Criminal justice social work statistics in Scotland: 2018-2019
A national statistics publication for Scotland.
This document is part of a collection
5.1 Social work orders
(Tables 2 & 12)
5.1.1 Total social work orders for the years 2015-16 to 2018-19 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. Due to the low numbers involved, the number of legacy orders commenced was not collected for these most recent four years. Fiscal work orders were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015 and have therefore been collected since 2015-16. As a result of these changes in order types, caution should be exercised when comparing total social work orders in the most recent four years with totals from previous years.
5.1.2 There were 17,600 social work orders commenced in 2018-19 (Table 2), a fall of nine per cent on 2017-18. The vast majority (93 per cent) of social work orders in 2018-19 were community payback orders. Local authority level breakdowns for each of these individual order types are available in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.
5.1.3 In total, 72 per cent of orders commencing in 2018-19 (around 12,700) included an element of unpaid work or other activity. This comprised 600 fiscal work orders (Table 2) and 12,000 community payback orders with an unpaid work or other activity requirement (Table 12).
5.1.4 Sixty-eight per cent of social work order terminations in 2018-19 resulted in completion or discharge (Table 2). This proportion has been relatively stable over the last five years. The completion rates in 2018-19 varied substantially between different types of order. The highest was for fiscal work orders (87 per cent) and the lowest for the higher tariff drug treatment and testing orders (37 per cent), reflecting the challenges facing the latter client group. The completion rate for community payback orders was also 68 per cent in 2018-19.
5.2 Community payback orders
(Tables 2 & 10-24 and Charts 3-7)
5.2.1 The number of community payback orders (CPOs) imposed increased in the first few years following their introduction, reaching 18,700 in 2013-14 (Table 2). This rise was expected due to CPOs replacing legacy orders for offences committed on or after 1 February 2011. The total CPOs imposed remained stable at around 19,000 in each of the years 2013-14 to 2016-17, but has fallen in each of the last two years. Numbers dropped by eight per cent between 2017-18 and 2018-19 to 16,400.
5.2.2 In 2018-19, there were 43 CPOs imposed per 10,000 population (Table 3 & Chart 3). This was highest for those living in East Ayrshire (66), West Dunbartonshire (65) and North Ayrshire (65). The lowest proportions were for those living in East Renfrewshire (16) and those in East Lothian, Na h-Eileanan Siar and East Dunbartonshire (all 21). The proportion was higher than in Scotland as a whole for residents of the Aberdeen (56), Glasgow (53) and Dundee (50) city areas but considerably lower for City of Edinburgh residents (22). More detailed information by local authority area can be found in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.
Chart 3 Number of community payback orders imposed per 10,000 population : Breakdown by local authority area, 2018-19
Note : Population aged 16 to 70.
5.2.3 A CPO can currently contain up to nine different requirements at first imposition but every order should have either or both an unpaid work or other activity requirement or an offender supervision requirement.
5.2.4 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 was high in the early years after the orders were introduced, peaking at 80 per cent in 2013-14. This has fallen each year since, reaching 73 per cent in 2018-19 (Table 12). The average number of hours given as part of unpaid work requirements has risen steadily in each of the last four years, reaching 127 hours in 2018-19 (Table 13). The proportion of unpaid work requirements which are level 2 (over 100 hours) has increased from 46 per cent in 2014-15 to 52 per cent in 2018-19.
5.2.5 The proportion of orders with an offender supervision requirement rose to 58 per cent in 2018-19, the highest level in the last five years (Table 12). In the years 2014-15 to 2018-19, around 56 to 58 per cent of supervision requirements were for 12 months or less (Table 14). The average length of supervision requirements in 2018-19 was 15.4 months, in line with the position in the previous four years.
5.2.6 The proportion of orders issued with both unpaid work or other activity and offender supervision remained historically high in 2018-19, at 31 per cent (Table 12).
5.2.7 The other seven CPO requirements, which should only be issued alongside offender supervision, are:
- Alcohol treatment
- Drug treatment
- Mental health treatment
5.2.8 Conduct and programme have been the most commonly issued of these requirements (Table 12). The proportion of orders with conduct requirements has risen in each of the last three years and now sits at almost nine per cent. The rise in this proportion may have been a contributing factor in the increase in the proportion of orders with offender supervision requirements over the same period. The proportion of orders with a programme requirement has been steady over the last five years, at between five and six per cent of all orders.
5.2.9 Other requirements include compensation (3.0 per cent in 2018-19), alcohol treatment (1.2 per cent) and drug treatment (0.8 per cent) (Table 12). The least commonly issued requirements were mental health treatment and residence.
5.2.10 Chart 4 shows that offender supervision, conduct and compensation requirements were more commonly used in 2018-19 than in 2014-15. All other requirements, including unpaid work or other activity, were used less.
Chart 4 Community payback order requirements: 2014-15 & 2018-19
5.2.11 The average number of requirements per order was highest in the first few years after the introduction of the orders. However, it has remained around the same in each of the years 2014-15 to 2018-19, at 1.5 requirements (Tables 10 & 12).
Chart 5 Average period of offender supervision requirement (in months) for other requirements given alongside supervision, 2018-19
5.2.12 Table 14 shows that the average length of supervision requirements in 2018-19 was 15.4 months. Chart 5 illustrates how this varied according to whether other requirements were also part of the order. Where an order was issued with supervision and nothing else, the average length was shorter, at 13.7 months. Where at least one other requirement was issued, the longest orders were those issued with a programme or a residence requirement, at 22.2 and 21.5 months respectively, with the shortest those given alongside compensation (14.7 months).
Chart 6 CPOs with an unpaid work or other activity requirement, 2018-19 : Percentage with offender supervision by unpaid work hours imposed
5.2.13 Table 12 and Chart 6 show that, in 2018-19, 43 per cent of orders with an unpaid work or other activity requirement also had an offender supervision requirement. The chart also illustrates how this varied by the amount of hours unpaid work or other activity given out. Among level 2 unpaid work requirements, the vast majority (over 60 per cent) were issued alongside supervision. This was much less the case for level 1 requirements, particularly for those where 50 or less hours was given out where only one in 12 had an accompanying supervision requirement.
5.2.14 People aged 18 to 20 have always been the most likely to be given a CPO, with 85 people per 10,000 population of this age group given an order in 2018-19. However, people receiving CPOs have been getting slightly older each year. The proportion aged 25 and under has fallen from 36 per cent in 2014-15 to 30 per cent in 2018-19, while those aged over 30 now account for over half of the total (52 per cent) compared with 47 per cent in 2014-15 (Table 10). The fall in the prevalence for young people reflects the marked fall in court volumes for this age group. As a result of these changes over time, the average age of a CPO recipient has risen by almost three years since the introduction of the orders.
5.2.15 The proportion of orders issued to males has remained unchanged at 85 per cent (Table 10). Generally around 60 per cent of those receiving orders were unemployed with around a quarter in employment or self-employed and around 10 per cent economically inactive.
5.2.16 The vast majority (95 per cent) of community payback orders were issued by sheriff courts in 2018-19, mainly by summary procedure (Table 11). The proportion accounted for by justice of the peace courts remained at four per cent.
5.2.17 On imposing a community payback order, a court may include provision for the order to be reviewed at specified time(s). Nineteen per cent of orders commenced in 2018-19 were issued with provision for court progress reviews (Table 15). This varied substantially according to the makeup of the order. Orders with unpaid work or other activity and compensation (both 15 per cent) were the least likely to have progress reviews. This proportion was high for those with drug (50 per cent) and alcohol treatment (49 per cent) requirements. It was also high for those with mental health treatment and residence requirements in 2018-19 although these can vary substantially from year to year due to the small numbers involved.
5.2.18 There were a total of 16,400 CPOs in force at 31 March 2019 (see Table 2 and the additional datasets which accompany this publication). After increasing annually as expected due to the gradual phasing out of legacy orders, this number stabilised over the next couple of years, before falling in each of the last two years.
Timescales for implementation
5.2.19 The Scottish Government Community payback order 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. Further details on the guidance can be found in §B.6.
5.2.20 The proportion of orders where first direct contact took place within one working day of imposition has fluctuated around the 75 per cent mark over the last five years (Table 16). In addition, in 2018-19, 14 per cent took more than five working days.
5.2.21 Over the last five years, around 80 per cent of first induction / case management meetings took place within five working days. Roughly equal proportions took six to ten working days and more than ten working days.
5.2.22 There were various reasons why these timescales were not met. Thirty-nine per cent of delays in first direct contact were due to missed appointments, while the unavailability of a social worker (4 per cent) or other non-client related reason (24 per cent) together accounted for a further 27 per cent (Table 17). 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 29 per cent of cases the individual missed their induction/meeting, while a further 29 per cent involved being subject to another sentence, employment or illness. Another 7 per cent were due to delays in first making contact or staff availability, with 20 and 15 per cent of cases involving, respectively, other client based and other non-client based reasons.
5.2.23 The proportion of unpaid work placements which started within seven working days in 2018-19 was 69 per cent, remaining at around the same level over the last four years (Table 18). Around a quarter of people who started their work placement after seven working days in 2018-19 did so because they did not turn up for the first day of placement (Table 19).
5.2.24 The successful completion rate for CPOs terminated in 2018-19 was 68 per cent (Table 2). With the exception of the high level in 2013-14, this rate has generally been around 70 per cent since these orders were introduced. In 2018-19, 18 per cent of orders terminated (excluding those transferred out) were revoked following a breach application to the courts and a further nine per cent were revoked following a review (Table 20).
5.2.25 Seventy-two per cent of orders which finished during 2018-19 did not involve any breach applications during the lifetime of the order (Table 21). For the remainder, there were a total of 6,000 breach applications made (Table 22). The vast majority of breach applications (83 per cent) were lodged with the court within five working days of the decision to make an application.
5.2.26 For CPOs revoked due to breach, the most likely specific outcomes were a custodial sentence or a new order (25 and 26 per cent, respectively), with 27 per cent resulting in an “other” outcome (Table 20). Fifteen per cent of orders revoked due to review resulted in a custodial sentence, another 15 per cent got a new CPO or a monetary penalty, while 49 per cent had an “other” outcome.
5.2.27 Completion rates in 2018-19 varied by age and employment status (Chart 7). Rates were again relatively similar for all age groups up to age 40, ranging from 63 per cent for under 18s to 66 per cent for those aged 31 to 40. For those aged 40 or under as a whole, 65 per cent of orders were successfully completed. For people aged over 40 however, the rate was much higher at 78 per cent. 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.
Chart 7 Completions/discharges of community payback orders by gender, age and employment status : 2018-19
Notes: Age at imposition of order and employment status at termination. The male category includes two orders where the gender of the individuals in question was classified under “other”.
5.2.28 During 2018-19, a total of 8,200 unpaid work or other activity requirements were successfully completed, eight per cent fewer than in 2017-18 and 16 per cent lower compared with 2016-17 (Table 23). On average, 129 hours were carried out for each order and they took around 7½ months to complete.
5.2.29 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-four per cent of successfully completed unpaid work or other activity requirements were completed within the 3/6 month time frame in 2018-19 while a further 40 per cent were completed within a later timescale which the court had specified (Table 24).
5.2.30 For requirements which were completed outwith the specified timescale in 2018-19, the reason why they were completed later was most commonly down to non-compliance (19 per cent), other non-client-based (24 per cent) or other client-based reasons (35 per cent).
5.2.31 The report “Community payback orders (CPOs) : What the unit level data tells us so far” has also been published alongside this bulletin. It produces some more in depth findings from the data up to 2017-18 and includes a number of longitudinal analyses. In addition, it looks at the crime types and reconviction rates for different types of CPOs.
5.3 Drug treatment and testing orders
(Tables 2 and 25-31)
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 is available to all courts in City of Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian, and currently accounts for around a fifth of the DTTOs in these areas (see §B.6).
5.3.2 The total number of DTTOs imposed fell each year between 2013-14 and 2016-17, before rising in each of the last two years, reaching almost 600 in 2018-19, the highest level since 2013-14 (Tables 2 & 25 and Chart 8).
Chart 8 Drug treatment and testing order commencements, terminations and completions/discharges: 2013-14 to 2018-19
5.3.3 In 2018-19, there were 1.5 DTTOs imposed per 10,000 population (Table 3). This was highest for residents of City of Edinburgh (4.9), Midlothian (3.0) and East Lothian (2.6), reflecting the fact that these were the only areas in which DTTO IIs were issued. More information by local authority area can be found in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.
5.3.4 Over the last five years, people aged 31 to 40 have been the most likely to receive a DTTO (just over 4 per 10,000 population in 2018-19). It has consistently been those aged 25 and under and those aged over 40 who have been the least likely (0.6 and 0.7, respectively, per 10,000 population in 2018-19).
5.3.5 The proportion of orders issued to males has been around 80 per cent over the last five years (Table 25). A very high proportion (generally over 85 per cent) of those receiving a DTTO are unemployed or economically inactive.
5.3.6 The average length of a DTTO has been between 17 and 18 months in each of the last five years (Table 25).
5.3.7 There were 590 DTTOs in force on 31 March 2019, a rise of six per cent from the previous year (Table 2).
Timescales for implementation
5.3.8 The proportion of DTTOs which had first direct contact within one working day of the order being imposed has fallen in each of the last three years, reaching 63 per cent in 2018-19 (Table 26), although the small number of orders involved mean there are inevitable year on year fluctuations.
5.3.9 The proportion of orders where the first case management meeting took place within five working days also fell in 2018-19, to 78 per cent, having sat at around 83 to 84 per cent in the previous four years (Table 26). In around 13 per cent of cases in 2018-19, it took longer than ten working days for the first meeting to take place – the highest in any of the last five years.
5.3.10 The reasons provided for not meeting these timescales in 2018-19 suggest that people receiving DTTOs have difficulty complying, as not attending meetings without an excuse is very prevalent. This was particularly the case for case management meetings. In 65 per cent of cases where the meeting did not occur within five working days, this was down to either the person not turning up or another client-related reason (Table 27).
5.3.11 The percentage of orders successfully completed tends to be lower for DTTOs than for other social work orders, due to the complex needs of those involved.
5.3.12 The completion rate for DTTOs terminated has fallen in each of the last four years, from a historic high of 55 per cent in 2014-15 to 37 per cent in 2018-19 (Table 2). Alongside this, the proportion of orders revoked due to review has increased substantially from 16 per cent in 2014-15 to 35 per cent in 2018-19. While this has likely been a contributory factor in the fall in the completion rate over this period, orders can be revoked due to review for a number of different reasons, not all of which necessarily represent an unsuccessful outcome. Twenty-two per cent of orders in 2018-19 were revoked due to breach, around the same proportion as in previous years (Table 28). A custodial sentence was imposed in 48 per cent of revoked cases in 2018-19 (Table 29).
5.3.13 Seventy-two per cent of orders were terminated without breach applications (Table 30). The vast majority (84 per cent) of the breach applications were lodged with the court within five working days of the decision being made to make an application (see the additional datasets which accompany this publication).
5.3.14 The older someone with a DTTO was, the more likely they were to successfully complete their order in 2018-19 (Chart 9),. The success rate was lowest for those aged 25 and under (30 per cent) and highest for those aged over 40 (48 per cent). Nevertheless, the rate for those over 40 in 2018-19 was substantially lower than it was in 2017-18 (63 per cent).
Chart 9 Completions/discharges of drug treatment and testing orders by gender and age: 2018-19
Notes: Age at imposition of order.
5.3.15 Table 31 shows results from a longitudinal analysis of the DTTO data. All of the orders imposed up to the end of March 2017 have now finished and this analysis mainly looks at completion rates by various factors for the cohorts of orders commenced in those years. For each of the years 2013-14 to 2016-17, while most orders were for over a year and up to 18 months in length, the completion rate was highest for orders of up to a year and lowest for those of over 18 months.
5.3.16 For each year apart from 2015-16, the success rate was substantially higher for DTTO IIs than for full DTTOs.
5.3.17 Unsurprisingly, whether there are breach application(s) during the course of an order is a major indicator of whether the order is likely to be successfully completed. Almost 60 per cent of orders which started in 2016-17 and which had no breach applications, were successfully completed. This compared with only 9 per cent of orders where there was at least one breach application.
5.4 Fiscal work orders
(Tables 2 and 32-33)
5.4.1 Fiscal work orders (FWOs) were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015 and allow Procurators Fiscal 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 six months.
5.4.2 The number of FWOs commenced in Scotland increased from the base level of 510 in 2015-16 to 890 and 1,030 in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively (Table 32). However, numbers dropped sharply in 2018-19, by 38 per cent to 630.
5.4.3 In addition in 2018-19, there were 910 fiscal work order assessments undertaken by local authorities, 650 of which resulted in the orders being accepted. The number of orders which finished was 700, 87 per cent of which were successfully completed.
5.4.4 People given fiscal work orders tended to be younger than those given community payback orders. Fifty-six per cent of FWOs commenced in 2018-19 were for people aged 25 and under, while only 14 per cent were for those aged over 40 (Table 33). Unlike other orders, more people were employed or self-employed (52 per cent) than any other category of employment. Thirty per cent were either unemployed or economically inactive.
5.4.5 More orders imposed in 2018-19 were for 30 hours than any other amount (44 per cent). A further 30 per cent were for 40 hours with 18 per cent for 50 hours. The average length of order was 36 hours in 2018-19, around the same as in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.
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