Press release

Law Officer Departments’ settlement at the Spending Review 2015

The Chancellor has published the results of the spending review, including details of the Law Officers' Departments

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The Spending Review and Autumn Statement delivers on the government’s priority to provide security to working people at every stage of their lives. It sets out a 4 year plan to fix the public finances, return the country to surplus and run a healthy economy that starts to pay down the debt. By ensuring Britain’s long term economic security, the government is able to spend £4 trillion on its priorities over the next 4 years.

For the Law Officers’ Departments (Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office) this means a continued commitment to funding criminal investigations and prosecutions to tackle crime effectively and efficiently, while for the Government Legal Department, this means building on the work done so far to increase efficiency and provide consistently excellent legal advice to all of government.

Law Officers’ Departments
  2015-16 Baseline 2016-17 Plans 2017-18 Plans 2018-19 Plans 2019-20 Plans 2020-21 (2) Plans
RDEL (1) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 *
CDEL (3) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
TDEL (4) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 *

In this table all figures are in billions of pounds (£)

(1) Resource DEL (RDEL) excludes depreciation (2) 2020 to 2021 RDEL departmental budgets have only been set for some departments. For the rest, these budgets will be set in full at the next Spending Review (3) Capital DEL (CDEL) (4) Total DEL (TDEL)


The £4.4m ringfenced funding on security spend for the Counter Terrorism division of the Crown Prosecution Service will continue to be used to help police and prosecutors work together to investigate and prosecute counter terrorism cases.

The CPS also works closely with other European jurisdictions and international organisations to improve the international response to terrorism and contribute to the rule of law and capacity building in both developed and developing countries to tackle terrorism globally. In addition, the CPS have Criminal Justice Advisors posted overseas specifically to liaise on CT cases.

Long term investment

The SFO’s capital expenditure provision will allow it to invest in a new business critical document review system and enable it to handle our data-heavy casework more effectively.

Efficiency and Reform

We are continuing to invest in efficiency programmes to modernise the CPS. The investment in new technology has enabled CPS to move from a historically paper based system to becoming a digital business, with 90% of Magistrates Court activity, being traffic crime and volume offences, seeing enhanced resource efficiency. The CPS are now looking to the Crown Court and will aim to move from paper files to digital files, provide digital access to case information inside and outside court rooms and increase the use of video links in criminal justice proceedings.

The creation of a fully integrated criminal justice system, based around a common digital platform from police station to prosecutors to the court room will ensure that services are more efficient and focussed on the needs of victims and witnesses.

A total of 10% savings from the SFO will be achieved by improving resource management with a new time recording system, reducing reliance on temporary staff and contractors and gradually reducing the overall headcount over the full spending review period.

The Government Legal Department’s Sharing Legal Services Programme has seen the merger of legal teams, previously based in other government departments into the GLD. This has doubled the size of GLD, which now oversees a budget of £180m. It has enabled economies of scale in terms of shared corporate services and has delivered a 5% saving, which has been passed on in the form of fee reductions to government departments. GLD will continue to build on its track record of reducing the government’s legal costs to deliver further savings in future years.

The Law Officers’ Departments settlement sees a 2% real saving by 2019-20. This will be achieved by efficiency savings as a result of reforms above, estates consolidation and relocation and workforce reductions across the Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and the Government Legal Department.

The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP said:

'’Our settlement protects core services while still making savings for the taxpayer. The CPS and SFO have made significant savings while both protecting frontline teams and improving performance and I’m confident our prosecutors are properly resourced to bring offenders to account. By ring fencing £4.4m for the CPS counterterrorism unit I am pleased that we have been able to recognise the essential role played by prosecutors in keeping the country safe.”

Published 25 November 2015