Independent Ethics and Scrutiny Board
Objectively explore ethical issues and matters raised by Scrutiny Group volunteers, in depth and from multiple perspectives, with the purpose of generating genuine and positive organisational learning, informing police and OPCC (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) policy and priorities, challenging things when appropriate and creating openness and transparency.
The Board is the overall ‘home’ for OPCC scrutiny activity. Findings from the OPCC Scrutiny Groups and reports are considered at the Board and provide a central focus for the OPCC. The Board is responsible for delivery of the OPCC scrutiny work programme and decide how certain scrutiny activities should be completed, setting the terms of reference for any specific pieces of work. Their role is to provide specialist and independent scrutiny findings and recommendations directly to the PCC.
The Board will:
- Work according to the OPCC assurance and scrutiny requirements.
- Respect the operational independence of the Chief Constable.
- Receive and scrutinise reports and findings/recommendations from the OPCC Scrutiny Groups.
- At all times consider ethical issues raised.
- Feed-back their issues and ensure that action is taken.
- Commission work on key ethical issues and matters based on the evidence received.
- Proactively seek ethical issues from the Force, OPCC and wider providers where relevant.
- Discuss wider issues impacting on policing (including national considerations) and the public perspective.
- Report back directly and regularly to the PCC through the Independent Chair.
The Board will deliver findings (via the Independent Chair) directly to the PCC.
The Chair and Scrutiny Volunteers will serve for a minimum of two years (extendable to three years). Scrutiny Volunteers are expected to serve at least one year.
The Board will be supported by the OPCC Assurance and Statutory Duties Team. The OPCC will take notes of all meetings, working with the Independent Chair to ensure commissioned work and actions are undertaken, and provide a public summary where relevant.
The Board will not meet formally unless the Independent Chair (or suitably agreed substitute) and the nominated Chairs of the OPCC Scrutiny Groups (or nominated representative) are present.
The Group will meet quarterly (or more frequently for emerging issues) for a full-day. The agenda will be generated by the OPCC (in conjunction with the Independent Chair) and sent out at least seven days prior to any meeting.
The Chair will be the Independent Chair, recruited by the OPCC. The Chair will be expected to meet regularly with the PCC and provide appropriate feedback.
Information used for the purpose of scrutiny will usually be anonymised of personal (or other identifiable) information unless there is a justified, proportionate and legal reason for sharing more detailed information (which will be clearly recorded). The Independent Chair and Scrutiny Volunteers will undertake normal police vetting (unless there are reasons not to do so in respect of volunteers), will sign confidentiality agreements and must adhere to relevant legislation.
The Independent Chair will receive ‘familiarity’ training to assist them in developing their knowledge. The OPCC will assist with any training and developmental needs, providing regular new information and updates as relevant.
Independent Chair (or suitably agreed substitute).
Nominated Chairs of the OPCC Scrutiny Groups (or nominated representative).
Force representatives: Assistant Chief Constable (Communities and Partnerships), Force Independent Advisory Group (IAG) Chair, Ethics Lead, Forum Chair, Staff Association Representatives.
OPCC representatives: Chief Executive, Engagement Lead(s), Head of Assurance and Statutory Duties, Information and Outcomes Analyst.
Others to attend as required at the discretion of the Independent Chair.
All to send substitutes where representatives are unavailable.