Commentary on Sections
Part 4: Inspectorates
Section 28: Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons
274.Section 28 inserts a new Schedule A1 into the Prison Act 1952, conferring certain additional powers and duties on Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons. These are intended to assist and promote joint work and co-operation between the Chief Inspector and other public sector inspection authorities, particularly between the five criminal justice chief inspectors.
275.Paragraph 1 of new Schedule A1 enables the Chief Inspector to delegate his functions to another public authority. For example, he may need to delegate functions to another inspectorate to enable efficient management of a joint inspection, by asking the staff of another inspectorate to obtain information in the course of an interview or visit to an institution, thus removing the need for staff from both inspectorates to attend.
276.Paragraphs 2 to 5 are designed to ensure that the inspectorates work efficiently together and do not duplicate inspections so as to place unnecessary burdens on the services inspected.
277.Paragraph 2 provides that the Chief Inspector shall prepare an inspection programme and an inspection framework and contains definitions for those terms. Before preparing an inspection programme and an inspection framework he is required to consult the persons and bodies listed at paragraph 2(2), unless both the Chief Inspector and the consultee agree to waive the requirement. Paragraph 2(3) enables the Secretary of State by order to specify the form of the document in question. Paragraph 2(4) makes explicit that nothing in any inspection programme or inspection framework is to be read as preventing the Chief Inspector from making visits without notice.
278.Paragraph 3(1) provides that if another inspectorate listed in Paragraph 3(2) proposes to carry out an inspection of a “specified organisation”, and the Chief Inspector considers that the proposed inspection would impose an unreasonable burden on that organisation, then the Chief Inspector shall give notice to that other inspectorate not to carry out that inspection.
279.Paragraph 3(4) enables the Secretary of State to specify by order (subject to the negative resolution procedure) a person or body who is to be a “specified organisation” for the purposes of paragraph 3(1), and so whom the Chief Inspector is to be obliged to protect from an unreasonable inspection. Paragraph 3(5) provides that only persons or bodies that the Chief Inspector has a duty to inspect himself can be specified and paragraph 3(6) enables the Secretary of State to specify persons or bodies in relation to particular functions of theirs.
280.Paragraph 3(7) enables the Secretary of State to specify by order (subject to the negative resolution procedure) circumstances where the notice procedure under paragraph 3(1) need not or shall not apply. The power could for example be used to exclude the notice procedure in relation to urgent inspections.
281.Paragraph 3(8) provides that where notice is given under this paragraph the proposed inspection is not to take place, subject to sub-paragraph (9), which enables the Secretary of State to give consent to the inspection if satisfied that it would not impose an unreasonable burden.
282.Paragraph 3(10) enables Secretary of State by order (subject to the negative resolution procedure) to supplement provisions made in this paragraph.
283.Paragraph 4 imposes a duty on the Chief Inspector to co-operate with the other persons and bodies listed.
284.Paragraph 5 enables the Chief Inspector to act jointly with other public authorities where it is appropriate to do so for the efficient and effective discharge of his functions. Paragraph 5(2) requires the Chief Inspector to prepare a joint inspection programme with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the National Probation Service for England and Wales and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Court Administration, setting out what inspections he proposes to carry out pursuant to his power to act jointly with another public authority, and what inspections the other Chief Inspectors propose to so carry out. The consultation requirements in paragraph 2 apply, as does the proviso that the Chief Inspector and the consultee may agree to waive the consultation requirement. Paragraph 2(4) applies, so that nothing in any joint inspection programme or inspection framework is to be read as preventing the Chief Inspector from making visits without notice.
285.Paragraph 6 enables the Chief Inspector to provide assistance to another public authority, on such terms (including terms as to payment) as he thinks fit.
286.Sections 29 to 32 make equivalent provision in respect of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of the National Probation Service for England and Wales and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Court Administration. In addition, the effect of paragraph 7 of the new Schedule inserted by section 30 in the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act 2000 is that an inspector has the power, for the purposes of an inspection under the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act 2000, to require documents and other information to be provided.
287.Section 33 makes transitional provision in connection with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This office is to be established under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (c.40).