6. Current and Future Work Programme
The future work programme continues to be influenced by the Crerar Review and by the operation of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act.
As indicated in last year's Annual Report the Inspectorate is moving away from Area/Office inspections towards more targeted thematic reports, usually in conjunction with criminal justice partners.
The current work includes a report on knife crime which is a topic of considerable media and political focus. The second report on the treatment of victims in the criminal justice system, in conjunction with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (Scotland), will shortly be published dealing with cases which proceed at a summary level (ie before a Sheriff or Justice sitting alone).
Work is also currently proceeding on how the Procurator Fiscal Service prepares summary cases and this will involve engagement with a wide range of criminal justice partners and an examination of a number of individual cases spread across offices throughout Scotland. This is a major undertaking for the Inspectorate.
A number of initiatives are progressing in this area including 'Making Justice Work' and 'Getting People to Court' as well as an internal Crown Office review of case preparation. The Inspectorate's report will concentrate on the role of the Procurator Fiscal Service and the methods used to ingather and present the necessary evidence. The question of 'churn' (or repeated adjournments) will be addressed.
The Chief Inspector continues to sit on the UK Heads of Inspectorates Forum which meets every six months throughout the UK and is an invaluable forum for the exchange of ideas on inspection and its methodology. It also reflects current thinking both north and south of the border on inspection, regulation and complaint handling reform.