Our Approach to Scrutiny

We will publish our annual Scrutiny Plan in March of each year, outlining our priorities and scrutiny activities for the fiscal year ahead. This Plan will be developed through consultation with our stakeholders and informed by an objective assessment of policing performance and risk. We will make the Plan accessible to those who are likely to have interest in it and will maintain a copy on our HMICS Website. We will also keep the Plan under review.

Our scrutiny activity will follow a new approach, which takes account of the Crerar review, Christie report and supports production of the National Scrutiny Plan by Audit Scotland.

Local Policing+

The three objectives for Police Reform were (i) to protect and improve local services, (ii) to create more equal access to specialist support and national capacity and (iii) to strengthen the connection between police services and communities.

As a consequence, HMICS has developed a new approach to scrutiny and will introduce a rolling programme of Divisional policing inspections entitled Local Policing+. This will provide a consistent means of assessing the quality of local policing across Scotland and enable us to report publicly on how well Police Scotland is delivering against local priorities and keeping people safe. We will be interested in the effectiveness of local scrutiny and engagement as well as the contribution policing makes to the well-being of communities. This will include an assessment of Partnership, Prevention, Performance and People in support of the wider Scottish Public Service Reform characteristics. We will capture innovation and good practice and where relevant, we will make recommendations that drive improvement.

Through our local inspections, we will review the effectiveness and efficiency of both national and regional structures and the provision of specialist policing across Scotland. Our Local Policing+ programme will allow sufficient flexibility to respond to new and emerging issues that inevitably arise and would benefit from our scrutiny. These issues will be identified through our stakeholder engagement and our scrutiny risk assessment. In addition to publishing full reports for each of our local policing inspections, we will also publish short accessible summary reports to inform local communities how well their local police Division is performing.

Thematic Reviews

We will continue to use Thematic Reviews to scrutinise cross cutting issues that benefit from a more holistic review or where we choose to inspect major functions that fall out with the scope of Local Policing+. We will publish full reports for each of our Thematic Reviews. We will capture innovation and good practice and where relevant, we will make recommendations that drive improvement. Moving forward, our Thematic Reviews may provide opportunities to work with others to consider new issues or emerging threats and provide evidence for future policy development.

Continuous Improvement Reviews

We will introduce a new programme of Continuous Improvement Reviews, working closely with both Police Scotland and the Authority to report on how they are meeting their obligations to secure best value and continuous improvement . We will monitor delivery against the Police Scotland Corporate Strategy and Delivery Plans and comment on the effectiveness of governance in key areas of Finance, People, Technology and Organisational Support. We will also independently assess how well Police Scotland and the Authority are delivering against the Strategic Police Priorities set by Scottish Ministers and against their published Strategic Police Plan and Annual Policing Plans.

We will publish concise reports for each of our Continuous Improvement Reviews, highlighting the activity that was undertaken and our commentary. These Reviews will inform our wider assessment of how well Police Scotland and the Authority have met their obligations to secure best value and continuous improvement. We will publish a summary of our findings in our Annual Report.

In undertaking these reviews, we will work collaboratively with Audit Scotland to ensure we can discharge our respective statutory functions and reduce the scrutiny burden on Police Scotland and the Authority.

Audit and Assurance Reviews

Our Audit and Assurance Reviews will allow for more detailed scrutiny in areas where we believe there is a specific need to audit critical systems to ensure accurate and ethical recording or provide some external assurance over key processes in high risk areas. These reviews will also provide opportunities for HMICS to undertake short assignments to provide independent assurance over specific aspects of policing.

We will publish concise reports for each of our Audit & Assurance Reviews, highlighting our findings and any recommendations. These Reviews will also inform our wider assessment of how well Police Scotland and the Authority have meet their obligations to secure best value and continuous improvement, which we will publish in our Annual Report.

Collaborative Reviews

We will continue to work with other scrutiny bodies and undertake Joint Inspection activity in areas where Police Scotland or the Authority work in partnership and contribute to shared outcomes with others.