National Strategy for Community Justice

This strategy provides a shared vision to help partners and communities work together effectively to improve community justice outcomes.

11 Annex A: Collated Improvement Actions

The Scottish Government's Vision for Community Justice


Scotland is a safer, fairer and more inclusive nation where we:

  • prevent and reduce further offending by addressing its underlying causes; and
  • safely and effectively manage and support those who have committed offences to help them reintegrate into the community and realise their potential for the benefit of all citizens

Mission Statement

We will achieve this vision by effectively implementing the Scottish Government's plans for penal policy to:

  • Deliver a decisive shift in the balance between community and custodial sentences by:
  • increasing the use of community-based interventions; and
  • reducing the use of short term custodial sentences;
  • Improve the reintegration from custody to community.

The new model for community justice, with its focus on strong partnership working to ensure effective intervention from the point of arrest onwards, provides the delivery framework for achieving both this mission and the wider vision.


Extensive consultation with stakeholders has made clear that the Scottish Government's vision and mission statement will be delivered by prioritising action in the following areas:

  • Improved Community Understanding and Participation.
  • Strategic Planning and Partnership Working.
  • Effective Use of Evidence-Based Interventions.
  • Equal access to Services.


Our vision for community justice is underpinned by the following principles:

  • People must be held to account for their offences, in a way that recognises the impact on victims of crime and is mindful of risks to the public, while being proportionate and effective in preventing and reducing further offending.
  • Re-integrating those who have committed offences into the community and helping them to realise their potential will create a safer and fairer society for all.
  • Every intervention should maximise opportunities for preventing and reducing offending as early as possible, before problems escalate.
  • Community justice outcomes cannot be improved by one stakeholder alone. We must work in partnership to address these complex issues.
  • Informed communities who participate in community justice will lead to more effective services and policies with greater legitimacy.
  • High quality, person-centred and collaborative services should be available to address the needs of those who have committed offences, their families, and victims of crime.

To improve public understanding and participation Community Justice Partners are expected to:

To improve strategic planning and partnership working Community Justice Partners are expected to:

  • Develop a communications strategy that outlines their plans to raise awareness of community justice issues and the range and scope of locally available interventions and services, while spreading positive news stories to communities and local media, as well as local decision makers such as the judiciary
  • Review and capitalise upon existing engagement mechanisms and good practice
  • Develop the evidence base to help improve understanding of community justice issues in their area. Take advantage of existing research infrastructure and include contributions from academic, statutory and third sector partners
  • Develop a community participation strategy and involve communities in community justice planning, delivery and evaluation, as well as co-designing and co-delivering services to fit locally identified needs
  • Support communities on any capacity building required to enable their participation
  • Be mindful of the importance of language. Partners should use language that is inclusive to people with convictions and victims of crime
  • Integrate non-statutory partners into community justice planning structures and processes
  • Share information about effective interventions, and services as well as individual-level data where appropriate
  • Focus on prevention and early intervention to minimise future demand for services and future costs to the public sector
  • Build effective links with children's services planning
  • Support and assist the development of strong multi-agency public protection arrangements ( MAPPA)
  • Contribute to the development of a strategic approach to commissioning
  • Make best use of resources by sharing staff, expertise, information, property, and finance while building on existing areas of good collaborative working
  • Demonstrate innovative and collaborative use of funding to prevent and reduce further offending
  • Help workforces understand how they, and other partners, contribute to community justice outcomes
  • Contribute to the development of the Strategy for Innovation, Learning and Development

To improve Access to services, Community Justice Partners are expected to:

To facilitate the effective use of evidence-based interventions, Community Justice Partners are expected to:

  • Engage with the children and families of people who have committed offences
  • Facilitate the early assessment of individual housing need and begin addressing these at the earliest opportunity in order to maximise positive housing outcomes and prevent homelessness
  • Develop multi-agency protocols with local housing providers
  • Every contact in the community justice pathway should be considered a health improvement opportunity
  • Improve access to financial and welfare advice services for people who have committed offences and their families
  • Put the development of employability skills, training and lifelong learning at the heart of local planning
  • Remove barriers to the recruitment of people with convictions
  • Support the development of effective mentoring and "through-the gate" models to help people move onto and sustain positive destinations
  • Maximise opportunities for early intervention and be mindful of the impact of areas such as health, on improving community justice outcomes
  • Maximise opportunities for the use of diversion. This will require a balance of appropriate decision-making by the Procurator Fiscal and provision of suitable services by criminal justice social work and the third sector
  • Increase the availability and quality of alternatives to remand such as electronic monitoring and bail supervision
  • Increase the availability and quality of services in order to maximise the use of community disposals such as community payback orders, DTTOs, electronic monitoring and structured deferred sentences
  • Capitalise on third sector interventions to improve community justice outcomes
  • Deliver high-quality, person-centred interventions
  • Provide a more consistent, gradated response to difficulties with compliance, focused on support rather than punishment and making use (where appropriate) of electronic monitoring in collaboration with other measures


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