Publication - Advice and guidance

Community Payback Order: practice guidance

Published: 25 Jan 2019

This updated guidance replaces 'National outcomes and standards for social work services in the criminal justice system: community payback order practice guidance' issued in 2010.

Community Payback Order: practice guidance
10. Case Management Plan

10. Case Management Plan

The Justice Social Work Outcomes, Objectives and Principles (JSWOOP) will set out the practitioner's role in case management planning and outline key case management tasks. This section of the Community Payback Order Practice Guidance should be read in conjunction with the JSWOOP.

Case management plans should be developed in collaboration with the person subject to the Community Payback Order (CPO), to increase their motivation and engage them in the process of change. By establishing a good relationship, an individualised plan can be co-produced by the person and their responsible officer[7] (nominated under section 227C of the 1995 Act). By taking a strengths based approach, and developing achievable future goals which are inconsistent with offending, engagement and compliance may be increased. Programmed interventions are more likely to be effective where a good working relationship is established and sustained.

A full risk and needs assessment (which would include an analysis of the individual's offending) will be required in all cases where an offender supervision requirement has been imposed - whether the requirement was informed by a Criminal Justice Social Work Report (CJSWR) or not (for example, where a CPO with a level 1 unpaid work or other activity requirement is imposed).

The initial plan should be identified at the CJSWR stage and contained within that report. Where a CPO containing an offender supervision requirement is imposed, the responsible officer should arrange to meet the individual within 5 working days of the date of imposition of the order. The plan should be collaboratively developed with the individual and expanded upon during the initial stages of the offender supervision requirement. Where appropriate this may involve input from other agencies and, with the individual's consent, family members.

A full assessment, informed by an agreed method or tool such as the LS/CMI, should be undertaken within 20 working days of the requirement being imposed, taking into account the assessments of the likelihood and imminence of further offending, along with a consideration of the pattern, nature and seriousness of the offending to date. This will help to inform the main elements of the plan, including the level of supervision intensity necessary to support rehabilitation. It is important to adopt a strengths based, as opposed to a deficit based, approach to developing the plan. Care should be taken to tailor the plan to the individual.

The development of any plan should not delay the commencement of an unpaid work or other activity requirement which should commence within 7 working days of the order having been made and sooner, wherever possible.

Regular appointments immediately after sentence will contribute to the ongoing development of the plan, which should be co-produced by, and agreed with the individual, and be based on SMART principles (Specific, Manageable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound). The plan should be recorded in case files and stored accordingly. Plans should be jointly reviewed, recognising progress and, where necessary, revised at regular intervals. Reviews should be scheduled in accordance with the agreed supervision intensity levels or convened where there is a significant change in circumstances or in the progress of the individual being supervised. Positive developments should be recognised during the review and sustained positive change should be supported by gradually increasing the individual's level of autonomy whilst reducing restrictions as appropriate.

Where an unpaid work or other activity requirement has been imposed in addition to an offender supervision requirement, it is expected that the responsible officer, (the justice social worker in these circumstances), would discuss progress and compliance with the relevant unpaid work staff prior to every review meeting with the individual. In addition, the responsible officer should invite the relevant unpaid work staff to attend the meeting, particularly if there have been conduct issues in relation to unpaid work.

Where an unpaid work or other activity requirement is the sole requirement of the CPO, it is expected that the responsible officer, (the unpaid work case manager in these circumstances), would invite relevant unpaid work staff to attend, where available.

The case management plan should take account of both criminogenic and other needs to meet the specific goals of the individual on their unique journey towards desistance. This may involve improving significant relationships, restoring health and well-being, securing sustainable/stable accommodation, achieving financial stability or maximising benefits, taking advantage of meaningful learning opportunities and developing new employment skills. The JSWOOP emphasises the importance of collaborative working to tailor these actions to the individual with a focus on identifying and maximising strengths.

Creating the circumstances for successful reintegration requires the active participation of community justice partners and others, communities, families and the individual mainstream agencies, such as Jobcentre Plus, the health service and local authority housing departments. Voluntary and private sector organisations will also play important roles. Early in the life of a CPO, opportunities should be identified to motivate and engage the individual in accessing support services which, where necessary, can extend beyond the term of the CPO.

In addition to the case management plan, an "Engagement Contract" (Annex 4) agreed with the individual can in appropriate cases provide a clear way for them to be a full partner in the process. While the plan is shared and agreed with the individual, the Engagement Contract provides an opportunity for more specific aims or targets to be agreed between the individual and the responsible officer or unpaid work case manager. It should offer real gains for the individual, but also require them to take responsibility for reducing their risk of reoffending. The contract should ensure that the package is tightly managed, and that supports are tailored to the individual while the individual's responsibilities are clearly set out. The contract should be both realistic and achievable and should be signed off by both parties. The contract should be shared, as appropriate, with the other relevant agencies involved in providing services or support to the individual.

Any Engagement Contract should be drawn up in consultation with the individual following a full assessment of their needs. It could cover a wide range of issues, including:

  • education and training;
  • help with family issues & parenting;
  • advocacy - benefits and housing;
  • participation in offending behaviour programmes;
  • participation in drug and alcohol programmes; and
  • constructive use of leisure time.

10.1 Individual learning

Every individual on a CPO should, where appropriate, be assessed for literacy and numeracy needs. When an individual has literacy or numeracy needs, every opportunity should be taken throughout the period of the CPO to address those needs and any proposed individual learning action should form part of the case management plan. Literacy and numeracy needs may also be addressed under the other activity component of an unpaid work or other activity requirement.

At the first post sentence meeting, the responsible officer interviewing the individual should open a general discussion with them about their previous education/learning experiences. If it becomes clear during further discussions that literacy/numeracy needs exist, help should be offered and, where the individual agrees, referrals made to local literacy and numeracy service providers who should be able to identify the individual's particular needs using an alert tool designed for that purpose.

Such a tool will enable the individual to demonstrate what they can do and identify potential areas for improvement. They should be reassured that participating should not be seen as a "test" or a pass/fail scenario and nor will it be any indication of Core Skill Levels. The alert tool should ensure that further assessments are made where necessary in order to identify the most appropriate learning provision for the individual. This might be accessed through Community Learning and Development in the local authority, the voluntary sector or through a local college. The individual must be fully involved in identifying and agreeing this plan and agree goals and incremental milestones within the terms of the order.

For younger individuals, it should be noted that Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence covers ages 3 to 18 and therefore extends to young people subject to a CPO. Curriculum for Excellence aims to provide learners with a well-rounded education that allows them to thrive. Multi-agency working with local learning providers is therefore vital to ensure that young people on CPOs access the same learning opportunities as their peers. It is important that links are made, and every encouragement is given, to allow for continuation of individual learning on completion of the order.

Further information on Curriculum for Excellence can be found on the Education Scotland website and regard should also be given to the recommendations of the Offender Learning Report "Options for Improvement" and the Scottish Government's response to this.

Where employment is identified as a need, local employability and employment service providers such as JobCentre Plus should be approached to provide support to the individual in accessing routes into employment.

Engagement in learning will always be of a voluntary nature and will require the individual to be fully motivated if it is to be successful. The focus of individual learning is not to be viewed as a punitive action but as means to community reintegration. Any decision by an individual not to take up an educational opportunity should not therefore be regarded as an appropriate issue for disciplinary action. Where an individual has agreed to participate in learning as part of their CPO, failure to follow instructions in relation to that activity - for example by not observing proper behaviour in a class situation - should be considered in context to determine whether or not it is appropriate to invoke disciplinary action.


Email: Community Payback Orders - General Enquiries