Justice Social Work Statistics In Scotland: 2022-23

This publication presents national-level information on justice social work activity in Scotland. It 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

4 Fiscal work orders

(Tables 2 and 24 to 25)

Fiscal work orders (FWOs) were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015. They allow Procurators Fiscal to offer unpaid work orders as an alternative to prosecution. They can be for a minimum of ten and a maximum of 50 hours and should be completed within six months.

The number of FWOs commenced in Scotland increased after they were introduced nationally, reaching a high of 1,000 in 2017-18. Numbers then dropped in each of the next four years, though they did rise from 76 in 2021-22 to 140 in 2022-23.

In 2022-23, there were 290 fiscal work order assessments undertaken by local authorities. In 150 of these assessments, the orders were accepted with the remaining 140 deemed unsuitable by local authorities. The number of orders which finished was 110, of which 76 per cent were successfully completed.

People given FWOs have been getting older in the last three years. In the years 2015-16 to 2019-20, 57 per cent of orders commenced were for people aged 25 and under, while 31 per cent were aged 26 to 40. This contrasted with the position in 2022-23, when 39 per cent were aged 25 and under and 38 per cent were aged 26 to 40.

There has also been a further change in the last three years in the employment status of people getting fiscal work orders. Where employment status was known, 66 per cent of orders commenced in 2022-23 were for people unemployed and economically inactive, compared with 31 per cent across the years 2015-16 to 2019-20.

People have generally been getting longer FWOs in recent years compared with prior to then. Sixty-seven per cent of FWOs imposed in 2022-23 were for 40 hours or more, compared to 29 per cent in 2015-16.


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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