The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) Digital Journey

Matthew Cain
June 20, 2023

Over the past decade, CPS has undertaken a considerable digital journey. In just 7 years, CPS has cut reliance on paper-based processing, cutting our paper use from 250m sheets per year to 30m in 2022. 7,500 employees now work from multiple locations across England and Wales on fast and powerful new laptops. We continue to make strides safeguarding data against the growing threats to our cyber security. 

These are not just CPS achievements, but a system-wide achievement. Our work delivering justice relies on our having the systems and infrastructure in place to collaborate quickly and efficiently with our partners across the justice system. 

Whilst celebrating progress is important, however, we must also look to the future. The scale of the challenges facing the criminal justice system mean that the approach that got us here will need to adapt if we’re to continue responding appropriately to the challenges on the frontline. 
It's because of these challenges that we at CPS are embarking on the following key missions to guide what we do next: 

Obsessed with users and passionate about problems 

It's understandable why we sometimes get excited about a particular solution, but our first considerations need to be about ensuring technology gives users what they need. 
We also need to act like entrepreneurs – embracing the fundamentally local nature of the design of justice to test different ways of solving a problem.  

We’ve already made a promising start. We’ve begun releasing our new case review app which has positive reaction and enthusiastic engagement in what comes next. And the user research from our work to digitise witness expense claims has helped us change the policy so the service better meets witness’ needs.  

A CPS ‘operating system’ that enables people to do their best work 

CPS is on a journey from a single supplier providing all our technology requirements to a strategy that enables us to identify the commercial model best suited to the problem we’re trying to solve – ranging from insourcing to purchasing on demand.  
 
We’re learning to do this successfully. The CPS ‘operating system’ is how we’re thinking about the range of tools and capabilities that we need to provide to make that a reality.  

A curious, inclusive and diverse team steeped in CPS values 

Good technology needs good people. Part of our move towards in-house solutions includes recognising talent within our organisation and nurturing it, and recruiting and growing our digital services teams.  

The best work comes from diverse teams with a range of skills. And innovation comes from people with a rich understanding of a problem able to bring in fresh thinking from other experiences.  
Diversity of background and lived experience is vitally important. For example, I’m proud to lead a team dedicated to meeting the needs of users who require different tools to be able to use our systems. We need to continue to ensure that we’re recruiting and partnering with teams that reflects the citizens we’re here to serve.  
By focusing on these missions, which will form the foundation of our new roadmap, we will enable CPS to deliver justice well this year, next year, and beyond. 

Find out more from Matthew Cain at this year's Modernising Criminal Justice Conference on 22nd June 2023 at the QEII Centre, London. This year's focus is improving services through digitisation and collaboration.