Background and Introduction
The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland
1. The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland was created in December 2003 and was given statutory authority in April 2007 by the Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007. It serves as the independent inspectorate for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS), the sole prosecuting authority in Scotland which is also responsible for investigating sudden deaths and complaints of a criminal nature against the police. The principal functions of the Inspectorate are to inspect the operation of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and make recommendations for improvement. The Lord Advocate may call upon the Inspectorate to undertake a particular piece of work. The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland also examines the outcomes and results achieved by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and promotes good practice. By doing so the Inspectorate makes Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service more accountable and helps to raise public confidence in its service delivery. All reports are submitted to the Lord Advocate and are published on the Inspectorate's website at www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/ipis.
History of Training and Learning and Development in Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
2. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has always had a commitment to training its staff. Formerly this function was carried out by Training Division, which provided a training and development function. In a Training Policy Statement in November 2001, the Service undertook to "ensure that staff are equipped with appropriate skills and supporting information technology, and provide them with high quality, timely and relevant training".
3. At that time, the responsibility for approving resources for training and development and for monitoring and evaluating the impact of training and development on strategic goals and objectives lay with the Senior Management Team.
4. The statement highlighted that the prime responsibility for learning rested with individuals in partnership with their managers. Alongside the personal responsibility to gain the knowledge and skills required to perform effectively, the Service acknowledged the right of individuals to receive necessary training.
5. Procurators Fiscal and line managers had a key responsibility to discuss performance with their staff and identify training and development needs and ensure action to meet those needs. In addition, managers at every level were expected to establish the effectiveness of training undertaken by monitoring performance and ensuring regular feedback to staff.
6. At Departmental and Area level also, there were training groups designed to provide direction and assist in identifying training needs and in the strategic management of training and development.
7. A combination of factors in 2001 led to extreme pressures on the Procurator Fiscal Service. These pressures became public following the unsuccessful prosecution in the case of the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar. The reports by Sir Anthony Campbell, QC and Dr Raj Jandoo 1 provided evidence of a service near breaking point. The then Lord Advocate and the Crown Agent considered it was likely that significant changes in the way that the service carried out major areas of work would be required in the wake of all of these reports. It was in this context that the Management Review was commissioned.
8. In February 2002 a report by Jonathan Pryce and Catherine Dyer (now Crown Agent) entitled a Review of Planning, Allocation and Management of Resources was published (Management Review).
9. The following issues were highlighted in the Management Review of 2002:
- The low level of investment in training in Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Using the then Scottish Executive as a comparator, it was noted that 0.75% of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service budget was dedicated to training, compared with 2.7% in the Scottish Executive. Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service staff could expect to receive two days of training in comparison to five days enjoyed by Scottish Executive staff.
- It was found that there was no cohesive approach to training, despite the regional and departmental training committees. Much local training was delivered on a cascade basis without the use of professional trainers.
- Those providing such training had no support in maintaining their operational workload whilst delivering such training and those attending training had similar difficulties. Late cancellations occurred because staff could not obtain operational cover for critical work to attend training.
- The timing of training provided was an issue, particularly induction training, which, when provided was too late to be of practical use. In particular, training on the precognition process was highlighted as an area needing good and timely training intervention to be effective.
- Management training opportunities were sparse and a need for constant refresher training for managers was identified.
- It was suggested by many staff surveyed at that time that a training college in which full time dedicated trainers ran a suite of courses on a regular basis would alleviate some of the problems described.
10. The report recommended the following in relation to training:
- The training unit should be strengthened to support a significant improvement in the level and coverage of training across the organisation and represented appropriately on the management board by the Human Resources Director.
- A development and training framework for Precognition Officers should be developed.
- Priority given to training in the organisation should be increased significantly and backed by the allocation of sufficient resources.
- Induction training should be revisited and strengthened.
- Particular priority should be given to management and communication training with this seen as a continuing objective rather than a one off.
- More use should be made of full time, professional trainers.
- The Service should establish a "training college" demonstrating its commitment to ongoing professional and developmental training. This might be a virtual college with a menu of options delivered by a range of training providers. There should be a strategic training function within a Directorate of Human Resources with all staff having allocated developmental advisors.
The Current Picture - Learning and Development Division
11. A great deal has been accomplished in recent years in relation to learning and development. The recommendations of the 2002 Management Review have been implemented to a great extent and in line with more recent thinking in professional training and learning and development circles a formal learning and development strategy has been devised by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to focus its aims and objectives.
12. In recent years in the world of Human Resources and Personnel there has been a shift in emphasis from training to learning and development. According to a report 2 published by the personnel sector's professional body - The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ( CIPD) - whilst there is still room for the traditional face to face training course (training is defined as "an instructor-led content-based intervention leading to desired changes in behaviour") in modern organisations, there is a recognition that these are only partially effective in their aims. A culture of individual and team based learning at the workplace is thought to be an essential component in the process of ensuring that learning takes place. Learning is defined as "a self directed work-based process leading to increased adaptive capacity". Such a shift in emphasis was evident during this inspection.
13. In 2007 Training Division moved from its base in Edinburgh to the brand new Scottish Prosecution College in Glasgow and in 2008, signalling this change in emphasis, the name of the Division was changed to Learning and Development. Whilst Learning and Development Division is responsible for delivery of training courses and the development of other learning and development opportunities relevant to the whole organisation, there remain at local level groups, committees or individuals who are responsible for training and other learning and development opportunities in that Area, Division or specialist unit.
14. There has been an increased investment in Learning and Development Division since the 2002 Management Review and now just over 1% of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service budget is allocated to Learning and Development Division.
15. In light of recent developments it was considered timely to inspect the provision of training and/or learning and development to take stock of changes and improvements.
16. The remit of this inspection was to examine the arrangements in place within the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for the learning and development of staff. The inspection mainly focussed on the contribution of the Learning and Development Division however in order to put into context the role of Learning and Development Division we also gave a brief overview of the other divisions and bodies within Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service with responsibilities in relation to training and/or learning and development.
17. Our methodology included the following elements:
- Consultation - we held scoping meetings with key leaders;
- interviews - we conducted interviews with managers and operational staff in the Learning and Development Division and also within Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service;
- Questionnaires - were issued to 160 staff (approximately 10%) of staff across the country and across all grades to generate wider evidence on specific topics to emerge and supplement information gained at interviews; we received responses from 59 members of staff, representing a 36% response rate. We asked those replying who had line management responsibilities to answer a separate question set and obtained 25 replies in this connection. The question sets are reproduced at Appendix 1.
- Fieldwork - further in-depth interviews were held with operational staff;
- Observations - we examined processes within the Learning and Development Division. Although in the course of our inspection we viewed online the aims and objectives of courses as well as the materials and content for some courses and packages we did not observe delivery of the courses. We made a selection of courses to examine for compliance with standards of process as well as taking an overview of other courses in terms of meeting stated strategic objectives. It was not possible to examine every course.
- Benchmarking - we visited the Crown Prosecution Service and the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan, compared strategies and processes and identified different approaches and practice.
18. Our report broadly follows the European Foundation of Quality Management ( EFQM) fundamental concepts of excellence and examines the picture of Learning and Development under the following headings:-
- Leadership - Chapter 1
- Policy/Strategy - Chapter 2
- Processes - Chapter 3 covers learning needs analysis and the content of the prospectus, Chapter 4 looks at other processes and standards and how they are followed in the design and delivery of sample courses examined, Chapter 5 is an overview of the current prospectus looking particularly at induction, precognition and management courses, and Chapter 6 examines administrative processes.
- Resources - Finance is covered in Chapter 7 and the facilities in the new Scottish Prosecution College at Chapter 8
- People - Staffing of the Learning and Development Division is in Chapter 9
- Partnerships - Chapter 10
- Results - Chapter 11
19. We are grateful for the time and attention that staff across the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service afforded this inspection particularly those who took the time to complete our questionnaires and those working in Learning and Development Division who gave freely of their time.
20. We are also grateful to the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan and the Leadership and Learning Division of the Crown Prosecution Service in York who facilitated our benchmarking activities.