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Shaping the vision and leading change at the Crown Prosecution Service

( Words)
Veredus Presentation

​The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is at the heart of the criminal justice system, working with its partners to protect the public and create a safe society. The CPS’s role is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.

The CPS sought to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This is a critical leadership role with executive responsibility for the operational and strategic management of the CPS, which has approximately 6,000 staff. Working in close partnership with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and with direct line management for the Executive Management Group, the CEO provides the strong and clear leadership and direction required to shape and develop CPS’ vision and strategic priorities, driving performance to deliver a first class and professional service. The CEO actively collaborates with the Attorney General, Attorney General’s Office and other government departments and agencies to lead and direct significant criminal justice system change and wider Civil Service reform priorities.

Veredus was retained to find such an individual. The process was overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner and we were briefed by a senior panel that included the recently appointed Director of Public Prosecutions and senior stakeholders from HM Treasury and Attorney General’s Office. We were tasked with generating a strong and diverse field of candidates who would bring an outstanding track record of driving delivery, major change and performance improvement in a large, complex and high-profile organisation. They needed outstanding leadership skills, communication, influencing and relationship management skills, and the ability to engage constructively with a wide range of senior stakeholders and build strong networks across government.

This was a very demanding assignment, and we conducted a vigorous and thorough national executive search campaign, contacting over 200 individuals. The search was broad and covered the criminal justice sector, relevant government departments and agencies, government regulators, ombudsman and complaint handling bodies, local government, leading criminal law private practice firms, and relevant areas of the private sector.

We built a long list of 29 candidates, 8 of which were progressed to the Veredus preliminary interviews. Ultimately, 3 candidates were taken forward to the shortlist, one male and two female candidates. The candidates underwent psychometric assessments and we took telephone references and conducted additional due diligence. These final 3 candidates were then presented to the selection panel for final panel interviews, after which an appointable candidate (a chief executive of a high-profile public body) was identified and appointed to the post. The CPS was extremely pleased with the quality and diversity of the shortlist and with the successful candidate.