1.1 This publication presents national-level information on criminal justice social work activity in Scotland. The report includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved. Note that the statistics in the bulletin cover the period up to 31 March 2020 and are therefore only minimally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1.2 The number of social work orders issued was at around the 20,000 mark between 2013-14 and 2016-17 but has fallen since then. The most recent figures show 17,500 orders issued in 2019-20 (Chart 1 and Table 2).
** Figures from 2015-16 onwards exclude a small (and falling) number of legacy orders as details of these were not collected from local authorities in those years (see Annex A).
- The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by eight per cent between 2018-19 and 2019-20 to around 2,000 (Table 1).
- A total of 470 bail supervision cases were commenced in 2019-20, a 40 per cent increase on 2018-19 and the highest level in any of the last seven years (Table 1).
- The number of criminal justice social work reports (including supplementary reports) rose by four per cent to 28,400 in 2019-20. Numbers have, however, dropped by 10 per cent since 2013-14, broadly reflecting changes in court volumes (Table 1).
- The number of social work orders issued was 17,500 in 2019-20, a fall of one per cent on 2018-19 and 15 per cent lower than the peak in 2016-17 (Table 2).
- There were 16,700 community payback orders commenced in 2019-20, a rise of one per cent from 16,500 in 2018-19 (Table 2). The magnitude of this rise would have been higher had it not been for lower than normal court volumes in March 2020 resulting from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Between 2013-14 and 2019-20, the prevalence of unpaid work or other activity requirements has fallen from 80 to 70 per cent of all orders while the prevalence of offender supervision has increased from 50 to 62 per cent (Chart 5).
- The successful completion rate for community payback orders was 69 per cent in 2019-20 (Table 2). This rate has generally been around 70 per cent since these orders were introduced. Seventy-two per cent of community payback orders which terminated in 2019-20 were not subject to any breach applications (Table 21).
- The completion rate for community payback orders was 77 per cent for those aged over 40, compared with 66 per cent for those aged 40 or under (Chart 7).
- The number of drug treatment and testing orders commenced was 510 in 2019-20, 15 per cent lower than in 2018-19 and the second lowest level in the last seven years (Table 2).
- Seventy-five per cent of drug treatment and testing orders terminated in 2019-20 were not subject to breach applications (Table 30). The successful completion rate was 39 per cent in 2019-20, around the same level as the previous two years (Table 2). A third of orders were revoked due to review in 2019-20 (Table 28).
- There were 250 fiscal work orders commenced in 2019-20. Numbers have fallen sharply in the last two years, by 76 per cent from the peak of 1,030 in 2017-18 (Table 2). Seventy-eight per cent of orders terminated during 2019-20 were successfully completed (Table 32).
- There were 890 structured deferred sentences imposed in Scotland in 2019-20, an increase of eight per cent on 2018-19 (Table 1).
- There were 1,900 statutory custody and community based throughcare cases commenced in 2019-20, the lowest in the last seven years (Tables 1, 35 & 36).
Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics, 2019-20 : Young People
People aged 16 to 20 represent 8% of the Scottish population aged 16 to 70. In the area of criminal justice social work in 2019-20, they accounted for:
- 50% of diversion from prosecution cases commenced
- 1% of home detention curfew assessment reports completed
- 11% of criminal justice social work reports submitted
- 11% of community payback orders (CPOs) imposed
- 2% of drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) imposed
- 34% of fiscal work orders imposed
- 23% of structured deferred sentences imposed
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