Questions on the Proposal for a Revised Process
18. The Commission's proposal outlines the process of review of homicides by people who have had recent contact with mental health and learning disability services. It proposes using the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness ( NCISH) criteria to determine recent contact. The proposal aims to use expertise and processes that are already in place and supplement those with additional processes to meet the aims of the new system.
(1) The proposal defines recent contact as those who have had contact with mental health or learning disability services within the last 12 months. Do you think that this definition of recent contact is satisfactory for the purposes of this process? [YES/NO]
(1A) Do you foresee any difficulties with using this definition?
(1B) How could such difficulties be addressed?
(2) Do you think that the proposed process adequately involves the family of the victim? [YES/NO]
(2A) If not, how could it be improved?
(3) Do you think that the proposal will help to provide families with meaningful information on the case? [YES/NO]
(3A) What sort of information should be provided to families?
(4) Does the proposal go far enough in ensuring that the rights of the family of the victim to information are balanced with the right to privacy of the perpetrator? [YES/NO]
(4A) What safeguards will there need to be to ensure that confidential health information is protected?
(5) Do you think that the proposal adequately provides for independent investigation to be carried out where necessary? [YES/NO]
(5A) If not, how could this be improved?
(6) The scope of the proposal is confined to looking at the care provided to the accused person by relevant NHS boards. Do you think this is the right focus? If not, which other services should be covered by these reviews?
Other Matters for Consideration
19. The impacts of any revised homicide review process will be fully considered. The proposed process will have an impact on the following:
- Families of victims
- The perpetrator
- NHS boards
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
- The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
20. The revised process will have an impact in a number of different ways including:
- Equalities (impact on those with protected characteristics)
- Privacy (information to be shared during the course of reviews)
- Administrative (impact on organisations of any additional administrative or procedural burden)
- Children and young people
- Human rights
21. The revised process will be subject to an Equalities Impact Assessment ( EQIA) which will help to determine what the potential impact the process would have on those with protected characteristics and how such an impact could be properly mitigated. The protected characteristics are: age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.
22. Communications with the families of victims would need to properly take account of any special requirements which members of the family may have. The Commission already has policies in place to ensure that its communications are accessible. Additionally, the process will need to be considered for any impact on children and young people.
23. Carrying out homicide reviews would require an exchange of personal information between different organisations. For example, the sharing of psychiatric assessment reports, commissioned by COPFS, with the Commission; and providing the victim's family with information on the progress of the review, or a summary of key learning points resulting from the NHS board's own review. Such exchanges are necessary to make the system work but as with any exchange of personal information it is desirable to keep the amount of personal information to a minimum. The process will have to be developed to ensure that it does not interfere with the right to private life under Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (' ECHR')(as set out in schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998). An effective system of inquiry is necessary to ensure that Scotland is compliant with Article 2 of the ECHR (Right to Life).
(7) Do you have any views on the proposal's potential impact on those persons with protected characteristics? Please include in your response what you think could be done to minimise any negative impacts.
(8) In addition to any issues you may have highlighted in response to questions 4 and 4A, do you think there are any impacts on personal privacy as a result of information being shared during the proposed homicide review process? Again, please include your views on how these impacts could be minimised.
(9) Do you have any concerns about any financial or administrative burden as a result of this process? For example, costs that may be incurred by NHS boards or justice organisations.
(10) Do you have any comments on the impact of the process on children and young people? Please include in your response what you think could be done to minimise any negative impacts.
(11) Do you have any comments on how the proposed process will impact on the human rights of the family of the victim and of the perpetrator, particularly with regard to Articles 8 of the ECHR?
Email: Dan Curran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House