In year one of the evaluation national key informant interviews were conducted with 33 senior representatives from across policing (13), fire (9) in Scotland and a range of national bodies out with the two services, including other criminal justice sector agencies, local authorities and third sector organisations (11). The focus of these interviews were the perceptions of the processes and experiences of reform to better understand how and the why the aims of reform have (or have not) been met.
The evaluation is now in the third year and has revisited 17 of the national key informants (or their replacements) from policing (4), fire (6) and national bodies out with the services (7). The purpose of these interviews was to gather the perceptions of senior representatives regarding where the services are on the journey to transformation and how things have changed since they were interviewed two years ago. As with previous interviews undertaken for the evaluation, one of the tasks of the analysis presented here is to make sense of sometimes competing or apparently contradictory voices and perspectives – not by weighing ‘perceptions’ against ‘reality’ and determining which is most accurate, but by treating the way that people think and feel about reform as an important part of the social reality under investigation. The focus of this report then is on understanding national perceptions of the experience of reform and drawing out the wider significance and implications of these perceptions for the next stages of the reform journey. We also need to keep in mind that such perceptions are a snapshot of views at a particular moment in time. The evidence captured in this phase of the evaluation is rooted in longer narratives about policing, fire and social and organisational change.