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
4. Roles and Responsibilities

4. Roles and Responsibilities

The delivery of justice social work services requires a staff team with a relevant mix of appropriate skills and experience. The Scottish Government recognises the significant contribution that highly trained and skilled workers make in a range of complex circumstances.

To assist clarity the following terms are used in this guidance in relation to staff roles:

  • The justice social work manager will oversee the work of the justice team. They will ensure that all work undertaken by justice staff is carried out in accordance with the authority's policy and procedures in relation to working with individuals subject to the different licences and court orders imposed and where reports are requested. The justice social work manager is also responsible for using the resources available to the local authority to ensure that facilities are available for the delivery of Community Payback Orders (CPOs) that are imposed by courts. This responsibility extends to working with community justice partners and others to ensure a collaborative approach.
  • The responsible officer is an officer of the local authority nominated under section 227C(2)(b) of the 1995 Act who will have responsibility for the delivery of the CPO. The responsible officer is given the following functions under section 227C(3) of the 1995 Act:

(a) making any arrangements necessary to enable the individual to comply with each of the requirements imposed by the CPO;

(b) promoting compliance with those requirements by the individual; and

(c) taking such steps as may be necessary to enforce compliance with the requirements of the CPO or taking the necessary steps to vary, revoke or discharge the order.

  • Where the court has imposed an unpaid work requirement alone, the responsible officer will be the unpaid work case manager.
  • Where the court has imposed any other form of CPO, the responsible officer will be the justice social worker who will supervise the individual subject to the order.
  • Where the term social worker is used, this means those who possess an entitling professional qualification in social work within section 77 of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.
  • The unpaid work team manager is the member of unpaid work staff with overall responsibility within the local authority for the unpaid work scheme. They will ensure that all work undertaken by justice unpaid work staff is carried out in accordance with the local authority's policy and procedures in relation to working with individuals subject to the unpaid work or other activity requirement.
  • The unpaid work case manager is the member of unpaid work staff who has oversight of the unpaid work element of each CPO. They have decision-making authority and responsibility with regard to compliance.
  • The unpaid work supervisor is the member of unpaid work staff responsible for delivering unpaid work projects, undertaking health and safety assessments and site assessments, demonstrating safe systems of work, and supervising up to a maximum of 5 individuals on work groups. Their role will promote pro-social modelling, challenge inappropriate behaviour, attitudes or language, and record and/or report back any concerns to the unpaid work case manager.
  • Where the individual is on a personal placement, the health and safety role in terms of local procedures, is carried out primarily by staff representing the organisation where the individual is placed, while the unpaid work case manager has the lead role in managing attendance and any issues around conduct.

All individuals subject to a CPO with an unpaid work requirement are provided with information relating to general health and safety practice supplies as part of induction.

Role of the social worker in statutory interventions

In September 2005 it became mandatory for social workers to be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). The Codes of Practice for social service employers and social service workers lay down the standards of conduct and practice people can expect from social service workers and employers.

In March 2010 the Scottish Government published guidance on the role of the registered social worker in statutory interventions. This guidance acknowledges the importance of the public being confident that the accountability for statutory interventions rests with a registered social worker who retains accountability for:

  • provision of all reports to courts which could have an impact on an individual's liberty;
  • provision of all reports to Parole Scotland/the Scottish Prison Service as they could impact on public safety and/or on an individual's liberty.
  • investigation, assessment, review and implementation of risk management plans and the supervision of those who will be subject to statutory supervision on release from prison; and
  • directly undertaking case management work in respect of those who are subject to statutory orders or licences including the small number who are considered to pose a high risk of serious harm.

Where non-social work qualified workers compile reports which could have an impact on a person's liberty, these require to be countersigned by a member of staff with an entitling qualification in social work.

CPOs with an unpaid work or other activity requirement on its own

Where the court has imposed a level 1 or 2 unpaid work or other activity requirement but no other requirement as part of the CPO:

  • The role of the "responsible officer" as nominated under section 227C(2)(b) of the 1995 Act is exercised in these cases by the unpaid work case manager. The unpaid work case manager does not require to be qualified in social work.
  • In these cases, the responsible officer will be responsible for:
    • the effective planning, management and monitoring of the unpaid work or other activity requirement;
    • monitoring of the individual's performance and compliance; and
    • issues of performance and compliance.

In these circumstances, the responsible officer will prepare the individual for the work placement or the other activity where it has been assessed that the individual will undertake "other activity" as part of their unpaid work requirement; encourage compliance and desistance from offending throughout the duration of the order; make decisions about the acceptability of absences; and support the individual to achieve a successful and speedy completion.

CPOs with an offender supervision requirement and an unpaid work or other activity requirement

Where the court has imposed a CPO with an offender supervision requirement and an unpaid work or other activity requirement (and possibly other requirements):

  • The role of the "responsible officer" as nominated under section 227C(2)(b) of the 1995 Act is exercised in these cases by the justice social worker who will supervise the individual subject to the order.
  • In these cases, the responsible officer will be responsible for:
    • the effective planning, management and monitoring of the unpaid work or other activity requirement;
    • monitoring of the individual's performance and compliance; and
    • issues of performance and compliance.
  • The unpaid work case manager will assist the responsible officer in performing these duties. The unpaid work case manager will be responsible for following up absences from unpaid work or other activity; investigating reasons for absence; and making a decision as to the acceptability or otherwise of the reasons provided.

It is expected that the responsible officer and the unpaid work case manager will work closely together, sharing information and agreeing the way forward if issues arise. This includes whenever a warning letter is being considered by either party.

Where the decision of the unpaid work case manager is that the absence is acceptable, the individual will require to continue to attend unpaid work or other activity as instructed. Where the absence is unacceptable, the unpaid work case manager should discuss with the responsible officer prior to a warning letter being issued. This letter should be signed by both the unpaid work case manager and the responsible officer, where possible, and recorded by the unpaid work case manager. The unpaid work case manager is required to record the absence and the decision.

Where an individual, who has accrued 2 unacceptable absences and is subject to a Final Warning, incurs a further unacceptable absence, the unpaid work case manager may use their professional judgement to suspend the unpaid work requirement and notify the responsible officer. The suspension will be justified by the individual's failure to comply with the requirements of the sentence of the court.

Where the individual is deemed to have failed to comply with their unpaid work requirement, the unpaid work case manager must ensure that all relevant information and correspondence is available to the responsible officer for the consideration of a breach report being submitted to the court. The decision to invoke breach proceedings and return the CPO to court is the responsibility of the responsible officer. Where the decision is to invoke breach proceedings, the responsible officer will be required to notify the court which is responsible for the order, that the individual is deemed to be in breach of their CPO by virtue of failing to undertake and comply with the unpaid work or other activity requirement.


Contact

Email: Community Payback Orders - General Enquiries