Scottish Budget: 2023 to 2024

The Scottish Budget sets out the Scottish Government’s proposed spending and tax plans for 2023 to 2024, as presented to the Scottish Parliament.

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Chapter 13 Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service

Portfolio Responsibilities

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is the sole public prosecution authority in Scotland, prosecuting cases independently, fairly and effectively in the public interest. It is also responsible for investigating sudden, unexplained and suspicious deaths and allegations of criminal conduct by police officers. Our work helps to ensure that Scotland is safe from crime, disorder and danger.

The Lord Advocate has Ministerial responsibility for the work of the service. The Lord Advocate's position as head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 and exercises that responsibility independently of any other person.

COPFS is a demand-led organisation with responsibility to meet state obligations to deliver justice. COPFS operates within a complex criminal justice system to deliver justice. The volume and complexity of the service's casework continues to grow. There continues to be an increase in complex cases which require longer investigations and court hearings. Over the last 24 months there has been a 41% increase in the number of death reports received. Sexual crime has increased and makes up almost 70% of High Court cases and there has been an increase in domestic abuse cases. Violence against women and girls, sexual crime and domestic abuse will form the bulk of casework for some years to come. The gathering and analysis of evidence for cases is more time-consuming because of the expanded use of social media and electronic communications and the service increasingly relies on the evidence of expert witnesses to interpret technical, scientific and medical issues.

COPFS, along with justice partners, made a five-year commitment to address trial backlogs caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to implement Lady Dorrian's recommendations on the management of sexual offence cases. Significant reform is anticipated following Lady Dorrian's review, supported by the service's ongoing internal review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offending. COPFS is committed to addressing violence against women and girls, improving the experience of victims and to make our service more trauma informed. Furthermore, the Lord Advocate has a duty to meet state obligations to fully investigate the additional 7,000 deaths reported to COPFS as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Table 13.01: Spending Plans (Level 2)
Level 2 2021-22 Budget 2022-23 Budget 2023-24 Budget
£m £m £m
COPFS 155.5 179.7 196.6
Total COPFS 155.5 179.7 196.6
of which:
Total Fiscal Resource 145.6 168.6 181.8
Non-cash 5.1 5.8 6.5
Capital 4.8 5.3 8.3
Financial Transactions (FTs)
UK Funded AME
Total Limit on Income (accruing resources) 3.0
Table 13.02: Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Spending Plans (Level 3)
Level 3 2021-22 Budget 2022-23 Budget 2023-24 Budget
£m £m £m
Staff Costs 112.6 132.5 148.2
Office Costs 3.8 4.0 4.5
Case related 16.7 17.8 17.1
Centrally Managed Costs 17.6 20.1 18.5
Capital Expenditure 4.8 5.3 8.3
Total Government Business 155.5 179.7 196.6
of which:
Total Fiscal Resource 145.6 168.6 181.8
Non-cash 5.1 5.8 6.5
Capital 4.8 5.3 8.3
UK Funded AME

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service intended contributions contributions to the National Outcomes

Primary National Outcomes

  • Communities
  • Human Rights

Secondary National Outcomes

  • Economy
  • Fair Work and Business
  • Environment

For further information on the purpose of the portfolio budget, and contributions to national outcomes (including impacts of spend on equality of outcome) please refer to the relevant portfolio annex in the published Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement.



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