George Graham - Remarks to PAPLS Committee


SPA Board member George Graham addresses PAPLS Committee.

SPA Board members George Graham, Iain Whyte and David Hume today, Thursday 11 May gave evidence on the SPA's approach to governance and transparency to a meeting of the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee in the Scottish Parliament.

George Graham's opening remarks to the committee are detailed below:

"Convener, I am grateful for the opportunity to say a few words.

"Transparency is a focus today and I want to give you a sense of why we as SPA board members took the decisions we did around public and private business.

"We are committed to every key policing issue and every key policing decision being addressed in public at the appropriate point.

"So it is wrong to see this as SPA choosing which issues to have in public and which in private – it is a question of when, and not if, an issues enters the public domain.

"The aim of governance changes was to focus committee attention on the issues that matter, rather than getting bogged down in extraneous detail.

"In our committees, a refocus on early discussion and engagement was to add more value to the full board’s subsequent public scrutiny and public decision-making.

"Taking this committee business in private was aimed at getting early transparency for SPA on emerging policing issues so that all options could be explored and tested.

"We knew that decision would have its critics and we took decision with awareness of the range of views of other stakeholders, including HMICS.

"Members acknowledged and debated that there were both potential benefits and challenges in adopting the revised approach.

"Central to our approach was agreement on the need for ongoing review of the revised approach in order to weigh benefits against any drawbacks.

"A good board also needs to be responsive and accept that the public and civic voice has strengthened on this issue.

"I want to reassure you we are listening and are ready to adapt our approach.

"Thank you and we all look forward to contributing further today."