Our Framework

Our approach to inspection is supported by a Scrutiny Framework, which provides structure to our activities and the means to consistently and objectively assess policing in Scotland. The purpose of this framework is to support lead and associate inspectors at HMICS when conducting inspections. While each inspection varies in subject matter and scope, this framework provides a structure within which we can ensure a consistent and professional approach. We also hope the framework helps inspected bodies, stakeholders and the public to know what to expect from HMICS.

This Framework is based on the Public Service Improvement Framework (PSIF), the European Foundation for Quality Management (EQFM) Excellence Model and Best Value characteristics. These models have been simplified and altered to provide an inspection framework model to assist in the inspection of elements of policing or the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). It should also assist with identifying areas of good or poor performance and in establishing priorities for improvement.

There are six overarching themes which link to statements that we use to assess the organisation or service area we inspect. The overarching themes are; Outcomes, Leadership and Governance, Planning and Processes, People, Resources and Partnerships.


We focus on the overall performance of the organisation or service area and examine successes in delivering demonstrable, high-quality and improved outcomes for service users, communities and the public in general. We also consider fulfillment of statutory duties.

Leadership and Governance

We examine how well Police Scotland and the SPA are led and the governance, accountability and scrutiny arrangements that have been put in place to ensure delivery of the overall vision of keeping people safe and meeting national, regional and local priorities. We also consider how the organisation or service area secures improvement in its services.

Planning and Process

We examine the effectiveness of strategies, policies and planning processes in ensuring services are inclusive and focused on user needs. We also examine the work of the organisation or service area in relation to its key functions, in particular the delivery and development of the services it provides, by itself or in partnership with others and how these are measured.


We look at the people within the organisation, their motivation, satisfaction and contribution to the development of the organisation or service area. We assess how employees are managed, developed and empowered, and consider communication processes and whether people feel rewarded and recognised for their efforts.


We consider whether the organisations or service area manage resources in the most efficient, effective and sustainable way, including financial and information resources and assets. We assess whether this supports key activities and outcomes. A key element of resourcing is the consideration of best value.


We look at how well partners work together to support the delivery of outcomes as well as the approach to managing partnerships. Key elements include developing an agreed vision and objectives and aligning information, assets and resources in partnership to achieve shared outcomes. We consider how well partners jointly plan and cooperate in delivering integrated working and whether the partnership ethos has developed a positive culture of involvement and working together.

We work with others to ensure our Framework reflects best practice and has the potential to develop into a wider self-assessment tool.

Assessing Our Impact

We develop approaches to better assess the impact of our work and measure how we have contributed towards positive outcomes for communities across Scotland. We seek to demonstrate how our annual scrutiny activities have improved the state, effectiveness and efficiency of both Police Scotland and the SPA and how we have supported them to deliver services that are high quality, continually improving, effective and responsive to local needs.


HMICS Inspection Framework - September 2014

HMICS and PSIF Joint statement - September 2014

HMICS Custody Inspection Framework