Bail supervision: national guidance

This document provides revised guidance for the operation of bail supervision setting out standards and expectations to support the consistent delivery of the service across Scotland.

Annex 3 Bail supervision service provision and case studies

Fife Enhanced Bail Supervision

Established in April 2021, Fife's Justice Social Work Enhanced Bail Supervision service assesses every person appearing from custody at one of the Fife Courts, with the person's consent. A report is prepared and submitted to the Sheriff detailing the areas of intervention, as well as public safety issues. Those deemed suitable may be placed on Enhanced Bail Supervision and receive tailored, person-centred practical support, as well as supervision. When a person is made subject to Enhanced Bail Supervision, they will be allocated an area worker who will make contact within one working day. This worker will undertake a further detailed assessment to pinpoint areas of intervention. Support will be offered in the person's local area (both office appointments and home visits) and can include one-to-one work, referrals to specialist agencies, and accompanying people to appointments.

Lanarkshire Bail Supervision

The Lanarkshire Supervised Bail Service aims to reduce custodial remands where appropriate, and constructively address factors that may lead to offending. The service provides reporting, monitoring, and support, with a Supervising Officer allocated who will support the person throughout the duration of their court appearances and address needs. Where additional support needs are identified, for example support with substance use recovery or mental health and health care appointments, service users are supported by a SACRO bail supervision mentor. This service supports people directly in the community using a rights and strengths based approach.

While all those at risk of being remanded in custody are viewed as potential candidates for bail supervision, particular consideration is given to those with mental health difficulties, people with sole child care responsibilities, young people aged 16-21, women in the justice system, people experiencing substance use issues, and anyone who might struggle to cope with custody.

Via an agreement made with local housing and a housing support provider, Lanarkshire's service also offers bail supervision accommodation. The accommodation, managed by Blue Triangle Housing Association, provides an intensive support service with regular face-to-face contact being made available during the day and telephone support until 11pm. This support includes independent living skills, problem solving and practical support. Allocated bail supervisors from justice social work services work closely with Blue Triangle colleagues to manage compliance with orders imposed by the court by means of close communication throughout the duration of the tenant's stay in the specialist accommodation.

Case studies

SACRO provide some useful of the positive changes that bail supervision can help to make in people's lives[29]:


"A" appeared at Sheriff Court and was placed on Bail with a condition to comply with the Bail Supervision Scheme. There were two main issues identified at the time of being placed on Bail Supervision: his misuse of drugs and the breakdown of his relationship with his partner and his son.

"A" made good progress while on Bail Supervision. He was assessed for a drug rehabilitation place and was successful, completing an eight-week residential placement which he found difficult but understood was his best chance to turn his life around. While there, his bail appointments were suspended with regular contact being made with the centre to check his progress and attendance. At the end of his placement, "A" moved in to a short-stay hostel and then to a temporary furnished flat. He has continued to keep in touch with his drugs sponsor and finds this both helpful and reassuring.

As a result of his offending behaviour and drugs misuse, "A"'s relationship with his partner had broken down. In order to address this, he worked with Children and Families and continues to attend weekly parenting classes with his partner. He has been able to focus on his family and is building a more positive relationship with both his partner and his son.

"A" engages very well with Sacro staff. As part of his three-month service user review, he was given the opportunity to reduce his contact to two days per week. He chose to maintain the three visits per week as he said he benefits greatly from the routine contact with bail staff. He was recently matched up with a Sacro Volunteer and they meet one day per week. The volunteer is helping "A" address his low self-esteem. This is particularly evident as his court dates approach. The volunteer will continue to provide support once bail supervision has ended.

"A" has also agreed to take part in future Sacro events. He will participate in a volunteer training session where service users, staff and volunteers get together for an informal "meet and greet".


"B" was referred to the Bail Supervision service having committed theft by shoplifting. The conditions of service and the importance of attending were explained to "B". She agreed to comply and signed the appropriate paperwork.

"B"'s shoplifting was to fund her long standing drug addiction and she had been arrested for this on several occasions. Her partner was seen to be a major contributing factor and had just been sentenced. This was therefore an opportunity for "B" to comply with a Bail Supervision Order, free of his influence. She had secured supported accommodation and was receiving support and medication for mental health issues.

"B" received one formal warning letter for not turning up for one of her signings. The importance of complying and the consequences of not turning up were explained to "B". After the first warning, her compliance improved. She seemed to appreciate and understand that she was lucky not to have been remanded and overall, she attended 22 out of her 23 appointments. She was on time, presented well and there were no issues with her behaviour on any occasion. She engaged openly with the service and her attitude clearly improved with time.

"B" attended the Sheriff Court the following month. The Bail Supervision was continued and she was put on a DTTO assessment. "B" continued to engage well with the service. The Sheriff subsequently imposed a DTTO for an 18-month period and the Bail Supervision was not continued. The case was then closed.



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