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Future Model for Community Justice in Scotland

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Chapter 1 - Introduction

Purpose of this document

1. This consultation document invites you to offer your views on the details of the proposed new model for community justice in Scotland.

2. The document is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 - Overview of the new model for community justice in Scotland;
  • Chapter 3 - Governance and accountability for the new model;
  • Chapter 4 - Local arrangements;
  • Chapter 5 - Outcomes, performance and improvement;
  • Chapter 6 - Functions of Community Justice Improvement Scotland;
  • Chapter 7 - Structure of Community Justice Improvement Scotland;
  • Chapter 8 - Composition of the Board for Community Justice Improvement Scotland;
  • Chapter 9 - National hub for community justice innovation, learning and development;
  • Chapter 10 - Transition arrangements - from existing structures to the new model;
  • Chapter 11 - Funding the model for community justice in Scotland;

3. Chapters 12 and 13 cover the equalities impact assessment and business regulatory impact assessment. Chapter 14 provides details on how to respond. Consultation questions are set out in the relevant chapters and are repeated in Annex B.

4. For the purposes of this paper, we are using the following definition of community justice in Scotland:

  • The collection of agencies and services in Scotland that individually and in partnership work to manage offenders, prevent offending and reduce reoffending and the harm that it causes, to promote social inclusion, citizenship and desistance1.

5. The new arrangements for community justice are designed to ensure the effective delivery of improved outcomes for offenders and communities. The following pages describe what we expect the new model will look like. Some of the changes will require legislative change. The Redesign of Community Justice Project has been established, under the Reducing Reoffending Programme Phase 2 (RRP2)2, to take this work forward.

Background

6. Positive progress has been made in building safer and stronger communities in Scotland in recent years. Reoffending rates are at their lowest in over a decade; recorded crime has fallen by 35% since 2006-07; illegal drug use in the general adult population has declined by more than a fifth since 2006; and there were 190,000 fewer victims of crime in 2012-13 than in 20063.

7. The Scottish Government's vision for a safer, fairer and stronger Scotland is set out in the Strategy for Justice in Scotland4. This provides a framework, consistent with the Scottish Government's purpose and National Performance Framework, to guide everyone working in the justice system to align their efforts to make a real difference to our society and economy.

8. Tackling reoffending is a key element of our justice strategy. Reoffending creates victims, damages communities and wastes potential. The Scottish Government wants to minimise reoffending and deliver better outcomes for everyone.

9. Although there has been progress, there remains much work to be done. Offending is a complex problem and there are well established links between persistent offending and poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental illness. The whole of the public sector also faces unprecedented financial challenges. This makes it imperative that the Scottish Government now looks at how all public services, including those for community justice, are planned, designed, evaluated and delivered to create more equal access, improve outcomes and make the best use of public resources.

10. The Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services5 ("Christie Commission") argued for a radical change in the design and delivery of public services to address the intense pressures on budgets and tackle Scotland's deep-rooted social problems. The priorities identified by the Commission included:

  • Recognising that effective services must be designed with and for people and communities - not delivered 'top down' for administrative convenience;
  • Working closely with individuals and communities to understand their needs, maximise talents and resources, support self-reliance, and build resilience;
  • Concentrating the efforts of all services on delivering integrated services that deliver results;
  • Prioritising preventative measures to reduce demand and lessen inequalities;
  • Tightening oversight and accountability of public services, introducing consistent data-gathering and performance comparators, to improve services; and
  • Driving continuing reform across all public services based on outcomes, improved performance and cost reduction.

11. Changes are already afoot across the public sector to address these priorities. The Scottish Government has embarked on a public service reform programme and our reform approach is based on four pillars:

  • a decisive shift towards prevention;
  • greater integration and collaboration between public services at a local level;
  • greater investment in workforce development and leadership; and
  • a sharp focus on improving performance.6

12. Two examples of public sector reform are particularly relevant to those working on reducing reoffending. First, the Scottish Government plans to integrate health and social care to improve the quality and consistency of adult care. For the first time, health boards and local authorities will be jointly and equally responsible for the delivery of nationally agreed outcomes (through new Health and Social Care Partnerships). Criminal justice social work may be included in such local arrangements.

13. The second is on-going work to strengthen community planning in Scotland. A shared Statement of Ambition which Scottish Government and COSLA published in March 2012 following a review of Community Planning, states that:

"Effective community planning arrangements will be at the core of public service reform. They will drive the pace of service integration, increase the focus on prevention and secure continuous improvement in public service delivery, in order to achieve better outcomes for communities7."

14. Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) have since produced new Single Outcome Agreements and related development plans, which Ministers and Council Leaders signed off in Summer 2013. The forthcoming Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill will introduce proposals designed to strengthen community planning, by placing new duties on public sector partners to play a full and active role in CPPs and to deliver outcomes for communities through effective integrated working. These community planning arrangements will provide an environment within which local partners can work closely to strengthen community justice, including making the cross-cutting links to how offending connects to prevention planning.

15. The Scottish Government carried out a consultation (Redesigning the community justice system: A consultation on proposals) in 2013 following a series of reports which highlighted serious shortcomings in the existing system for delivering offender services in the community. In November 2012 Audit Scotland published a report on reducing reoffending which found that there are many bodies involved in reducing reoffending with "different governance and accountability arrangements and geographic boundaries, resulting in a complex landscape". It acknowledged that Community Justice Authorities (CJAs) have "made progress in bringing people together but have had little impact on reducing reoffending" and commented that "the way they were set up and inflexible funding have significantly limited their effectiveness".

16. Earlier in 2012, the Commission on Women Offenders concluded that "there still exist inherent barriers in the structural and funding systems for criminal justice social work, and working practices which inhibit greatly the potential to reduce reoffending" and that "radical transformation is required". Responding to the Commission8, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice said that the status quo was untenable.

17. Between December 2012 and April 2013, the Scottish Government consulted on options for redesigning community justice. Thirteen stakeholder events were held around Scotland and attended by over 550 people. Written responses were also invited and a total of 112 were received. None of the three options as outlined in the consultation paper attracted significant support at the consultation events. Elements of each option gained support from respondents.

18. The Scottish Government published its response to the consultation on 16 December 20139. The response outlined the skeleton of the new model and was developed with support from COSLA, ADSW and SOLACE. The response also stated that a further consultation would take place to give stakeholders, practitioners and members of the public the opportunity to comment on, and contribute to the development of, the new model. This document begins that consultation.

19. There will also be opportunities for professionals, service users, victims and members of the public to attend consultation workshops. More detail on how to respond to the consultation paper and participate in the consultation events is in Chapter 14.

20. This consultation is about services for people aged 16 and over who are dealt with under the Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1995. The Children's Hearing System deals with the vast majority of children and young people under 16, and in some cases under 18, who commit offences or who are in need of care and protection. The new model deals primarily with people already in the criminal justice system.

21. The consultation will last until 02 July 2014. The new model for community justice is unlikely to be fully implemented until during 2016-17. The current arrangements, including Community Justice Authorities will remain in place until full implementation is complete. An indicative timetable is shown below.

Figure 1: Indicative timetable for the future model for community justice

Figure 1: Indicative timetable for the future model for community justice