Scottish Executive Justice Department
Circular No 8/2000
Directors of Social Work / Chief Social Work Officers
Dear Sir / Madam
DISCLOSURE TO THE EMPLOYMENT SERVICE OF RECOMMENDED RESTRICTIONS TO BE PLACED ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS OFFENDERS
1. This circular notifies Directors of Social Work / Chief Social Work Officers of the process to be followed to inform Employment Services of recommended restrictions on the type of employment offered to potentially dangerous offenders.
2. The Scottish Framework Document to Assist in the Development of Local Agreements to improve the Employment Prospects of Offenders was formally launched on 10 May. This document sets out a national framework to support the development of local collaborative arrangements to be established between statutory and voluntary agencies in this area of work. The overall aim is to assist unemployed offenders back into work or into a suitable training or educational opportunity.
3. Section 4 of the Framework Document notes that amongst those leaving custody or those serving sentences in the community are small numbers of offenders who may present a risk to staff of other agencies or, through inappropriate employment and training placement, to the wider community. To minimise the potential risks this group might present in the employment field, the statutory agencies of the Criminal Justice System, the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency are committed to the development of arrangements for the exchange of information for those offenders assessed as presenting the greatest risks.
4. To this end, it has been agreed that the Employment Service should be made aware of any type" of employment considered inappropriate for a particular potentially dangerous offender to undertake. The Employment Service have established systems to allow secure retention of any information passed on by local authority social work services. It does not, however, wish to hold details of the offence(s) in question. That is not necessary for its primary duty to find suitable work for the offender. Their requirement is to be advised on the basis of a risk assessment of any recommendations on restrictions on types of employment and/or training opportunities.
An obvious example would be of a child sex offender not being offered work with children, but others might, for example, be serial rapists whose offending pattern is to offend against women during the hours of darkness not being offered night work. A pro forma is attached for use in all cases when notifying the Employment Service of restrictions to be placed on the employment of potentially dangerous offenders
5. It is important that any decision to notify the Employment Service about restrictions to be placed on the employment of a potentially dangerous offender is made on a case by case basis aligned to assessed risk and is justifiable on the grounds of public safety. It is anticipated that the number of occasions this type of notification will be needed will be relatively few in number. Any employment restrictions should be kept under regular review and should be withdrawn immediately they are no longer justifiable.
6. The decision to place restrictions on the employment of offenders should be made as part of the risk assessment carried out by local authority criminal justice social work services as part of the supervision planning process. However, information should not be passed to the Employment Services without the offender's consent. Where a risk assessment on an offender suggests the possibility of continuing significant risk, the offender's consent should be sought for any employment aspects of the assessment to be disclosed to the Employment Services. If the offender's signed consent is obtained, the Employment Services should be advised at the earliest opportunity. Policy in respect of the disclosure of such information where the offender is unwilling to give their consent is currently being progressed and details will be provided at a later date when finalised.
Cases which come to the notice of the Employment Service
7. On a relatively regular basis, offenders come to the attention of the Employment Service through voluntary disclosure to Employment Service Personal Advisers about their history of sex offending. Employment Service staff will now be instructed, subject to the offender's consent, to contact the local authority criminal justice social work service's liaison officer, identified under the local protocols, established under the Framework Document. It is recognised that, on occasion, some offenders may not be under statutory supervision of the local authority criminal justice social work service, but it is hoped that services will be able to offer general advice and guidance and, where appropriate, consider what further advice or action may be necessary. The need to obtain the consent of the offender remains relevant under these circumstances.
8. Enquiries about this circular should be addressed to Mr Brian Cole, Justice Department,
Adult Offenders & Victims' Issues Division, F-Spur, Saughton House, Edinburgh EHll 3XD
MRS ELIZABETH CARMICHAEL