A DEAL between Scotland's new chief constable and the single force's police authority appears closer, according to papers seen by The Herald.

Under proposals on the two most contested issues, finance and staffing, senior officials would be "co-located" so that they would be under day-to-day control of chief constable Stephen House, while remaining ultimately answerable to the Scottish Police Authority.

The Herald reported yesterday the concerns of the new chief constable that resolving the differences between his role and that of Vic Emery, chairman at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), may require changing the legislation which set up new unified national police and fire services.

MSPs will consider the issue today when the Justice Committee looks at the ongoing dispute over police control and civilian oversight.

The new paper by the SPA ahead of a meeting on January 18 reports on a series of talks between Mr House and Mr Emery, and suggests significant high-level agreement.

This would be "underpinned by an agreement between the chief constable and the Authority specifying the level, quality and responsiveness of the service provided by the SPA to Police Scotland."

It would "take account of lessons learnt in the provision of support services, identify how performance will be measured, and describe how any disputes and disagreements will be resolved."

It speaks of an agreement which "will capture and define the strategic guarantees in the provision of services to support Police Scotland in the discharge and execution of its role and responsibilities."

It also states: "Both the SPA and the chief constable recognise the importance of providing these staff with clear direction as to how they will be organised for day one of the new service and beyond.

"These areas will be the focus of the next phase of work." There remain two key areas. One is personnel, control over civilian staff – a crucial buffer for any chief constable in deploying resources.

The other is finance. All the chief constables want control of all finances allocated to them.

The money passing first through Mr Emery's control may not be what Mr House had envisaged as national chief constable.