Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
Communicating the benefits of electronic monitoring to a range of stakeholders with differing view-points is complex. This complexity exists because electronic monitoring is a versatile technology that can be used in a number of different ways, at various points in the criminal justice system and with different goals in mind.
Establishing a process for developing and communicating key messages around the enhanced use of EM to stakeholders was, therefore, an extremely important consideration of the Working Group, one which led to the establishing of a Communications Sub-Group.
Using the expertise of communications specialists, this sub-group has developed a comprehensive communications plan. The plan identifies key audiences, which includes a wide range of justice stakeholders, the general public and the media. It contains a list of key messages which have been developed by key stakeholders including Police Scotland, Violence Reduction Unit, SPS, SG Policy and Communications Officials and G4S. The plan also sets out a common language to frame discussions around electronic monitoring and sets out how the benefits of EM might best be communicated to stakeholders, including the general public and the media. The communications plan has approved by the Working Group and is included in the pack attached with this report.
In addition to the work of the Communications Sub-Group, partner and stakeholder engagement has been, and will continue to be, an important strand of this work. While we have already benefited greatly from having key partners and stakeholders represented on the Working Group, a number of other engagement activities have also been undertaken as part of the Groups research.
Electronic Monitoring National Conference - The conference was held on 26 August 2015 at Perth Concert Hall and attracted around 100 delegates from a variety of agencies and sectors to hear the Cabinet Secretary for Justice deliver the keynote address on Electronic Monitoring.
This was notable the first occasion where those involved in delivering EM in Scotland had had the opportunity to gather together in such large numbers to discuss the future policy direction. Michiel van der Veen gave a particularly insightful presentation into how EM has been used to pursue a goals-based approach to achieving justice outcomes in the Netherlands which the Working Group took note of. There was also an opportune chance to hear from people with 'lived experience' of EM which helped ensure their views were taken into account from an early stage when formulating the recommendations contained in this report, further information on the insights provided by this key group are detailed below.
- The conference was also the beginning of the deeper stakeholder
engagement process, which has since continued with local events
taking place, in collaboration with the eight Community Justice
Authorities, since January 2016. These events have been
well-attended by key agencies including
Scotland, the third sector,
others and have involved input from key academics in the field,
including Dr Mike Nellis Strathclyde University and Dr Hannah
Graham Stirling University, along with input from
CJSW at a
local level and Social Work Scotland at a national level.
These events have served as an excellent opportunity to expand the EM knowledge base, whilst also giving practitioners and other stakeholders the chance to contribute towards the future direction of EM in Scotland.
Direct Engagement with Social Work Scotland ( SWS) - Through its representatives on the Working Group, SWS has prepared a statement setting out their position in relation to EM. The statement in full has been included along with this report.
Technology Test of GPS Devices - An eight-week test of GPS EM devices was conducted by Scottish Government with volunteers from various justice agencies, particularly CJSW, but also Police Scotland, SPS and the Third Sector. Participants were given the chance to wear a GPS device over the course of a working week and then debriefed on the data collected by a representative from G4S once the device was removed. The test not only confirmed the robustness of the GPS technology, but also gave hands-on experience to practitioners and helped us to start the setting of realistic expectations around this technology. Following the successful completion of the test, two events were held in Glasgow and Edinburgh to reflect on volunteers experience and explore the wider issues that introducing GPS devices raise.
Electronic Monitoring Champions - During the engagement activities listed above efforts have also been made to enlist EM Champions, individuals who will have an increased knowledge of EM and are able to promote its use and provide expert advice to their own respective organisations. There are currently 44 EM champions based within various organisations and, with the assistance of the service provider, G4S, additional training is being offered to increase their personal knowledge of EM.
Following the National Conference, it was recognised that there was a further need to ensure the voice of people with 'lived experience' was well-represented in the Working Groups' final report.