3. Chairman's Comments
3.1 It has been the practice that the Chair of the PNB should offer some personal remarks in this Report, and I continue that practice here. These are of course my remarks and do not represent the views of the Sides.
3.2 The 2019-20 reporting year has seen important developments in the use of PNB sub-committees and the Scottish Police Consultative Forum (SPCF) to facilitate discussion of issues that may then be brought to the PNB for completion or otherwise be important to consider in the context of the PNB. The work of officials on both the Equalities and Technical Working Groups has been exemplary and allowed for more depth of focus than is allowed for in the traditional PNB arrangements. Similarly, the SPCF has reviewed its terms of reference to allow for both more detailed consideration of important and topical policing matters and to involve external key stakeholders with an interest in the matters under discussion. Given the considerable overlap of personnel between SPCF and the PNB, these developments have assisted the work of both bodies.
3.3 The space created through the 2018-2021 multi-year pay deal has also helped take forward dialogue in other related spheres, in particular the 2026 Police Scotland reforms. I have commented previously that the merger process to form a national police force in Police Scotland still has many basic issues to address to ensure that officers across the country are treated in a similar way. I would add that dialogue among government, SPA, Police Scotland, and staff associations is not assisted by the existence of so many overlapping channels for consultation, communication or negotiation, the effect of which can be to create an atmosphere of exclusion from an intention of inclusion. As in previous years, I hope that all parties will see the SPCF and PNB as offering the facility to further their discussions as required.
3.4 I must note here that we still await the commencement of provisions contained in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 that will fully establish the PNB arrangements as part of the Scottish policing and bargaining landscape. I am very conscious of the enormous disruption to government brought about in the aftermath of the Brexit decision, disruption now re-doubled by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic; however, this matter does need to be overtaken soon.
3.5 I am again grateful for the informal discussions held over the period with the Police Remuneration Review Body for England and Wales and its officials and I am grateful for their openness in sharing views on common issues. Similarly, our link with officials from the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) through the direct involvement of SPPA personnel in meetings of the PNB, is very helpful. Recent developments in public sector pensions are likely to see this whole area become much more problematic in the near to medium-term future.
3.6 In all this process, I am indebted to our Independent Secretary Gordon Smith. Gordon continues to consolidate the back office of the PNB and SPCF to produce a sound and effective administrative foundation for our work. Finally, I would like to note my thanks to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary for my reappointment to the PNB and SPCF positions and I look forward to a second term of progress.
Police Negotiating Board Scotland
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