Other inspectorate activity
Terms of reference
30. In 2020-21, we introduced a new practice of publishing terms of reference for our scrutiny activity. The terms of reference sets out the issue we intend to inspect, the scope of the inspection, how we intend to gather evidence and the estimated timescales for the work. The terms of reference will usually be drafted after initial scoping work and preliminary discussions with key parties have been carried out. By publishing terms of reference, we aim to increase transparency and promote awareness of our work. The terms of reference can also be used as a tool to engage those with an interest in the issue being reviewed as well as the Crown personnel involved in the inspection so that they might better understand the purpose and nature of our work.
Strategic Scrutiny Group
31. During 2020-21, IPS worked closely with our scrutiny partners. We continued to participate in the Strategic Scrutiny Group, chaired by the Accounts Commission and comprising Scotland's main public sector scrutiny bodies. The group aims to deliver efficient and effective, well-coordinated scrutiny that supports improvement. IPS also participated in the Operational Scrutiny Group which supports the work of the Strategic Scrutiny Group with the aim of delivering coordinated scrutiny of public services and exploring opportunities for collaboration. In November 2020, members of the Strategic Scrutiny Group worked together to produce a report on how we have adapted our approaches to scrutiny in response to Covid-19 and how we can build on the increased joint working that has taken place.
32. More informally, we also continued to have more focused discussions with our criminal justice scrutiny partners throughout the year, including with HMICS and HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland. These regular meetings provide an opportunity to discuss and share information about developments across the justice sector and to consider an appropriate scrutiny response.