Addressing the Justice Sub-committee on Policing on Thursday 14 September 2017, Dr Nicola Marchant, the SPA's Deputy Chair said:
"Thank you Convener.
"The Chief Constable is taking a period of leave to address allegations around conduct, and so is not with me to give evidence today ably supported by DCC Designate Iain Livingstone. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any detailed aspect of those allegations at this stage.
"I can reassure you that we have taken steps to ensure the welfare needs of all parties involved and SPA will continue to closely monitor and address any issues with fairness, rigour and speed.
"People are at the heart of policing and will remain central to its evolving service to the public. Implementing the Policing 2026 strategy needs a focus on what kind of organisation Police Scotland needs to be and the kind of culture we want to focus at all levels. That is at the heart of today’s topic.
"Culture and ethics have been a focus for me throughout my professional career in science and industry; in my time within policing as Chair of the SPA’s People Committee and now as the Deputy Chair of the SPA.
"That is why I am very pleased and glad to have the opportunity to appear in front of you today.
"I want to make three points.
"First, we have improved SPA visibility of complaints against those charged with investigating police standards. If a complaint is made against Police Scotland’s Anti-Corruption Unit or Professional Standards Department the SPA receives an automatic notification which allows us to dip sample the case upon conclusion, test that the appropriate procedures and due process were followed and highlight any learning points. A report on that would be reported to the Policing Committee and inform its scrutiny.
"Second, we have widened SPA oversight of relevant policies and performance. Both the SPA People and Policing Committees are developing complementary scrutiny within their work plans with the Audit Committee to broaden that further in the coming year.
"Third, we have filled a clear policy gap that previous evidence to this Sub Committee identified. We now have whistleblowing policies approved in both the SPA and Police Scotland with communications rolled out to staff and officers on how concerns can be raised.
"Policing is a people business. Successful people organisations need a whistleblowing policy as part of people-related policies and guidance.
"It is essential that our people have clarity on the behaviour expected of them – integrity, impartiality, and honesty. This is in our Code of Conduct and professional standards. That is then supported by a suite of options for people to raise concerns and that starts with the line manager.
"Respondents to our Staff Survey reported good relationships with and real confidence in their line managers. That is a good starting place for us.
"Culture and behaviours take longer to change than the drafting of a document. We are on a journey and not there yet. But I believe we are making good progress.