Chapter 1 – About Us
The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland was established in 2003 and placed on a statutory footing in 2007 by the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007. The Act requires the Inspector to secure the inspection of the operation of COPFS and to submit to the Lord Advocate a report on any particular matter connected with the operation of the Service which the Lord Advocate refers to the Inspector.
The Inspectorate's vision is to enhance the effectiveness of and to promote excellence in the prosecution service in Scotland through professional and independent inspection and evaluation.
The core values of the Inspectorate are:
Independence - to provide impartial and objective advice and support.
Professionalism - to undertake inspections with integrity, rigour, competency and consistency.
The Inspectorate is committed to promoting equality and diversity. To this end we consider any impact our inspections and recommendations may have on individuals, groups and communities. In particular, we carry out Equality Impact Assessments, focusing on the potential impact of our work on those with protected characteristics. The Inspectorate attends the Equality Advisory Group (EAG) as an observer. The EAG was established in 2003 and consists of COPFS staff and external members with a remit "to provide independent and informed advice to COPFS in relation to the impact of existing and future policies and practices on diversity and the promotion of equality and fairness in service delivery and employment".
Our approach to inspection is to encourage an inclusive and participative process designed to secure improvement across the system, acting as an impartial and professional 'critical friend'. In addition to identifying areas for improvement, it is important to highlight and promote examples of good practice, so that they can be adopted elsewhere.
It is important that the work of the Inspectorate is relevant to the issues impacting on our communities. In selecting topics for inspection, the Inspectorate adopts an objective risk-based approach, informed by consultation with our stakeholders.
There are a number of different types of inspection work that can be undertaken by the Inspectorate. These include:
We will continue to use thematic reviews to scrutinise areas of work that benefit from a holistic approach. These can be focused on specific types of case work or business approaches. We will highlight good practice and make recommendations designed to drive improvement and enhance quality.
A robust follow-up process is a critical part of an effective inspection regime. I have introduced a rolling programme of follow-up reports to monitor the progress made by COPFS in implementing our recommendations.
With the COPFS Federation structure now embedded, we will review the effectiveness and efficiency of functional working across the Federations.
Given the close association between the police and COPFS, I regularly meet with HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland to consider areas where joint inspection of cross-cutting issues would be of benefit. The Inspectorate also liaises with Audit Scotland and the other inspection bodies within the criminal justice system to ensure there is no duplication of work and that inspection work is undertaken in a collaborative and complementary way.