Chapter 5 – People
109. We have already detailed in Chapter 1 that an Area Fiscal has been allocated as the 'lead' or 'Portfolio Owner' on Community Engagement. All other Area Fiscals signed up to the community engagement strategy and District Fiscals have a standard objective to:
- 'arrange for the office to participate in events designed to promote engagement with the local community …..'
110. This objective also requires all work to be fully captured on the Community Engagement Planner and to identify media opportunities to advise and reassure communities. All other staff have a standard objective to 'participate in community engagement work when given the opportunity to do so'.
111. We comment on the extent to which this objective is being met in Chapter 3.
112. It is not compulsory for all staff to get involved in work relating to engagement with communities. However, senior staff are generally required to represent the organisation at events, conferences, etc.
113. We were advised that in general staff tend to volunteer as they may already have an interest in a particular area or are already 'champions' in certain categories of work eg disability, wildlife, race, etc.
114. When working on engagements staff are normally afforded time to do this during work hours or overtime is offered if outside working hours. We were advised, however, that many staff see this as an essential part of their job and are happy to do this type of work in their own time eg attending events or meetings in evenings/weekends.
115. We acknowledge that due to the geographical dispersion of Fiscal Offices in Scotland there will be differing needs and a mix of resources available, for example, in Highlands and Islands offices there may only be one or two members of staff available to engage compared with larger more central offices such as Glasgow that will be able to provide a larger contribution. However, there are concerns that with tighter budgets there may be an impact on staff availability to get involved due to finite staffing resources and demands on core business.
116. Results of our focus group showed that staff are responsive to requests to attend meetings (when pressure of business allows this) and are willing to meet community groups to explain the role of the Procurator Fiscal although some indicated that personalities do come into play in terms of how willing. It was also recognised that Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service rely on the goodwill of staff to get involved especially out of hours.
Keeping staff informed:
117. There are various mediums through which staff can be kept informed of work relating to community engagement including:
- The Bulletin 34
- 'What's New' page on the intranet
- Update 35
- Area Newsletters
- Area Diversity pages on the intranet
- Events, Conferences and Diversity Weeks
- Team Briefings 36
- Training eg mandatory 'Diversity' and 'Hate Crime' courses
118. One Fiscal Area has specifically added 'Community Engagement' as an item on the agenda of their management meetings.
119. A review of Bulletins issued from June to October 2010 did not detail anything specific to community engagement except for information relating to the accessibility policy (see Chapter 2 relating to this policy). A further review of Bulletins from November 2010 to January 2011 revealed that information was provided to staff on the Customer Feedback Policy but again there was nothing specific to community engagement.
120. We noted that there is instruction that local information can be added when carrying out team briefings. This, we were advised, is where community engagement matters can be discussed within the teams particularly under the 'Liaison' section at team briefings. We did not review notes from individual team briefings.
121. Area pages on the intranet also provide details of 'Diversity' work including community engagement events. All staff can access these pages, however, when examined during the review, only 3 Fiscal Areas had details listed. The pages relating to the remaining 8 Fiscal Areas were either under construction or did not detail anything.
122. A review of Area newsletters 37, particularly Lanarkshire and Glasgow, showed that information is provided in this respect. The 'Update' newsletter provides information on a variety of issues from involvement in raising funds for charity to raising awareness of diversity such as Ramadan.
123. Finally, another method of keeping staff informed is through staff study visits. Prior to attendance information sheets are issued so that staff can learn about the community, cultures, traditions, terminology, etc. Examples include visits to Vajrayana Buddhist Centre, Red Road Family Centre and Renfrewshire Disability Resource Centre.
124. The Scottish Prosecution College offer a 'Presentation Skills' course targeted at staff who need to learn how to make more effective presentations. It is described as a 'basic introduction to the theory and practical skills involved' and staff who make presentations at Senior Civil Service level are advised to look at alternative courses provided through the National School for Government. In addition, if there is enough interest, the College can arrange for a 'Presenting with Impact' course which is run externally.
125. We found that there are other externally run courses specifically designed for community engagement. Examples include:
- Scottish Community Development Centre ( SCDC) offer training courses on Community Engagement 1/ 2 or 1 day course on the National Standards for Community Engagement.
- Skills for Justice offer learning on how to 'establish and manage links with wider communities'. Skills developed will include: communicating; negotiating; consulting; planning; reviewing; networking; analysing; monitoring; decision making; prioritising; influencing and persuading
- Skills for Business offer training on 'Deliver community engagement for a creative and cultural organisation'
126. Given the importance attached to community engagement as stated in the aims and objectives of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Strategic Plan 2009/12 and in ensuring that staff make the right impression when delivering communications it may be worthwhile liaising with providers such as those mentioned above to arrange appropriate training. If it is found that there is a need all requests for training should be put through the Scottish Prosecution College.
That in order to ensure that staff are properly prepared for and can deliver communications in a confident, effective and efficient manner Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service should identify whether there is a need to invest in training for staff involved in community engagement.
127. In 2009 the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service excellence award for 'Diversity' went to the Area Diversity Team in Glasgow. In 2010 a new category was established for 'Community Engagement' 38. There were 10 nominations in this category and the three finalists were:
- Argyll and Clyde - Bringing Learning to Life
- Dumfries and Galloway - "Do the Right Thing"
- Glasgow - Communications and Community Engagement
128. The winner was the team from Glasgow who devised a strategy to communicate through:
- TV for high profile cases
- Print media eg tabloids
- Meeting people eg at shopping centres, schools, clubs
- Local radio
- Links with Diversity Team to forge new links with diverse partners
129. The 2010 award for 'Diversity' went to the Lanarkshire Area Diversity Action Group who developed a new model of working where each member has a clear responsibility for a certain strand of diversity. This model has since been copied by two other Fiscal Areas.
130. More recently the 2011 Excellence Award for the 'Community Engagement' category went to the Rosepark Fatal Accident Inquiry Team in Lanarkshire Area and the 'Equality and Diversity' Award went to Lothian and Borders Area Diversity team.
131. It is clear from evidence obtained that where involved staff are committed to engaging with communities and they see this as part of the services provided of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Recognising work done through providing feedback and rewards helps to motivate staff to become more involved and to do a good job.
132. If need is identified we believe that it may be worthwhile investing in specific community engagement training for staff however this needs to be considered against budget and resource availability and other priorities.