1 CREATION OF STATUTORY INSPECTORAT
A public consultation exercise was undertaken before the launch of the Inspectorate on a non-statutory basis in December 2003. It was proposed then that the Inspectorate should be placed on a statutory basis and an early legislative opportunity sought to do this. This was intended to enhance the independence and status of the Inspectorate and place it on an equal footing with other criminal justice inspectorates such as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. This would help to distance the Inspectorate from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and set it apart from the latter's management structure.
Sections were accordingly inserted into the Criminal Procedure etc (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 to achieve this.
Section 78 of the Act provided for the appointment by the Lord Advocate of an officer to be known as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland.
Section 79 provided that the Inspector's function was to secure the inspection of the operation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and if required submit a report to the Lord Advocate on any particular matter connected with the operation of the Service which the Lord Advocate refers to the Inspector.
There is also an obligation on the Inspector to submit an annual report to the Lord Advocate on the exercise of the Inspector's functions which the Lord Advocate must lay before the Parliament.
The Act also bolsters the independence of the Inspectorate by providing that in exercising his functions the Inspector is to act independently of any other person. It also provides the Inspector with power to require the supply of information.
These provisions were brought into effect on 23 April 2007 coinciding with the new business programme.