Chapter 10 – Partnerships
Strategy and Delivery Division and Corporate Issues Sub Group
409. As mentioned in Chapter 2 the training implications of new projects are subject to new governance arrangements. This should involve the submission of a business case for any new training to Strategy and Delivery Division and scrutiny by the Corporate Issues Sub Group to determine priorities. Although it is clear that this process was followed in relation to the Sexual Offences Act training 27 we were advised that it was for the course sponsor to make the approach to Strategy and Delivery Division and this did not always happen. The mentoring project was cited as an example here. Learning and Development Division relies on the course sponsor to put forward the business case to Strategy and Delivery Division thereby giving advance notice to Learning and Development Division of future training plans.
Human Resources ( HR)
410. The Director of HR has line management responsibility for the Head of Learning and Development Division. There is regular contact between these two leaders and monitoring of performance across a range of matters.
411. At lower level we also learned of regular contact between Learning and Development Division consultants and HR staff about the content of courses. In particular where HR policies are referred to in course materials it is essential that trainers consult with HR staff to ensure they are provided with information about any changes in policy as soon as they are made.
412. We have recommended that induction procedures 28 are re-examined so that for legal induction delegates are allocated courses at an early stage as soon as their appointment is confirmed and this will require greater partnership working between HR and Learning and Development Division.
413. Legal staff advised us of their regular contact with staff in Policy Division and, as with our comments above in relation to keeping updated, a good relationship with those internal partners must be maintained.
Area Procurators Fiscal ( APFs)
414. As well as their managerial role in their respective Areas APFs also have Portfolio responsibilities as described in earlier chapters. We have described the role of Portfolio owners particularly in identifying gaps in the provision of training in relation to their topic. We were advised that the legal training manager and individual trainers had regular ad hoc contact with portfolio owners as the need arose and we noted instances where trainers had usefully contributed their views to portfolio owners about gaps in current training provision.
415. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is arranged in 11 geographical areas around the country. In addition there are central units in Crown Office for Operations and Corporate Services.
416. Generally Area representatives made favourable comments to Inspectors about their Learning and Development Division partners:
- "I am pleased to see that there is now a more balanced programme which is delivering training to all staff groups."
- "At the 'Just About managing' event, Learning and Development colleagues highlighted that training materials, good ideas and practices would be shared between Areas. Managers were advised that Learning and Development colleagues would be happy to co-ordinate these and ensure consistency in practices throughout the country. We were also advised that they would be happy to assist with design and delivery of courses…. We have previously welcomed support and assistance from Learning and Development colleagues and will continue to do so."
- "We have no quibbles with the range of learning and training methods which are available and most staff have found e-learning packages particularly helpful."
417. However suggestions for improvement from Areas included the following -
- Timing/availability -
- "there are occasional problems in relation to the timing/availability of courses…. (eg when new staff are recruited there needs to be FOS training available)….Better planning (is needed) around recruitment of staff" - (see our comments in relation to induction in Chapter 5)
- More training being offered locally by Learning and Development (rather than in the Scottish Prosecution College) -
- "It would be helpful if the training could be delivered on a more local basis."
- "It would be appreciated if consideration could be given to Learning and Development colleagues attending Area offices to deliver training."
- And comments about the style of presentation currently on offer in Learning and Development -
- "Greater use of DVD presentations during training events may make training more appealing."
418. Aside from Areas we also canvassed views from Crown Office specialist units in both corporate services and in operations. Not surprisingly we learned that aside from the generic training on offer, for example on administrative and management functions, Learning and Development could offer these specialist units few training options for their staff.
- "Because of the specialist nature of the work in our Division I do not think it lends itself well to the more mainstream training provided by Learning and Development although I would welcome any input which they had to offer on general training practice."
- "Don't think there is anyone currently in Learning and Development with sufficient specialist knowledge to design appropriate training on our specialism. Assistance in the general administration of a training course could be relevant."
- "Some of the Service wide training is very relevant to us - eg disclosure schedules - but we have not had Division specific training from Learning and Development. Nor have we asked them to provide any."
419. Indeed it was apparent from the replies that we received that specialist units and divisions assessed their own training needs and devised their own programmes or looked outwith the Service to meet these needs. National Casework Division held in-house events to address specific training needs concerning confiscation aspects of proceeds of crime. External courses offered by Scottish Government were mentioned for topics such as speech writing for staff in Policy. Finance and ISD told us CPD and professional accreditation requirements generally informed the need for training for their staff.
420. It emerged that staff from specialist divisions and units were more likely to have attended the Prosecution College to contribute to the delivery of training on their specialist topics. Examples cited were staff from the Civil Recovery Unit who deliver specialist training to Proceeds of Crime Act resource Deputes on aspects of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and a Principal Depute from the Serious Organised Crime Unit who gave a presentation on project managing complex precognitions.
421. In addition to the regular attendance by the Learning and Development Division Manager at Area Business Managers' meetings it was decided in 2009 that Learning and Development would offer liaison with Areas (and Crown Office divisions) by a named legal trainer and a named training consultant. The instruction from managers in Learning and Development was that each 'liaison' contact should make contact with their Area quarterly, at least by telephone.
422. We found that some Area liaison worked very well and appeared to have benefits for Areas in terms of obtaining advice, resource and facilitation for local training events. In other Areas there seemed to be less contact although the reasons for that were not clear. Some trainers told us that they were unsure what was expected of them and what they could offer Areas.
423. It was noted that the geographical spread of Areas for which each individual trainer was responsible in terms of liaison varied. Thus one trainer had responsibility to liaise with Grampian, Crown Office (Edinburgh) and Ayrshire. Such liaison could involve a lot of travel and this responsibility could perhaps be rearranged to be more easily achieved.
424. At the time of our inspection there was a noticeable increase in activity by Learning and Development consultants in actually delivering training out in Areas. In particular we learned of a programme of visits arranged to areas to supplement the e-learning package on offer in relation to the new Competency Framework. Areas seemed to welcome this move from a logistical point of view. This is especially the case when otherwise staff abstraction rate to travel to Learning and Development would have a significant impact on operational work.
425. As a result of a review of senior structures in Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 2008 it was recommended that in each of three geographical regions (below) Areas would group into federations for the purposes of mutual support and assistance across boundaries in matters such as training. The three federation groupings are:
Northern - Grampian, Highlands and Islands, Tayside
West - Argyll and Clyde, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
East - Central, Fife, Lothian and Borders
426. In particular those Areas positioned furthest away from Glasgow have made it clear that they want to ensure that their staff have the same training opportunities as their counterparts in the central belt and we therefore encourage further moves to use these Area federation groupings for training delivery purposes where possible and suitable.
Local Training Arrangements
427. Although the focus of this inspection was on the opportunities available in the centrally managed Learning and Development Division it was a useful exercise to establish the extent of local training being offered. There will always be a place for local training as it can serve learning needs promptly and can be delivered in a way that reflects local practice and local partnership organisations.
428. Seven Areas have training committees. These groups seemed to represent all grades of staff although in one Area training was split into two sections - one dealing with legal training and the other with administrative staff. Their main remit was in organising Area training days as well as ad hoc events more focussed on topics of interest to specific groups of staff. Area training days commonly took place once or twice per year. Those Areas without formal committees considered area training needs at Area, District and lower levels to determine local training needs.
429. Some areas use Learning and Development as a resource to call upon when organising their local area training. In one such Area a training day was being planned around the general theme of motivation of staff. The training committee had enlisted the help of Learning and Development consultants to identify a suitable external speaker.
430. Other Areas preferred to tailor their local training days around team events. In this context we learned of a locally devised course providing an introduction to precognition work. We heard that this was well received and we assume that it would be of interest elsewhere. Similarly we learned of a number of 'power hour' presentations to legal staff in one Area. We attended one such presentation on summary procedural issues as an observer and obtained the power point presentation notes for another on case marking. Both had some duplication of content with material covered in Learning and Development Division courses but otherwise appeared to be of additional value not only locally but potentially to a wider Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service audience.
431. Such locally designed courses can be useful as a refresher to or to complement what is trained at national level. In some cases they appear to have identified some gaps in what is being offered nationally (for example with the introduction to precognition course). In the absence of any way of sharing the materials for these training events it is likely that there is some duplication of effort around the country.
432. In order to provide some consistency to local training and to prevent duplication of effort the storage of these training resources in some central repository would be useful. Since these training presentations and materials were not prepared by Learning and Development it may not be appropriate for Learning and Development to provide such a function.
433. One option for such a repository might be the Knowledge Bank. This is an informal shared learning site and current repository for many articles and other useful papers such as sample jury speeches. Indeed we learned that the case marking presentation to which we have referred has already been placed on the Knowledge Bank. Questions of quality assurance and regular review should be addressed wherever the materials are stored and we understand that these issues in respect of the Knowledge Bank are being addressed.
Recommendation - That Area, specialist and local training presentations are lodged with a central repository and we suggest that the Knowledge Bank is ideally placed for this. Responsibility for accuracy should rest with those who create the materials although additional quality assurance and review mechanisms are advisable.
434. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service seeks to work with external partners in all aspects of its work where appropriate. Our findings suggest that partnership working in relation to learning and development is benefiting the Service. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service People Strategy 2008-2010 states that they:
- 'will seek opportunities to work in partnership with colleagues in the Scottish Government and more widely to identify innovative ways to target development opportunities for staff.'
435. The Learning and Development Strategy says -
- "we intend to raise the profile of the Division as a source of recognised good practice in professional learning amongst our Criminal Justice Partners and to exploit opportunities for working together."
436. At leadership level there is a useful partnership working group in existence - The Scottish Public Sector Leadership Development Collaboration which meets quarterly. Its aim is to support each member organisation to promote and share good leadership learning and development opportunities. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is part of this collaboration. Membership of this collaborative body includes central and local government bodies involved in criminal justice, health, business, conservation, finance and others.
437. The collaboration group allows the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to offer any free spaces on some courses to other members of the group via a Scottish Government run website. Examples of courses offered externally by Learning and Development are the diversity course, train the trainer and PA skills. As a matter of practice a couple of spaces are reserved for external partners on these courses when the training calendar is fixed by the Learning and Development Office Manager. We heard that criminal justice partners such as Scottish Court Service and Scottish Children's Reporter Administration had attended Learning and Development courses and feedback about the quality of the event had been positive.
438. In return, places are offered to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on courses such as Scottish Government's Senior Leadership Programme and the Police College's Strategic Leadership course and Child Protection Awareness course. The Head of Learning and Development advises Area Procurators Fiscal and Area Business Managers of any such opportunities and this information is cascaded at area level to those who might be interested. Feedback to us from questionnaire responses indicated that these events organised by partners were viewed positively.
439. There is regular liaison with the police at both the Scottish Police Colleges at Tulliallan and Jackton. A Senior Depute is on secondment to Tulliallan and works with the team of trainers there to provide inputs with particular reference to the role of the Procurator Fiscal. Legal trainers from Learning and Development support their colleague on secondment and a recent review of the Detective training course was recently undertaken by the legal manager at the request of the police college. In addition, operational officers make an important contribution to courses on the prospectus of Learning and Development. We cite as examples, although there are many others -
- Officer from the drug squad who plays the part of a drug squad expert witness in a mock trial scenario for the Advocacy 3 course
- Fingerprint expert from Scottish Police Services Agency who is involved in the Witness Interviewing course
- An officer from the Female and Child Unit about the role of the investigating officer in the Child Witness course
440. In the wider criminal justice community the role of Skills for Justice (Sector Skills Council for the Justice and Community Safety Sectors) is acknowledged particularly in relation to the work being done in Learning and Development to map courses to National Occupational Standards. Skills for Justice acts as a consultancy body and provides advice and assistance to Learning and Development as well as facilitating sharing of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service courses to criminal justice partners.
441. The Director of HR also sits on the strategic group of Skills for Justice (the "Country Group"). Again this group provides partnership networking and development opportunities for Learning and Development.
442. A recent example of successful partnership working with Scottish Government has led to the introduction of an innovative IT based team building course - People Change and Innovation, recently piloted in Dumfries and Galloway and now on offer to teams around the country. The course involves elements of project management and is an interactive 'learning by doing' course where delegates form teams in order to plan and roll out changes in a virtual organisation.
443. Partnership working within the organisation is an essential element of any learning and development function. Indeed the industry view 29 is that rather than 'training' division having a service provision role to the organisation, 'learning and development' should result from a genuine partnership relationship where training (or other facility) is provided and the continuous learning and development of the person takes place in the workplace.
444. Our inspection findings confirm that ways of working with internal and external partners to promote learning and development throughout the Service have been extended in recent times. This is evident in the evolving Area/Learning and Development Division relationships that have recently been promoted through liaison arrangements and in the continuing association with external partners.
445. While work continues to bring learning and development opportunities to staff in their Areas we acknowledge the very good training offered locally by Areas independently of Learning and Development Division. Everyone we consulted was anxious to avoid duplication of effort. Some excellent presentations were prepared for local training events or in response to identified and immediate needs and there was some (inevitable) overlap in those materials we viewed.
446. The Knowledge Bank at this time seems to be providing a repository for some local training presentations papers etc and is an excellent resource.