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Publication - Report

Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Executive: review

Published: 2 Mar 2018
Part of:
Law and order

This review considers how the executive of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) can most effectively support the board to deliver its statutory functions.

43 page PDF


43 page PDF


Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Executive: review
3 Going Forward

43 page PDF


3 Going Forward

3A – Next Steps: Road Map and Priorities for Implementation

108. The implementation of the Review should be owned by the SPA Interim Chief Officer, who should be accountable for:

  • the production of a detailed, appropriately phased and resourced Review Implementation Plan;
  • the delivery of year 1 of the Plan, with provision of quarterly progress updates to the Board;
  • the managed handover of the Implementation Plan to the permanent CEO/ AO on their appointment.

109. It is essential that the Interim Chief Officer has senior HR Business Partner support from within Police Scotland for the duration of the implementation phase. Additional HR resources will be required from Police Scotland in support of the:

  • development of a Business Case for Change Job Evaluation;
  • consultation with staff, staff representative organisations, and other relevant organisations.

110. The Review Implementation Plan should be addressed as a priority. It is, however, acknowledged that additional funds may be required to bring in temporary resource to support the SPA during this change. It is suggested that the Interim Chief Officer considers the evaluation of this a priority.

111. In support of the next steps, the following implementation road map is proposed:

Review Implementation Roadmap
Review Implementation Roadmap

3B. Conclusions

112. Our Terms of Reference specifically required us to assess and make recommendations in the following four areas:

i. How the SPA Executive and the SPA Board can best work together;
ii. The SPA's engagement with its delivery partners and stakeholders, particularly in local government;
iii. Organisational Structures and Corporate Processes, and;
iv. Ways of working.

113. This Review was initiated to consider the concerns raised about the ability of the SPA Executive to provide a strong and robust governance authority to oversee policing in Scotland as it continues to serve and safeguard communities.

114. It is our view that the model and framework offered by the SPA for the scrutiny and accountability of policing in Scotland is fundamentally sound and also represents a model, which similar organisations in other parts of the UK and internationally are either adopting or considering.

115. Most of the issues we have considered in the course of the Review relate to the need to redefine both roles and relationships, as well as the culture, within the organisation. Our findings indicate that, by and large, the roles and relationships within the SPA and between the SPA and key internal and external stakeholders need to be reset to operate as originally intended.

116. This assessment is particularly relevant as regards to the business critical role of the CEO/ AO and the Board who, by not operating at a sufficiently strategic level, have not provided the SPA with the required leadership and direction. Hence, they have not supported the strategic positioning of the SPA in the policing and civic landscape in Scotland.

117. As outlined in more detail in this report, there are a number of factors as to why this situation has arisen, but chiefly a preoccupation with more operational matters has often been a distraction for the SPA leadership team from wider strategic issues dominating the policing discourse within Scotland. This has also meant that Board members have, necessarily on occasion, strayed into operating as Executives rather than fully operating as non-Executive Board members.

118. We have concluded that to reset and restore the role of the SPA, as it was originally envisaged by its founding legislation, the SPA must set in motion a series of changes to allow it to change and adapt the way it is working, including relationships with other key delivery partners and stakeholders. This approach is required both to improve its effectiveness as an organisation by fulfilling its statutory functions and to reposition itself within Scotland's policing landscape and wider civic life.

119. Our analysis of the evidence gathered during the review process and recommendations also form the basis of a road map and priorities that the new Interim Chief Officer should seek to implement and take the SPA into the next phase of its organisational journey.

120. Our expectation is that the recommendations will be fully considered by the Chair, Interim Chief Officer, and the Board of the SPA, and that actions will be agreed, swiftly implemented, and followed through by the SPA working collaboratively with delivery partners.

121. There is, however, an appreciation that progress towards the recommendations will also depend on the availability of resources, and competing priorities. To this end we have outlined the challenges and work streams which should be prioritised to maximise the desired outcomes.

122. One of the possible routes to deliver an approach which will support a more effective scrutiny and ultimately result in delivering better value for money by harnessing existing synergies is to consider the recommendations of this report alongside the HMICS report from June 2017, additional evidence HMICS has gathered through its inspection processes over the last 6 months, Audit Scotland's s.22 reports and any initial findings from the Interim Chief Officer and the Chair. This would allow the SPA leadership to take into account a substantial body of evidence gathered through external scrutiny processes, including this report, and then concentrate its efforts on developing a continuous improvement plan to drive change. This approach would allow for an incremental change at pace – and not be constrained by further unnecessary formal reviews and audits.

123. We have also offered to the Cabinet Secretary to support the new Interim CEO and Chair over the implementation period of the Review recommendations to ensure that development work in this area is contextualised and addresses the challenges we have identified.