HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland: annual report 2018-2019

The annual report for the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland for 2018-2019.

Chapter 1 – About us

1. The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (IPS) was established in 2003 and placed on a statutory footing in 2007 by the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007. The Act requires the Inspector 'acting independently of any other person' to secure the inspection of the operation of COPFS and make recommendations that will contribute to the improvement of COPFS and enhance public confidence. It provides that the Lord Advocate may require the Inspector to submit a report on any particular matter connected with the operation of the service.

2. The Inspectorate's vision is to enhance the effectiveness of and to promote excellence in the prosecution service in Scotland through professional and independent inspection and evaluation.

3. The core values of the Inspectorate are:

to provide impartial and objective scrutiny of the service provided by COPFS

to undertake inspections with integrity, rigour, competency and consistency

to provide a service that enhances public confidence in the investigation and prosecution of crime and any deaths that need further explanation and any associated fatal accident inquiry proceedings in Scotland

4. The Inspectorate is committed to promoting equality and diversity. To this end we consider the impact our inspections and recommendations may have on individuals, groups and communities. We carry out Equality Impact Assessments for each report focusing on the potential impact of our work on those with protected characteristics.

Our approach
5. We encourage an inclusive and participative process and, acting as an impartial and professional 'critical friend', aim to secure improvement across the system. We also seek to identify examples of good practice.

6. It is important that the work of the Inspectorate is relevant to the issues impacting our communities. In common with other inspectorates, our inspection activity has evolved to develop programmes aligning inspection resource to risks by using sector risk profiles (from inspections) and sector intelligence (such as performance data and stakeholder feedback).

7. There are a number of different types of inspection work undertaken by the Inspectorate. These include:

Thematic reviews
8. Thematic reviews look holistically at services end to end. These can be focused on specific types of case work or business approaches. We will highlight good practice and make recommendations designed to drive improvement and enhance quality.

Follow-up reports
9. The main way in which inspectorates have impact is through their published reports and recommendations. For maximum impact and value from inspection findings, a robust follow-up process is a critical part of an effective inspection regime. Since 2014, the Inspectorate has embarked on a rolling programme of follow-up reports to monitor the progress of COPFS implementation of our recommendations and to evaluate the effectiveness and outcomes of measures implemented. Follow-up reports will continue to form part of our inspection cycle.

Collaborative inspections
10. It is recognised that some issues are best addressed by a multi-agency or partnership approach. IPS has previously conducted joint inspections with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS). The Inspectorate also liaises with Audit Scotland and the other inspection bodies within the criminal justice system to ensure there is no duplication of work and that inspection work is undertaken in a collaborative and complementary way.

International Association of Prosecutors
11. Established in 1995, the International Association of Prosecutors is the first and only worldwide organisation of prosecutors, representing over 300,000 prosecutors from over 176 different countries and territories. The main impetus for its formation was the rapid growth in serious transnational crime and the need to meet the challenges this presents through greater international co-operation. In 2018-19, the Inspectorate continued to engage with the association to share information and good practice.



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