Meeting Crime Prosecution Service staff and Union representatives from Athena House
I met representatives from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union today, whose members could lose their jobs if the decision to transfer the 65 members of staff from Athena House in York to Leeds, goes ahead.
As a result of Government Policy not to renew tenancies when the existing leases are due for renewal, the Crown Prosecution Service under Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, is proposing to close its joint office with North Yorkshire Police at Athena House.
Athena House was set up to enable the police and prosecutors to work side by side preparing cases, speeding up the administration process by reducing delays and cutting court costs. I believe that any savings achieved by the closure of Athena House would soon be outweighed by higher costs for judges, witnesses, prison officers, lawyers and court staff if there are delays. Following representations made by me, the Attorney General has confirmed that a formal consultation will take place before any decisions are reached. I am pressing the Attorney General to consult with the Court Services and with North Yorkshire Police before any decisions are made.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Alex Leach and members of the Public and Commercial Services Union. The staff at Athena House have real concerns about their jobs if the body moves to Leeds. For many people commuting to Leeds every day is not an option and some could be forced to leave.
I have asked to meet representatives from the CPS and North Yorkshire Police to discuss some of the issues which Alex and his colleagues discussed with me today. Moving the CPS office to Leeds could result in higher costs to the police and the court services and it could result in highly skilled employees being forced to give up their jobs.
Photo: Hugh Bayley meets PCS union representatives to discuss proposed closure of Athena House