9. Social Work Scotland
Social Work Scotland is the professional body for social work leaders, working closely with partners to shape policy and practice, and improve the quality and experience of social work services. The local authority is the Responsible Authority with primary responsibility for the management of individuals subject to statutory supervision in the community. This responsibility for the joint arrangements within a local authority lies primarily with the Chief Social Work Officer. However, other local authority services, such as housing, education and children and families, also have key duties in relation to this function.
As a Responsible Authority, the local authority is a key member of MAPPA Strategic Oversight Groups and contributes to significant case reviews and the implementation of any related recommendations pertaining to practice or adherence to legislation and guidance. The local authority is also a key member of local Public Protection Chief Officer Groups, and Social Work Scotland is represented on the SG MAPPA National Strategic Group by the Chair of the Justice Standing Committee. The management of the vast majority of RSOs is Police led for the purposes of MAPPA, however justice social work supervises and manages significant numbers of RSOs managed at MAPPA risk Levels 1 and 2 who are subject to community payback orders and licences following release from prison. This requires having a capable, well-trained workforce in order to manage this range of individuals.
Local authorities are also the lead Responsible Authority for MAPPA Category 3, Other Risk of Serious Harm Individuals. This includes people who are not required to comply with the Sex Offender Notification Requirements and who are assessed by the Responsible Authorities as posing a high or very high risk of serious harm to the public (for example, people convicted of serious violent and domestic abuse related offences). As with RSOs, the local authority is responsible for holding the community payback order or licence and for taking action to initiate breach proceedings with the court or the Parole Board where a person has breached their order or licence. This involves monitoring, management and targeted intervention to address offending and prevention of further offending. In certain cases, this will require recommending immediate recall to prison where there is an imminent risk of serious harm.
During 2022-2023, Justice Social Work has continued to:
- work in collaboration with other Responsible Authorities and DTC agencies to ensure the protection of the public;
- provide criminal justice social work reports and risk assessments to inform the court sentencing process;
- provide a throughcare service to prisoners released on statutory supervision including ongoing risk assessment, developing risk management plans, contributing to the Scottish Prison Service’s enhanced Integrated Case Management (ICM) process and providing reports to the Parole Board for Scotland;
- deliver programmes to address sexual offending to individuals subject to community payback orders and licences in the community.
Justice social work professionals are also involved in contributing to the design, testing and training of the new MF2C programme. There are three local authorities piloting the new programme. This includes developing the intervention on release for those who have offended sexually and are assessed as highest risk and have undertaken the self-change programme in custody.
Social Work Scotland has been involved with local and UK partners in the development of the MAPPS programme. Ongoing work and further development will be required prior to the gradual implementation of the system, from October 2025.
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