Evaluation of Police and Fire Reform: Year 3 informants report

Evaluation of Police and Fire Reform: Year 3 national key informants report and summary of evidence.

Conclusions and Wider Lessons

This report has examined the perspectives and perceptions of national key informants drawn from Police Scotland, SFRS and partner organisaitons, focusing on their assessments of the current phase of reform. From their observations, several key conclusions emerge:

  • Both Police Scotland and SFRS are developing a discourse around the transformation of service delivery and which is being articulated through key documents (Policing 2026 and the SFRS Framework);
  • While the meaning of transformation has aspects which are specific to each of the services, there is a shared concern around a shift towards more preventative activity, partnership working and innovation;
  • There are several major challenges that both organisations will face in driving forward a transformation agenda, ranging from having the relevant skills to facilitate change through to the need for effective communication, consultation and engagement with their workforce, partners and the public;
  • While the structural changes associated with reform at a national level have enabled transformational activity to occur at scale and ‘top down’, there is still a need for local empowerment, autonomy and experimentation in order to allow some changes to happen from the ‘bottom up’.

The experiences of the integration and consolidation of police and fire and recue services provide a number of wider lessons that are relevant to the transformation phase of reform. These lessons include:

  • Communicating effectively the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of change within organisations between the leadership and wider workforce, and between organisations and external partners;
  • Focusing on the anticipated outcomes of transformational change and being clear about how these will be realised;
  • Embedding a culture of evaluation in order to answer the ‘so what’ questions associated with innovation activities associated with the transformation phase of reform;
  • Recruiting people with the relevant skills and capacity to deliver change, including the use of change experts;
  • Managing expectations of the public and workforce around the time needed to bring about transformational change.


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