PUBLISHED 25 AUGUST 2016
At a public meeting in Stirling today, Thursday 25 August 2016, the Board of the SPA considered an update on Police Scotland’s call handling arrangements and approved a revised timeline for the planned roll out of the new contact, command and control structure (C3).
SPA Board member George Graham, a former chief constable and HM Inspector of Constabulary issued the following statement on the update:
"Following the publication of the final report of the HMICS independent assurance review of call handling last year, SPA made very clear that approval to progress with the remaining phases of the restructuring of Police Scotland’s call handling structure will only take place after detailed consideration of the readiness of the service to move forward.
"The SPA initiated a series of additional assurance steps to strengthen the approval process for the remaining phases of this strategic programme. The creation of a C3 Governance and Assurance group, Chaired by myself, has strengthened oversight and management of this critical and strategic programme of work.
"As a result of this enhanced governance, matched also by strong management action from Police Scotland, we have seen good progress made in performance, practice and people issues in the call handling programme.
"On performance, the service is now considering, and SPA scrutinising, a much broader suite of qualitative and quantitative information to assess the quality of the experience of those using the service. One of the benefits we sought from call handling modernisation is increased flexibility between different call centres and we are seeing good evidence of overflow calls from the public in the north at times of high demand already being very effectively handled by the staff in other parts of the country.
"On procedures and practice, a lot of hard work has been done to address the recommendations and improvements identified by HMICS in their review work, and their ongoing inspection work. HMICS form a key part of the independent assurance we are seeking and will continue to help us triangulate and contextualise the stronger evidence base we are now seeing from the service.
"On people, levels of absence are stable and subject to ongoing scrutiny. There is feedback that levels of morale among staff have improved and stabilised, and we as board members have taken direct soundings of that in the key locations affected by change. It is clear that clarity around a timeline remains a key factor for the workforce in key locations in the north and we welcome progress on that today.
"Across the programme, and again influenced by the enhanced oversight in place, we are seeing a much stronger focus on quality assurance, and on external validation. Before any proposal to proceed is brought to this board for approval, the programme will have gone through a process of independent gateway review. In addition, HMICS continue to provide active inspection and independent assurance, and the assurance group is also considering in the context of the programme what further independent assurance may be required in key areas where the programme has broader dependencies, for instance around ICT.
"It is important to reinforce, just as we did on the previous planned timeline, that a decision to progress will be taken when both Police Scotland and the SPA have confidence that the service is ready and the time is right. This timeline does not change that approach. However, I am assured that the timeline set out today has been subject to more detailed examination than ever before, and is therefore a realistic one for planning purposes."
The full paper considered by the SPA Board, providing an update on the programme to date and rationale behind the revised timeline, can be accessed from the following link:
Police Scotland Contact Command and Control Update
The SPA livestream all of our public board meetings. You can view a recording of today’s meeting, including the discussion around the C3 update, from the following link: