The Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU) in conjunction with Excellence Ireland has adopted an international excellence framework to assist with the examination and review process. This framework allows An Garda Síochána to clearly identify both its strengths and areas where improvements can be made.The founding premise of the excellence framework is that ‘Excellent results with respect to Performance, Customers, People and Society are achieved through Leadership driving Policy and Strategy, that is delivered through People, Partnerships, Processes and Resources’. The GPSU carries out thorough research of each process area to be examined including the identification and examination of relevant source data such as: • An Garda Síochána Code • Crime Investigation Techniques Manual • HQ Circulars and Directives • Operating and training manuals • Relevant external source materials • Legislation relating to the areaIn addition, the Unit consults with Garda Members who are considered subject matter experts, and external stakeholders who have relevant knowledge or experience.After all information is gathered, analysed, collated and mapped, it is used to prepare a checklist of questions. These questions assist in testing local compliance with the current stated policy in each area. The GPSU, through semi-structured interviews, puts the questions to sample groups of all ranks that have a working knowledge of the subject area under examination. This interview process has several benefits including:- • It checks information that has already been gathered • It provides additional information • The research team can gain new insights • The information obtained provides not only answers, but the rationale behind themThe information gained from the interview process is then evaluated using an international assessment tool which is certified in advance by Excellence Ireland. Prior to the examination and evaluation process, the members of the GPSU received appropriate training from Excellence Ireland and achieved certification in the use of the assessment tool. The purpose of using a certified international assessment tool is: • To identify if an integrated set of sound approaches exists in the organisational processes being examined • To examine whether these approaches are deployed in a systematic way that ensures full implementation • To establish if the approaches are regularly assessed and reviewed using structured monitoring and analysis of results achieved • To establish whether these results are leading to ongoing learning activities, development of improvement plans and implementation of these improvementsThe GPSU uses the assessment tool to determine the relevant processes in each area examined. The evaluation of the information gained during the examination and review process assists in identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Guidance on the preparation of an improvement plan based on the identified areas is communicated as part of each report to the Officer in charge of the relevant area for implementation. The GPSU assesses implementation on a continuous basis and carries out a review within 6 months to evaluate progress against the improvement plan and to provide advice and assistance if required.