Chapter 1 Introduction and Methodology
1. This is the sixteenth thematic report of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland since the independent post of HM Chief Inspector was created by statute in 2003.
2. The aim of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland is to make recommendations that will contribute to improvement in the public system of prosecution of crime in Scotland and (where appropriate) improve public knowledge of and confidence in the system.
3. The Inspectorate takes a risk based approach to its work with a focus on outcomes and user perspective, the experience of those using the service being a priority rather than "peer review". An evidence-based approach is taken to ensure any conclusions/recommendations are well founded.
4. We would like to record our thanks to the many contributors to the report including internal staff members of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials, Sheriffs, solicitors and others. The conclusions, recommendations etc, however, remain those of the Inspectorate.
5. The review was carried out using a number of techniques based on accepted principles of inspection including:-
- Preparation and planning
- On site visits
- Review of case papers
- Analysis of information
- Report writing
6. All this included:-
- Review of relevant departmental policies
- Review of relevant departmental internal protocols
- Review of relevant departmental external protocols
- Interviews with partners including solicitors and sheriffs
- Review of departmental guidance
- Interviews with COPFS staff
7. In particular case papers relating to 72 cases were examined, being 31% of the total number received by the Health and Safety Division (HSD) of Crown Office since its inception.
8. The aim of this inspection was to inspect the arrangements, processes and systems employed by COPFS staff (both legal and administrative staff) to investigate and prosecute where appropriate all health and safety cases reported to COPFS. This inspection was carried out in light of the creation of a specialised division with a view to measuring the success of this specialisation.
- To assess the quality and timeliness of preparation, investigation and prosecution of cases and any issues arising from these findings.
- To identify good practice and promote same.
- To identify the benefits and disadvantages of specialised practitioners in a specialist field.
- To consider interaction of COPFS with HSE and other such reporting agencies in terms of liaison and to consider reporting of cases and pre‑reporting arrangements.
- To consider training of COPFS staff and any training delivered to and by HSE and other reporting agencies.
- To consider how work is recorded, measured and monitored.
- To consider the views and satisfaction of victims and next of kin.
- To consider the views and satisfaction of reporting agencies for health and safety cases such as local authorities, HSE, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.