Criminal justice social work statistics: 2019 to 2020

National-level information, as well as some local authority breakdowns, on criminal justice social work activity in Scotland. Also includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.

Annex B Definitions

B.1 The following section provides a brief description of the main types of criminal justice social work orders and services. More information on social work orders and the operation of the criminal justice system can be found in the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publications. Details on court services can be found in commensurate justice social work practice guidance. In addition to social work orders issued by the courts, work orders may be offered by the procurator fiscal as an alternative to summary court proceedings when appropriate. Fiscal work orders had previously been available in a small number of pilot areas but were rolled out nationally from 1 April 2015 (see §B.8).

B.2 Diversion from prosecution schemes have been in existence in Scotland since the early 1980s and aim to provide support and advice in relation to the underlying causes of offending, such as substance use. In the late 1990s, the Scottish Office provided funding for a number of pilot schemes, which were rolled out across Scotland in 2000. Historically, diversion involves relatively low volumes compared to other fiscal disposals such as fines and warnings, or court proceedings.

B.3 Bail information services assist procurators fiscal and courts through verification of information in cases where bail might otherwise have been opposed or refused. In a proportion of cases, this will result in a period of supervised bail. Information on bail supervision services can be found in the National guidance on bail supervision.

B.4 A court may ask for a same day oral or written report from a court-based worker during the court proceedings and adjourn a case until later in the day for this to be completed. A same day report will be a brief report and not a full criminal justice social work report. Same day reports tend to deal with issues specific to the case to inform decision-making. The information may be relevant to decisions regarding bail or custodial remand, the need for a full report or the need to defer a case to a future date and final sentence.

B.5 The community payback order was introduced by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and replaced provisions for community service, probation and supervised attendance orders for offences committed from 1 February 2011 onwards. It is available to all courts, with some restrictions applying to justice of the peace courts in relation to treatment and programme requirements. There are currently up to nine different requirements which can be issued with a CPO, the most common of which are unpaid work or other activity and offender supervision. Courts may not impose unpaid work or other activity on someone under 16 years old while offender supervision must be imposed for someone aged under 18. More information on the community payback order can be found in the most recent community payback order practice guidance.

B.6 The community payback order practice 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.

B.7 The drug treatment and testing order (DTTO) is a high tariff disposal for people with more serious substance use related to their offending, who might otherwise receive a custodial sentence. This order includes the requirement for regular reviews by the court and that the person consent to frequent random drug tests throughout the lifetime of the order. On the basis of these regular reviews, the judiciary may, among other courses of action, vary the conditions of the order (such as the frequency of testing, the type of treatment or the frequency of attendance at treatment), revoke the order on the basis that satisfactory progress has been made or, in the event of non-compliance, revoke the order and re-sentence the person for the original offence. DTTOs were rolled out across Scotland in phases between 1999 and 2002. They are available to all courts apart from justice of the peace courts. In addition, the less intensive DTTO II was introduced in the Lothian areas (apart from West Lothian) in June 2008 for people committing lower tariff offences at a relatively early stage in their lives. The DTTO II is also now able to be issued in the Highland area and is available from justice of the peace courts.

B.8 Fiscal work orders allow fiscals to offer unpaid work orders as an alternative to prosecution, where:

  • There is sufficient evidence to prosecute a summary offence,
  • A financial penalty or other direct measure is not deemed appropriate.

These orders were initially piloted in four council areas from June 2008 (Highland, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian) and the pilot was extended to include three more areas from early 2011 (Aberdeen City, Dundee City and City of Edinburgh). Fiscal work orders were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015, can be for a minimum of ten and a maximum of 50 hours and should be completed within six months.

B.9 Restriction of liberty orders have been available to courts (excluding justice of the peace courts) since May 2002. This order can be imposed for periods of up to one year, and involves restricting an individual to a specified place for up to 12 hours per day and/or from a specified place for up to 24 hours. The number of people receiving a restriction of liberty order is reported in the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publications. The electronic monitoring service in Scotland is provided by G4S, under Scottish Government contract, and includes the monitoring of restriction of liberty orders. Some additional management data will be available from G4S.

B.10 Throughcare is the provision of a range of social work and associated services to people serving a prison sentence and their families from the point of sentence or remand, during the period of imprisonment and following release into the community. People serving more than four years are released under statutory supervision. Those serving less than four years who are short-term sex offenders under Section 15 of the Management of Offenders Etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, or who are subject to an extended sentence or supervised release order, are also supervised on release. The objective of throughcare services is public protection, as well as assisting individuals to prepare for release and supporting community reintegration and rehabilitation.

B.11 Voluntary throughcare is available to those who are not subject to statutory throughcare, but who request support while in custody or within 12 months of release.

B.12 Structured deferred sentences (SDSs) offer courts the option to provide a short period of intensive supervision to individuals post-conviction but prior to final sentencing. They are designed to help individuals address their underlying issues, improve their employment prospects and build a sense of routine and self-esteem, allowing them to move away from offending. SDSs are not a statutory disposal and as such are not used by every local authority. Areas with SDS schemes may utilise it as part of an early intervention approach, as an alternative to a community sentence or as an alternative or pre-cursor to custody depending on the needs of the local area.



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