Community Justice Scotland

Appointments to lead new partnership approach to community justice.

A leading crime prevention expert who has led a pioneering project to steer people away from violence will spearhead a new drive to reduce reoffending across Scotland.

Karyn McCluskey, currently Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, will take up the role of Chief Executive for Community Justice Scotland next month.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson announced the appointment, as well as that of Jean Couper, who took up the post of Chair of Community Justice Scotland at the start of September.

The new organisation will formally launch in April 2017. It will develop expertise and provide advice to Ministers and local government leaders to strengthen how public services, third sector and other partners work together to prevent and reduce further offending.

Mr Matheson said:

“Our approach to community justice in Scotland signals our strong belief in reviewing how things have been done in the past, and our determination to follow the evidence of what works in turning people away from crime.

“Our Programme for Government made clear that addressing inequalities is vital to a modern Scotland, and a key part is our vision for fairer, smarter justice. That means moving towards a society where those who have been through the justice system can, having paid their debt to society, be supported to contribute to their community, pursuing their aspirations, alongside families, friends and fellow citizens.

“From next April Community Justice Scotland will be tasked with identifying and promoting best practice from the more effective approaches across the country, including to robust community sentences that make a real difference. Jean and Karyn will bring a wealth of experience to help deliver a world-leading approach to tackling crime and re-offending that builds safer, stronger, inclusive communities.”

Ms McCluskey said:

“It is a privilege to be asked to lead Community Justice Scotland, and to play a part in making Scotland a great place to live – one where everybody is able to make an active contribution to a successful society. I have great respect for the integrity, aspiration and professionalism of the staff, partners and communities across Scotland who I have worked with over the last 12 years in the prevention of offending. And I am excited about meeting the challenges ahead of us.”

Notes to editors

Jean Couper has extensive governance experience and has contributed to the efficient and accessible operation of Scotland’s justice system in senior non-executive roles. She has held a number of Board appointments in the Public, Private and Voluntary sectors and has been awarded a CBE in June 2006 for services to the administration of justice. She is a Director of Catalysts Consulting, advising public authorities and companies on matters of governance and organisation structure, strategy and performance.

  • The appointment to the position of Chair is regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland. This appointment will be for 3 years and will run from September 1st to August 31st, 2019. This appointment is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £12,000 per year for a time commitment of 4 days per month.
  • Ministerial Appointments Jean Couper is also Chairman for the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission that attracts a remuneration of £405 per day for a time commitment of 3 to 4 days per month. This appointment will conclude later this year when she completes her term of office.
  • Political Activity All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. Jean Couper has held no political activity in the last five years.

Karyn McCluskey has worked in the police for the last 21 years and is the Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. She is a member of the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance. She helped set up Medics Against Violence charity in Scotland, which attends schools to give inputs on violence reduction, injury and keeping safe. In 2009 she was seconded to the Metropolitan police to develop a violence plan. She has published work on Armed Robbery teams, Alcohol and Violence Interventions in a clinical setting and Violence Reduction. She is Non-Executive Director at Scottish Professional Football League and a board member of Simon Community Scotland tackling homelessness. The starting salary for the post of Chief Executive, is £90,000.


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