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About Us

About us

Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland: who we are and what we do



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 HM 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 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 COPFS.

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


The aim of the IPS is to enhance the quality of service provided by and secure public confidence in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) through independent inspection and evaluation to enhance the effectiveness of and to promote excellence in the prosecution service in Scotland.

We also work and liaise with other Inspectorates in the criminal justice sector on joint reviews and areas of common concern.


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.

Core values

The core values are:

  • Independence – to provide impartial and objective advice and support

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

IPS approach to inspection

The IPS approach to inspection is to encourage an inclusive and participative process designed to secure improvement across the system, acting as an impartial and professional ‘critical friend’. In addition to identifying areas for improvement it is important to highlight and promote examples of good practice so that they can be adopted elsewhere. The work of the Inspectorate must be relevant to the issues impacting on our communities. In selecting topics for inspection, the Inspectorate adopts an objective risk-based approach, informed by consultation with our stakeholders.


Our primary objectives are:

  • To fulfil the statutory functions of the IPS;

  • To continue to develop the Inspectorate team into a highly professional multi‑skilled and effective inspection unit;

  • To deliver an agreed programme of thematic and joint reviews, where appropriate, in conjunction with other criminal justice inspectorates and partners;

  • To conduct, where appropriate, follow-up reviews of inspections carried out;

  • To provide advice to the Lord Advocate on any aspect of COPFS:

  • To increase the awareness of the role of the Inspectorate throughout the criminal justice system as a whole;

  • To deliver the work programme for each financial year following consultation with the Lord Advocate on a selection of topics.

IPS framework

In line with the European Foundation of Quality Management (EFQM) Model of Excellence, IPS inspects the following core areas:


Leadership and Governance

We will assess how leaders in COPFS provide and direct strategic vision and aims.  We will examine how leaders demonstrate commitment to meeting priorities and encourage others to participate towards success through the provision of policies reflecting the overall vision and aims.


We will examine processes and procedures to assess how they are designed and managed, whether they are focussed on user needs, support overall strategies and are delivered in an effective and efficient manner.  We will also assess whether key activities are understood and are reviewed regularly.


We will assess whether knowledge and competencies have been matched with needs and how staff are managed and developed.  We will also assess whether staff feel empowered and involved and that they feel their efforts are recognised. 


We will examine financial and information resources and assets (IT, buildings, materials, etc) to determine whether they are managed in a way that supports policy, strategy and the effective and efficient operation of process and whether they are fit for purpose.

Collaborative work

We will assess how well partners work together to support the delivery of policy and key strategies and the effective operation of COPFS processes.


We will examine how COPFS is performing concerning its key targets and indicators, how this is managed and whether lessons are learned through consultation and implementation of improvement plans.  Within the wider context we will seek to determine the impact on service users, partners and local communities.

We also observe the Government’s policy on the ten principles of inspection. (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/documents/public_services_inspection/pdf/policy.pdf)


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

Inspectorate reports

All of our reports are published and can be found on our website.

Further contact

We welcome input from COPFS staff and any contribution will if required be treated on a confidential basis.

Our current team consists of:

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