race relations at the service. "We did
not have an informal system and staff, particularly black staff, did not trust
managers and expected ‘a management stitch-up’ so a lot of complaints went to
employment tribunal," she said.

The organisation has a target of 18 per cent ethnic minority representation
at senior level by 2005 and will benchmark its progress against other civil
service institutions.

Angela O’Connor, HR director at the CPS, will meet CRE investigators
"twice a year at the very least" to report the success of HR’s
policies and practices.

O’Connor has warned the organisation it must maintain its good progress.

By Paul Nelson

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