Criminal justice social work statistics: 2020 - 2021

Mainly national-level information on criminal justice social work activity in Scotland in the first full year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.

This document is part of a collection

5.4 Fiscal work orders

(Tables 2 and 23-24)

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 1,030 in 2017-18 (Table 23). Numbers then dropped sharply in each of the next two years, to 630 in 2018-19 and 250 in 2019-20. They fell further, to 120 in 2020-21. It is difficult to say whether the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in this historic low or whether this represented a continuation of recent trends.

5.4.3 In 2020-21, there were 230 fiscal work order assessments undertaken by local authorities, 120 of which resulted in the orders being accepted. The number of orders which finished was 110, 82 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. Forty-four per cent of FWOs commenced in 2020-21 were for people aged 25 and under, while only 18 per cent were for those aged over 40 (Table 24).

5.4.5 In 2020-21, half of fiscal work orders issued were for unemployed or economically inactive people while a further 27 per cent were for people in employment.

5.4.6 Almost half (47 per cent) of orders imposed in 2020-21 were for 50 hours, while 23 per cent were for 40 hours and 25 per cent for 30 hours.



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