What we will deliver is a world leading public prosecution and death investigation service which secures justice for the people of Scotland through our Objectives:
- criminal cases are effectively and independently investigated and prosecuted or have other proportionate action taken in the public interes.
- deaths which need further explanation are appropriately and promptly investigated
- financial gain achieved by criminal means is removed from criminals using proceeds of crime laws
- a level of service which takes account of individual needs and characteristics is provided to all
- victims, nearest relatives and witnesses and those accused of an offence are treated with dignity and respect.
How we will deliver is through our Guiding Principles, which we have adopted to focus our activities, and through our Enablers which will underpin and support delivery. In addition, we will work with colleagues in the justice sector and with other stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve the operation of the whole justice system. Leadership has a key role in ensuring delivery of our objectives so that, in addition, we will be focusing on developing leadership and management training, to ensure staff have the skills they need.
We will continue to implement our Improvement Strategy and to streamline and simplify processes; improve the quality of work at every stage through professional competence in process delivery to defined quality standards, ensuring cases are well prepared; we will play our part in the Scottish Justice Quality Framework and the Making Justice Work programme to improve Justice Outcomes.
We will ensure that our resources are used to best effect so that we have the right people, doing the right things at the right time in the right way; we will undertake workforce and organisational analysis to ensure we have the structures, capability, specialist skills and professional standards needed; we will provide the leadership, training and development required to support staff.
We will further improve and innovate our IT systems and services to support business delivery by enhancing our IT infrastructure, delivering efficient and dynamic platforms and technologies, developing integrated and innovative corporate and business application systems. We will review our estate, to ensure we both align with new Court structures and operate cost-effectively. And we will undertake a Change Programme to deliver enhanced efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Key deliverables over the Strategic Plan period include:
We are developing a leadership and management development strategy that will provide the knowledge and skills to effectively lead change, and create a culture of continuous performance improvement delivered by managers with the skills and confidence to undertake their roles effectively.
This leadership development approach has been specifically designed to address the leadership challenges we face over the next three years at an organisational, team and individual level, as well as tackling the front-line management skills that are critical to deliver the level of service expected by our stakeholders.
The combination of strong, focused leadership and well trained, capable managers will make the difference in our ability to deliver our strategic outcomes
Public Contact and Information
We will review the way in which we provide information to the public and those who come into contact with us, including the use of technology, in order to improve the quality of service we provide, meet the needs of our diverse communities and allow for changes to be made on the basis of feedback received.
Victims' Right to Review
Being a victim of a crime can be traumatic and have an emotional impact. Where a crime has been reported and this has been considered by the Procurator Fiscal, it is appropriate that the victim is made aware of a decision to take no action and the reason for this if they have expressed a wish to be informed of such a decision. This also applies where we have taken proceedings but thereafter decided not to continue with those proceedings. This obligation, which is now enshrined in Section 4 of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, will be implemented in an effective and proportionate way.
Review of Prosecution Policies
We will continue to regularly review potential options around prosecution policy to ensure improved quality of decision-making, based on an outcome-focused approach so that cases are being dealt with appropriately. We will ensure that other parts of the justice system are made aware of the likely impact of any changes.
We are working with the National Health Service, National Services Scotland to implement the electronic reporting of deaths to us by medical staff. It is anticipated that the roll out of this new system will be complete by the end of 2015. In addition, we are working to secure access to the electronic records system used by the NHS, in order that pathologists can obtain medical records more easily, thereby speeding up processes and allowing pathologists to make best use of the information available. We are also encouraging the use of view and grant procedures in as many cases as possible, with the aim of reducing the numbers of post mortems and the distress to relatives.
Initial Case Processing Hub
The key function of initial case processing is to make first time autonomous decisions on crimes reported to us at summary level. The skills and competences required for that differ from those required for other aspects of our work and it has been decided that initial case processing should be provided with its own distinct leadership focused on the delivery of that activity. It is intended therefore to create an initial case processing hub to deliver an improved focus and consistency in the initial stages of handling cases reported to us. Current plans are to move to centralised management of this work from April 2015, while consideration is being given to transferring this work to one or more centralised hubs over the course of the plan period.
National High Court Hub
With the reduction in the number of locations at which the High Court sits, we are commencing a review of how we carry out High Court work, in order to ensure the continued effectiveness and efficiency in the way in which we manage this aspect of our business. Initial thoughts are that we would move to a national High Court function before 2018 but that is dependant upon the outcome of the forthcoming review.
Following the introduction of Federation and greater functional working in 2012, we have undertaken a review of those arrangements. This is to enable us to assess how far the changes made so far are supporting quality in our decision-making and efficiency and whether these arrangements will continue to provide us with the best structures in the future.
We are setting up a programme to include work on implementing proposals that arise from the review recommendations, this programme will link in to the other changes underway such as the moves to nationally managed ICP and High Court hubs (as detailed above) as well as other improvement projects.
Delivery of our objectives is supported by focused activity in five areas. These describe what will be done over the period to March 2018 that will support the delivery of the guiding principles and ultimately our objectives. These activities will be kept under review to ensure that our approach and activities remain relevant.
We will ensure that our staff have the knowledge, skills and capability to deliver a high quality, cost efficient service.
Key elements are:
- leading and managing: preparing and delivering leadership and management development programmes to support leaders and managers in delivering our priorities and objectives and contributing to overall success
- developing: ensuring staff have the skills and knowledge they require for their role and future roles
- recognising: giving positive feedback to staff on work well done and supporting those who require additional training
- employing: ensuring that there is clarity over job roles and responsibilities and having clear and transparent recruitment and deployment arrangements in place
- engaging: ensuring that staff have confidence and are empowered and trusted to deliver a world-class, cost-effective prosecution service
- fairness: maintaining and updating a suite of people policies that provide protection and fairness for staff throughout their careers, and that promotes equality and diversity in our internal and external relations.
We will ensure that we deliver and support a portfolio of efficient, resilient, innovative and secure IT systems.
Key elements are:
- responding to business needs and strategic priorities: providing flexible and agile IT resources and solutions that allows enhanced and sustained organisational performance
- corporate processes and business solutions: implementing innovative business and applications solutions to increase operational efficiency and to deliver customer focused digital services
- robust and flexible IT infrastructure and information systems: creating enterprise architecture that enables structured and seamless access to information, creating opportunities for innovative new digital business models to underpin the effective delivery of digital services
- people and skills: aligning and focusing the core competencies, digital capabilities and skills of staff with the delivery of operational and strategic aims.
We will ensure our systems and processes are robust and fit for purpose to meet the expectations and requirements of all our key stakeholders, both internal and external.
Key elements are:
- tablets in court: delivering paperless prosecution case presentation in summary courts initially, through the use of electronic tablet.
- online secure access for victim and witness case information: delivering applications online for our stakeholders, eg, updated case progress information for victims and witnesses, including access to their witness statements
- digital evidence store: sharing images and CCTV evidence in the most efficient and cost-effective manner by providing a digital evidence store so that such evidence can be viewed from any location and inserted into appropriate documentation as required.
Successful delivery of our objectives will require effective partnership working across a range of stakeholder organisations, as part of the Strategy for Justice in Scotland. This will support the effective operation of the justice system and the achievement of shared outcomes.
Key elements are:
- digitised justice systems: we will play a full part in the Digital Strategy for Justice in Scotland, including working with Police Scotland and the Scottish Court Service to encourage digital evidence presentation, the use of video links and mobile devices; we will continue to develop and innovate our existing digital systems and processes to further enhance the services we provide to customers and stakeholder.
- equality and diversity: working jointly to tackle under-representation across criminal justice workforces and promote criminal justice agencies as inclusive employers and service providers, delivering unconscious bias training and improving access to justice
- legislative changes: work with justice bodies to deliver the planned legislative programme, including court reform, criminal justice reform and support to victims and witnesse.
- reducing adjournments: consider with other justice agencies ways in which repeated adjournments (commonly referred to as "churn") can be reduced without adversely affecting the rights of victims and the accused.
We will support the delivery of business priorities by ensuring that the level of funding secured is distributed appropriately and that we can continually demonstrate Best Value.
Key elements are:
- finance skills: ensuring all managers across COPFS are clear about their financial responsibilities and are suitably skilled to meet them
- financial management: embedding Finance Business Partners who will support Budget Holders and Budget Managers to make the optimum use of the resources allocated to them to meet the business priorities
- finance systems and processes: continually reviewing and streamlining all business processes to ensure that they are as efficient and effective as they can be
- procurement: enhancing our procurement capability, ensuring that we seek to improve value for money and efficiency and promoting equality and diversity in our suppliers.