National Strategy for Community Justice

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

5 Strategic Planning and Partnership Working

A strategic approach to community justice planning and partnership requires that both statutory and non-statutory partners collaborate effectively towards common goals and co-ordinate their activities effectively.

We will drive improvement in the following areas:

  • Collaboration & Co-ordination.
  • Strong Leadership at National and Local Level.
  • Strategic Approach to Commissioning.
  • Leveraging Resources.
  • Workforce Development.

The benefits of a strategic approach to community justice planning and partnership are clear. If partners collaborate towards a shared, long-term approach to preventing and reducing further offending, their actions will complement and reinforce each other to maximise improvement of community justice outcomes.

Strategic planning and partnership working requires that partners work together effectively, that there are strong leaders at all levels, that partners use resources effectively to achieve shared goals, and that the community justice workforce has a strong identity.

Collaboration and co-ordination

"Unless Scotland embraces a radical, new, collaborative culture throughout our public services, both budgets and provision will buckle under the strain."

Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services, 2011

A strategic approach to community justice planning and partnership requires that both statutory and non-statutory partners collaborate effectively towards common goals and co-ordinate their activities effectively.

Partners should have a good understanding of each other's role and share information about effective interventions, and services to improve community justice outcomes, as well as individual-level data where appropriate.

In the new model for community justice, partners will collaborate to address priorities in their local area while having regard to: the National Strategy for Community Justice and the Outcomes, Performance and Improvement framework to drive consistency across Scotland. Partners should also have regard to the local outcomes improvement plan ( LOIP) to ensure that community justice planning is linked to the wider landscape of community planning arrangements.

Prevention and early intervention approaches are critical to stopping problems from escalating and easing future demands on services. It is likely that such approaches will be targeted at particular high risk groups or areas rather than the whole population. [8] The aim being to address issues before they deteriorate. Examples could include, targeted employability support or schemes to re-integrate people with convictions, or the diversion of young people to social work support services.

Particular consideration should be given to transitions between child and adult services, where needed. Transitions must be planned and supported, and take account of requirements under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, including corporate parenting responsibilities, which extend the rights of previously looked after young people.

To improve collaboration and co-ordination community justice partners should:

Integrate non-statutory partners such as local businesses, service users, citizens and community bodies into community justice planning structures and processes.

Share information about interventions and services to improve community justice outcomes, as well as individual-level data where appropriate.

Focus on prevention and early intervention to minimise both future demand for services and future costs to the public sector.

Build effective links with children's services planning to help support a preventative approach to offending involving children and young people, including a focus on effective transitions for young people who may need to access community justice services.

Support and assist the development of strong multi-agency public protection arrangements ( MAPPA) to help identify good practice, drive improvement, and increase consistency.

Strong leadership at national and local level

Strong national and local leadership is critical for ensuring that the diverse range of statutory and non-statutory community justice partners are supported and directed in moving towards ambitious shared goals.

Partners must be collectively accountable to local communities for the services they provide and aware of the impact of their decisions on partners, communities and community justice outcomes.

At a national level, the leadership provided by Community Justice Scotland will provide support and profile for community justice, as well as assurance to Scottish Ministers and Local Government leaders on the delivery of improved outcomes for community justice, and constructive support to community justice partners.

Strong local leadership is critical to ensure that these decisions are carried out effectively. Community planning structures can facilitate local decision-making and local government is well placed to provide local leadership and accountability. Community planning now has a shared leadership approach so any of the partners may wish to facilitate this process. [9]

Strategic approach to commissioning

Changing our thinking about the commissioning of services is crucial to achieving improved outcomes. Service provision should be based on a mixed economy approach that capitalises on the unique skills of statutory community justice partners, the third Sector, community bodies, and the private sector.

Effective commissioning breaks down boundaries between services by recognising the common outcomes they are working towards; and involves communities and those who use the services to help ensure that partners understand the needs of their area, the extent to which existing services meet these and the potential for improvement.

Implementing the Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework - particularly the '5 Step Approach to Evaluation' - will help ensure that partners have the tools they need to evaluate services and ensure that commissioning is informed by a robust evidence base.

In recognition of the importance of this, one of the first tasks for Community Justice Scotland will be to work with partners and stakeholders to develop a strategic approach to commissioning. It is important that all community justice partners contribute to this work and ensure it is implemented in their area.

Leveraging resources

The new model for community justice makes clear that partners are working towards the same outcomes. Therefore, it makes sense to co-ordinate and allocate resources strategically so that with a relatively small individual input they can have a much larger impact on outcomes. Partners should work together to identify innovative uses of resources and share knowledge and good practice where possible.

In the new model for community justice there is a duty on statutory partners to share information, provide advice and assistance, co-ordinate activities, and fund activities together. However, partners should go beyond this to break down boundaries between traditional justice services and the wider range of partners who also have a role in improving community justice outcomes. Improving these will also improve outcomes for constituent partners such as health, housing, social care, employability and policing.

Leveraging resources should also involve the assets of people and the community as a whole. For example, co-production (i.e. developing services in partnership with third sector providers, communities and service users) can be an effective way of leveraging resources to target priority areas.

To improve the strategic use of resources, partners should:

Contribute to the development of a strategic approach to commissioning and implement in their area.

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.

Workforce development

"We strongly believe that traditional professional and sectoral boundaries are restrictive. Delivery of services will benefit from loosening them through building strategic relationships between people and organisations who share common outcomes."

Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services, 2011

The community justice workforce comprises a diverse range of professionals from a range of partners. This includes not just the statutory community justice partners but also non-statutory partners who may not consider themselves to have a role in community justice, such as employers, college tutors, housing officers etc.

It is important that this broad range of professionals - at both strategic and front-line level - are aware of how they contribute to community justice outcomes and the impact of their decision making on other partners. They should be equipped to think across professional, organisational and geographical boundaries.

Community Justice Scotland will be developing a Strategy for Innovation, Learning and Development. To help prepare for this, partners should consider the community justice workforce's common values, goals, activities and training needs.

To improve workforce development, community justice partners should:

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.


Back to top