Complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing - final report: joint Scottish Government and Crown Office response

Joint response to Dame Elish Angiolini from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Lord Advocate following publication of the final report of her independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing In Scotland.

Governance Structures for Oversight and Assurance

Given the complexity and breadth of the Review, with 30 recommendations in the Preliminary Report and 81 recommendations in the Final Report, it will be important to have clear governance structures in place to oversee, direct and report on progress. The governance framework is designed to provide assurance and accountability to both of us as the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Lord Advocate, and we in turn will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the communities we serve. The leaders of each of the partner organisations will be directly involved in senior oversight of this work, as members of the Ministerial Group for Police Complaints and Investigations (MG), which will meet four times a year.

Supporting and reporting to the Ministerial Group will be the Strategic Oversight Group for Police Complaints and Investigations (SOG). Having previously met on an informal basis as a forum for discussion of shared operational priorities, this Group was formally established in 2019, following Dame Elish's Preliminary Report, which recommended the "immediate establishment of a senior cross-agency joint Working Group" (Preliminary Report recommendation 26). Comprised of senior representatives from the Crown Office, PIRC, SPA and Police Scotland, the SOG has overseen workstreams to implement a number of recommendations from the Preliminary Report and provides a solid foundation for the new three tier governance structure to manage partnership-working on cross-cutting recommendations. The SOG will be jointly chaired by senior representatives of the Scottish Government and the Crown Office, with membership extended to HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) for the duration of its work on the implementation of Dame Elish's recommendations. Meetings will have a partitioned agenda to allow for the discussion of ongoing shared operational matters, for which both Scottish Government and HMICS will withdraw.

To take forward specific tasks and workstreams, the SOG will commission a new Practitioner Working Group for Police Complaints and Investigations (PWG), with membership drawn from each of the operational partners and policy leads from the Scottish Government. The PWG will meet more frequently to co-ordinate progress across a range of detailed cross-cutting recommendations, delivering specific tasks and projects commissioned by the SOG and reporting against objectives. In addition to a stable core membership, providing the main points of contact for each organisation, there will be scope to extend membership to bring in subject matter experts, depending on the specific areas under consideration.

The Scottish Police Consultative Forum (SPCF) is an existing body that will enable police staff associations to engage fully on the implementation of Dame Elish's Review. The SPCF also fulfils Minister's statutory duty to consult policing bodies, before making regulations under section 54(2) of the 2012 Act. We will work with the SPCF to consult policing stakeholders on these recommendations, as a forum for staff associations to discuss the 'front-line' issues impacting their members, across the themes and on future proposals for legislative amendments.

Proposed governance structure
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Ministerial Group


Cabinet Secretary (Co-chair)

Lord Advocate (Co-Chair)

Chief Constable

PIR Commissioner

SPA Chair & Chief Executive

HMICS Chief Inspector

Key responsibilities

  • Provide overall accountability and governance
  • Set policy direction and overarching objectives
  • Seek assurance on progress and risks
  • Approve decisions and publications


Strategic Oversight Group


SG Deputy Director (Co-Chair)

Deputy Crown Agent (Co-Chair)

PIR Commissioner

Assistant Chief Constable

SPA Head of Workforce Governance

HMICS Lead Inspector

Key responsibilities

  • Provide strategic direction for delivery
  • Commission workstreams and tasks
  • Monitor and report on progress and risks
  • Make recommendations to the Ministerial Group for decision


Practitioner Working Group


Police Scotland





SG policy leads

(potentially other invited guests).

Key responsibilities

  • Take forward workstream development and delivery of specific tasks
  • Manage interdependencies and risks
  • Prepare reports for approval of SOG and MG

In addition to the broad reporting framework outlined below, we will publish minutes of Ministerial Group meetings on the Scottish Government website to provide greater transparency as work progresses.

We will keep this governance structure, its component elements and associated membership, under review to ensure they remain effective.



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