Police Investigations and Review Commissioner: governance and accountability framework

Broad framework within which Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) will operate and key roles and responsibilities which underpin the relationship between the PIRC and the Scottish Government.

Management Responsibilities

Strategic and Business Plans

28. The PIRC must ensure that a Strategic Plan, agreed with the Scottish Ministers, is in place and published on the PIRC’s website. The PIRC shall agree with the Scottish Government the issues to be addressed in the plan and the timetable for its preparation and review. The finalised plan shall reflect the PIRC’s strategic aims and objectives as agreed with the Scottish Ministers, indicative budgets and any priorities set by the Scottish Ministers. It shall demonstrate how the PIRC contributes to the achievement of the Scottish Government’s primary purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth and alignment with the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework (NPF). The Strategic Plan and Business Plan for the PIRC should include:

  • the purpose and principal aims of the PIRC;
  • key objectives and associated key performance targets for a period of the plan, the strategy for achieving those objectives and how these will contribute towards the achievement of the Scottish Government’s primary purpose and alignment with the NPF;
  • indicators against which performance can be judged as set out in the Performance Management Framework;
  • details of planned efficiencies describing how the PIRC proposes to achieve better value for money, including through collaboration and shared services;
  • alternative scenarios and an assessment of the risk factors that may significantly affect the execution of the plans, but that cannot be accurately forecast; and
  • other matters as agreed between the Scottish Government and the PIRC.

29. The Strategic Plan should inform the development of a separate business plan for each financial year. The Business Plan for the PIRC should include key targets and milestones for the year immediately ahead, aligned to the NPF, and be linked to budgeting information, so that, where possible, resources allocated to achieve specific objectives can be identified. A copy of the PIRC’s Business Plan should be provided to the sponsor unit for comment prior to publication and the start of the relevant financial year.

Budget Management

30. Each year, in the light of decisions by Scottish Ministers on the allocation of budgets for the forthcoming financial year, the Scottish Government will send to the PIRC a formal statement of its budgetary provision, and a note of any related matters and details of the budget monitoring information required by the Scottish Government. The terms of that letter, referred to as the Budget Allocation and Monitoring letter, should be viewed as complementing the content of this document. The monthly monitoring is the primary means of in-year budgetary control across the Scottish Government. As such bodies must comply with the format and timing of the monitoring together with any requests for further information. The statement of budgetary provision will set out the budget within the classifications of resource Departmental Expenditure limits (RDEL), Capital DEL (CDEL) and Ring-fenced (non-cash) (RfDEL). The PIRC will inform the sponsor unit at the earliest opportunity if a requirement for Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) budget is identified. The Scottish Government should also be advised in the event that estimated new expenditure is forecast to be lower than budget provision. Transfers of budgetary provision between the different classifications require the prior approval of the Scottish Government Finance Directorate. Any proposals for such transfers should therefore be submitted to the sponsor unit. Transfers of provision within the classifications may be undertaken without reference to the Scottish Government, subject to any constraints on specific areas of expenditure e.g. the approved pay remit.

31. If the trading and other resource income realised - or the net book value of disposals of non-current assets is less than included in the agreed budget the PIRC shall, unless otherwise agreed with the Scottish Government, ensure a corresponding reduction in its gross expenditure. (The extent to which the PIRC exceeds agreed budgets shall normally be met by a corresponding reduction in the budgets for the following financial year.) If income realised is more than included in the most up to date agreed budgets the PIRC must consult and obtain the prior approval of the Scottish Government before using any excess to fund additional expenditure or to meet existing pressures. Failure to obtain prior approval for the use of excess income to fund additional expenditure may result in corresponding reductions in budgets for the following year. The only exception is where income is for gifts, bequests and donations but this must be spent within the same financial year as the receipt, otherwise additional budget allocation will be required. In any event, income from all sources and all planned expenditure should be reflected in the monthly budget monitoring statement.

Cash Management

32. Any grant in aid (i.e. the cash provided to the PIRC by the Scottish Government to support the allocated budget) for the year in question must be authorised by the Scottish Parliament in the annual Budget Act. Grant in aid will normally be paid in monthly instalments on the basis of updated profiles and information on unrestricted cash reserves. Payment will not be made in advance of need as determined by the level of unrestricted cash reserves and planned expenditure. Unrestricted cash reserves held during the course of the year should be kept to the minimum level consistent with the efficient operation of the PIRC - and the level of funds required to meet any relevant liabilities at the year-end. Grant in aid not drawn down by the end of the financial year shall lapse. Grant in aid shall not be paid into any restricted reserve held by the PIRC.

33. The banking arrangements adopted by the PIRC must comply with the Banking section of the SPFM.

Risk Management

34. The PIRC shall ensure that the risks that it faces are dealt with in an appropriate manner, in accordance with relevant aspects of generally recognised best practice in corporate governance, and develop a risk management strategy, consistent with the Risk Management section of the SPFM. Reporting arrangements should ensure that the sponsor unit is made aware of relevant risks and how they are being managed, a separate update on outstanding risks should be submitted to the sponsor unit for information at agreed intervals. The PIRC audit committee is also required, at the earliest opportunity, to notify the relevant Scottish Government Audit and Risk Committee if it considers that it has identified a significant problem which may have wider implications.

Organisational Security and Resilience

35. As part of risk management arrangements, the PIRC shall ensure that it has a clear understanding of the key risks, threats and hazards it may face in the personnel, physical and cyber domains, and take action to ensure appropriate organisational resilience to those risks/threats/hazards. It should have particular regard to the following key sources of information to help guide its approach:

36. The PIRC risk register should always be tabled for discussion at the sponsorship quarterly meetings.

Counter Fraud Management

37. The PIRC should adopt and implement policies and practices to safeguard itself and the Police Service against fraud and theft, in accordance with the Fraud section of the SPFM. Application of these processes must be monitored actively, supported by a fraud response plan and robust reporting arrangements. This includes the establishment of avenues to report any suspicions of fraud.

Performance Management

38. The PIRC shall operate management information and accounting systems that enable it to review, in a timely and effective manner, its financial and non-financial performance against the strategic aims, objectives, targets and milestones set out in the Strategic and Business Plans. The results of such reviews should be reported on a regular basis to the Executive Team and Heads of Department Group and copied to the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government shall assess the PIRC’s performance, proportionately, on a continuous basis and hold a formal internal review on a quarterly basis, or as agreed. The responsible Cabinet Secretary / Scottish Minister shall meet the Commissioner at least once a year.

Staff Management

39. The PIRC has responsibility for the recruitment, retention and motivation of its staff. The broad responsibilities of its staff are to ensure that;

  • HR policies, practices and systems comply with employment and equalities legislation, and standards expected of public sector employers;
  • the level and structure of its staffing, including grading and staff numbers, are appropriate to its functions and the requirements of economy, efficiency and effectiveness (subject to the Scottish Government Pay Policy for Staff Pay Remits);
  • the performance of its staff at all levels is satisfactorily appraised and the PIRC’s performance measurement systems are reviewed from time to time;
  • its staff are encouraged to acquire the appropriate professional, management and other expertise necessary to achieve the PIRC’s objectives;
  • proper consultation with staff takes place on key issues affecting them;
  • adequate grievance and disciplinary procedures are in place;
  • effective whistle-blowing procedures consistent with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 are in place; and
  • a code of conduct for staff is in place based on the Model Code for Staff of Executive NDPBs.

Pay and Conditions of Service

40. The PIRC will comply with Scottish Government Pay Policy in relation to staff and the Commissioner. The PIRC shall submit to the Scottish Government for approval (normally annually unless a multi-year deal has been agreed) a pay remit in line with the Scottish Government Pay Policy for Staff Pay Remits and negotiate a pay settlement within the terms of the approved remit. Proposals on non-salary rewards must comply with the guidance in the Non-Salary Rewards section of the SPFM. Payment of salaries should also comply with the Tax Planning and Tax Avoidance section of the SPFM.

Pensions, Redundancy and Compensation

41. Superannuation arrangements for the PIRC staff are subject to the approval of the Scottish Government. PIRC staff shall normally be eligible for a pension provided by MyCSP. Staff may opt out of the occupational pension scheme provided by the PIRC, but the employers’ contribution to any personal pension arrangement, including stakeholder pension, shall normally be limited to the national insurance rebate level.

42. Any proposal by the PIRC to move from existing pension arrangements, or to pay any redundancy, or compensation for loss of office, requires the prior approval of the Scottish Government. Proposals on compensation payments must comply with the Settlement Agreements, Severance, Early Retirement and Redundancy terms section of the SPFM. This includes referral to the Scottish Government of any proposed severance scheme (for example, a scheme for voluntary exit), business case for a settlement agreement being considered for an individual, or proposal to make any other compensation payment. In all instances, a body should engage with the Scottish Government prior to proceeding with proposed severance options prior to making any offer either orally or in writing.

Asset and Property Management

43. The PIRC shall maintain an accurate and up-to-date record of its current and non-current assets consistent with the Property: Acquisition, Disposal & Management section of the SPFM. ‘Non-current’ assets should be disposed of in accordance with the SPFM. The Scottish Government’s Property Division should be consulted about relevant proposed disposals of property that the PIRC hold for operational purposes (rather than investment) at the earliest opportunity so it may be advertised internally. An Internal Advertisement form must be completed and submitted at least one month prior to property being advertised on the open market. Any proposal to acquire land, buildings or other rights in property for accommodation/operational purposes should comply with the SPFM. The PIRC is also subject to the Scottish Government Asset Management Policy, including the requirement for acquisition of a new lease, continuation of an existing lease, decision not to exercise a break option in a lease or purchase of property for accommodation/operational purposes, to be approved in advance by Scottish Ministers. The Property Controls Team should be consulted as early as possible in this process. All assets (property, plant and equipment) are to be properly recorded and updated as necessary by PIRC on the Cabinet Office electronic Property Information Mapping System (e-PIMS).


Email: Katrina McDonald

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