Chapter 8 – Learning and Development Facilities
337. A purpose built Scottish Prosecution College was officially opened in September 2007. It is located in Glasgow as this was seen to be a central location. It consists of:
- Mock Court - this has video recording equipment and CCTV
- PC Training Suite for up to 18 people
- Conference Room with video conferencing and presentation equipment
- Library/Resource Centre (which can also be used as a training room)
- Small Training Room
- Large Training Room that can hold 70 people or be split into two rooms holding 20 and 40 people
- Meeting Room that can hold 16 people
- Meeting Room that can be used for one or two people
- General Office
- Breakout facility that can also be used for Team Events
- Toilet facilities
Large Training Room
338. Learning and Development staff indicated that training accommodation/facilities are good and can be flexible but feel space is tight particularly in the general office even though smaller desks were brought in to help with cramped conditions. At present all trainers and administrative staff share the same office space and the Head of Learning and Development and Learning and Development Manager share a small office adjoining this. Both are located across from the reception area which can be very busy in the morning as delegates arrive. Staff can make use of other rooms if vacant but if this is not possible it can be difficult to concentrate on work.
339. Space planners previously reviewed the situation relating to cramped conditions and smaller desks were introduced. We were advised of plans for a further desk to be placed in the office for which it was felt there was not adequate space. Given that the reception area is vacant most of the time this may be a space that could be used to help with this situation and we would encourage those responsible to look again at this problem.
340. As part of our staff survey we asked about the adequacy of the College accommodation. 48 from 59 staff indicated that the accommodation was adequate for their needs. Example responses are as follows:
- "Adequate, yes." (Q27, 7)
- "The building itself has plus points but the well-rehearsed difficulties with temperature regulation and, above all, noise from the busy roads and bus lanes outside remain negatives." (Q27, 7)
- "There can be problems in one area of the room being too warm and stuffy but if windows are opened the traffic noise becomes too loud. During long, warm days it can be hard work to pay attention." (Q27, 34)
- "The accommodation at the college itself is excellent." (Q27, 55)
341. Temperature and traffic noise were also commented upon by members of staff in Learning and Development Division although there is air conditioning in each training room.
342. We were advised that the storage facilities are inadequate. The main storage area is located at the back of the Resource Centre which is also used for training. Other cabinets with course materials are located in training rooms. Neither is ideal when training courses are being held in those rooms. It was also brought to our attention that Learning and Development Division staff's 'breakout' facility was often used by delegates therefore they have to use other rooms if available.
Recommendation - That Learning and Development Division liaise with Crown Office Estates Division to identify a way to address cramped conditions in which staff are currently working as well as issues about storage, temperature and noise.
343. As indicated above the College is located in Glasgow. In geographical terms this has implications for staff from around the country. We asked as part of our Area Questionnaire what effect this had and responses are as follows:
- "College provides for easier access to training" (Ayrshire)
- "No impact" (Argyll & Clyde)
- "College is within reasonable travel for most" (Central)
- "Location of college is difficult" (Fife)
- "College location good" (Glasgow)
- "1 day course means 2 days away" (Grampian)
- "Can mean a number of days out of the office" (Highlands & Islands)
- "Location is within travel distance for majority" (Lanarkshire)
- "College location generally fine" (Lothian & Borders)
- "Distance is an issue" (Tayside)
- "1 day course can mean 2 days away" (Dumfries & Galloway)
344. The above result was as expected. Those who live further away indicated that it would be 'helpful' and 'beneficial' to receive more training locally with some suggesting that training provision to two or three offices could be combined.
345. Similarly we asked the same question in our staff survey and example responses are as follows:
- "….. the location isn't great when have to travel 4 hours on a bus to get to Glasgow to attend a course and always requires an overnight stay." (Q27, 21)
- "……having the SPC in Glasgow suits a large proportion of our staff well, but especially for half day courses it can be inconvenient if you live or work outside the Greater Glasgow area." (Q27, 31)
- "…. the location in Glasgow is not convenient. For a one day course, in effect we lose staff for 1.5/2 days as they are entitled to travel in work time. This means that abstractions for training are more keenly felt by more remote offices which can act as a disincentive to involvement in training." (Q27, 55)
- "I sometimes feel it would be helpful if a trainer could come out to local offices to give the training, especially in relation to events which only require half day training. Travelling from Dundee basically takes up the whole day and it would save time and money if only the training was travelling." (Q33, 28)
346. Learning and Development Division are aware of the issues surrounding this and the costs involved and do provide some training on a local basis particular to those further away and more remote locations. Comment was made in this regard in one of the responses to our staff survey:
- "The SPC have been very good in terms of disclosure training when a representative came to Aberdeen to deliver the training for two days capturing 85% of the staff. …….. That was appreciated ….. and seems to me like a more efficient way to do things. More of these mandatory courses coming on "tour" would be appreciated …." (Q 27, 55)
347. Similarly in an attempt to address this Learning and Development Division have increased use of e-learning packages and of video conferencing (although this is considered not to be ideal) for certain training so staff can attend courses remotely and are considering delivering training into the three federations 25 for some course delivery.
348. All Learning and Development Division staff indicated that they are happy with equipment that is available to them. There are adequate computers, applications, video conferencing facilities, projectors, flip charts along with adequate books, videos, DVDs, etc all which help them to perform their work.
349. We were advised that further projectors have been purchased for use in the Resource Centre and Mock Court Room.
350. There is an Asset Register held in Learning and Development Division. This details all equipment held and was last reviewed in March 2010.
351. It is considered that there is adequate equipment and resources to allow staff to perform their duties in an effective manner.
352. Access to the Learning and Development facility is restricted through use of key fobs. A buzzer is available to gain entry and all visitors are required to sign in. At the beginning of a course sign in sheets are posted in a box outside training rooms so trainers can check people off in the event of an evacuation.
353. Mention was made of the need to secure items such a DVDs of real life interviews which are used in training. Giving regard to Data Protection, the nature of evidence in the DVDs and to protect individuals a request was made for a fire proof storage facility. As we ended our inspection we were told this was being sourced.
354. We found there to be an adequate Business Continuity Plan in place detailing roles and responsibilities, recovery guidelines, contacts, etc. An exercise was carried out in February 2010 with notes of action points eg - Office Manager to obtain quotes from Ambulance Services for training on first aid. The Business Continuity Plan should continue to be reviewed twice a year.
355. It was noted that arrangements are in place to set up the Learning and Development facility in the Area Procurator Fiscal Office, Glasgow in the event of a disaster and that further options will be explored as alternatives.
356. As we completed our inspection business continuity was put into practice due to flooding in the Learning and Development facility. Sufficient arrangements were put in place to address this with hardly any disruption to the programme of activity (only one course required to be cancelled).
Health and Safety
357. Weekly health and safety checks are carried out by staff in Learning and Development Division. Given the throughput of people in the College there are four trained first aid staff, six trained on use of evacuation chairs and six fire wardens. Four members of staff are key holders and their details are included in the continuity plan.
358. There are weekly tests of the fire alarm system and fire drills are conducted twice a year.
359. The Scottish Prosecution College is located on the first floor of Legal House in Glasgow. There is a ramp providing access to the front doors, a lift, wide doors in the College to accommodate wheelchairs, a disabled toilet, hearing induction loops, evacuation chairs, microphones, etc. There are steps at the back of one of the training rooms which a wheelchair user could not access but if it is known that a wheelchair user is attending arrangements will be made to move the training to another room. This is also the case where there are cables/wires on the floor eg mock court room.
360. One concern is that the front doors of the building are very heavy and can be difficult to open. If front desk security personnel are not available wheelchair users may find it difficult to enter.
Recommendation - That Learning and Development Division liaise with Crown Office Estates Division with a view to determining whether the owners of the building can improve on the main access to the building.
361. There are areas in the College that staff can use for prayer etc, eg meeting rooms.
362. The Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ) bubble on IDEAL (the Learning and Development home page) provides guidance on what staff should do if they have any special requirements.
363. Other equality issues such as those relating to geographical spread, etc are discussed throughout the report.
364. The facilities at the Prosecution College are in the main considered to be very good, however, space is tight in the general office, there is a lack of storage and there are issues surrounding noise and temperature. We consider that adequate equipment is available and provides for effective delivery.
365. The location of the College does have disadvantages for some given the geographical spread of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service offices. We acknowledge that different learning methods have been put in place to address this and at the time of our inspection further options were being explored.
366. In terms of security, business continuity and health and safety within the College itself we found processes in place to deal with these that are being monitored or tested on a regular basis. It was not within the remit of this inspection to carry out any compliance testing in this respect.
367. We found that equality and diversity is considered by Learning and Development in respect of the College facility and we acknowledge that attempts are made to make appropriate arrangements where possible.