CPS updates its courses in a bid to boost diversity

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to radically overhaul training to
improve management and HR skills in the organisation as part of its drive to
improve diversity.

This month, the CPS is launching its first ever development programme
focusing on management skills in the organisation, and HR training is also
being updated to make the function more strategic.

Both courses will include a strong equality and diversity focus, to ensure
the CPS continues to address diversity issues after it was labelled
institutionally racist by the Commission for Racial Equality in 2001.

The CPS is no longer under formal investigation, but is subject to regular
progress checks, with the next scheduled in May.

HR director Angela O’Connor believes management skills have traditionally
not been seen as important.

The new programme, called Transform, introduces core management competencies
and a 360-degree appraisal process.

After the appraisal, a training and development programme will be tailored
to meet individual’s skills gaps.

"The CPS is an organisation of professionals and lawyers who come up
through the professional routes – which is fine," said O’Connor. "But
they get to a certain point, look behind them and realise that all of a sudden
they are managing 30 staff."

O’Connor said the 100-strong HR team she inherited last year was too
‘reactive’ and relied too heavily on the HR manual. "I think I’ll burn
it," she said. Concise ‘how to’ booklets will replace the manual and
training will include employment law, consultancy skills and equality.

"The new world of HR, the strategic business partner is a bit scary for
the HR team as it was used to [more] administrative work," O’Connor said.

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