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Domestic Abuse Scrutiny Panel

Improving public confidence in the response to domestic abuse and rape.


The Commissioner set up this panel to review and improve the police and partnership response to domestic abuse, and the support and safeguarding they offer to domestic abuse victims in North Yorkshire.

The Panel’s purpose is to improve public confidence in the response to domestic abuse to encourage more victims to come forward and seek support.

By reviewing cases the Panel identifies learning to improve the identification, investigation and prosecution of cases, and to drive better joined up working between partners. In particular, the panel reviews and, where possible, supports improvements in the response to coercive and controlling behaviour offences.

The panel is led by an Independent Chair and highlights good practice, making recommendations to the police and partner agencies.

The panel comprises of a number of different individuals and agencies.

Terms of reference

Terms of reference - October 2022

Purpose and Principles:

  • The North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Domestic Abuse Independent Scrutiny Panel will work with North Yorkshire Police (NYP) to review and improve both the investigation of domestic abuse and the support and safeguarding of domestic abuse victims.
  • The Panel was established in July 2018 as a result of the PFCC and NYP being involved with Domestic Abuse A Whole Systems Approach, a collaborative project with other regional forces looking to transform domestic abuse services.
  • The intention of the panel process is to provide transparency and accountability and to increase public understanding, confidence and trust in how NYP investigate domestic abuse and work with partners to support victims and address the behaviour of perpetrators.
  • In particular, the panel will review and, where possible, support improvements in the identification, investigation and prosecution of all forms of domestic abuse.
  • The Panel will also identify and promote strengths and good practice in current police approach and investigations.
  • The Panel will report into an appropriate strategic board to provide further accountability and assurance. 

Expectations of the Panel Members:

  • Each organisation that nominates a panel member is responsible for ensuring that nominee has the necessary level of authority, expertise and experience to contribute effectively to the work of the panel, and to assist in the dissemination of learning from the panel.
  • The Panel members attend as voluntary members of the panel (travel expenses will be paid).
  • Panel members will be expected to undertake police vetting check/hold a suitable security clearance within their organisation (DBS or anti-terrorism clearance).
  • If a panel member cannot attend a representative should be sent instead (with the exception of lay members).

To aid consistency, Panel members will be asked to attend ALL 4 of the panel meetings on a rolling 12-month basis and where a panel member cannot attend, a designated and agreed representative will attend instead. Where there is a concern regarding a member’s conduct, the OPFCC will notify the member’s nominating organisation of the concern and seek an alternative nominee. 

An Inclusive Panel:

Panel members are drawn from a range of local services that are independent of North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and the OPFCC (the team that supports the PFCC) that have a high level of expertise within this, or an appropriate linked field, as well as two lay members.  The Panel will also expect to be kept informed of changes to legislation and practice within domestic abuse and be provided with training related to police policy and procedures in the investigation process of domestic abuse. 

Expectation of North Yorkshire Police:

  • NYP will provide an area commander to attend the panel who is responsible for providing feedback to officers on individual cases and bringing an update back to the OPFCC two weeks prior to the to the panel if they are not attending the next meeting as it is looking at another area to their area.
  • NYP will also provide policy documents, data for scrutiny as well as appropriate presentations for the panel around changes to domestic abuse policy.
  • NYP and the OPFCC will identify and request evidence and supporting documentation giving sufficient time to gather data and disseminate information to the Panel. 

Expectation of the Chair:

  • An Independent Panel Member experienced in the field of Domestic Abuse has been recruited to Chair the panel.
  • Each panel will appoint a Deputy Chair who can chair the meeting if the Chair is not available.
  • A Commissioning and Partnerships Manager will be appointed to each panel to help support the Chair and will chair if meeting if the Chair and the Deputy is unavailable.
  • The panel Chair will be responsible for creating an annual publication with input from the board at-large and/or through the creation of sub-committees as needed. The paper shall include a summary of lessons learned, areas of strength and relative weaknesses, actions taken by NYP and partners, and outcomes achieved. This summary will be made available to NYP, the PFCC and partners, community stakeholders, and the community at-large.
  • The Chair will meet with OPFCC representatives before each meeting to discuss and agree on any administration process needed for the meeting as necessary.
  • Ensure that all members of the Panel have an opportunity to voice concerns about cases they are reviewing.
  • Ensure meetings are conducted in a way that is respectful of differences and inclusive to all and that all contributions are valued. 

Expectation of the OPFCC:

  • The OPFCC will provide administrative support in terms of preparation of agendas, redaction of sensitive information, recording of the meetings and capture an agreed summary of the learning from each panel for dissemination with NYP and partner organisations.
  • Cases will be distributed to panel members a minimum of 10 working days before the panel meeting.
  • The OPFCC is responsible for recruitment of all members, including the Chair, Deputy Chair and lay members.
  • A Commissioning and Partnership manger will support the Chair to arrange and drive the work of the panel.
  • The Commissioner’s Officer for Offending and Justice will record all organisational learning from the panels and will work with the force to imbed this learning into policy and processes.
  • A member from the Customer Service team is responsible for preparation of the cases.

Panel Members:

  • Panel members include:
  • The Chair
    • Local Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) services (IDAS)
    • Local Authority CSP Managers
    • Local Adult & Child Safeguarding Services
    • Local DA Perpetrator Services (Foundation)
    • Local National Probation Service (NPS)
    • Local Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC)
    • Youth Offending Team
    • Mental Health
    • Two Lay Members including a survivor
    • NYP

The Panel requires, as a minimum to be quorate, 4 people which must include the Independent Chair, NYP, OPFCC Rep, and at least 1 member from an external organisation.

The intention is to ensure a fair representation of independent, expert services working with adult victims, child victims and adult perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Panel Meetings:

  • Panel meetings will take place on a quarterly basis and will be approximately 3-4 hours duration.
  • Dates will be agreed one year in advance with due consideration of all members’ commitments.
  • Panel meetings will be held on Microsoft Teams.(with the option to potentially meet in person for the final meeting of the year to consolidate learning.
  • After 12 months an evaluation on the effectiveness of the DA Scrutiny Panel will take place. 

Case Sampling:

  • The cases brought to panel will usually centre on a theme per 12 month period, with a different district focus per meeting within North Yorkshire. The final meeting of the year will compare each area.
  • Random cases from that district will then be selected that fit under the theme for that year.
  • The cases will include, but are not be limited to:
    • A summary sheet
    • Incident logs
    • DASH assessments and other needs assessments
    • Victim/witness statements
    • Any relevant special needs assessment
    • Police reports on key evidence
    • Application for order(s) on conviction
  • Supporting information may also be provided by the senior police officer attending the panel.
  • The Panel meeting will also scrutinise relevant domestic abuse policies and data as provided by NYP. 

Case Scrutiny:

  • The cases are scrutinised with the aid of a set of questions, to facilitate rather than limit discussion and will cover the following areas:
    • Initial 24/7 response.
    • Crime investigation/Case building/Criminal justice process.
    • Safeguarding actions.
    • Involvement of other agencies.
    • Case summary/progression.
  • All notes or documentation should be stored securely for the duration of the meeting and deleted/destroyed after the meeting. It will not be permissible for any case notes or other documentation to be shared outside of the panel or for documentation to be printed for any reason.
  • The Panel members will identify:
    • issues, common themes, and trends in the decision-making process, looking in particular at the impact of decision making on rural and diverse communities,
    • good practice and lessons learnt, and
    • trends in data that could be used to strengthen and improve processes

 Panel Feedback

  • Feedback is given at every panel meeting which may include any immediate recommendations for NYP and any emerging issues/concerns that require monitoring over time.
  • Feedback may also include advice and guidance to partner agencies.
  • This feedback is recorded as a set of formal minutes taken by the OPFCC to ensure that issues, learning points and actions can be disseminated to police colleagues and partners.
  • An action log will also be completed as well as the organisational development tracker to help record feedback to NYP and follow up on actions.
  • The senior police representative will be responsible for providing an update on actions taken and outcomes achieved at the next available panel meeting. 


All panel members will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement confirming that they are aware that they are subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act.

Panel members must not discuss with anyone outside the panel the personal details of any victim, witness, or defendant in any of the cases that they have scrutinised. 

Panel Member Concerns:

  • Any panel member who has concerns about the running of the panel should raise these with the Chair or a member of the OPFCC.
  • The Chair or the OPFCC will review the concern and take appropriate steps to achieve a resolution. A full written response will be provided to the panel member who raised the concern.
  • If the panel member remains dissatisfied then s/he should follow the OPFCC complaints procedure, a copy of which will be supplied on request.


Item Lead
1.       Introduction/Welcome Chair
2.       Apologies OPFCC Admin
3.       Confidentiality Agreement Chair
4.       Approval of Previous Minutes Chair
5.       Action Log Review OPFCC Admin
6.       Review feedback from cases that were feedback to NYP at previous meeting Chair/NYP Representative
7.       Review of Cases Chair
8.       Does the panel overall feel happy with the cases from this meeting? Can any conclusions be drawn? Any key comments should be recorded by the policy and scrutiny officer on the progress tracker. Chair
9.       Review of the DA Lessons Learned Progress Tracker are the comments raised in the previous meeting better, worse or the same in this meeting? Chair/Commissioner’s Officer
10.   Panel agree to destroy all papers OPFCC Admin
11.   AOB All
12.   Date of Next Meeting

Meeting dates


  • 7 December


  • 14 March
  • 20 June
  • 26 September
  • 12 December

Domestic Abuse And Rape Scrutiny Panel Chair – Role Profile

Contact Information