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Scottish Budget Spending Review 2007

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CHAPTER 13: JUSTICE

PORTFOLIO RESPONSIBILITIES

The Justice portfolio plays a key role in supporting the achievement of our objective for a safer and stronger Scotland - helping local communities to flourish and to become stronger, safer places to live that offer improved opportunities and a better quality of life. It also contributes to our work to tackle disadvantage, prejudice and discrimination. The justice system seeks to punish offenders and discourage them from re-offending while protecting the rest of society.

The Justice portfolio has responsibility for:

  • the development of civil and criminal laws which protect society, promote mutual respect and help us all to thrive;
  • the administration of an effective, fair and efficient justice system, supported by an independent and valued legal profession;
  • ensuring public safety through police, fire and community justice services, and co-ordinating preparation for potential civil emergencies;
  • securing access to justice; and
  • the effective and proportionate regulation of charities.

The Scottish Prison Service, Scottish Court Service and Accountant in Bankruptcy are Executive Agencies of the portfolio and central to delivering our priorities.

SUMMARY OF KEY SPENDING PRIORITIES FOR JUSTICE PORTFOLIO

The Justice portfolio is responsible for public spending totalling over £1 billion a year to safeguard society from harm and to ensure effective justice for all. This total includes several large blocks of expenditure that support the Police, Prison Service, Fire and Rescue Services, Legal Aid, the Court Service and charities regulation.

Chapters 17 and 27 set out the local government responsibilities for delivering national priorities and services relevant to the Justice portfolio through building communities, and tackling crime and antisocial behaviour including, in particular:

  • making an additional 1,000 police officers available in our communities through increased recruitment, improved retention and redeployment - as part of that, we will invest £13.5m/£18.0m/£22.5m in recruiting an additional 500 police officers by 2011.

The key priorities for the portfolio for 2008-09 to 2010-11 are briefly described below. More detail about spending plans is given in table 13.01 and in chapter 23.

Putting the right facilities and equipment in place

  • An additional £12.8m/£21.0m/£29.2m for capital investment to support the ongoing development and modernisation of the Scottish Prison Service - this includes the eradication of the practice of slopping-out by replacing HMP Peterhead and HMP Aberdeen with a new prison; a new prison at Bishopbriggs; and replacement of prisons and facilities which are unfit for purpose;
  • an additional £33.8m/£9.7m/£7.5m to deliver Firelink, a modern digital radio communication system for our fire and rescue services. Firelink will provide enhanced resilience and better communication between individual fire and rescue services and will help our blue light services work together better; and
  • providing funds to the courts to create fit-for-purpose facilities for court users, improve service delivery and increase access to justice.

Improving services to protect and serve the public

  • £29.5m/£32.0m/£32.8m to deliver better drug treatment and support services to reduce harm and promote recovery from drug addiction;
  • £167.2m/£170.7m/£173.0m for legal aid, which, alongside substantial efficiency savings, will maintain access to justice in the context of a projected increase in serious criminal cases; and
  • £138.5m/£162.6m/£165.2m for the police (direct funding from central government in addition to funding through local authorities included within the local government settlement) to provide funding for:
  • the development of better support services for the police;
  • support for specific services, including Safety Camera Partnerships, and for the staff and support costs of the Scottish Police Federation, Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and Association of Scottish Police Superintendents;
  • other specific payments to police authorities, including for various security measures;
  • payments for services provided on a GB basis ( e.g. National Police Improvement Agency and Serious and Organised Crime Agency); and
  • the work of the Scottish Police Services Authority in areas such as training, IT development and criminal records.

Improving public confidence in a flourishing charity sector

  • £3.6m/£3.7m/£3.7m for the Office of the Charity Regulator ( OSCR), whose responsibilities include increasing public confidence in charities and improving their transparency and public accountability; and working with others to reduce the burden of regulation on charities.

Table 13.01 Spending Plans 2008-11

2008-09 Draft Budget £m

2009-10 Plans £m

2010-11 Plans £m

Community Justice Services

21.1

23.2

23.2

Courts Group

44.3

46.3

48.1

Criminal Injuries Compensation

28.5

28.5

28.5

Fire Central Government

41.3

17.2

15.0

Legal Aid

167.2

170.7

173.0

Police Central Government

138.5

162.6

165.2

Safer Communities

32.3

34.8

35.6

Accountant in Bankruptcy

6.9

7.0

7.0

Scottish Court Service

81.3

92.9

95.3

Scottish Prison Service

443.3

464.7

480.8

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

3.6

3.7

3.7

Miscellaneous

33.0

34.2

34.9

Total

1,041.3

1,085.8

1,110.3