Scottish Police Authority chief executive John Foley to take early retirement

Written by Jenni Davidson on 25 August 2017 in News

The chief executive role will be made redundant as the SPA makes changes to its organisational structure

Police - Image credit: Ninian Reid via Flickr

John Foley is to take early retirement from his role as chief executive of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Foley’s post will then be made redundant as the beleaguered public body makes organisational changes.

He will stay on in post until the SPA accounts are signed off, which is expected to be by the end of October.

Foley joined SPA in August 2013 as interim chief executive with responsibility for both the SPA’s governance and statutory forensic services, and was formally appointed permanent CEO later that year.

The SPA said Foley would be paid in lieu of his contractual notice, in addition to an early retirement payment.

From 1 September, the director of forensic services, who currently reports to the chief executive, will report directly to the SPA board deputy chair Nicola Marchant.

However, the SPA will be seeking a 12-month secondee to act as chief officer for the next year, while it re-evaluates its needs.

This will allow completion of a review of the SPA’s executive requirements which is already underway, as well as for the HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary’s inspection of the SPA to report next spring and for a new SPA chair to be appointed.

Foley’s retirement follows the resignation of SPA chair Andrew Flanagan in June amid heavy criticism from MSPs and the police watchdog HMICS in recent months about governance of the police authority.

Commenting on Foley’s decision to retire, Flanagan said: “This new reporting arrangement is a further tangible step in strengthening oversight of forensic services, and will support work to develop a long-term strategy for forensics to complement the 2026 strategy for Police Scotland.

“I want to pay tribute to the professionalism which he has shown throughout our consideration of this, and indeed for the valued service he has given to SPA and policing over what has been a period of unprecedented change.”

Foley added: “The SPA has continued to evolve and improve since its inception in 2013 and strengthening the governance of forensic services is the next stage of that journey and one I fully support.

“Clearly the revised arrangements have significant implications for the CEO role I currently hold and following detailed discussions with the board since the start of the year I have chosen to seek early retirement.

“It has been an honour and privilege to have served as the first permanent CEO of the SPA for the past four years.

“I am confident that the authority and policing will continue to improve in the coming years and I want to thank all of the staff and officers who I have had the pleasure of working with over the past four years.”

In June, HMICS Derek Penman reported that there were "fundamental weakness" in management structures of the SPA following an inspection.

He said: "My inspection has identified shortcoming in the capacity of the chief executive, senior managers and committee support service to provide the level of expert advice and governance support needed by the board.

"This is a fundamental weakness in the current executive structures and I therefore welcome the recent announcement that there will be a review of the way the SPA board can be better supported to deliver its statutory functions.”

The Scottish Government announced in June that a review of how the executive of the SPA can best support the board would be led by SPA deputy chair Nicola Marchant and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar chief executive Malcolm Burr.

It is expected to report its conclusions and recommendations in the autumn.

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