Alternatives to Remand: Examples of good practice
(See also Guidance on Alternatives to Secure Care and Custody  )
Intensive Support and Monitoring Service: Alternative to Remand
Intensive Support and Monitoring Service ( ISMS): Alternative to Remand ( ATR) was designed to tackle the ever increasing numbers of young people remanded to secure accommodation. The service works with young people under 18 for whom the Procurator Fiscal is opposing Bail. An Interim Evaluation  published by Glasgow City Council Youth Justice team in April 2010 looked at the throughput, processes and early outcomes from the service in order to provide decision-makers with as much information as possible about ISMS ATR in Glasgow to date. The report found that "the ISMS ATR scheme has made demonstrable progress in relation to costs efficiencies and reduced offending and has achieved considerable success in a short period of time.
Supervised Bail Service
SACRO's Bail Supervision Services operate in Glasgow  to prevent unnecessary custodial remands and re-offending on bail by providing supervision and monitoring (including tagging in some areas) as well as support and accommodation (as necessary). These services provide courts with an effective alternative to remand, allowing the young person to remain in the community while undertaking offending behaviour work, and having access to other services at an early stage.
The Glasgow Court Bail Information and Supervision Service provides a range of information including information on accommodation and supervision to enable the courts to provide the widest choice of sentencing options in order that the appropriate use of bail is maximised. The bail service is provided through designated bail officers attached to the court social work unit.
Bail Information: Information is gathered and verified which may assist the court in reaching a decision to grant bail. The type of information the bail officer can verify includes:
- Health issues
- Response to current social work supervision
- Community and family support
Where immediate assistance can be provided to address a positive obstacle to bail - such as homelessness, or an alternative address being required - staff provide this service. The bail officer provides a brief report of verified information to the procurator fiscal, with copies for the sheriff/magistrate and the defence agent.
Bail Supervision: This element of the service provides an alternative to custodial remand in appropriate cases by providing monitoring and supervision in the community. This involves supervision interviews three times per week. Compliance expectations are high, with immediate breach without warning for any incident of non-compliance. In many cases, bail supervision allows the opportunity to provide support and information in a range of areas that may have contributed to the bailee's offending behaviour, for example:
- Educational opportunities
Bail Accommodation: In suitably assessed cases, bail accommodation can be offered to the court as an alternative to remand. This includes accommodation in a 24 hour staffed registered hostel, as well as bed-sit accommodation (priority target: women and young offenders). Visiting support and supervision can also be offered to individuals in their own home, with random visits as part of a curfew arrangement.
Bail Review and Appeal: As part of this extension of service, packages of support and supervision can be offered in respect of persons who have been remanded in custody, to enable the court to review whether bail could be substituted.
Bail Curfew Service
The Bail Curfew Service  reduces the likelihood of individuals being held on remand by allowing them to remain in the community, subject to controlled conditions. The service provides the courts with an additional safeguard to the Supervised Bail Service. It places a restriction on the young person whereby they must be in their identified accommodation within times specified by the court.
Alternative Options to Secure/Remand
In North Ayrshire, Court Social Work liaise with various agencies, including statutory Social Work Teams, to obtain as much information as possible for bail/remand decisions and Court Notes have proved to be an excellent way of doing this. See Guidance Note and pro formas below. In relation to Criminal Justice Social Work Reports, these are now compiled in conjunction with all professionals involved in the young person's life. This includes discussion at the local 'Area Resource Group' where the action plan is agreed. Action Plans are an integral part of the report and should always reflect the risk of harm and re-offending.
In relation to sentencing options, Action Plans can be tailored to interventions in all sentences including remit to panel, SDS and Probation. High risk action plans can be incorporated into Supervised Release Orders etc. a multi-agency approach with strong communication has proved to have good outcome for young people in the Criminal Justice System.
'Alternative to Care' (West Dunbartonshire Council)
This is an informal arrangement which includes more than just alternatives to secure, for example alternatives to remand. Usually they have a worker based in court or the young person social worker will alert the team to the fact that the young person will be in court. They contact the Procurator Fiscal to check whether bail will be opposed. If so, they will then contact the reporter to check whether they have any background information (welfare, family dynamics). Depending on the case, with the reporter, they will meet with the PF with all relevant information and offer to put a support package (similar to ISMS - they link to Up-2-Us to provide this ) in place. This is sometimes enough to persuade the PF and court that Bail can be granted. Quite a bit of the co-operation has been based on relationship building.
Turnaround is a Criminal Justice Service offering a unique service to young men aged 16 - 30 whose offending is persistent, high volume, low tariff and who are failing in other community based alternatives, or who have had multiple remand or short term prison sentences. Priority is given to those individuals who may be vulnerable due to substance misuse, mental health issues, homelessness, lack of coping/social skills etc.
The Service has 4 community bases and a short stay unit serving north Strathclyde and South West Scotland Community Justice Authority areas. They can offer supervised bail, alternatives to custody, or interventions complementary to court- imposed orders such as probation or the community payback order.
The service offers a needs-led mix of flexible support and structured programmes designed to local need in a multi-area service.
North and South Lanarkshire Bail Service
The Bail Supervision Scheme in Scotland is designed to minimise the numbers of accused held on remand pending trial or for reports after conviction who, given due regard to issues of community safety, could be released on bail pending a further Court hearing.
Aims of the Lanarkshire service
- To provide Supervised Bail Services to Hamilton, Lanark and Airdrie Sheriff Courts for people living in the North and South Lanarkshire area.
- To extend the bail options open to the Court by offering a Supervised Bail Service.
- To contribute to the Community Safety Agenda by constructively addressing the risk of re-offending by people on bail.
- To provide assessment and case management services to all Lanarkshire Courts.
- To provide the Court with an assessment of suitability for supervised bail within one working day.
- To provide the Court with an initial appointment for the first working day after the imposition of a Bail Supervision Order
- To monitor the bailee's adherence to the conditions of the Supervised Bail Order
- To offer one to one support and/or referral to relevant agencies in order to reduce the likelihood of further offending
- To offer support to the bailee to attend all Court appearances and interviews to prepare reports.
- To provide the Court with a progress report detailing the bailee's adherence to the Order and their uptake of support
- To inform the police and submit a report within 24 hours if the conditions of bail are breached.
- To contribute towards community safety and child protection through inter-agency collaboration.
Bail Supervision Service will be made available to individuals appearing on both summary and solemn procedures who are resident in the Lanarkshire area. Whilst the Bail Supervision Service is available to any accused person who meets the criteria, priority will be given to the following groups:
- Those with mental health problems
- All female accused
- Single parents
- Individuals affected by substance misuse
- Young people, aged between 16 and 21
- All those of no fixed abode
- Individuals who would suffer extreme difficulties if remanded to custody
It is further recognised that there may be accused who, due to the nature of the offences and public safety issues, would not be considered appropriate candidates for bail supervision.
Those who are dealt with under solemn procedure can be subject to supervision for up to one year. In summary cases this period is reduced to three to six months approximately. For those bailed for the preparation of criminal justice social work reports, the period can be as short as three weeks. All time periods are subject to the discretion of the Court.
The processing of referrals, assessments and case management services will be the responsibility of the Court Social Work Team.
Referrals for assessment for the Bail Supervision Service can be made by judges, Procurators Fiscal, defence agents and Social Work via defence agents. It is important that referrals to the Court Social Work Team are made as early as possible in the day to ensure that assessment can be completed prior to the beginning of the Custody Court. There may be occasions, due to time constraints, when the case may require to be continued overnight for a comprehensive assessment to be completed. It is envisaged that all referrals will be dealt with within one working day. The Court Social Work Team will provide a Bail Supervision Assessment Report to the Fiscal, defence agent and Sheriff Clerk. If the person is assessed as a suitable candidate for bail supervision, a provisional first appointment for the next working day will be attached to the report along with a copy of the bail supervision conditions, signed by the accused.
It is envisaged that suitability assessments for a Bail Supervision Order will be compiled by all staff members of the Court Social Work Team. When a referral has been received by the Court Social Work Team, the accused person will be interviewed in the cell as a matter of urgency. In all cases the assessment will include the following if known:
- Nature of the charges
- Any outstanding matters, including breaches of bail
- Previous failure to appear/absconding
- Previous offending
- Previous response to supervision
- Public safety
- Witness safety
- A clear recommendation with regards to suitability for a Bail Supervision Order or otherwise.
Once granted bail supervision by the Court, the bailee is seen by the Court Social Work staff who will confirm the reporting instructions and the service delivery agreement, copies of which will be given to the accused. The consequences of any form of non-compliance will also be explained during this meeting.
Thereafter the bailee is expected to keep required contact with the Bail Officer in accordance with the conditions of his/ her Bail Order. Contact for summary matters will be at least twice weekly and, for those who are dealt with under solemn procedure, the contact will be at least three times per week. One of the weekly contacts will be a home visit undertaken by the bail officer and another witness.
Some flexibility in respect of appointment times and location is shown when arranging appointments for clients who are employed or where geographical location makes office reporting impractical. Similar flexibility is shown in the latter stages of solemn cases.
Support to Accused / Case Management
Each person made subject to a Bail Supervision Order will have a designated Bail Officer for the extent of an Order and this worker will be responsible for case management duties and individual work to address the identified needs of the client. The Bail Officer will offer assessment of the client's needs in relation to:
- Education and training
- Family and peer support
- Use of leisure time
- Avoiding further trouble
Although some of these needs may be met by one to one work with the supervising Bail Officer, the bailee will usually be offered assistance to access the appropriate community resources.
Case records are kept on every client contain the following information:
- Supporting documentation
- Signed conditions of bail supervision stating the approved address
- Witnessed contact sheets for each visit (at the office or client's home)
- Supervising Bail Officer session notes
- Court reports
- Non compliance documentation
Case records will be:
- Up to date in line with departmental electronic case recording policies and procedures
- Signed by worker.
The client must adhere to the conditions until the Bail Order is removed by the Court. A Progress Report will be prepared by the Court Social Work staff for the intermediate diet/trial diet and will be provided to the Court as and when requested. A Completion Report will also be provided by a Bail Officer at the point of sentencing.
Non-Compliance with Bail Conditions
As the Bail Supervision Scheme has to be shown as a direct alternative to a custodial remand, action regarding discipline is consistent and robust. Failure to meet the reporting conditions of the Order will result in a Breach Report being prepared by the Bail Officer and sent to the police with copies to Procurator Fiscal. The only reason for non compliance which is considered acceptable by the Lanarkshire Bail Supervision Service is a medical certificate, issued for the day of the missed appointment, providing the illness is considered an emergency. Repeated submission of medical certificates for ill health will not be deemed acceptable.
The Bail Supervision Service aims to supervise 50 orders per year. The number of open cases at any one time should not exceed 18.
Service Delivery Procedures
At the start of each day, the Bail Officer has available a copy of the custody list, which will give information regarding the nature of the offence and some information of the accused.
The Procurator Fiscal makes contact with Court Social Work to advise which cases are bail-opposed but might be suitable for release on supervised bail.
Social Work undertakes checks in the SWIS system to identify whether the accused is known and are currently an open case. Where there is already a Social Work service offered, the allocated worker is contacted and, where possible, the case is discussed with them. Housing Services may also be contacted for checks on the person's position with regard to accommodation.
When an accused person has been identified as fitting the criteria for bail supervision, an initial assessment is carried out by personal interview and follows the procedure laid down in the Assessment Proforma. The terms and requirements of a Bail Supervision Order are also explained as well as the procedures that are followed and the consequences for the person in the event of non-compliance. The accused is also asked to sign a Consent to Share Information form.
Following the initial assessment, the Court Social Worker compiles a Bail Supervision Assessment Report (template js201), copies of which are given to the Fiscal, defence agent and Sheriff Clerk, and this indicates whether the accused is suitable for Bail Supervision and whether a place on the Bail Supervision Scheme can be offered.
If the Assessment Report indicates the person is suitable for supervised bail, a copy of reporting instructions (template js203) for the next day signed by the assessor and the accused is attached to the assessment report and a signed copy of the conditions of the bail order indicating that the accused has understood and agrees to keep to the requirements of an such an order (template js202).
The above assessment procedures also apply where a request for a bail supervision assessment has been requested by the Sheriff or defence agents.
For every Bail Supervision assessment completed, the Bail Supervision worker submits a signed copy of the report and a completed monitoring form (template js218) to the Court Admin.
Should the accused be placed on a Bail Supervision Order, an additional condition is added to the Bail Order that "The accused must conform to the directions of the Bail Supervision Officer" The understanding is that, unless this is added to the Bail Order, then it is incomplete and would be incompetent in terms of a breach.
The first contact after the accused is placed on Bail Supervision is within one working day. At this meeting, a fuller assessment is undertaken and issues affecting the accused are identified. From this, an individual plan is established and referrals made to other agencies, where appropriate, to address specific issues.
Thereafter, office meetings and home visits will be established in line with the requirements of the Order and contact made with any agencies involved to check on the person's progress. At the end of each meeting, the next appointment will be arranged and the date, time and place of the meeting agreed with the supervisee and noted on a contact sheet (template js217) which is signed by the both parties and a witness if a third party is present. This is kept in the case file. The bailee will then be given an appointment card detailing this information.
The content of supervision will follow the agreed action plan and regular and consistent contact will be made with other professionals involved in the case either to keep them informed of progress or to check on the bailee's level of cooperation with their service.
Every bail supervision case which is of three months duration or longer will be subject to an internal review involving the bailee, the Bail Supervision officer and the Team Leader unless other formal reviews ( e.g. Probation) take place which the bail officer attends and for which a minute is circulated.
In the event that the bailee fails to keep an appointment, a letter (template js216) is hand delivered to his/her home the same day advising that contact must be made within 24 hours of the time of the failed appointment to explain the absence otherwise breach proceedings will be instigated.
If the bailee makes contact and gives a reasonable and acceptable excuse for non-attendance, a further appointment is issued. It is emphasised that further non-compliance will result in breach. If the reason for absence is not acceptable the person is advised that the Order will be breached.
For every Court appearance after the imposition of a bail supervision order, a Progress Report is submitted. This should be a concise and accurate overview of the person's response to the services in place and an indication of the benefits of continuing the bail supervision order. Should the bailee appear from custody, a progress report is submitted where possible or, alternatively, a verbal report is made to the Court by a member of the Court Social Work Team.
Where there is a further hearing for the matter for which the person was given bail supervision, it is appropriate to indicate to the Court that, since all the necessary services are in place and being utilised by the bailee, a standard bail requirement might be considered.
Progress reports are submitted the Court the day before the Court appearance.
A signed copy of the Progress Report is submitted to Court Admin along with a completed monitoring form (template j218)
As Bail Supervision is a direct alternative to a custodial remand, it is necessary to build the confidence of the public and of the courts by ensuring that procedures are in place to effect speedy action regarding breaches of the Bail Supervision Order.
A procedure of breach procedures has been agreed between the Procurator Fiscal and Police regarding the non compliance of the accused whilst on Bail Supervision.
When the accused fails to attend an appointment a Breach Report (Template js213) is completed and taken directly to the local police office. Attached to the report are copies of the Bail Order, Reporting Instructions (js203) and Appointment Sheet (js217).
A copy of the breach of bail paperwork is also sent with a letter to the Fiscal so that they can retain this with the paperwork of the accused.
If mitigating circumstances become known, these can be taken into account and the breach of bail rescinded. Should there be the need to rescind the breach of bail, the Bail Officer writes to the appropriate police division informing them that the breach of bail has been rescinded. This happens in very exceptional circumstances and only if it is warranted.
The police inform Social Work by telephone when a breached person has been apprehended and this information is recorded on social work records (for SLC) and by letter to the appropriate senior social worker in NLC.
Where a further offence is committed and the person is remanded in custody, this is automatically a breach of bail and, therefore, no breach report is required. A letter (template js214) is submitted to the Sheriff Clerk's office advising of the offence and asking the Court to rescind the Bail Supervision Order.
Where the person commits a further offence and remains in the community, bail supervision continues and no formal action is required.