THE Scottish Police Authority (SPA) was set up in 2013, following the passage of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) act a year earlier.

The body was intended to promote and support the continuous improvement of policing in Scotland, keeping Police Scotland and its operational activity under review and holding the Chief Constable to account.

It’s remit was sizeable – to provide independent oversight of policing for 5.3 million people, a workforce of 23,000 police officers and staff and an annual budget of around £1 billion.

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The board is made up of 15 non-executive members, including a chair. They are paid £300 a a day for their role, which includes attending six full board meetings a year, as well as participating in sub-committees and other work.

Such duties are meant to take up no more than five days a month, and members are appointed for four years, with the possibility of an extension for an additional four years.

While they are appointed by the Scottish Government, their decisions are meant to be independent. However members are individually and collectively accountable to ministers for their actions and decisions, and can be removed from post if they do not perform.

It has not been an easy 12 months for the SPA. In February, board member Moi Ali, a veteran of public appointments, resigned after she was reprimanded by the then chair Andrew Flanagan who had carried out a review of the operation of the authority.

She had raised concerns over a lack of transparency regarding committee meetings, some of which were now to be held in private, with meeting papers not published until the morning of meetings.

Mr Flanagan barred Ms Ali from sitting on committees as a result. He claimed this was due to a lack of effective communication, prior to Ms Ali raising her concerns publicly.

However Mr Flanagan himself stepped down a few months later, after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland issued a critical report of the way it was run. The police watchdong said there were “fundamental weaknesses” at the board and dysfunctional relationships. It drew attention to the decision to hold meetings in private and urged the SPA to “genuinely engage”. Mr Flanagan however had already announced he was to go, after gruelling sessions in front of two Holyrood committees which called for his resignation.

Mr Flanagan said he was stepping down because the debate had become personalised and he was becoming “a distraction” to the delivery of Police Scotland’s 10-year policing strategy.