The Scottish Police Authority has welcomed confirmation received in December 2016 that HMICS will conduct its first statutory inspection of the SPA's governance arrangements during 2017/18.
The Authority recognises and respects the role of HMICS who were established under the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 with wide ranging powers to look into the ‘state, effectiveness and efficiency’ of both the Police Service of Scotland (Police Scotland) and the Scottish Police Authority
(SPA). In doing so, HMICS has conducted over 25 inspections since April 2013, with the vast majority undertaken to date focused on operational policing. The inspection will be the first for the SPA's governance function and will complement the planned inspection of the SPA's Forensic Services scheduled to begin in February 2017.
The statutory inspection will specifically consider the state, efficiency and effectiveness of the SPA in line with the legislative. The inspection will be an evidence-led review of the Authority, the work of its officers and the services it provides. It will also review the new governance arrangements and supporting protocols approved by the board in December 2016. HMICS will also seek evidence of improvement in those areas previously identified and being progressed through the SPA's ongoing improvement plan.
Speaking in response, John Foley, the SPA's Chief Executive said:
"The SPA acknowledges the valuable role HMICS plays in improving policing in Scotland. We welcome and look forward to engaging further with the Inspector on a timeframe for his review of the SPA's governance function in the coming year.
"The SPA is committed to driving and championing continuous improvement of policing and that includes the functions delivered by the Authority itself. Since our inception in 2013, the SPA has taken a number of steps to review, strengthen and improve the effectiveness of our own organisation and governance work, often supported by HMICS. A further wide-ranging review conducted by the Chair of the SPA last year allowed us to take stock of the governance arrangements for policing based on the experience to date which has led to a number of further recommendations and improvements. Most recently, refreshed governance arrangements approved in December 2016 aim to enhance the overall efficiency and timeliness of the SPA's consideration and decision-making resulting in more frequent meetings of the Board in public and broadcast via livestream. These are scheduled to be reviewed in 6 months."