National Care Service - justice social work: overview

Overview of social work services provided in the justice system in Scotland. It forms one of a collection of contextual papers about social care and related areas in Scotland, linking to the National Care Service Consultation.

Key Facts


  • In 2020, there were 937 main grade or senior justice social workers, up from 898 in 2011.

Diversion from prosecution

  • In 2019-20, there were 1,990 cases commenced for diversion from prosecution covering 1,930 individuals.

Criminal justice social work reports

  • There were 28,500 criminal justice social work reports submitted in 2019-20. This was eight per cent lower than in 2014-15.

Social work orders

  • Total community payback orders imposed fell between 2015-16 and 2018-19, before a small rise of two per cent in 2019-20 to 16,800.
  • The numbers of drug treatment and testing orders fell by 14 per cent between 2018-19 and 2019-20, to 520, around the same as in 2015-16.


  • There were 1,900 statutory throughcare cases commenced in 2019-20.
  • There were 2,000 voluntary throughcare cases commenced during 2019-20. With 1,800 individuals who received assistance during this year.



Back to top