Our Framework

Our approach to inspection is supported by an Inspection 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 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 quality indicators that we use to assess the organisation or service area we inspect. The overarching themes are:

  • Outcomes
  • Leadership and governance 
  • Planning and process
  • People
  • Resources
  • Partnerships

Our first Inspection Framework was published in 2014. In light of our experience of its use, we reviewed and revised the framework in 2018 to ensure that it continues to meet our needs. While the six themes have stayed the same, we have updated the quality indicators that underpin those themes.

We also have a separate Custody Inspection Framework. In this document, the outcomes section of our usual framework is supplemented with custody-specific outcomes which focus on the treatment and conditions for detainees.


HMICS Inspection Framework - May 2018

HMICS and PSIF Joint statement - September 2014

HMICS Custody Inspection Framework