Independent Review of the Victim Notification Scheme


The Victim Notification Scheme (VNS) enables eligible victims to receive certain information about the release of a prisoner. 

In some cases, a victim also has the right to

  • be told when the prisoner is considered for parole
  • make representations about their release

The VNS was established in 2004 under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. That Act has since been changed to expand the scope of the scheme.  

This has included changes which have created a separate Victim Notification Scheme for victims of offenders with a mental disorder.   

However, the Scottish Government understands that victims and victim support organisations have some concerns about the VNS. We want to make sure that the scheme works well and is serving victims effectively. 

In March 2022 the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans appointed Alastair MacDonald and Fiona Young to conduct an independent review of the VNS, including the separate scheme for victims of offenders with a mental disorder.

The review was launched in April 2022 and should run for around a year. The review will take evidence from voluntary support organisations, people with experience of the system and the statutory organisations with responsibility for administering the scheme. The review team would also welcome comments from the general public. If you would like to contribute to the review, please use the contact details to the right to get in touch.

The Scottish Government welcomes the independent review. We are committed to supporting its work in the coming year and beyond.


  • Chair – Alastair MacDonald
  • Vice-Chair – Fiona Young
  • Secretariat – Sarah Meanley and Freya Gillon (Scottish Government)


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