Criminal justice social work statistics: 2018-19

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The statistics report Criminal justice social work statistics in Scotland : 2018-19 has been published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. This includes information on criminal justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the people involved.

The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by 7 per cent between 2017-18 and 2018-19 to over 1,800, which was around the same as the levels in 2014-15 and 2015-16. A total of 340 bail supervision cases were commenced in 2018-19, the first rise in numbers since 2013-14 and a 26 per cent increase on 2017-18.

The number of social work orders issued and criminal justice social work reports submitted fell by 9% and 5% respectively between 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The main driver in the fall in social work orders over this period was the 8% drop in community payback orders issued, from 17,900 to 16,400. Most community payback orders included a requirement for unpaid work or other activity (73%), and 58% included offender supervision.

The successful completion rate for community payback orders was 68% in 2018-19. This rate has generally been around 70% over the last seven years and is consistently higher than the completion rates for the orders which community payback orders replaced.

Older people were more likely than younger people to successfully complete their community payback orders, with completion rates 78% for those aged over 40 and 65% for those aged 40 and under. In addition, those in employment (81%) were substantially more likely to complete than those unemployed or economically inactive (62%).

There were almost 600 drug treatment and testing orders issued in 2018-19, the highest level since 2013-14. The successful completion rate for drug treatment and testing orders was 37% in 2018-19, the lowest in the last seven years.

There were 630 fiscal work orders commenced in 2018-19, a fall of 38 per cent from 2017-18. Eighty-seven per cent of orders terminated during that year were successfully completed.


This publication is available on the Scottish Government website and contains information on criminal justice social work services and social work orders, as well as the characteristics of people involved. Information is provided for 2018-19 and, where possible, for earlier years too in order to identify longer-term trends. Tables at local authority area level, which have been updated to include 2018-19 have also been published.

Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland, and more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland – which are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – are both available on the Scottish Government website.

Figures in this publication on the number of new orders commenced are collected on a different basis from those published in the criminal proceedings bulletins. Some of these differences include:
1. The unit of analysis is cases for criminal proceedings but orders for criminal justice social work.
2. For people with a charge proved who received more than one type of disposal, criminal proceedings data classifies them under the main disposal.
3. Criminal proceedings data also classifies under the penalty of first disposal and does not reflect any subsequent changes to that disposal from, for example, an appeal or a fine default.

The report Community payback orders (CPOs) : What the unit level data tells us so far has also been published alongside this bulletin. This report produces some more in depth findings from the data up to 2017-18 and includes a number of longitudinal analyses. In addition, it looks at the crime types and reconviction rates for different types of community payback orders.


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