Forward Thinking is a member of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Community Accountability Forum (CAF). The forum is designed as a platform to provide independent oversight of the CPS’ delivery on their inclusion and community engagement strategy and their statutory equality and diversity objectives. Each meeting focuses around a particular theme, with the October 4th meeting centring on the CPS’ community engagement strategy, especially focusing on ‘Community Conversations’.

At the meeting, Jordan Morgan and Maisie Cook, Forward Thinking, were given the opportunity to present on their work supporting this initiative alongside the CPS North West. ‘Community Conversations’ is a process of dialogue intended to connect senior figures in the CPS with individuals from a diverse range of communities, with the focus of the dialogues in the North West being on Muslim communities. The aim of the meetings is to identify where communities perceive there to be challenges with the CPS or within the broader criminal justice system; to discuss these issues in a free and frank manner; and to devise recommendations to address these. Forward Thinking was thus able to give an overview of the initiative and explain its importance given the wider context. Furthermore, they elaborated on some of the key issues discussed in the meetings and a number of the key outcomes. Chief Crown Prosecutors for other areas also gave an insight into the community engagement models which they applied in their own communities.

The CPS remain committed to embedding community engagement within their practice across the country and therefore reflected on whether the ‘Community Conversations’ model could be applied to other marginalised groups within society.

Drive Forward Foundation, an organisation which supports care-experienced young people to transition from care to a career, also spoke on the criminalisation of young people in care, and potential ways that the CPS could take into account the trauma experienced by some of these young people in their prosecution decisions.