Assisting young people aged 16 and 17 in court

A toolkit for local authorities, the judiciary, court staff, police, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and service providers.

Appendix 6

Judicially Led Implementation Group

Where one does not exist, a multi agency group should be established under the governance of a sheriff, which falls within the remit of local criminal justice board, i.e. judiciary, prosecution, police, court service, and community justice authority / social work. The implementation group should be responsible for ensuring effective co-ordination of key players through regular meetings, awareness raising, and the drafting of operational protocols where required. Operational aspects may be taken forward by sub-groups reporting to the implementation group, and it may be appropriate to co-opt on to such sub-groups representatives from Education, Health, Anti-social Behaviour, Reporter to the Children's Hearing, SACRO, other relevant voluntary and charitable intervention bodies, and the local Bar Association. It may be considered appropriate to use an existing Summary Justice Reform Implementation Group for these purposes.

The implementation group should set agreed objectives, which are owned by all those involved in working with young people involved in court processes, in order to ensure a firm foundation for operational arrangements. These objectives should include those listed at section 2 above. The group should also put in place procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of the approach adopted. Such evaluation should monitor whether key stakeholders are meeting agreed protocols and procedures, and identify reasons for any failures. In doing so it may be necessary to examine whether all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that appropriate early interventions are being made (section 2.2 refers).

It is necessary to ensure that any agreed local procedures for handling cases are consistent with the developing field of youth justice practice, changing legislation, and government policy. In order to take forward these features in light of changing approaches to young people's services and to justice, the group will wish to ensure that a distinctive range of services are developed and made available to young people. These will include:

  • bail support (including intensive bail support packages) as an alternative to remand in Custody,
  • services provided to young people subject to structured deferred sentences;
  • services provided to young people subject to Court Orders ( e.g. Probation or Community Payback Orders); and
  • The group will also wish to examine the scope for promotion of the disposal to remit to the Children's Hearing for young people under 18 (see section 4.7)

In the case of all these service packages the leading principle is that services are made available when needed, not delayed due to process having to be completed to put the service in place.

The implementation group or local criminal justice board may wish to consider how best to take forward the issues identified in the report, including:

  • Whether the undertaking procedure can be used for all appropriate summary cases involving16 and 17 year olds (section;
  • Within what timescale police reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal (section;
  • Within what timescale cases will first call in court (section;
  • Whether there is a need for a formal procedure for ensuring that all outstanding charges are rolled up (section
  • What is the appropriate period between assigning a trial diet and the date assigned (section
  • How early trial diets can be accommodated within the court programme (section
  • How progress will be measured (section
  • What procedures will be put in place to ensure that young people have support when attending court (section 3.3)
  • How awareness can be raised amongst defence agents of their role (section 3.4)
  • Whether a local protocol can be developed aimed at ensuring the speedy provision of address for bail purposes (section 4.4.2)
  • Whether a protocol can be developed with local schools aimed at ensuring the speedy provision of information for bail information reports (section 4.4.2)
  • What procedure should be put in place for the provision of bail information reports, including those for petition cases (section 4.4.2)
  • How awareness can be raised of the sentencing options available locally (section 4.6)
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