The inspectorate in 2022-23
65. The inspectorate is funded by the Scottish Government. Our budget for 2022-23 was £425,000, an increase from £400,000 in 2021-22 primarily to take account of rising staff costs. Staff costs typically account for the majority of our annual spend – in 2022-23, staff costs made up 93% of our annual spend.
66. In 2022-23, our expenditure was as follows:
Staff costs 393,200
Subsistence and motor mileage 596
Printing and binding 6,861
Travel and accommodation 1,616
Conference fees 759
Other running costs 19,290
67. In 2022-23, the inspectorate's costs linked to travel and accommodation and subsistence and motor mileage rose compared to the previous year. However, they continued to be less than normal due to changes in working practices brought about by the pandemic. While some in-person inspection activity resumed, this year most of our meetings and inspection interviews were still carried out virtually. This was because the majority of the people we meet with and interview continue to predominantly work from home.
68. Our 'Other running costs' rose in 2022-23 due to the procurement of our independent, standalone website.
69. As at 31 March 2022, the staff of IPS was 4.4 full-time equivalents and consisted of the Chief Inspector, Assistant Inspector of Prosecution, Legal Inspector, Business Inspector and a Personal Assistant.
70. The current Chief Inspector was appointed in 2019 to serve a three-year term. She was reappointed for a further three-year term in 2022.
71. In 2022-23, the posts of Assistant Inspector of Prosecution and Legal Inspector were held by individuals seconded from COPFS. Their knowledge and familiarity with COPFS systems and procedures assists the inspectorate in its scrutiny activity, and the secondments offer COPFS personnel an invaluable development opportunity. The remaining staff are civil servants employed by the Scottish Government.
72. In taking forward our Strategic Plan 2022-25, and particularly our strategic objective of 'We will enhance our organisational resilience and invest in our people', we have been reviewing our staffing model. As noted in our Annual Report 2021-22, we initially sought to increase our permanent inspection resource in order to boost our capacity, increase our resilience and rebalance the mix of permanent and seconded staff. Unfortunately, additional funding was not forthcoming due to the current financial climate yet there were deficiencies in our staffing model that still required to be addressed. In 2022-23, we reviewed our staffing model again, deciding to replace our seconded Assistant Inspector of Prosecution (whose secondment was due to end in 2023) with a permanent member of staff. It is anticipated this change will boost our resilience, provide a greater degree of stability in a small team, and allow IPS a longer-term return on the investment we make in the training and development of our staff. The recent move to pay parity between COPFS and Scottish Government staff allowed us to make this change at no extra cost. We are grateful to all those seconded prosecutors who have held our Assistant Inspector of Prosecution post over the years – their expertise and insights have been invaluable and they have made a significant contribution to the work of IPS. Recruitment for a permanent Assistant Inspector of Prosecution began in early 2023 and the successful candidate took up post in July.
Register of interests
73. At the time of her appointment as HM Chief Inspector in 2019, Laura Paton had served as a trustee of the charity Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) since 2016. Her involvement in Together was noted in the register of interests held by the Scottish Government and highlighted on the inspectorate's web pages, and her appointment as HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland was likewise noted in Together's register of interests. Appropriate safeguards were in place to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. In September 2020, Ms Paton was elected as Vice Chair of Together, and continued in her role as trustee. In the interests of transparency, her involvement in Together is noted in the inspectorate's annual reports as well as any inspection report which deals with any substantial issue of children's rights. Ms Paton's term as Vice Chair and as a trustee of Together ended in September 2022.
Freedom of Information requests
74. IPS is subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. We publish information about our work, including our inspection reports, on our website. In 2022-23, we received seven freedom of information requests, all of which were responded to within the required timescale.