Terms of Reference and Role Description

Contents
1. Role of the Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG)
2. Operating Protocols
3. Membership of the Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG)
4. Selection and De-selection of SIAG Members
5. Feedback

Appendices
A. SIAG member Role Description
B. Code of Conduct & Declaration of Interests

Terms of Reference

1. Role of the Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG)

1.1. The Essex Police Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG) is a police focus group designed to provide consultative feedback to Essex Police regarding policies, procedures and incidents
 
1.2. The aim of the SIAG is to ensure that the needs of the diverse communities of Essex are considered in all aspects of Essex policing policy, thereby increasing the confidence of all communities in the policing services provided by Essex Police

1.3. The SIAG provides the valuable role of critical friend to Essex Police and the OPCC, not as an independent group but as a forum where independent advisors can give independent advice

2. Operating Protocols

2.1. The SIAG agenda should be jointly set by Essex Police and the Chair of the SIAG
 
2.2. The SIAG will review force-wide practices and procedures in relating to the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) Strategy, national policy implemented at a strategic and local level and offer advice to prevent Essex Police discriminating against any community within Essex

2.3. Group members will provide a channel for the exchange of information between the Police and diverse communities/groups of Essex, and thereby assist in the monitoring of tensions within communities

2.4. The SIAG is not a statutory body and liability for any decision rests with the Chief Constable of Essex Police, the group will be used in an advisory capacity only

2.5. The SIAG will meet quarterly

2.6. Essex Police may call an extraordinary meeting for all, or selected members, in the event of a critical incident

2.7. Essex Police will be responsible for secretariat regarding the meeting

2.8. SIAG members may be given access to confidential information relating to Essex Police, specifically operations, investigations and policies.
Access is only granted for the purpose of the SIAG meeting and consultation, as such, the information must not be disclosed outside of the SIAG, without prior, written, authority from Essex Police

2.9. National (NPCC, Home Office, College of Policing) guidelines will be followed with reference to SIAG members assisting in critical Incidents
(in summary, at no time will members be placed in danger and should they require it, counselling will be made available).

3. Membership of the SIAG

3.1. Membership of the Strategic IAG comprises;

  • The chairs of the local IAGs
  • Representatives from groups not represented at local IAGs with a county-wide focus (where appropriate)
  • Senior Essex Police personnel
  • Representatives of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

3.2. The group will therefore consist of a minimum of 12 members, and 1 Chair

3.3. The Chair will be selected from members of IAGs county-wide and, subject to confirmation by a panel process, be appointed for a 2 year period, to a maximum of 2 periods (see 4.2 below)

3.4. Members will receive no payment for their participation in meetings, although reasonable expenses will be met by Essex Police

3.5. All members and the Chair will undergo vetting by Essex Police

3.6. Every member must complete a full declaration of any interests that could affect, or be perceived to affect, the independence and impartiality of the SIA Members’ interests will be recorded in a Register of interests by the Chair which may be published on the EP and OPCC website. It is the duty of members to inform the Chair if any changes or updates need to be made to their interests.

4. Selection of SIAG Members

4.1. Selection of Members (via local IAG)

4.1.1. All IAG Chairs must complete the following;

  • Code of conduct agreement (ToR)
  • Authorisation for police checks (vetting)

4.1.2.The local Chair, in consultation with Essex Police, will decide who will be accepted as a member to the local IAG. The decision will be based upon the current group needs and any gaps in representation

4.1.3. Should any potential applicant fail the vetting, or issues are highlighted as a result of the vetting, then Essex Police will decide if the applicant will continue through the recruitment process.

4.2. Selection of the SIAG Chair and Deputy

4.2.1. All persons interested in the role of SIAG Chair must complete the following

  • IAG application form
  • Code of conduct agreement form
  • Vetting forms

4.2.2. Selection of the Chair will be by the members of the SIAG

4.2.3. The selected candidate will then be subject to a panel discussion, chaired by the Senior Essex Police representative

4.2.4. The role of deputy may be selected by the SIAG members and the Chair by process of a vote.

4.2.5. The Chair and Deputy chair will be selected for a 2 year term or such, shorter, period as determined by Essex Police. They may be selected for a further 2 year term, but, cannot reapply for a third consecutive term.

4.3. De-Selection of SIAG members

4.3.1. For the purpose of de-selection, the Chair role is considered the same as a ‘member’ role

4.3.2. It is vital that the SIAG functions well as a police focus group and continues to be representative of the communities in Essex. To ensure that aim is met, Essex Police are able to de-select members or dissolve the group as they consider necessary.

4.3.3. These processes will allow room for new members and address any breaches of the Code of Conduct (attached), thereby ensuring the SIAG maintains a wide breath of diversity, remains current and energised

4.3.4. Members are expected to attend all meetings where reasonable possible. If a member is absent from 2 or more meetings, within a 12 month period, their membership may be reconsidered at the discretion of Essex Police
 
4.3.5. The IAG will use the Nolan Principles on Public Services as its Code of conduct. A copy is attached. Should any member breach this code or an allegation be made that if found would constitute a breach, then Essex Police will investigate and the member may be de-selected

4.3.6. Essex Police will be sharing confidential information with IAG members. Any breaches in confidentiality may result in the member being de-selected, and could also lead to a criminal investigation under the Data Protection Act 1988.

5. Feedback

5.1. To ensure the continued valued commitment of SIAG members, where independent advice has been sought, feedback should be given to members on how advice has been used, or why it has not been taken
 
5.2. Such feedback will be noted in the meetings’ minutes, in order to assist in any future reviews of the SIAG.

Appendix A

Essex Police  Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG) Role Description

Introduction:

This describes what we are asking of those who become a Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG) member. Although it outlines the main activities required, it is not an exhaustive list and there may be other activities that the group identifies.

Purpose of role:

To assist in the communication exchange between Essex Police and all Essex communities, and provide independent advice to Essex Police to ensure a fair and non-discriminatory police service to all communities gaining their trust and confidence and promoting community cohesion.

You will be expected to:

1. Attend meetings of the group and, when necessary, work in groups and /or sub-groups

2. Provide a channel for the exchange of information between the police and diverse communities/groups of Essex

3. Provide advice to Essex Police, in particular in the areas of;

  • Hate crime
  • Policing operations, critical and/or Major Incidents
  • Police training
  • Stop and Search

4. Share your personal knowledge, awareness and experience of community issues, good practice and areas of development with the group

5. Work at the direction of the Strategic IAG when required. In particular to provide advice and guidance to Essex Police on the development and introduction of policies and practices to ensure they do not exclude, discriminate or have an unjustifiable adverse impact on any community

6. To assist Essex Police in developing their understanding of the needs and expectations of the diverse communities of Essex, as they relate to providing a fair and non-discriminatory police service

7. A Critical Incident is defined as: “any incident where the effectiveness of the Police response is likely to have a significant impact upon the confidence of the victim, their family, and/or the community”.

Appendix B

Essex Police Strategic Independent Advisory Group (SIAG)

Code of Conduct & Declaration of Interests - Guiding Principles

Members of the SIAG will abide by the Nolan Principles of Public Life :

1. Selflessness

embers of the IAG should act solely in terms of the public interest, and not in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or friends.

2. Integrity

Members of the IAG should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their role within the group.

3. Objectivity

In carrying our public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for awards and benefits, members of the IAG must make choices on merit.

4. Accountability

Members of the IAG are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their role.

5. Openness

Members of the IAG should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

6. Honesty

Members of the IAG have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

7. Leadership

Members of the IAG should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

8. Fairness

All people should be treated fairly

9. Respect

All people should be treated with respect.

Where there is a conflict of interests between the above principles, the group you represent and the IAG you shall abstain from decision making on that aspect.

Confidentiality

1. As a member of the Essex Police Strategic Independent Advisory Group you may acquire information that has not yet been made public and is confidential.

2. It will be regarded as a breach of trust to breach such confidences.

3. You should never disclose or use confidential information arising from the work of the Group for personal advantage or benefit of anyone known to you or to the disadvantage or discredit of the Group, Police or anyone else.

4. Apart from the breach of trust there may be cause for a criminal prosecution under the Data Protection Act.

Gifts and Hospitality

1. Treat with caution any offer of gift, favour or hospitality, that is made to you personally, knowing you to be a member of the SIAG, the person or organisation making the offer may be doing so to obtain information or trying to influence a decision.

2. You are personally responsible for all decisions connected with the acceptance or offer of gifts or hospitality and for avoiding the risk of damage to public confidence in the IAG.

Disclosure of interests

1. If you have an interest in a matter arising at a meeting of the SIAG, or through its work, you should always disclose it at the earliest opportunity to the meeting.

2. Having declared an interest you may be asked to withdraw from that part of the meeting, it is open to you to declare an interest in any work of the IAG.

3. Consider whether the public would regard your interest as so closely connected with the matter in question that you cannot be expected to put it out of your mind.

4. You should at all times avoid any appearance of improper conduct.

5. You should not allow the impression to be created that you are, or may be, using your position to promote a private or person interest, rather than forwarding the general public interest.

6. You should ask yourself, whether members of the public, knowing all facts of the situation, would reasonably think that you might be influenced by it.

7. The group may exclude any individual who uses or continues to use offensive or extremist language and views.

8. Having made a declaration it will be open to the IAG to decide if the work of the group requires you to continue to take part in the meeting that is discussing a matter in which you have an interest.

9. If opinion is divided and there is equality of votes the decision of the Chair shall be final.

10. If in doubt about the need to disclose an interest, disclose it anyway, or take the advice of the group on whether you should continue to take part in the business and the consideration.

11. You are required as a member of the IAG to sign the disclosure below that you will abide by the conditions set out above.