We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:
Copy of the guidance sent to local authorities when selecting the Co-opted Independent Panel Members for Police and Crime Panels (PCP). Please include clarification about the specific guidance:
‘Local authorities will need to put forward, and (in England) appoint members on to the panel. They must ensure it is balanced, as far as possible, according to the geographical and political make-up of the force area and that members have the skills and experience required to function effectively’.
Please clarifiy how the HO intended to achieve this ‘balance’ without unlawfully discriminating on grounds of protected characteristics such as sex, race, disability and age.
We released the following information on: 12 December 2012
The guidance referred to is text from the Home Office website and it refers to the balanced appointment objective which local authorities and PCPs must meet, as far as is reasonably practicable.
The balanced appointment objective applies to all members of a PCP, councillors and independent members and is a matter for local determination. In the first instance, the legislation seeks to secure the requirement to represent all parts of the police force area by requiring every local authority in the force area to nominate and appoint at least one councillor to the PCP.
How each PCP goes about selecting its independent members is a local decision. They may, for instance, be used to improve the skills, knowledge and experience of the PCP as a whole.
All police and crime panels are subject to the public sector equality duty by virtue of the Police and Crime Panels (Application of Local Authority Enactments) Regulations 2012 (see paragraphs 6, 21 and 37 of the Schedule to the Regulations).