Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR)


The Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) was set up in 2012.

It is sponsored by the Scottish Government, and its purpose is to: support desistance by providing approval and advice, setting standards and promoting excellence in programmes, interventions and processes aimed at rehabilitating people who have offended and by encouraging properly evaluated innovation.

It replaced the previous Scottish Accreditation Panel for Offender Programmes.

Its key functions include:

  • advising those developing rehabilitative programmes for individuals in the community and/or a prison environnment
  • accreditation of structured group-based offender programmes

A key priority for SAPOR in 2020 is to develop a third function: to endorse. This is intended to provide a hallmark of good practice for community justice initiatives and interventions which promote rehabilitation and support desistance but which are not in the form of a programme and so would not be applicable for accreditation. This function will encourage good practice, allowing it to be recognised and shared more widely within community settings.

Current accredited programmes

The Youth Justice Programme 

The Youth Justice Programme (YJP) is aimed at all young people aged 16 to 23 with a history of offending. The programme was developed by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and has been initially delivered with young men in HMYOI Polmont.

The YJP is designed to address underlying reasons for offending, with the overall aim to reduce recidivism by promoting pro-social life choices. Current accreditation of the YJP runs to September 2021.

Constructs: Steps towards a Positive Life

Constructs: Steps towards a Positive Life is a group-based programme designed for adults and young people (18 to 21 years) of either gender. The programme targets those convicted of general offending – it does not target violent or sexual offending – with a specific focus on enhancing problem solving skills. The programme was developed by the Scotish Prison Service and was accredited in March 2017 for a period of five years.

The Discovery: Finding New Me Programme

The Discovery: Finding New Me Programmeis a moderate intensity intervention designed to reduce aggression by those who have problems in the emotional, cognitive or inter-personal domains. The programme works to assess, formulate and provide strategies to manage each participant’s aggression related needs within the context of an attuned therapeutic group environment. The programme was developed by SPS and was accredited in December 2017 for a period of five years.

The Caledonian System

The Caledonian System, an integrated approach to address domestic abuse and improve the lives of women, children and men. This community based intervention comprises a two year programme for adult men who have committed domestic abuse offences and services to women partners/ex-partners and children of programme participants. Inter-agency protocols for joint working also form a key part of this intervention. The programme was accredited in December 2017 for a period of five years. 

There are plans to bring forward other programmes for accreditation in the future.


  • Professor Elizabeth Gilchrist (chair)
  • Dr Trish McCulloch
  • Yvonne Robson
  • Dr Beth Weaver
  • Professor Erica Bowen
  • Michele Gilluley



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