Publications and Policies

Year of Publication

2018–22 CORPORATE PLAN For the period 2018–19

2018–22 CORPORATE PLAN For the period 2018–19

The 2018–22 Corporate Plan guides annual business and operational planning across our national practice. It has been developed in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

The CDPP Corporate Plan is influenced by our people, informed by our partner agencies and stakeholders, and shaped by the expectations of the Australian community.


Our Purpose is to prosecute crimes against Commonwealth law through an independent prosecution service that is responsive to the priorities of our law enforcement and regulatory partners, and that effectively contributes to the safety of the Australian community and the maintenance of the rule of law1.

Strategic themes



Our Service



Our Partners



Our People




Contribute to a fair, safe and just society by delivering an effective, independent prosecution service in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.


Our Corporate Plan for 2018–19 continues to guide our prosecution work—influenced by our people and informed by our partner agencies and stakeholders, our plan contributes to the safety of the Australian community.

Director’s Foreword

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) is Australia’s federal prosecution service. Our 2018–19 Corporate Plan guides and connects our work, our partners and our people to strengthen our prosecution services and our position in Australia’s justice system.

Each year our Corporate Plan shapes our direction and focuses our efforts. Our priorities and performance targets outlined in this plan cascade through to legal practice groups and corporate business areas and together we work as a cohesive team to achieve them in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

Built on a foundation of ethics and integrity, we value innovation, collaboration and diversity and this is strongly evident in our organisational culture.

I continue to progress an ambitious change program for our work practices and systems designed to develop core technology skills and capability as building blocks for an agile and flexible way of working. This focus on our people is essential to encourage innovative thinking, to generate new ideas and solutions and harness and share our collective knowledge. I recognise that as we change our systems and processes, we must support our people and shape our culture for us to realise the benefits.

Our national practice model is now embedded within the organisation. It established specialist teams of lawyers dedicated to prosecuting specific categories of crime nationally. Through this, efficiencies have been gained, and these practice groups are extending their reach into partner agencies through liaison activities, ongoing communication and collaboration, including establishing crime-specific focus groups.

We will continue to optimise this model by empowering our leaders, striving for, and establishing mechanisms for national consistency while still forging ahead with our transformation agenda— upgrading tools, improving support services and implementing our new case and document management system caseHQ, as part of our transformation into a digitally enabled workplace.

For the CDPP, these changes are essential to enable staff to receive electronic briefs securely, assess them efficiently and aim for the early resolution of matters, in line with the expectations of our partner agencies who are rapidly changing their work practices for the digital era. Partner agencies rely on us to bring cases to a close through effective prosecutions— underscoring the ongoing importance of our office transforming in sync with our partner agencies.

Partner agencies are engaged in our transformation. They are providing input and feedback as we work towards modernising our processes. This level of collaboration is essential for our prosecution services to keep pace with our changing operating environment.

We value diversity in all its forms, and particularly in our people. We continue to welcome new prosecutors to our ranks. They join a workplace committed to diversity and inclusion where teams are made up of more than three generations, with both public and private experience, often gained across jurisdictions and internationally. All have a shared goal—working together to deliver Australia’s federal prosecution service.

It remains a pivotal time to be working at the CDPP. The year ahead is set to be the most transformative in 30 years, as we consolidate and embed many of the innovative projects initiated last year to modernise our workplace and work practices. Making sure all staff are supported during this change process through training and online tools, will be critical to our success and a continuing focus for us.

I am thrilled that our people are championing our change program and are open to new opportunities and methods of working, enabled by digital tools and technology solutions. This is further evident in our priorities for the year ahead, which include: 

  • consistently assessing complex multi-faceted briefs within a maximum of 90 days 
  • continuing to identify cases with potential for early resolution 
  • strengthening early engagement and collaboration with partner agencies to inform and drive more effective investigation and prosecution outcomes
  • expanding access to the referrals gateway to all partner agencies for the secure submission of electronic briefs 
  • introducing new resources to support victims and witnesses through the prosecution process 
  • implementing caseHQ, our new case and document management system 
  • delivering an innovative training program to build the capability of our staff as they transition to caseHQ—the future of case and document management for the office 
  • improving the management of complex cases by providing innovative databases and IT support services to the legal practice 
  • enhancing our intranet, e-hub, in line with the business needs of the office to improve access to time critical information and resources, and connect our staff efficiently to each other 
  • improving our prosecution services through the review of core legal resources that underpin the delivery of Australia’s federal prosecution service 
  • entrenching consistent team leadership and communication practices through the CDPP’s network of prosecution team leaders, integral to oversight and management of prosecution teams nationally 
  • embedding a culture of innovation and continuous improvement to uncover ideas for change, procedural improvements and eliminate inefficient practices 
  • establishing a diversity network focused on overseeing and driving forward an agenda of acceptance and inclusion 
  • harnessing the goodwill of our people through supporting a common cause to strengthen our culture and demonstrate our workplace values.

These are some of the key activities that will advance our work practices, our relationships with our partners, and our people.

As we take significant steps forward in our digital transformation, the benefits will be reflected in our performance and flow through to our stakeholders, partner agencies and the broader Australian community.

Statement of preparation

I, as the accountable authority of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, am pleased to  present this Corporate Plan for the periods 2018–19  to 2021–22 as required under paragraph 35(1) (b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.  

Sarah McNaughton SC

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

3 August 2018


Building on our previous Corporate Plan, this plan sets our priorities for the next four years—2018–22.

It has been developed in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

The plan confirms our Purpose and core operational activities to achieve our Outcome, in the context of our ever-changing operating environment where the volume, nature and complexity of partner agency referrals cannot be predicted year-on-year.
The factors that influence whether we achieve our Outcome are unique to our federal prosecution service, which operates across all jurisdictions and courts in Australia, including Norfolk Island. In response we are:

  •  actively participating in discussions on law reform related to our practice
  •  strengthening the delivery of our prosecution service through our national legal practice model
  •  keeping pace with partner agencies through our digital transformation agenda
  •  investing in our people—their skills, capability and ability to be agile and flexible.

Our work is dynamic and the activities outlined in our 2018–19 Corporate Plan reflect this and set a path to 2022.


Modernisation of systems and processes


Introduce solutions and strengthen capability


Embed modern work practices


Optimise for efficiency


Our Corporate Plan confirms our Purpose and core operational activities to achieve our Outcome, in the context of our ever-changing operating environment where the volume, nature and complexity of partner agency referrals cannot be predicted year-on-year.

Operating environment

The CDPP works in an increasingly dynamic environment prosecuting a diverse range of complex crimes, often transnational in nature and regularly involving large quantities of electronic evidence. The tentacles of criminal syndicates are reaching further than they have ever done before. In this environment, strong partnerships with law enforcement and investigative agencies are critical to ensure prosecutions are timely and limited resources are used effectively.

Commonwealth prosecutions

Commonwealth criminal activity continues to expand and evolve—criminal cartels, foreign bribery, child exploitation (using carriage services), sophisticated revenue and benefits fraud, large scale and cross-border organised crime activity including drug offences, human trafficking, espionage, foreign interference, slavery and terrorism offences—represent just some of the diverse matters we prosecute.
The nature and complexity of the crimes referred to the office require our prosecutors to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They work together with partner agencies to ensure briefs of evidence are thorough and complete, assessed in a timely manner and prosecuted efficiently—especially in the most complex cases.
The CDPP is regularly called on to provide pre-brief advice to agencies, often at short notice and in highly pressured circumstances. All prosecutors work to meet set timeframes when assessing new briefs referred to our office and these assessments are being consistently completed within 90 days.
With efficiencies gained in this critical early phase of the prosecution lifecycle, we have invested in the leadership capability of our prosecution team leaders to assign, track, monitor and report on caseloads within each practice group. At the same time we are providing them with a framework to ensure consistent and timely communication within teams, including mechanisms to cascade important messages through to frontline lawyers. 

This approach is proving to be very effective as we work diligently to meet performance targets on an ongoing basis, despite the nature and complexity of our work being largely unpredictable.

From global criminal networks to local prosecutions

Our dynamic operating environment, coupled with the complex nature of criminal activity, reflects the increasingly international nature of Commonwealth offending.
With few exceptions, Commonwealth prosecutions are carried out in state and territory courts in accordance with applicable state and territory procedural laws, pursuant to the provisions of the Judiciary Act 1903.
Regardless of the state or territory in which cases are prosecuted, our matters are increasingly being reported in the media. Journalists follow high-  profile matters as they unfold in court, and regularly request the facts of a case, their status or clarification regarding charges. Media outlets report on cases in the public interest and we remain committed to working with media outlets to enable accurate reporting and to facilitate general deterrence

Working with stakeholders

We continue to refine and improve our prosecution services for partner agencies. These services cover every aspect of the criminal prosecution process, from pre-brief advice to brief assessment, specialist resources and liaison activity, as well as providing litigation services throughout the entire court process.

We keep our partners informed throughout the prosecution process and have established proven liaison practices, which extend to regular meetings and convening national conferences with key partner agencies to focus on trends, issues, implications and opportunities to improve.

We collaborate extensively with partner agencies, including on joint initiatives such as the development and implementation of referral standards for electronic briefs. Increasingly the desire for paperless and digital practices have brought partners together with the CDPP to design standards to prepare for this digital shift in preparing, receiving and assessing electronic briefs.

Enabling the submission of electronic briefs was the focus of a trial with the Department of Human Services (DHS). It assigned teams of investigators to work alongside our prosecutors to test a referrals gateway to securely submit electronic briefs online. This collaborative approach enabled enhancements to be made to the platform in stages. The trial expanded to include DHS nationally and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to test the gateway thoroughly before it was introduced to all partner agencies.

This approach demonstrates our commitment to consultation and collaboration as we work to develop and implement robust and proven solutions, which are flexible enough to adapt to the different processes inherent within partner agencies.

Our engagement with partner agencies, such as the Australian Federal Police, ATO and over 50 other Commonwealth agencies and state police, continues to expand. We collaborate through regular liaison and team meetings as well as our annual joint national conferences and crime specific focus groups. We collaborate extensively through legal trials and importantly, continue to reach out to ensure improvement to our work is effectively informed by our partners.

Strategic and productive partnerships deliver better outcomes and ensure the laws of the Commonwealth are respected, offenders brought to justice and potential offenders deterred.

We share this commitment with Commonwealth agencies and law enforcement partners at federal, state and territory levels.

Factors influencing CDPP outcomes

Typically it is external factors that influence our operating environment and have the greatest impact on our prosecutions, partners and people. We continue to work proactively to mitigate the impact of these factors, however it remains an ongoing challenge for the office.


– Applying the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth

– Complying with all statutory obligations

Relationships with partner agencies and other stakeholders

– Constrained fiscal environment and budget allocation for CDPP and its stakeholders

– Volume, timeliness, complexity and quality of incoming briefs of evidence

– Changes in the law

– Operation of the courts

– Instructions of defendants

– Changes to goals, priorities and enforcement policies of partner agencies

Our core function is prosecuting Commonwealth offences in all states and territories across Australia. The Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 and the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth are the foundation of our work. The Policy guides our decision making and all prosecutors must comply with it.

Our legislative framework


The DPP Act established the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the statutory position of Director. It sets out the functions and powers of the Director including independent responsibility for carrying out prosecutions for offences against the laws of the Commonwealth.


While the CDPP sits within the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s portfolio, we operate independently of both the AttorneyGeneral and the political process. However, the Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral has power under section 8 of the DPP Act to issue directions or guidelines to the Director.


Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act). Public Service Act 1999 (Public Service Act) together with the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct and APS Employment Principles. Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

The way we work

The CDPP has a national legal practice operating model that provides an efficient, effective and nationally consistent federal prosecution service.
The practice group model is evolving, with stakeholders and partner agencies collaborating with us to drive improvements in the way briefs of evidence are prepared and matters are handled within the CDPP.
The legal practice groups are based on a set of compatible crime types that define the practice group and the matters each prosecutes:

  • Commercial, Financial and Corruption
  • Revenue and Benefits Fraud
  • International Assistance and Specialist Agencies
  • Organised Crime and Counter-Terrorism
  • Illegal Imports and Exports
  • Human Exploitation and Border Protection.

Prosecutors are able to build  their  capability within this model—exploring opportunities to work across jurisdictions and crime types—to build their knowledge and experience.
This opportunity to diversify results in an agile, flexible and high performing CDPP.
Our core legal practice groups are assisted by a Legal Business Improvement team focused on improving legal policy, process and procedure, while the National Business Improvement Practice Group leads the implementation of transformative projects to improve our prosecution services. All practice groups are supported by our Corporate Services Group.

Governance, planning and performance

Governance and reporting

At the CDPP, governance is about the way we do our work. It’s about planning, managing and evaluating our prosecution and corporate practices to improve our performance and ensure we achieve effective outcomes while building capability.
We are continually refining our governance arrangements to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and clear to everyone within the organisation, while being consistent with whole-of-government governance policy.
Good governance considers both performance and accountability within a risk management framework rather than trading one off against the other.
Our governance structure ensures we have the appropriate oversight in place and provides clarity on accountabilities while remaining responsive to our strategic goals and operational challenges.
Our planning at the CDPP complies with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule 2014, which has a number of tiers to enable the mobilisation of the workforce to achieve our purpose. The Corporate Plan is central to this.

CDPP annual performance, planning and reporting cycle

Portfolio Budget Statement (May)

Corporate Plan (August)

PGPA requirement including TIER ONE performance measures against CDPP Outcome

Business Plan (July)

Internal governance requirement including TIER TWO operational performance measures against deliverables

Action Plans (July)

Internal governance requirement at Practice Group and/or Branch level feeding into TIER THREE Prosecution Statistics

Individual Performance Management Agreements (Ongoing)

TIER FOUR Individual Performance Measures

Annual Report (October)

Annual prosecution service statistics

Annual Performance Statements (October)


Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule 2014

At the highest level our Portfolio Budget Statement describes the Outcome of delivering on our Purpose.

Contribute to a fair, safe and just society by delivering an effective, independent prosecution service in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

To achieve our Outcome we have a related program of work that is outlined in our annual Business Plan.
Our strategic themes cascade from this corporate plan into our annual Business Plan and Action Plans, ensuring alignment of our operational performance across the organisation.

2018–19 Business Plan

Our approach to monitoring, evaluating, reporting and improving operational performance is integrated into our 2018–19 Business Plan.
The Business Plan includes our Purpose, objective and strategies aligned both up and down the planning hierarchy. The plan includes specific performance measures for deliverables aligned with each of our three strategic themes.
Importantly, our business objectives continue to evolve as we progress our transformation agenda. This year innovation, collaboration and diversity are key themes shaping our services, our initiatives and relationships with partners, and investment in our people.
While our program of work includes a number of performance measures, we have chosen three headline deliverables aligned with our strategic themes to focus our efforts, drive performance and achieve our Outcome. Our three strategic performance measures are:


Together, our three strategic performance measures contribute most to achieving our Purpose, while all other performance measures help us strive towards operational excellence.


PURPOSE: To prosecute crimes against Commonwealth law through an independent prosecution service, which is responsive to the priorities of our law enforcement and regulatory partners, and that effectively contributes to the safety of the Australian community and the maintenance of the rule of law.



Supporting Objectives Work together to plan, prepare and deliver timely prosecution services Build strong and effective partnerships fostering cooperation, collaboration and innovation across the criminal justice system Develop an agile, diverse, healthy and highly skilled workforce, responsive to the challenges of the future
Headline Deliverables
  • Excellence in prosecution services through improved brief assessment and prosecution processes in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth through:

– Assessment of briefs within 90 days

– Standardised workflows

– Innovative use of technology

– Working in teams

  • Effective resourcing, allocation, monitoring, early resolution and priority setting in cases
  • Lessons learned are captured and communicated
  • Timely and value adding engagement with partner agencies
  • Make the investigation/prosecution process more efficient by encouraging partner agencies to submit e-briefs
  • Our people are supported to deliver on all aspects of their work
  • A flexible and diverse workplace
  • An effective professional development program promoting a culture of continuous improvement and strengthened by a health/ wellbeing program
  • A Performance Excellence Program delivering: – improved skills – closer alignment with the APSC capabilities
Risks to Effective Implementation
  • Inability to deliver a timely, high quality prosecution service
  • Partner agency goals and priorities not enhanced and supported
  • High quality staff not developed and supported
Performance Measures
  • 100% compliance in addressing the terms of the test for prosecution
  • 90% of prosecutions result in a conviction
  • 85% of brief assessments completed within 90 days
  • 90% of partner agencies surveyed in the biennial survey conducted by an independent research agency, rate themselves as satisfied or very satisfied with CDPP service delivery
  • 90% of eligible individual performance agreements in place by 30 September 2018


Our performance is managed through a combination of careful planning, effective measurement and monitoring, which culminates in transparent reporting.

At a strategic level, we have adopted three strategic performance measures to assess how well we deliver an efficient, effective and independent prosecution service.

These measures collectively build a three-dimensional picture of how well we are meeting our Purpose and define what we expect to achieve over the next four years.



This performance measure has been in place since 1 November 2015. Compliance is measured at selected stages of the prosecution process based on sampling of cases and certification by the CDPP case officer or supervisor that the test for prosecution in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth has been addressed. The test set out in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth is integral to all cases considered and prosecuted by the CDPP.  It is of fundamental importance to the manner in which the CDPP undertakes its work. The test requires the prosecutor to determine whether there is a prima facie case and reasonable prospects of a conviction and whether a prosecution is required in the public interest, when deciding to commence or continue the prosecution. The evidence that the prosecutor has addressed the test includes a completed Prosecution Policy Declaration. Since this performance measure was introduced, we have achieved 100 per cent compliance in matters at the brief assessment and indictment signing stages. From 22 June 2017, we extended the performance measure to all arrest2 and breach matters3, with a completed Prosecution Policy Declaration required at the following stages: pre-committal, post committal, summary arrest4 and breach.



Compliance in addressing the terms of the test for prosecution in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth, namely existence of a prima facie case, reasonable prospects of conviction and that prosecution is required in the public interest, when deciding to commence or continue a prosecution


Whether we are addressing the criteria governing the decision to institute or continue a prosecution, as specified in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.


Measure of how fully we are addressing the prosecution test in the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

Collection and Reporting

Progress reports are provided quarterly to the Audit Committee and annually in the Annual Report.


Target: 100% Results: 2017–18 = 100% Results: 2016–17 = 100% 2015–16 = 100% (data period from 1 November 2015–30 June 2016)

This is detailed in the Australian Government’s 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) on page 199—



The prosecution process is a collaboration between the CDPP and partner agencies, and it is critical that the CDPP is able to work closely and constructively with those agencies. Understanding partner agency perceptions of the CDPP across a range of service areas provides valuable insights that help shape and improve processes, procedures and performance. 
To align with the introduction of the biennial satisfaction survey in 2015–16, we set a partner agency satisfaction target of 90 per cent and achieved a satisfaction5 rating of 83 per cent. While this result fell slightly short of the target, it captured valuable feedback to help us meet the target in the future.
In response, the CDPP has strengthened relationships with partner agencies through liaison activity, secondments, participation in national and international conferences and in identifying opportunities to collaborate through the promotion of case outcomes through the media. We have launched a dedicated Partner Agency Portal featuring news and specialist resources, and we continue to work collaboratively with partner agencies as we transform our systems and processes. For example, the CDPP is in the process of developing and delivering an electronic lodgement system for briefs from partner agencies to increase efficiencies in agency referrals. Significantly, during 2017–18 the CDPP reduced its brief assessment timeframe from 120 days to 90 days, signalling a more timely service to agencies. A significant drafting backlog was also eliminated.
The effectiveness of these measures was apparent in the 2018 Partner Agency Satisfaction Survey, with an increase in overall satisfaction to 87 per cent. This result is now just under the target set of 90 per cent, and represents a 4 per cent increase on the results of the 2016 survey. The agency response rate also increased from 163 in 2016 to 284 in 2018 (an increase of 74 per cent).



Partner agency satisfaction with CDPP service delivery


Quantitative and qualitative evidence of partner agency satisfaction with our service delivery characteristics including timeliness, relevance to partner agency business, responsiveness and level of communication.


Independent biennial survey of targeted individuals from partner agencies who have dealt with the CDPP over the previous 12–18 months, to deliver a comprehensive evidence base that will inform continuous improvement.

Collection and Reporting

The survey is sent out in April/May every two years collecting information on the previous 12 months, and reported in the Annual Report relating to the 12 month collection period. The next survey will be released in April 2020 and results reported in the 2019–20 Annual Report.


Target: 90% satisfaction score Results: 2017–18 = 87% 2015–16 = 83%

This is detailed in the Australian Government’s 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) on page 199—



This measure indicates the conviction rate in prosecutions which are finalised in the courts by means of either a finding of guilt (resulting in either a conviction or non-conviction disposition)6 or an acquittal.
The CDPP also tracks discontinuances in the context of performance measure three (by way of an adjusted figure). Discontinuances are cases which are commenced as prosecutions, but are discontinued prior to the matter proceeding to a determination of guilt. This can occur due to a change in the evidence or public interest factors, and signifies the continuing application of the test set out in the Prosecution Policy.
We have consistently exceeded the target of 90 per cent set for this measure. These results were achieved through the commitment and hard work of CDPP staff and the staff of partner agencies.



Prosecutions resulting in a conviction


The conviction/finding of guilt rate is calculated by taking the number of defendants convicted as a percentage of defendants convicted or acquitted. The calculation does not include defendants where the DPP discontinued the prosecution against them in its entirety or where a prosecution has commenced and the defendant failed to appear before a court. It does include findings of guilt that do not result in a conviction.


Records stretch back more than 15 years providing a useful, quantitative measure of CDPP outputs. We consider it is useful to retain this quantitative indicator in support of performance measurement into the future. Multiple statutory, prosecution, performance and criminal confiscation statistics are collected, analysed and provided on our website for interested stakeholders.

Collection and Reporting

Progress reports are provided monthly to the Executive Leadership Group, quarterly to the Audit Committee and published annually in the Annual Report.


Target: 90% 2017–18 = 97% 2016–17 = 99% 2015–16 = 97%

This is detailed in the Australian Government’s 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) on page 199—

Statistical reporting on the prosecution service

Performance measurement relies on accurate and up-to-date data.

We collect a wide range of data through our Case Recording and Information Management System (CRIMS). This tracks referrals from investigative agencies, on-going prosecutions, and completed cases that are the basis of our annual reporting on prosecution statistics. Annual reporting includes:

  • CDPP Prosecution Performance Indicators
  • defendants dealt with (summarily and on indictment)
  • outcomes of prosecution and defence appeals
  • charges dealt with (summarily and on indictment)
  • referrals from investigative agencies to the CDPP.

Data from the system is relied on to manage files across our national practice group model, and allows us to analyse trends, monitor key performance indicators and inform key management and workforce planning decisions, including:

  • rates of referrals across referring agencies and complexities
  • timeliness of brief assessments
  • tracking of performance indicators
  • snapshot of workloads across practice groups and legal branches.

The system is also the core data source on Commonwealth sentencing and prosecution statistics, which informs our investigative agencies on the progress and outcomes of their referrals, provides a source for queries on specific Commonwealth offending, and increasingly is a source for regular national monitoring and reporting. Regular external reporting includes:

  • Commonwealth Sentencing Database (CSD)
  • Annual Report to Government: Fraud Against the Commonwealth
  • Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia
  • Agency liaison statistics
  • Senate Estimates reporting, Questions on Notice, Senate Committee submissions
  • AGD queries.
Capability and culture

By building workforce capability we will benefit from an innovative and flexible workforce that is able to respond to stakeholder needs, achieve our Outcome, and anticipate future demands.

Our desired culture of collaboration, innovation and diversity underpins our integrated human resource management approach, which considers the capability and resilience of our people, their health and wellbeing, learning and development and the strategies and technology we must have in place to help them thrive.

Our people

We are committed to improving our workforce and people planning practices. We will continue to focus on aligning business and strategic workforce planning through initiatives such as:

  • a focus on flexible working arrangements
  • improving our people metrics, tools and data sources to ensure alignment between our workload and workforce
  • identifying critical roles to inform key succession planning initiatives
  • developing and implementing a diversity strategy and associated initiatives
  • developing a recruitment strategy that better aligns business objectives with resourcing
  • embedding our performance excellence practices and plans
  • developing an agency wide capability framework.

These are key foundation activities. Future people capability initiatives will build on this solid base, in line with strategic business needs.


The CDPP is committed to creating a flexible and responsive environment that promotes a positive workplace culture and helps employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. We have provided staff in our legal practice with two-in-one devices comprising a tablet and mobile phone for remote access. The flexibility and mobility this offers our lawyers means they can work from court, and in certain circumstances from home. The Flexible Work Arrangements Framework provides greater flexibility for staff to manage their work, and how and where they do it. These arrangements are an extension of our digital transformation, designed to keep pace with current work practices and establish an agile and responsive workplace—one that enhances engagement, productivity, job satisfaction and performance.

Legal learning and professional development

Ongoing learning, support and continuing education enhances capability, builds more rewarding career paths and fosters positive working experiences for our workforce. This enhanced capability is critical in a rapidly changing operating environment.
Continually developing capability and enhancing our business through targeted learning programs for our lawyers and administrative support staff will drive improvement in performance, productivity and efficiency. To facilitate an ongoing culture of capability development, our legal learning and development strategy specifically outlines:
• the skills required to build capability for lawyers at all stages and levels through the course of their career at the CDPP
• the delivery of sustainable, continuous improvement in our performance as prosecutors and as public servants
• our approach to instill confidence so that lawyers and administrative staff perform their work at the CDPP with the best knowledge and skills
• the need to continue to reinforce national consistency of prosecutions in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.
The focus for this period will remain on upskilling CDPP legal practitioners’ technical skills and digital expertise. This will enable them to adopt new solutions as our part of transitioning into a digital workplace.


Building the skills and capability of our staff remains an ongoing priority for the office.

Whether it is providing staff with opportunities to acquire specialist legal skills through Legal Advocacy Skills training, or encouraging them to develop their MS Access knowledge, providing opportunities for staff to grow individually builds our collective capability. This is increasingly important as our workload continues to vary in volume and complexity in response to the changing nature of criminality and partner agency referrals.

Recently we have complemented traditional training courses and opportunities with work-based development opportunities, such as secondments to partner agencies, taking part in regional and international working groups, and supplementing roles with additional responsibilities, including leading internal projects.

We have also refreshed our induction training, which now includes various e-learning modules relating to foundational legal topics for our federal prosecutors.

This structured yet dynamic approach to building capability allows us to harness a broad range of opportunities, invest in our people and broaden their contribution through diverse experiences.

Digital transformation

We have embarked on a digital transformation journey to ensure our workforce is more agile, connected and flexible. Our digital transformation agenda comprises three elements:

Connect—enable a connected workforce and strengthen our culture and sense of community  

Collaborate—work together to share knowledge and enhance the way we work together  

Communicate—provide tools and channels to communicate effectively with each other.
These three dimensions allow us to adapt to a changing technological world while responding to the diverse range of referrals from partner agencies.
Our work to achieve sustainable change through our digital transformation agenda will help us achieve our Purpose and meet and exceed our performance targets.

Communication and stakeholder engagement

Connecting our people and partners through effective communication remains a key driver behind our communications and engagement strategy.
As part of this, we have established and enhanced digital channels as integral elements of our digital transformation. We continue to develop our new intranet, e-hub, to integrate interactive organisation charts, technical toolboxes to upskill our staff and digital competency, and improve our homepage to help staff to connect to information and resources efficiently.
We have enabled the evolution of our internal Legal Administration Support Service Offering by developing and improving an online job tracking and workflow solution that has transformed the way lawyers access and track time critical legal services central to their work. It has also enabled the effective allocation of support services nationally.
Our secure online Partner Agency Portal has been adopted by partner agencies nationally, and it has continued to be the primary channel for partner agencies to access guidance and resources to support their investigative work and dealings with the CDPP.
In addition to contributing to our digital transformation agenda, our core functions remain a priority. We will:

• proactively develop communication products aimed at positioning the CDPP as an integral contributor to law enforcement, justice and community safety

• continue to raise awareness of prosecution outcomes

• seek out collaborative opportunities with partner agencies to demonstrate our work and benefit to the Australian community, including the publication of case outcomes and liaison with media

• continue to enhance established internal communication services and platforms to support the needs of both legal and corporate areas.


In step with our digital transformation, our ICT project management strategy and implementation continues to take us forward. It is focused on improving our day-to-day IT support as well as delivering fit-for-purpose IT products and contemporary tools and services that represent value for money. We will continue to leverage shared services opportunities where appropriate.


Enhance information management to:

  • establish effective information management practices through creation of rich metadata standards
  • further enable knowledge sharing across our legal business and lawyers to drive effective case management, reduce duplication and ensure best practice is applied to how matters are managed
  •  review guidance and resources to ensure information is up-to-date, relevant and enables frontline prosecutors to more effectively carry out their core court work
  • improve the gateway to information through better search capability as well as further connecting our library catalogue and intranet.


Develop and deliver:

  • solutions for our legal practitioners to work outside the office
  • the new caseHQ case management system to provide better end-to-end management of legal matters
  • an electronic documents and records management system that aligns with the Government Digital Transformation Policy and the National Archives Digital Continuity 2020 policy.
  • an electronic lodgement system for briefs from partner agencies to enable efficient receipt of matters referred to our office.


caseHQ will be our virtual headquarters for case and document management— offering  end-to-end case management with embedded document, workflow and reporting solutions.
Configured to align with our prosecution process and combining a number of solutions into one integrated system, caseHQ will be used for all new matters briefed to the CDPP from the first quarter of the 2018–19 financial year.
From procurement to configuration, testing and deployment, the project has been fast-paced and agile, and will result in the delivery of caseHQ within a single financial year. A rigorous project management methodology, coupled with a dedicated project team comprising core members, and an extended network of subject matter experts, has meant the solution has been efficiently delivered.
Legacy systems will remain in place until existing matters can be transferred over to caseHQ, with all new matters to be opened in caseHQ marking the transition to a new modern, sustainable and scalable solution for case management now and into the future.


The CDPP’s referrals gateway has established a secure online channel for partner agencies to submit electronic briefs including new referrals, breach matters and updates to existing briefs submitted.
Led by our National Business Improvement Practice Group with support from our Information Technology team, the project has involved a number of phases, each resulting in improvements to the platform and submission process.
The first phase started in October 2017 and involved a small team of prosecutors and their Department of   Human Services counterparts. With proof-of-concept achieved, enhancements are being made to extend this to other agencies.
In the 2018–19 financial year, all partner agencies will have access to the referrals gateway, signifying the successful modernisation of our brief referrals process.
Further efficiencies will be gained in the brief submission process with integration with caseHQ proposed, allowing briefs to be directed to the responsible prosecutors’ in-trays for action.
The support of our Information Technology team, coupled with the expertise of prosecutors and feedback from investigators, has proven to be a winning formula in moving forward with our referrals gateway.


The expected total resourcing for the CDPP for the period of this Corporate Plan is shown below:

$ 85.45 million
$ 79.94 million
$ 81.19 million
$ 83.55 million

Sustainable funding

In conjunction with the Department of Finance and the Attorney-General’s Department, we have implemented    a costing model to advise the Government on CDPP resourcing implications of new policy proposals that are expected to increase our workload.
New policy proposals can result in an increase in prosecutions related to a specific category of crime. This could result from partner agencies receiving additional funding to step-up their investigations into emerging crime types, or new legislation being introduced.
The costing model is another lever that alongside our national practice, modernised systems and processes, and flexible workforce, we can exercise in response to our dynamic operating environment.
We plan to use data from caseHQ to maintain the currency of the costing model in the future.

Our costing model is another lever that alongside our national practice, modernised systems and processes, and flexible workforce, we can exercise in response to our dynamic operating environment.

We have well-established systems of risk oversight and management, in accordance with section 16 of the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy.

Risk management

Our risk management is embedded in our strategy and planning processes through to action plans. It is seen as a preventative measure, rather than as a back-end control. We will implement good risk management practice through:

• the Executive Leadership Group and Audit Committee identifying and considering strategic risks facing the CDPP
• establishing appropriate processes and practices to monitor and manage risks to ensure the successful achievement of our Purpose
• risk-based decision making by all staff, adopting a true risk management culture
• regular analysis and review of risk management approaches, controls and framework documents.

Risk appetite

Our strategic purpose is to prosecute crimes against Commonwealth law through an independent prosecution service, which is responsive to the priorities of our law enforcement and regulatory partners, and that effectively contributes to the safety of the Australian community and the maintenance of the rule of law.
We acknowledge that risk is present in almost every activity and can be managed but rarely eliminated. Our Executive has addressed the threshold question of ‘How willing is the CDPP to accept risk related to each of the organisation’s objectives?’

Strategic risk management through dynamic teams and national processes

The most significant challenge the office faces  is the ever-changing nature, complexity and volume of matters referred by partner agencies. As we are a down-stream agency, the timing, volume and types of matters referred cannot be predicted. This has a significant impact on our prosecution workload and our people.
We manage this risk proactively. Our national practice model has established agile, flexible and adaptable teams that can be assigned in direct response to demand. We continually build the capability of our staff through ongoing professional development, including building the leadership and managerial skills of our Prosecution Team Leaders to work to performance targets. Individual prosecutors have opportunities to grow through secondments and temporary transfers to broaden their skill set and expertise across a range of crime types and practice groups.
The benefits of establishing nationally consistent processes have been realised through the introduction of our National Administration Support Service. Where administrative support was provided at a local level in the past, requests can now be allocated and tracked across a national team of admin support staff, further enhancing our ability to respond dynamically to the unpredictable nature of our prosecution work.

The CDPP Executive is comfortable operating within, and aims to sustain, a very low overall risk range.
Our lowest risk appetite relates to compliance objectives (principally compliance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth), including employee work health and safety.
We have a slightly higher risk appetite where prosecution outcomes are concerned, ranging to a low risk appetite towards reporting and corporate operations objectives. This means that reducing to reasonably practicable levels the risks originating from prosecutions and our work environment, and meeting our legal obligations, will take priority over other business objectives.

Caring for the wellbeing of staff through prevention and early intervention wellbeing checks

Caring for the wellbeing of staff through prevention and early intervention wellbeing checks
We are committed to supporting the wellbeing of staff who may be exposed to potentially stressful or traumatic incidents, or imagery in the course of their work. To manage the potential risk of harm, in September 2017 we implemented a formal and ongoing schedule of wellbeing checks. These checks are specifically designed to support our staff by carefully monitoring wellbeing and providing assistance where there is a risk of psychological injury or cumulative stress.
Wellbeing checks are completed before staff are allocated potentially confronting matters,  and on an ongoing basis while they are working on those matters. Managers in high-risk practice areas receive training, and formal mechanisms such as performance agreements ensure that worker wellbeing remains a mandatory topic of discussion.

CDPP risk profile

The continuum below illustrates the CDPP risk appetite and the risk tolerance for each objective.
Prosecutions: Tolerance statements consistent with near zero or very low-risk appetite

  • We do not tolerate breaches of the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth, Disclosure Policy or Victims of Crime Policy.
  • We do not tolerate breaches of National Legal Directions or Practice Group Instructions.
  • We have low tolerance for breaches of the Decision Making Matrix.
  • We have a low tolerance for directed acquittals or successful ‘no case’ submissions where they arise from legal error or an incorrect assessment of the strength of the admissible evidence rather than a change in the evidence.
  • We have a low tolerance for lack of compliance with brief assessment targets.

Compliance: Tolerance statements consistent with near zero-risk tolerance

  • We aim for full compliance with all our statutory obligations (legislative, regulatory or policy, including in relation to work health and safety), but accept there will be compliance breaches from time to time, which we will actively monitor and manage.
  • We will not tolerate errors in, or late submission of the Annual Report, annual performance statements and annual financial statements.

Corporate operations: Tolerance statements consistent with low-risk appetite

  • We tolerate a five per cent variation of actual expenditure to budget reviewed quarterly.
  • We have a low tolerance for error across all financial management processes.
The year ahead 2018–19

To achieve our Purpose, we will focus on improving our prosecution services, engaging with our partner agencies and stakeholders, and investing in our people.

Our Corporate Plan 2018–19 aims to balance these three dimensions to achieve our performance targets despite the ever-changing volume and complexity of matters referred by partner agencies.

It will unite our workforce behind a common goal and keep us on course to achieve our Outcome while strengthening our role in the Australian justice system.

1: The wording of the CDPP’s purpose statement was slightly modified in 2017–18.

2: Many prosecutions involving serious criminal conduct are commenced by the police exercising their power of arrest.

3: A breach phase is where the CDPP brings proceedings in court against a convicted offender for a failure to comply with a condition of a sentencing order previously imposed.

4: A summary arrest is an arrest of a defendant on a less serious offence, which will be dealt with in the summary jurisdiction, and not proceed by way of committal and trial.

5: Satisfaction is defined to be a response of greater than 7 in a 10 point scale, where 10 is extremely satisfied and 0 is extremely dissatisfied.