Aim of the group
The Deaths in Prison Custody Action group (DiPCAG) has been set up to oversee the programme of work necessary to make the suggested improvements and implement the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody.
The Independent Review of the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody, published on 30 November 2021 made one key recommendation, 19 other recommendations and six advisory points. The DiPCAG will have a focus on:
- supporting work to ensure effective, innovative and robust implementation of the Independent Review’s recommendations and advisory points
- the development and progression of an action plan of identified actions and priorities to achieve the recommendations and advisory points in practice
- addressing variations in practices relating to deaths in prison custody across Scotland and promoting consistency
- ensuring that family engagement is considered at each step of the process in a compassionate manner
- ensuring that a people centred and trauma focused approach is at the centre of all plans and decisions made, to improve the response to deaths in prison custody by all relevant agencies
- promoting enhanced working between relevant agencies involved in the response to deaths in prison custody to work together to achieve the recommendations and advisory points in practice
Exclusions from the remit
Whilst the knowledge and views of those attending the group will be informed by their experiences of deaths in prisons, it is not within the remit of the group to consider the individual circumstances of a death.
The existing legal role of the Lord Advocate (who has responsibility for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service) as the independent head of the system for the investigation of sudden and suspicious deaths, including those in prison custody, is not within the remit of the group. Likewise, the existing role of Police Service of Scotland to investigate deaths, including those in prison custody, under the direction of the Lord Advocate is not within the remit of the group.
The group will be chaired by Gillian Imery who has been appointed as an Independent Chair to oversee implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review.
The Chair will report regularly to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans on progress to ensure Ministers can report on progress to Parliament.
The Chair will provide updates to the family reference group and take into account their views on proposals for implementation of the recommendations.
Project support for the group will be provided by Laura Begg, Community Justice, Scottish Government which will include; secretariat tasks for the group, supporting the development and oversight of the work plan, co-ordinating working groups, working with members to agree and maintain progress on delivery of recommendations and to support the work of the group moving forward.
- the group will consist of around 10-15 members. See annex A for a full list of members
- the group may invite other suitable professionals to attend meetings in order to assist discussions and take work forward
- take responsibility and actively engage in work being taken forward work on behalf of the DiPCAG
- take responsibility for ensuring progress on the work plan of tasks/actions and provide updates on progress and any areas of concern/risks that are identified
- bring a wealth of experience and skills from their own work/organisations of responding to a death in prison custody and any subsequent investigation
- be prepared for meetings, ensuring papers are read in advance and ready to offer views
- link back to their own and other organisations, when appropriate/necessary
Regularity of meetings
The group will meet at least four times a year and may call additional meetings, if necessary. Each meeting will last approximately 1.5 hours. Previous minutes and an agenda will be circulated in advance.
Working groups may be set up to take forward specific pieces of work, as and when required.
Membership of the group
- Gillian Imery, External Chair
- Asha Anderson, representative of families bereaved by a death in prison custody
- Liz Taylor, representative of families bereaved by a death in prison custody
- Stewart Taylor, representative of families bereaved by a death in prison custody
- Katrina Parkes, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- Stephanie Blair, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- Catherine Haley, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- Dr Craig Sayers, National Prison Care Network
- Eilidh Cunningham, National Prison Care Network
- Matt Paden, Police Service of Scotland
- Sue Brookes, Scottish Prison Service
- Suzy Calder, Scottish Prison Service
- Sheena Orr, Scottish Prison Service
- Nancy Loucks, Families Outside
- Cat Dalrymple, Scottish Government
- Nicola McAndrew, Scottish Government
- Laura Begg, Scottish Government
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