5 The Approach to Scrutiny and Inspection
" Self-evaluation is central to continuous improvement. It is a reflective process through which community justice partners get to know how well they are doing and identify the best way to improve their services."
A multi-layered approach
The ethos of the community justice model is one of collective responsibility and collaboration and it is for this reason that there will be a layered approach to assurance in the achievement of outcomes.
- Collective responsibility locally;
- Assurance by Community Justice Scotland; and
- Multi-agency joint inspection where required.
Collective responsibility locally
Local strategic planning and delivery of services is central to the new arrangements. With this emphasis upon collective responsibility through a partnership approach we are placing decision-making into the hands of local people and agencies who know their communities best, understand the problems that are unique to their region, and will be most affected by community justice issues that relate to both victims and people with convictions.
In addition, there is the opportunity to underpin this collective responsibility with a self-evaluation tool. Self-evaluation is central to continuous improvement. It is a reflective process through which community justice partners get to know how well they are doing and identify the best way to improve their services. The self-evaluation tool is designed to help this by:
- Encouraging reflection upon practice that provides a gauge of where partners are in striving for excellence and identifies strengths and areas for improvement;
- Recognising the work we are all doing which has a positive impact on improving community justice outcomes;
- Identifying where quality needs to be maintained, where improvement is needed and setting priorities for action
- Allowing us to inform stakeholders about the quality of services, outcomes for service users and impact on the community.
- Allowing us to identify what difference we are making in the lives of those involved in community justice
Self-evaluation for improvement broadly focuses on answering 3 key questions:
- How good are we now?
This question should help partners identify strengths within and across service delivery and begin to consider areas for improvement.
- How do we know?
In considering this question, services should be gathering evidence and developing auditing processes which illustrate how well the lives of people with convictions, their families and our communities are improving.
- How good can we be?
This question should help to take forward what we have found so far and to develop a set of clear and tangible priorities for improvement.
A Common Approach
Using such a framework provides a common approach and shared understanding about quality which makes it easier for all managers and staff across the sector to work effectively together to improve outcomes for service users and communities.
Self-evaluation is forward looking. It is about change and improvement leading to well considered innovation in service delivery. Rather than a one-off activity which is done in preparation for inspection, it is a dynamic process which should go on throughout the year. It establishes a baseline from which to plan to improve outcomes for service users and communities and promotes a collective commitment to a set of priorities for improvement.
The self-evaluation tool has been developed by the Care Inspectorate and will be implemented from December 2016. It is consistent and can be used in conjunction with a number of quality models and awards including the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management ( EFQM). The approach is also consistent with the principles of Best Value, the statutory framework provided within the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003. It also aligns with other models in use such as the Public Service Improvement Framework ( PSIF). The self-evaluation tool is available from November 2016.
Assurance by Community Justice Scotland
Community Justice Scotland will provide independent professional assurance to Scottish Ministers and to Local Government Leaders, as required, on the collective achievement of community justice outcomes across Scotland and to provide improvement support to partners where required.
Multi-agency joint inspection
A new approach to the inspection of community justice will be developed with the Care Inspectorate and partner scrutiny bodies.
The detail of what such an inspection regime would contain will be considered in more detail by the Care Inspectorate, working with fellow scrutiny and inspection bodies and community justice partners. However, it is clear that Scotland no longer follows a process of rolling inspections. Rather, as has been stated consistently throughout the change process to the new model for community justice, such an inspection would be intelligence-led and would likely follow serious and persistent concerns having been identified. It would, therefore, likely be taken forward on a case-by-case basis with reference to the accountability structures for the statutory Community Justice Partners.
In keeping with the broad range of partners who contribute to improved community justice outcomes, inspection would be undertaken on a multi-agency, multi-inspectorate basis; designed to provide independent assurance about the quality of services and on the impact and outcomes for service users and the wider community, supporting improvement were required. Inspectors would focus their work on confirming areas of strength (evidence from self-evaluation or other information or intelligence) and exploring areas of uncertainty or concern. Each inspection would be scoped from the outset to determine the specific areas of focus. It is anticipated, therefore, that the scope would vary depending on information, intelligence and the results of self-evaluations undertaken locally.
As further information on the multi-agency joint inspection is provided, the relevant information will be added to the OPI Framework as appropriate.