Publication - Strategy/plan

Justice in Scotland: vision and priorities delivery plan, 2017-2018

Published: 11 Jul 2017

Delivery plan setting out key actions for 2017-2018 to help progress the seven priorities set out in the Justice vision document.

18 page PDF

882.5 kB

18 page PDF

882.5 kB

Justice in Scotland: vision and priorities delivery plan, 2017-2018

18 page PDF

882.5 kB


Priority 1: We will enable our communities to be safe and supportive, where individuals exercise their rights and responsibilities

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Policing 2026

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Framework

Serious Organised Crime Strategy

CashBack for Communities Programme

Building Safer Communities

Missing Persons Framework

Ask Support Care

Mentors in Violence Programme

We will ensure that actions to support individuals and families to feel safe and stay safe in their communities lie at the heart of our collective endeavour. And we will focus efforts and resources to strengthen the social and economic foundations of our communities in order to drive and deliver positive and lasting change.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority will publish their long-term Strategy for policing and their accompanying Implementation Plan, Financial Plan and Performance Framework. They will work to ensure the service has the right mix of officers and staff to deal with emerging areas of threat, risk and harm and to respond to the changing nature of crime.
  • The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will work to implement the priorities in the SFRS framework including prevention and improving the safety and wellbeing of Scotland's communities. Innovative interventions such as the Fireskills Employability Award are underway. SFRS will also produce a Performance Management Framework to demonstrate and measure their progress on this.
  • Partners across Scotland will continue to ensure messages on how to keep safe are communicated and relevant to all of Scotland's communities, in particular by extending the reach, visibility and impact of Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.
  • The Scottish Government, local authorities, Police Scotland and third sector will promote best practice in dealing with missing people, including prevention to avoid people going missing in the first place. The impact of the Missing Person's Framework, introduced in May 2017, will be assessed early in 2018.
  • Serious Organised Crime Taskforce partners will work together to reduce the harm caused by serious organised crime and maximise the effectiveness of the new provisions in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 to increase the recovery of the proceeds of crime in Scotland. The Scottish Government will report on progress in 2017 and publish research evidence on the impact of serious organised crime on Scottish communities in 2018.
  • In conjunction with the Building Safer Communities programme the Scottish Government is focused on prevention of violence and the harm it causes and is supporting the expansion of both the Medics Against Violence 'Ask, Support, Care' programme and the Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland programme by March 2018.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to reinvest money from proceeds of crime into communities through the CashBack for Communities programme. The programme has a strong focus on tackling inequalities and providing opportunities to raise the attainment, ambition and aspirations of disadvantaged young people from across Scotland.

Priority 2: We enable our people, economy and infrastructure to respond to major risk, recover from emergencies and adapt to emerging threats

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Scottish Resilience Partnership

Ready Scotland

Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland

We will continue to prioritise activity and resources to ensure that individuals, communities and businesses are best prepared to protect themselves from and respond to threats such as cyber-enabled crime and terrorism. We will take action to minimise the potential impact and disruption to our economy of risks and emergencies such as flooding and other weather and health-related incidents.

  • The Scottish Government will support the work of the Scottish Resilience Partnership ( SRP) including the development of a Resilience Strategy and priorities. The first Scottish Risk Assessment will also be developed in 2017 to support the future work of SRP.
  • The Scottish Government will review, refresh and deliver the Scotland's resilience awareness campaign as an all year round communications tool under the "Ready Scotland" banner, through evaluation of the 2016/17 campaign to inform new work and establishing a 2017/18 budget to deliver a refocused campaign.
  • The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will continue to work with other public sector partners to identify flooding and other risks, in order to prioritise and target its use of resources and support improved outcomes for communities.
  • The National Cyber Resilience Leaders Board will develop an action plan to boost cyber resilience across our public and private sectors by September 2017.
  • The Scottish Government will take forward research during 2017 to gain a clearer picture of the nature, scale and impact of cyber-crime in Scotland.
  • On Security and Counter Terrorism, the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with its partners, including Police Scotland and the UK Government, to secure Scotland against a terrorist attack. This work will be done in an appropriate and proportionate manner, recognising the particular culture and landscape of Scotland, with its own legal system and single emergency response services.

Priority 3: We will modernise civil and criminal law and the justice system to meet the needs of people in Scotland in the 21st century

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Review of Hate Crime Legislation

Raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

Review of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937

Family Justice Modernisation Strategy

Review of Legal Aid

Review of the Regulation of Legal Services

Reforming Scotland's Tribunals System

Our priority is to improve our civil, criminal and administrative law and justice systems, including legal aid, so that they are up-to-date, transparent, fair and respect the rights and diverse needs of users.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • The Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation, being led by Lord Bracadale, will make recommendations on the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice. Lord Bracadale is expected to report to the Scottish Ministers in early 2018.
  • The Scottish Government will continue necessary work towards raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility in Scotland to 12 years of age, bringing it in line with the current Minimum Age of Prosecution.
  • The Scottish Government will consult during 2017 on a review of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937, with reference to the physical and emotional abuse of children.
  • The Scottish Government will start public consultations on reviews of part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and on aspects of the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy early in 2018, with a clear focus on the rights and interests of children.
  • The Review of the Legal Aid System in Scotland, established in February 2017, and the Independent Review of the Regulation of Legal Services in Scotland, established in April 2017, are expected to submit their reports to Scottish Ministers during 2018.
  • The Scottish Government and partners will modernise and streamline criminal legal aid fee structures to support the effective delivery of criminal defence services and wider justice priorities.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to support the work of the Scottish Law Commission to simplify, modernise and improve Scots Law.
  • Justice partners will continue to explore opportunities to improve how people resolve disputes and access justice through the use of technology.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to reform the tribunals system to benefit efficiency and access to justice.

Priority 4: We will work with others to improve health and wellbeing in justice settings, focusing on mental health and substance use

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Community Triage

Distress Brief Interventions

Mental Health Strategy

The Road to recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland's Drug problem

We will prioritise the development of our interventions and services across the justice system for those experiencing mental health or addiction problems and those experiencing distress. We will work in collaboration with the NHS and other partners in design and delivery.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • Scottish Government and partners will establish collaborative leadership arrangements across Health and Justice to oversee joint work on key shared priorities.
  • Police Scotland will continue to work in partnership with the NHS and other agencies to develop Community Triage and similar services across the country as well as exploring further collaborative opportunities to improve service delivery.
  • The Scottish Government will work closely with our pilot site partners and training provider to ensure the Distress Brief Intervention ( DBI) is in place for a controlled implementation in Lanarkshire in 2017, with incremental up scaling to full implementation in spring 2018.
  • Justice and Health partners will take forward necessary actions to improve the delivery of health and social care services for people in prison and for those returning from prison to their communities.
  • Justice partners will continue to work with the NHS and others to address alcohol misuse, focusing on prevention and early intervention activity in justice settings. This includes provision of Alcohol Brief Interventions in police custody, referral to alcohol treatment and recovery services under diversion from prosecution schemes and support for individuals on community sentences to access alcohol treatment services.
  • Justice organisations and partners will continue to develop trauma-informed practice across the sector, in part to address some of the challenges presented by childhood adversity.

Priority 5: We will work to quickly identify offenders and ensure responses are proportionate, just, effective and promote rehabilitation

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Summary Justice Reform

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016

Whole System Approach to Youth Justice

New model for Community Justice

Community Justice Scotland

Electronic Monitoring

We will continue to seek effective alternatives to prosecution and custody for those who pose little or no risk to public safety. Our priority will be to support the implementation of an ambitious vision for community justice in Scotland. And we will learn from what has worked well in our whole system approach to youth justice to ensure we sustain advances as well as build on and deliver further success.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • The Scottish Government and justice partners will continue to implement reforms introduced by the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 including necessary changes to arrangements for arrest and police custody and improvements to procedures for sheriff and jury cases.
  • The Scottish Government and justice partners will work to modernise summary justice procedures to improve efficiency through better sharing of evidence, case management and reduced inconvenience for witnesses.
  • Justice organisations and other agencies will continue to apply and learn the lessons from the successful Whole System Approach, which has supported significant reductions in youth offending through both prevention and diversion.
  • Scottish Government will work with Community Justice Scotland and local partners in the development and successful implementation of the new model for Community Justice - with Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plans ( CJOIPS) being developed in each area.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to invest in Community Sentencing and consider other tools such as diversion and bail support to lower numbers in custody on remand and serving short sentences - working in partnership with Community Justice Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government will take forward measures to expand the use of electronic monitoring, in line with the recommendations of the Expert Electronic Monitoring Working Group and international evidence.

Priority 6: We will improve the experience of victims and witnesses, minimising court attendance and supporting them to give best evidence

Our Strategic Approach Includes

Equally Safe Strategy

Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill

Child and vulnerable witnesses

Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy

Justice Digital Strategy

Taskforce to Improve Services for Rape and Sexual Assault Victims

Our priority will be to deliver reform that ensures cases are dealt with effectively, fairly and without delay to improve the experience of victims and witnesses in Scotland and to ensure they feel well-informed, valued and respected. Harnessing the opportunities afforded by digital technology will be key to improving people's experiences.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • Justice partners will continue to take forward the justice contribution to Scotland's Equally Safe Strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.
  • Subject to approval by Parliament, the Scottish Government will take forward necessary actions to prepare for the implementation of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill, establishing for the first time an offence of domestic abuse, including both physical and psychological abuse, and the impact of domestic abuse for children.
  • Justice partners will test and take forward new models to better support child and other vulnerable witnesses, including through the greater use of pre-recorded evidence, strengthened Joint Investigative Interviews and exploring the application of the collaborative Barnahus concept for child victims in Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government will engage with third sector organisations representing victims of crime to review the support provided to the families of murder victims.
  • Justice partners will work with the third sector to create access to a single point of contact to provide support for victims and witnesses.
  • The Taskforce chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, established in April 2017, will work to strengthen the quality of and access to vital forensic examination services for victims of sexual offences and ensure implementation of National Standards for forensic examinations being developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
  • In line with the Human Trafficking & Exploitation Strategy, Justice partners will work to better identify and support the victims of human trafficking and exploitation; bringing the perpetrators to justice and addressing the causes of trafficking and exploitation.

Priority 7: We will use prison only where necessary to address offending or to protect public safety, focusing on recovery and reintegration

Our Strategic Approach Includes

New model for the female custodial estate

Scottish Prison Service - Unlocking Potential Transforming Lives

Parole Board for Scotland

Risk Management


When a custodial sentence is deemed appropriate, we will help people to fulfil their potential and improve their life chances.

Key Actions for 2017-18

  • The Scottish Prison Service and key agencies will implement an ambitious new vision for the female custodial estate, including a new national facility and local community units, with a focus on rehabilitation and re-integration.
  • The Scottish Prison Service will continue to progress its transformational vision for custody, with a focus on the recovery and reintegration of the prisoners in its care.
  • Justice organisations will work with others e.g. housing, health, employability and social security - to improve support for those coming out of custody and reduce the risk of re-offending.
  • The Scottish Government will continue to support the vital work of the Parole Board for Scotland, including taking account of the ending (from 2015) of previous automatic early release arrangements for long-term offenders.


Email: Justice Analysts,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road