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Call for Proposals - Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government

Evidence to inform the further development of policies to improve people’s experience of the Scottish justice system

Justice Analytical Services (JAS) in the Scottish Government (SG) are seeking proposals to help grow the evidence base on people’s experiences of the criminal and civil justice systems. We expect to fund several projects of up to £50,000.  Projects are expected to commence by March 2018.


Policy background

The Justice Vision and Priorities, published in July 2017 sets out the recent successes of the justice system, highlights key challenges and sets out seven priorities for 2017-2020 to help shape collective effort, inspire collaboration and frame a shared vision for the future.

This call for proposals seeks to inform work around one of the key outcomes ‘we deliver person-centred, modern and affordable services’ and also Priority 6  ‘’ we will improve the experience of victims and witnesses, minimising court attendance and supporting them to give best evidence’’.

Considerable relevant policy activity is underway within the SG Justice Directorate, including, but not limited to, the Justice Digital Strategy, the Evidence and Procedure Review and the work of the Justice Expert Group under the Equally Safe violence against women and girls strategy. The Court Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 also seek to improve the experiences of those using the courts.



The purpose of this call is (i) to ensure that SG and partners have access to the best available evidence on how we might further improve people’s experience of the justice system and (ii) to inform approaches to measuring progress on the quality of experience in the justice system.

We are interested in research and analysis which examines the end to end justice system experience – from first contact through to court disposal. This includes adult and child victims and witnesses, the accused in criminal actions and the parties in civil/family actions, including children. For avoidance of doubt, administrative justice is out of scope, as is the effectiveness of sentencing.


Who is eligible to apply

We will accept applications where the lead applicant is a Scottish Higher Education Institute (HEI). We welcome applications where practitioners are part of an HEI led team, and also applications from consortiums of UK based HEIs where the lead applicant is a Scottish HEI.


What we will fund

Large scale, primary research is outwith scope and would be tendered separately. It is anticipated that projects are likely to involve, but not be limited to:


  • evidence reviews and/or thinkpieces that offer a critical evaluation of empirical research, policy and practice, including learning from international experience;

  • small scale primary research projects using qualitative and/or quantitative methods;

  • secondary analysis of available data;

  • action research;

  • development of academic, policy and/or practitioner networks or events


The aim of all activities should be to draw out implications for policy and practice.

Current areas of particular interest are:

  • those experiencing or witnessing all forms of gender based violence;

  • those involved in family actions;

  • those users who are likely to face particular challenges within the civil and criminal justice systems, including vulnerable witnesses as defined by the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004, and other vulnerable parties in the civil/criminal justice systems;

  • improving our understanding of the most effective ways of measuring experiences of victims and witnesses and other parties going through the civil and criminal justice systems.


Application process and time scales

Applicants are invited to submit a case for support (maximum 4-5 pages A4) and to annex short CVs for each applicant. The case for support should set out:

  • the aims and objectives

  • the proposed methodology

  • a risk and ethics assessment

  • timetable and milestones

  • brief description of the experience of the applicants, their respective roles and the number of days they will be contributing to the project

  • costs (including daily rates)

  • how the findings will add to the evidence base

  • plans for dissemination


If applicable, applicants should outline any other proposed sources of funding (where more than one source of funding is being sought), or confirm where other funding sources are already in place.



The closing date for applications is Friday 15th December. Successful applicants will be informed by Friday January 12th.


Criteria for Assessment

Applications will be assessed on:

  • policy relevance and additionally

  • proposed methodology and approach

  • expected outcomes/outputs

  • experience and expertise of applicants

  • value for money

  • plans for dissemination


Project Manager

The lead analyst within Justice Analytical Services will be Debbie Headrick: Debbie.headrick@gov.scot



Any queries about the application process should be e mailed to the Justice Analysts Inbox Justice_Analysts@gov.scot with the Title ‘‘Call for Proposals’’ by Friday 24th November.  We will post all questions and answers on the Fund onto our webpages by Tuesday 28th November


Justice Analytical Services

27th October 2017