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IPS Information Leaflet

Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland


The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (the Inspectorate) was initially created on an administrative basis in December 2003 and is part of the Scottish Government but independent from Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). The Inspectorate is headed by the Chief Inspector who reports directly to the Lord Advocate.

The Inspectorate was placed on a statutory footing in April 2007 by the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007, Part 5 (sections 78 and 79).


The Inspector in terms of the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 may require any person directly involved in the operation of the COPFS to provide the Inspector with information, which may be of a general or specific character, including information in electronic or documentary form.

Confidentiality of documents and information is maintained at all times.


The Chief Inspector reports directly to the Lord Advocate.  Inspectorate staff are not involved in any activity relating to the operation of the COPFS.

The Inspectorate budget is administered by the Directorate General Justice of the Scottish Government.


The aim of the Inspectorate is to enhance the quality of service and public confidence in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) through independent inspection and evaluation.

The principal statutory functions are:

  • To secure the inspection of the operation of COPFS;
  • To submit to the Lord Advocate a report on any particular matter connected with the operation of the service which the Lord Advocate refers to the Inspector, and
  • To submit to the Lord Advocate an Annual Report on the exercise of the Inspector’s functions which the Lord Advocate must lay before the Scottish Parliament.

The Inspectorate’s vision is to enhance the effectiveness of and to promote excellence in the prosecution service in Scotland through professional inspection and evaluation.


The core values of the Inspectorate are:

  • Independence – to provide impartial and objective advice and support

  • Professionalism – to undertake inspections with integrity, rigour, competence and consistency

Scope of Work

The Inspectorate is concerned with outcomes, results and improvement. While we have expectations of good practice (based on COPFS’s own aims, objectives and standards) we will adopt an open-minded approach to the way business is conducted. We will examine how outcomes and results have been achieved and seek to identify and promote good practice and minimise risk.

The Inspectorate, in its work, will carry out functional inspections and thematic reviews. Some reports will be conducted in conjunction with other criminal justice Inspectorates. The reports will observe the Government’s policy on principles of inspection including taking a customer focus and being evidence-based.

Principles of Conduct

We will:

  • observe the government’s policy on principles of inspection during our work.
  • during the inspection process, carry out our work with due regard to the operational needs of the areas we review.
  • use our own judgement and only take into account factors that are relevant to the area being reviewed.
  • focus on outcomes and service improvement from a user-perspective.
  • give recognition for good performance as well as highlight areas of concern and promote good practice.
  • adopt an open-minded and supportive approach to innovation.
  • be honest and consistent and our judgements will be based on accurate and credible evidence.
  • not discriminate against any person on the grounds of that person’s ethnic or national origin, disability, age, religion or belief, political views, sex or sexual orientation. We will treat people politely and fairly in accordance with the principle of equal opportunity for all.
  • be open and honest about our practices and procedures.
  • monitor and evaluate our own performance in order to improve our own service delivery.



The Inspectorate complies with equality legislation and is committed to promoting equality and diversity. To this end we will consider any impact our inspections and recommendations may have on individuals, groups and communities.

Inspectorate Reports

All reports are published and can be found on the Inspectorate’s website.

Further Contact

We welcome input and any contributions will if required be treated on a confidential basis.

Our current team is:

Michelle Macleod, HM Chief Inspector                         

Dawn Lewington, Assistant Inspector

Yolande Love, Legal Inspector

Kate Neill, Business Inspector                                       

Carolyn Sharp, PA to HM Chief Inspector                            

Enquiries can be directed to members of Inspectorate staff at the following phone numbers - 0141 420 0378 or 0131 243 3076.

or by email.