Criminal justice social work statistics in Scotland: 2016-17
A national statistics publication for Scotland.
This document is part of a collection
5.1 Social work orders
5.1.1 Total social work orders for 2016-17 include community payback, drug treatment & testing and fiscal work orders. Community payback orders replaced community service, probation and supervised attendance orders (the latter three referred to as ‘legacy’ orders in this report) for offences committed from February 2011 onwards. As the number of legacy orders commenced has fallen to very low levels in recent years, this information was not collected for years 2015-16 and 2016-17. Fiscal work orders were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015 and were therefore collected for the first time in 2015-16. As a result of these issues, it is not possible to meaningfully compare total social work orders in 2015-16 and 2016-17 with totals from previous years.
5.1.2 There were 20,500 social work orders commenced in 2016-17 ( Table 2), around the same as in 2015-16. The vast majority (around 93 per cent) of social work orders were community payback orders, with 19,100 commencements. The remainder was made up of fiscal work orders (four per cent) and drug treatment and testing orders (two per cent). Local authority level breakdowns for each of these individual order types are available in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.
5.1.3 Seventy-six per cent of orders commencing in 2016-17 (around 15,500) included an element of unpaid work or other activity (i.e. fiscal work orders ( Table 2) as well as unpaid work or other activity requirements as part of community payback orders ( Table 11)).
5.1.4 The number of terminations of social work orders in 2016-17 (including completion/discharge, revocation and other reasons for termination) was 19,700 ( Table 2). As the number of legacy orders terminated/completed was very small in 2016-17 (estimated to be around 200), this information was not collected for the most recent year.
5.1.5 Sixty-seven per cent of social work order terminations in 2016-17 resulted in completion or discharge ( Table 2). With the exception of the high in 2013-14, this proportion has remained stable over the last six years. The completion rates varied between different types of order. The highest was for fiscal work orders (83 per cent) and the lowest was for the higher tariff drug treatment and testing orders (44 per cent), reflecting the challenges facing this particular client group. The completion rate for community payback orders was also 67 per cent in 2016-17, around the same as in recent years.
5.2 Community payback orders
( Tables 2 & 9-23, Charts 3-7 and Infographic)
5.2.1 The number of community payback orders ( CPOs) imposed increased in the first few years following their introduction, from 10,200 in 2011-12 to 18,700 in 2013-14 ( Table 2). This rise was expected due to these orders replacing the legacy community service, probation and supervised attendance orders for offences committed on or after 1 February 2011. The number of legacy orders being imposed is now very small and, as a result, total CPOs imposed in the last four years has remained stable at around 19,000, with 19,100 orders imposed in 2016-17.
5.2.2 A CPO can have up to nine different requirements but every order should have either or both of an unpaid work or other activity requirement or an offender supervision requirement.
5.2.3 Unpaid work or other activity has always been the requirement most commonly issued as part of a CPO. The proportion of orders with unpaid work has been between 75 and 80 per cent every year since CPOs were introduced (76 per cent in 2016-17) ( Table 11). The average number of hours given as part of unpaid work requirements has generally been just over 120 hours (122 hours in 2016-17) ( Table 12). Just over half of those imposed in 2016-17 (52 per cent) were level 1 requirements (100 hours or less).
5.2.4 Generally around half of orders have an offender supervision requirement, with 53 per cent doing so in 2016-17 ( Table 11). In the years 2012-13 to 2016-17, between 56 and 58 per cent of supervision requirements given out were for 12 months or less ( Table 13). The average length of supervision requirements in 2016-17 was around 15½ months, in line with the position in the previous three years.
5.2.5 Chart 3 shows that the longer periods of supervision tend to go to older people. Sixty per cent of people given supervision of up to six months were aged 30 or under, compared with 39 per cent for those given the maximum of 36 months supervision. As a result, those given supervision of up to six months were on average over seven years younger than those given 36 months.
Chart 3 Offender supervision requirements imposed: Breakdown by age group for shortest and longest supervision lengths: 2016-17
5.2.6 The proportion of orders with both unpaid work or other activity and offender supervision has generally been around 30 per cent over the last four years ( Table 11).
5.2.7 The other seven CPO requirements, which should only be issued alongside an offender supervision requirement, are:
- Alcohol treatment
- Drug treatment
- Mental health treatment
5.2.8 Conduct and programme have been the most commonly issued of these requirements, with generally around 5 to 7 per cent of orders having one of these ( Table 11). Larger numbers of conduct requirements were issued during the early part of 2012-13 (and prior to then), although this was before the 2012 appeal court judgement  that such requirements must be specific and include more than general conditions to stay out of trouble or to refrain from committing another criminal offence. Following this judgement, the prevalence of conduct requirements fell. The number of conduct requirements did, however, rise sharply by 25 per cent between 2015-16 and 2016-17. This may have been a contributing factor in the increase in the number of offender supervision requirements issued in 2016-17.
5.2.9 Other requirements include compensation (3.1 per cent in 2016-17), alcohol treatment (1.3 per cent) and drug treatment (0.9 per cent) ( Table 11). The least commonly issued requirements were mental health treatment and residence.
5.2.10 Chart 4 shows that the use of several requirements was lower in 2016-17 than it was in 2013-14, including unpaid work or other activity. On the other hand, the prevalence of offender supervision and conduct requirements were higher while the prevalence stayed around the same for compensation and drug treatment.
Chart 4 Community payback order requirements: 2013-14 & 2016-17
5.2.11 The average number of requirements per order was highest in the first few years after the introduction of the orders, partly (but not exclusively) due to the number of conduct requirements issued prior to the 2012 appeal court judgement. However, the average number has remained around the same in each of the years 2013-14 to 2016-17, at just under 1.5 ( Tables 9 & 11).
5.2.12 Sixty-two per cent of community payback orders commenced in 2016-17 included one requirement – normally unpaid work/other activity or supervision ( Chart 5). A further 29 per cent had two requirements (normally including supervision).
Chart 5 Community payback orders commenced by number of requirements: 2016-17
5.2.13 People aged 18 to 20 have always been the most likely to be given a CPO, with 105 people per 10,000 population of this age group given an order in 2016-17 ( Chart 6). However, people getting CPOs have been getting slightly older each year with the proportion aged 25 and under falling from 41 per cent in 2012-13 to 33 per cent in 2016-17 ( Table 9). The fall in the prevalence for young people reflects the marked fall in court volumes for this age group.
Chart 6 Community payback orders commenced per 10,000 population by age and gender: 2013-14 & 2016-17
5.2.14 The proportion of orders issued to males has remained unchanged at 85 per cent ( Table 9). Generally around 60 per cent of those receiving orders were unemployed with around 20 to 25 per cent in employment or self-employed and around 10 per cent economically inactive.
5.2.15 The vast majority (94 per cent) of community payback orders were issued by sheriff courts in 2016-17, mainly by summary procedure ( Table 10). The proportion accounted for by justice of the peace courts, although small, has almost doubled between 2012-13 and 2016-17 now accounting for almost five per cent of all CPOs issued.
5.2.16 On imposing a community payback order, a court may include provision for the order to be reviewed at specified time(s). Sixteen per cent of orders commenced in 2016-17 were issued with provision for court progress reviews ( Table 14). This varied substantially according to the makeup of the order. Orders with unpaid work or other activity (13 per cent) or compensation (16 per cent) were the least likely to have progress reviews while those with drug treatment, residence or alcohol treatment were the most likely (40, 37 and 36 per cent respectively).
5.2.17 There were a total of 18,200 CPOs in force at 31 March 2017 (see Table 2 and the additional datasets which accompany this publication). As expected due to the gradual phasing out of legacy orders over the past six years, this number has increased each year.
Timescales for implementation
5.2.18 The Scottish Government Community payback orders practice guidance is intended to support practitioners and managers to improve their performance and work towards the achievement of the national outcomes and standards for social work services in the criminal justice system. The guidance contains a number of principles of best practice, including:
- the first direct contact should take place on the same day as the order is imposed, or the next working day
- where an offender supervision requirement has been imposed, the appointed case manager should arrange to meet the individual within five working days of the date of imposition of the order
- where an unpaid work or other activity requirement has been imposed, arrangements should be made for the individual to begin the induction process within five working days of the date of imposition of the order
- where an unpaid work or other activity requirement is imposed, the work placement should begin within seven working days of the order being imposed.
5.2.19 The proportion of orders where first direct contact took place within one working day of imposition has fallen slightly over the last five years from 79 per cent in 2012-13 to 75 per cent in 2016-17 ( Table 15). In the last two years, the proportion which took over five working days was 14 per cent, slightly higher than in the previous three years.
5.2.20 The first induction / case management meeting took place within five working days in 79 per cent of applicable cases in 2016-17. Over the last five years, the proportion taking place within timescale has fallen slightly.
5.2.21 There may be various reasons why these timescales are not met. Forty-one per cent of delays in first direct contact were due to missed appointments, while the unavailability of a social worker (3 per cent) or other non client related reason (28 per cent) together accounted for a further 31 per cent ( Table 16). Other client-based reasons included being subject to another sentence, employment or illness. Delays for the first induction / case management meeting were due to a wide range of reasons. In 24 per cent of cases the individual missed their induction/meeting, while a further 15 per cent involved being subject to another sentence, employment or illness. Another 10 per cent were due to delays in first making contact or staff availability, with 30 and 22 per cent of cases involving, respectively, other client based and other non-client based reasons.
5.2.22 In 2016-17, 67 per cent of applicable cases commenced work placements within seven working days, around the same as in 2015-16 ( Table 17). These proportions were slightly lower than in the three preceding years, when they fluctuated between 71 and 75 per cent. A quarter of people who started their work placement after the seven working days in 2016-17 did so because they did not turn up for the first day of placement ( Table 18).
5.2.23 Sixty-seven per cent of CPOs terminated in 2016-17 were successfully completed or resulted in an early discharge ( Table 19). With the exception of the high level in 2013-14, the successful completion rate has fluctuated between 67 and 69 per cent in the years since these orders were introduced ( Table 2). In 2016-17, a further 17 per cent were revoked following a breach application to the courts, eight per cent were revoked following a review and the remaining seven per cent were terminated for other reasons (including transfer to another area or the death of the person) ( Table 19).
5.2.24 Almost three-quarters of orders terminated during 2016-17 did not involve any breach applications during the lifetime of the order ( Table 20). For the remainder, there were a total of 5,800 breach applications made ( Table 21). The vast majority of breach applications (87 per cent) were lodged with the court within five working days of the decision to make an application.
5.2.25 For CPOs revoked due to breach, the most likely outcomes were a custodial sentence or a new order (both 28 per cent) followed an “other” outcome (24 per cent) ( Table 19). Twelve per cent of orders revoked due to review resulted in a custodial sentence, while over half resulted in an “other” outcome.
Chart 7 Completions/discharges of community payback orders by gender, age, employment status and number of requirements: 2016-17
Notes: Age at imposition of order and employment status at termination.
5.2.26 Completion rates in 2016-17 varied substantially by age and employment status ( Chart 7). They showed a consistent increase with age, ranging from 60 per cent for 16-17 year olds to 77 per cent for the over 40s. Eighty-one per cent of those who were employed or self-employed completed successfully, compared to 62 per cent of those who were unemployed or economically inactive. Completion rates did not vary substantially according to how many requirements were in the order.
5.2.27 During 2016-17, a total of 9,700 unpaid work or other activity requirements were successfully completed ( Table 22). On average, just over 120 hours were carried out for each order and they took around 7 months to complete.
5.2.28 The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 defines the time limit for completion of an unpaid work or other activity requirement as "3 months or such longer period as the court may specify in the requirement" for level 1 and "6 months or such longer period as the court may specify in the requirement" for level 2. Thirty-seven per cent of successfully completed unpaid work or other activity requirements were completed within the 3/6 month time frame in 2016-17 while a further 35 per cent were completed within a longer timescale which the court had specified ( Table 23).
5.2.29 For the remaining requirements which were completed outwith the specified timescale, the reason why they were completed later was most commonly down to non-compliance (17 per cent) or other client-based reasons (36 per cent) in 2016-17.
Community payback orders in Scotland
Community payback orders ( CPOs) were introduced by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. CPOs are available to all Scottish courts for offences commited from 1 February 2011 onwards and courts may impose a CPO instead of imposing a custodial sentence.
“Cohort” Analysis Of Orders Imposed During 2012-13
The collection of unit level CPO data enables, for the first time, the following of orders through to completion. Presented below are the completion rates by requirement for orders imposed during 2012-13.
While most completion rates were around the 70% mark, people with drug treatment requirements were the least likely to successfully complete.
5.3 Drug treatment and testing orders
5.3.1 The drug treatment and testing order ( DTTO) is available to courts (excluding justice of the peace courts) as a high tariff disposal for people with substance use problems who might otherwise get a custodial sentence. In addition, the less intensive DTTO II has been available to all courts in City of Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian on a pilot basis since 2008, and currently accounts for around a fifth of the DTTOs in these areas (see §B.5).
5.3.2 The total number of DTTOs imposed has been decreasing between 2012-13 and 2016-17, falling by a quarter from 640 to 480, the lowest level since the data was first collected ( Tables 2 & 24 and Chart 8).
Chart 8 Drug treatment and testing order commencements, terminations and completions/discharges: 2011-12 to 2016-17
5.3.3 Over the last four years, people aged 31 to 40 have been the most likely to get a DTTO (just under 4 per 10,000 population in 2016-17). Prior to 2013-14, those aged 26 to 30 were the most likely. It has consistently been those aged under 21 or over 40 who have been the least likely (0.3 and 0.4, respectively, per 10,000 population in 2016-17).
5.3.4 The proportion of orders issued to males has been around 80 per cent over the last five years ( Table 24). A very high proportion (generally between 80 and 90 per cent) of those receiving a DTTO are unemployed or economically inactive.
5.3.5 The average length of a DTTO has been around 18 months over the last five years ( Table 24).
5.3.6 There were 520 drug treatment and testing orders in force on 31 March 2017, the lowest number since this data was first collected ( Table 2).
Timescales for implementation
5.3.7 The proportion of DTTOs which had first direct contact within one working day of the order being imposed has averaged just under 80 per cent over the last five years ( Table 25). The level of 74 per cent in 2016-17 is the lowest over this period, though the small number of orders involved mean there are inevitable year on year fluctuations.
5.3.8 Over the last three years, the proportion of orders where the first case management meeting took place within five working days was consistent at around 83 to 84 per cent ( Table 25). Around 9 per cent of cases took longer than ten working days over the same period.
5.3.9 The reasons provided for not complying with these timescales in 2016-17 suggest that people getting DTTOs present challenges, as not attending meetings without an excuse is very prevalent, particularly for case management meetings (49 per cent) ( Table 26).
5.3.10 There were 520 DTTOs which finished during 2016-17, 44 per cent of which were successfully completed ( Table 2). The successful completion rate rose from 46 per cent in 2010-11 to 54 per cent in 2011-12, and remained in the low 50s in each of the next three years. However, in the last two years, the rate has fallen to the lowest in any of the last seven years. The completion rate for DTTOs does tend to be lower than for other social work orders, due to the complex needs of those involved.
5.3.11 Twenty-seven per cent of orders were revoked due to review, with 21 per cent revoked due to breach ( Table 27). The remaining 8 per cent were terminated for other reasons (including transfer out of the area or the death of the person). A custodial sentence was imposed in 46 per cent of revoked cases ( Table 28).
5.3.12 Sixty-three per cent of orders were terminated without breach applications ( Table 29). The vast majority (94 per cent) of the breach applications were lodged with the court within 5 working days of the decision being made to make an application (see the additional datasets which accompany this publication).
5.3.13 Completion rates in 2016-17 varied noticeably by age ( Chart 9), with older people being more likely to complete. Fifty-three per cent of those aged over 40 successfully completed, compared with 35 per cent of the 16-25 group.
Chart 9 Completions/discharges of drug treatment and testing orders by gender and age: 2016-17
Notes: Age at imposition of order.
5.4 Fiscal work orders
5.4.1 Fiscal work orders ( FWOs) were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015 and allow Procurator Fiscals to offer unpaid work orders as an alternative to prosecution. They can be for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 50 hours and should be completed within 6 months.
5.4.2 Prior to their introduction nationally, fiscal work orders were piloted in four council areas from June 2008 and in a further three areas from early 2011.
5.4.3 As expected, the number of FWOs in Scotland increased between 2015-16 and 2016-17. During 2016-17, there were 1,200 fiscal work order assessments undertaken by local authorities, 940 of which resulted in the orders being accepted ( Table 30). There were 890 orders commenced and 790 orders finished during the year. Eighty-three per cent of orders finished were successfully completed.
5.4.4 People given fiscal work orders tended to be younger than those given community payback orders. Fifty-nine per cent of FWOs commenced in 2016-17 were for people aged 25 and under, while only 11 per cent were for those aged over 40 ( Table 31). Unlike other orders, more people were employed or self-employed (46 per cent) than any other category of employment. Just under a third were either unemployed or economically inactive.
5.4.5 There were substantial changes between 2015-16 and 2016-17 in the length of orders issued. In 2015-16, 18 per cent of orders were for 20 hours but this fell to only 7 per cent in 2016-17. By contrast, orders with 40 or more hours accounted for 29 per cent of the total in 2015-16 but 47 per cent in 2016-17. As a result, the average length of order rose from under 32 hours in 2015-16 to over 35 hours in 2016-17.
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