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Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

Standards of service

Section 2 - Standards of Service

11.Section 2 provides that certain persons must set and publish standards in relation to the services which those bodies provide to victims and witnesses, and set out their complaints procedure. The persons are the Lord Advocate, the Scottish Ministers, the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland, SCS and PBS.

12.Subsection (3)(a) provides that the duty on the Lord Advocate applies only in relation to functions relating to the investigation and prosecution of crime. Subsection (3)(b) provides that the duty on the Scottish Ministers applies only in relation to functions relating to prisons and young offenders institutions and the persons detained in them. The purpose of these restrictions is to identify the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and SPS as the particular bodies to which this duty is intended to apply. As described in relation to section 1, the duty cannot be placed specifically on SPS, and the same is true of COPFS, which is a Ministerial Department. Both COPFS and SPS will be expected to set out distinct standards of service. Subsection (3)(c) provides that, in relation to the other persons named in subsection (2), the duty applies to any functions.

13.Subsection (4) places a duty on the persons named in subsection (2) to consult with each other and with such other persons who appear to have a significant interest in the standards of service, before publishing standards under subsection (1).

14.Subsection (5) enables the Scottish Ministers to modify the list of persons to whom the obligation to set and publish standards applies and to modify subsections (1), (3) and (6) so far as is necessary or expedient as a consequence of any modification of subsection (2). Subsection (6) provides that the term “victim” includes a prescribed relative of a victim, and subsection (7) enables the Scottish Ministers to prescribe by order those relatives to be included in the definition of victim in this context.

Section 3 – Reports

15.Section 3 requires the persons named in section 2(2) to prepare and publish a report within twelve months of the initial publication of their standards of service, then on a yearly basis. Under subsection (3), the report must contain an assessment of how the standards have been met, how the person intends to continue to meet them, any modifications made during the reporting period and any proposed modifications the person intends to make during the following reporting period. Subsection (4) enables the Scottish Ministers, by regulations, to specify additional information to be included in such reports, in addition to that set out in subsection (3).

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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