The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is a large-scale social survey which asks people about their experiences and perceptions of crime in Scotland. Over the years, the SCJS has asked over ninety thousand people about their views and experiences of crime and justice in Scotland, it has found a 46% fall in crime between 2008/09 and 2019/20 and improvements in people's feelings of safety. Importantly, it has also identified varying levels of both crime victimisation and feelings of safety amongst different groups in society. As such, the SCJS is a key source of evidence on crime victimisation in Scotland, as well as issues relating to policing and the criminal justice system. It is used extensively by the Scottish Government to inform the design and effective delivery of policy as well as by academic stakeholders and justice organisations.
The Scottish Government commissions the SCJS and the current contract is coming to an end. This means that a re-procurement process is needed. This is a timely opportunity to take stock of the SCJS, what it does well, what it could do better and ultimately, what the future of the survey should look like. It is for this reason that we are reaching out to users of the SCJS and asking you to take part in our formal consultation. We would also like to draw your attention to the user events that will be held in October 2021 as part of this consultation exercise. These events will provide an opportunity to ask questions, raise any suggestions or ideas you may have and engage in informal discussion about the survey. We encourage you to attend one of these events. Please see more details on our Citizen Space webpage: https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/scottish-crime-and-justice-survey/.
This consultation is the first in a two-stage engagement process. On the basis of findings from the consultation we will organise a number of live workshops. These workshops will be centred on key themes and issues arising from this consultation and are due to take place in January 2022. The goal will be to seek further, detailed insight into areas of user interest to ensure that feedback is specific enough to be operationalised within the re-procurement process. In short, this second stage will aim to streamline the feedback received in the first stage of engagement and determine how to make it workable within existing limitations. We ask that if you are happy to take part in these workshops that you indicate this when asked during the consultation.
Our goal is for the re-procurement process of the SCJS to be transparent and publicised; informed by evidence, including expert opinion and advice; to respond to the needs of users and to align with the priorities of the Scottish Government. By taking part in this consultation and in any ongoing engagement activity you will be playing a key role in helping us reach this goal. Thank you.
The SCJS and the Scottish Government's annual Police Recorded Crime Statistics are each signature products on crime in Scotland and provide complementary measures of crime and victimisation. This consultation focuses upon the SCJS but we would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the Scottish Government's Crime and Policing Statistics Consultation, due to open in October. This will be made available on Citizen Space, users can be kept informed of any developments relating to the consultation through the ScotStat network.
We would like to briefly explain what we mean by 're-procurement' and the key stages of this process in order to provide further context to this consultation.
The SCJS is currently contracted to Ipsos Mori and ScotCen. This contract will be coming to an end in 2023 and therefore it needs to be 're-procured'. This means the Scottish Government will be advertising the research project, inviting individuals and organisations to bid for the research and ultimately selecting a contractor(s). Prior to advertising the research project, the Scottish Government must critically engage with the survey in its current form, identifying its key strengths, weaknesses and ultimately how it might be adapted to further meet the needs of users. It is for this reason that a large element of the re-procurement process is engagement with users, who are best placed to provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the survey. Once procured, the new contract will last in the region of 4-6 years and therefore feedback received within this consultation will have a long-term and significant impact upon the provision of the SCJS.
The re-procurement of the SCJS comes at a significant point in time. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures have resulted in substantial changes in all aspects of life, no less for the SCJS which is based on face-to-face in-home interviews and as such was suspended from March 2021. The challenges posed by COVID-19 may persist for some time and the re-procurement process must be undertaken with this in mind.
Table 1: Key Stages of Re-Procurement
Stage: Literature Review
Description: Reviewing the criminology literature to locate the SCJS, its key concepts and ideas within the wider discourse on crime and victimisation.
Key Dates: August, September and October 2021.
Stage: Review of International Crime Surveys
Description: Reviewing existing, international crime surveys to identify areas of best practice and lessons to be learned.
Key Dates: September, October and November 2021.
Stage: Formal Consultation & Live Discussion Events
Description: A formal, written consultation hosted on Citizen Space designed to enable users to provide feedback on the SCJS and how it might be adapted.
Live, online discussion events will also be held during the 11 week 'live' period to enable consultees to ask questions and engage in informal discussions about the survey.
Key Dates: Consultation to be 'live' for 11 weeks: September, October and November, 2021.
Discussion events will take place in October 2021.
Stage: Further User Engagement
Description: Live workshops to discuss the SCJS with users and gain further, specific feedback on general themes raised during the consultation.
Key Dates: Workshops will take place in January 2022.
Stage: Writing of Invitation to Tender (ITT)
Description: The ITT is the document that advertises the SCJS and invites bids.
Key Dates: This document will be finalised by March 2022.
Description: When the ITT is made publicly available and bids are invited.
Key Dates: The tender period is approximately 6 weeks and will begin in March 2022.
Stage: Awarding of Contract
Description: After evaluating all the bids the panel awards the contract.
Key Dates: This will likely take place in June 2022.
Stage: New Contractor Begins Fieldwork
Description: Having had time to prepare the survey, the contractor will be in the position to begin conducting fieldwork.
Key Dates: Spring 2023.