6 The Performance Process
" Planning and performance are interlinked. Therefore the performance reporting process should be seen as an integral part of plan-act-review cycle. The statutory Community Justice Partners have duties under the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 to engage in this planning and reporting."
As previously described in this document, the National Strategy sets out the priority improvement actions required to make progress against the outcomes contained in the Outcomes, Performance and Improvement ( OPI) Framework.
The OPI Framework then gives tools to support said improvement, allowing partners to:
- set their baseline, assessing their contribution;
- take a quality approach to evaluating both services and their collective activity, including a focus on the outcomes achieved for service users; and
- report on progress, recognising both strengths and areas for further development.
Planning and performance are interlinked. Therefore the performance reporting process should be seen as an integral part of plan-act-review cycle. The statutory Community Justice Partners have duties under the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 to engage in this planning and reporting.
Understanding the Local Picture
As statutory Community Justice Partners take on their responsibilities under the new model for community justice, they will wish to understand the current picture for community justice in their area. It is likely that this would include:
1. Mapping how services with a contribution to make to improving each of the community justice outcomes are currently planned and delivered:
- Determining how partners currently view their contribution;
- Setting out any shared services, co-produced services and partnership services;
2. Understanding the level of need in their area;
3. Measuring how they are currently performing against each of the common outcomes, using the relevant indicators and thereby setting their baseline for further measurement and improvement.
Community Justice Needs Assessment
To consider the specific community justice issues in the local authority area and to help understand which outcomes require specific improvement action, the statutory partners should first draw up a community justice needs assessment. This may also be referred to as a baseline needs assessment.
This should assist partners in setting priorities and understanding what success may look like for their local area. A person-centred approach must be taken when working with individuals but local areas may wish to consider whether the data they have available shows a need to effect particular improvements for specific groups.
In the first instance, this will likely be developed using existing available data sources and be based on the particular needs and characteristics or 'profile' of the local authority area, for example alcohol and drug profiles, health and crime profiles, housing needs, opportunities for education, training and employment and so on.
Partners should link in with available data locally, including that developed for community planning purposes as well as that which can be provided by individual partners.
Those statutory Community Justice Partners operating at a national level must consider that the new model for community justice is, first and foremost, a local one. Whilst there is likely to be a standard set of data required by all local areas, differing priorities between areas - based on local needs and circumstances - may require flexibility in terms of data provision particularly where a local area is carrying out new and innovative projects or initiatives to deliver improved outcomes.
In addition, there is a set of key high-level indicators and information available nationally which will assist community justice partners in their planning. This may include:
- Rate of recorded crime per 10,000 population;
- Number of reconvictions and frequency rate.
Further information on the community justice needs assessment can be found in the Guidance on the new model for community justice.
Planning and Reporting
Statutory Community Justice Partners will work together to produce a plan that has regard to the National Strategy, National Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework and local priorities for community justice, demonstrating that they have considered the evidence available both for their area and those related to supporting desistance and what works to reduce reoffending. In preparing the plan, partners must consult with Community Justice Scotland and involve third sector bodies, community bodies and any others they consider appropriate.
Statutory Community Justice Partners will publish a report annually on performance against their plan and share this with Community Justice Scotland.
Performance will be measured against the set of common outcomes and indicators contained at Chapter Three of this document. This will provide transparency on how local areas are performing on key issues, such as: provision of diversion; quality and quantity of community sentences; length of custodial sentences; and access to suitable, sustainable housing on release from prison. It will also identify which activities took place and who was involved. There should also be a strong emphasis on monitoring the effect of the activities on individuals, via the person-centric outcomes.
When preparing the reports, community justice partners must consult Community Justice Scotland, each third sector body and community body involved in community justice in relation to their area as they consider appropriate and anyone else they consider appropriate.
Further details on planning and reporting, including timelines, is provided in the Guidance on the new model for Community Justice.
The Assurance and Improvement Cycle
The assurance and improvement cycle shown in figure 3 should be considered alongside figure 1 which set out the link between the National Strategy and the OPI Framework.
These reporting arrangements bring transparency and accountability to the new model which is vital to establishing its credibility and to demonstrating that better outcomes are being achieved for communities.
The responsibility for resolving any local issues rests, first and foremost, at the local level, respecting the accountability lines for the statutory Community Justice Partners. However, where partners find that they cannot resolve matters locally or where they believe issues persist in more than one area, they can refer to Community Justice Scotland for support.
In addition, Community Justice Scotland, will review all local plans, providing feedback to Community Justice Partners to share good practice and effect improvement.
Community Justice Scotland will also review all annual reports to provide independent professional assurance to Scottish Ministers and Local Government Leaders on the delivery of outcomes across Scotland. Where the annual reports show that improvement is required, Community Justice Scotland will provide advice to local partners and targeted improvement support as required.
Where any performance issues persist in a local area, Community Justice Scotland has the ability to provide recommendations to Scottish Ministers on action required which may include a multi-agency inspection or, in exceptional circumstances, a rescue task group.
Naturally, Community Justice Scotland will build strong relationships with local partners based on an ethos of mutual trust and support allowing for discussions on the sharing of good practice and any improvement support required to take place across the year, not just at reporting time.
Fig 3: The assurance and improvement cycle