We thank all those who responded to the consultation on the future model for community justice in Scotland. This paper represents the Scottish Government response and should be read in conjunction with the document “Future Model for Community Justice in Scotland: Frequently Asked Questions”.
In designing the Future Model for Community Justice in Scotland, the Scottish Government sought to address the issues raised in 2012 by the Commission on Women Offenders and Audit Scotland. The approach to redesign has, therefore, centred around: improved leadership and collaboration; evidencing and delivering improved outcomes; increasing prevention; and learning and workforce development.
To provide the strategic vision for community justice in Scotland, a national strategy will be developed with local government and key partners and in consultation with stakeholders. The aim is to deliver against a set of long term outcomes around reducing reoffending; increasing positive citizenship; increasing public safety; increasing public reassurance; reducing costs and reducing stigma.
The new model delivers a community solution to the achievement of improved outcomes for community justice; to the problem of reoffending and the task of offender management, building upon investment made by the Scottish Government and Local Government in community planning and utilising strengthened provisions expected under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. As we are empowering communities, so too are we empowering the individuals and organisations who work towards improved outcomes for community justice.
The model emphasises that a strategic approach can be taken at a national, regional or local level.
Local strategic planning and delivery of services through Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) is central to the new arrangements. With this emphasis upon collective responsibility through a partnership approach we are placing decision-making into the hands of local people and agencies who know their communities best, understand the problems that are unique to their region, and will be most affected by community justice issues that relate to both victims and offenders.
It is imperative that this be driven at a local level. However, to provide leadership, enhanced opportunities for innovation, learning and development and to provide assurance on the delivery of improved outcomes, a new national body – called Community Justice Scotland – will be established. Community Justice Scotland will have a non-hierarchical relationship with CPPs and their partners.
In addition, the formation of Community Justice Scotland will provide further opportunities to commission services strategically as well as taking on some of the operational work currently undertaken at a Scottish Government level. The establishment of a Hub for innovation, learning and development within the body will provide the community justice workforce and community justice itself with the profile and identity it deserves, together with evidence of what works to inform commissioning, and practice and partnership standards.
The model will be defined by a performance culture through the establishment of an outcomes, performance and improvement framework against which local partnerships can plan and report. This will provide real opportunities to monitor progress, drive improvement, offer consistency and link decisions and actions to analysis of need and what works, leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness.
One of the many benefits of the model is the elements of continuity that it offers:
• Local partnership arrangements will build upon existing capabilities under CPPs;
• Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) will continue to be managed and delivered at a local level;
• The Risk Management Authority (RMA) will remain as a standalone public body, with clear links developed to Community Justice Scotland; and
• Support for national offender programmes will remain at a national level, moving to the Hub within Community Justice Scotland.
There remains much work to be done to reduce reoffending in Scotland. It is imperative, therefore, that CPPs, partners and Community Justice Authorities (CJAs) continue to work together on the planning and delivery of community justice during the transition period.
The Scottish Government will support CJAs and CPPs in their working together and during the transition. We will make available transitional funding for CPPs. These funds will support them to build their capability and capacity to work together with partners on the achievement of improved outcomes for community justice.
Timescales for the full introduction of the future model are dependent upon primary legislation . Work is already underway, particularly on supporting the CPP transition process. We anticipate that CPPs will be able to assume their responsibilities under the new model in transition from 1 April 2016, with full responsibility being conferred from 1 April 2017 once the required legislation comes into force. Community Justice Scotland will be established during the latter part of 2016/17. CJAs will be formally dis-established on 31 March 2017 with the full model coming into effect on 1 April 2017.