SPA Chair’s recommendations for improvement in the practice of governance arrangements for policing in Scotland

Andrew Flanagan, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has made 30 recommendations for improvement in the practice of governance arrangements for policing in Scotland.

Publishing his Review of Governance in Policing, which was commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 3 September 2015, Mr Flanagan’s report concludes that having an arms-length body in the SPA providing a separation from politics and policing is an appropriate model for governing a national police service.

Click HERE for ‘Review of Governance in Policing’ Report

His report recommends improvements to ensure representatives of local communities feel sufficiently listened to regarding local policing, are able to input effectively into the development of national policy issues, and have a way of recording their ‘voice’ on the quality and effectiveness of Police Scotland’s engagement with them.

The report’s other main findings include:

  • SPA to strengthen its governance procedures and review with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland how working arrangements and protocols reinforce the positioning and authority of the SPA.
  • Clearer definition of the SPA’s areas of responsibilities and how it conducts its business.
  • Review of the underlying systems and processes used by Police Scotland to provide information with a view to improving clarity and enhancing the quality of analysis and benchmarking.

Commenting as he published his review, Andrew Flanagan said:

“I have found that after three years of operation much has been achieved and I acknowledge the work undertaken by both the SPA and Police Scotland in setting up both organisations. Local authorities have also had to adapt to the new arrangements and a lot of effort has been undertaken to establish Local Scrutiny and Engagement Committees. There is now the opportunity to build on lessons learned from experiences to date, listening to wide ranging feedback from stakeholders, and recognising the respective roles and responsibilities of the statutory bodies which make up the governance landscape.  

“I am satisfied that the SPA is an appropriate model for governing a national police service. However, there are a number of recommendations in this report for the SPA, Police Scotland and other stakeholders which together can improve the effectiveness of this model.

“Overall, I expect this governance review and associated recommendations to lead to increased clarity in the role of the SPA, focus its work on strategic governance matters, and appropriate delegation to allow Police Scotland to deal with operational requirements within defined parameters while still holding the Chief Constable to account for the performance and quality of policing. It will also allow for local accountability to be fully discharged.“