Employability And Justice
At least one third of the adult male population and nearly one in ten of adult females in Scotland are likely to have a criminal record.
People released from prison without a job are twice as likely to re-offend as those released with employment opportunities lined up.
People with convictions may also face stigma associated with declaring a criminal record, or an unwillingness by some employers to provide those with criminal convictions with job opportunities.
Having a job is considered to be one of the main positive influences on an individual's ability to not reoffend. It not only improves their prospects of securing appropriate accommodation, healthcare and more secure finances, but it can provide them with pro-social peers, and help build their resilience and a positive self-image.
Scottish Government funded services like Community Jobs Scotland ( CJS), an employability Programme which supports disadvantaged young people aged 16-29, increasingly prioritise those sentenced by the court. In Phase 6 of the CJS Programme (2016-17) around 39% of people moved into sustainable jobs following their placement of which 47% were retained by their CJS employer.
People with convictions who have recently completed a custodial or community sentence can receive help from initiatives where these operate at a local level and providing they are eligible they will be able to receive support from Fair Start Scotland to find and sustain work.
The Scottish Government is supporting an employer-led project, in partnership with justice stakeholders, and public, third and private sector organisations, which will support new networking resources for public and private employers who employ, or are interested in employing, people with convictions.
Work will continue across the Scottish Government to develop and enhance cross-cutting policy relating to reintegrating people leaving prison, and improving opportunities for people with a conviction to desist from reoffending.
By December 2018, the Scottish Government will undertake a review of the Community Payback Order practice guidance for Criminal Justice Social Workers to bring greater clarity to the processes for improving the employability opportunities for people on Community Payback Orders. This revised guidance will be published by June 2019.
Community Payback Orders ( CPOs), the main community sentence in Scotland, addresses the underlying causes of offending while also delivering real benefits to communities. They make people pay back to their communities for the damage caused by their offending, usually through unpaid work, and also offer opportunities for rehabilitation by requiring them to tackle the underlying causes of their offending behaviour through the completion of offence focussed work.
CPOs can allow individuals to maintain their links with employment and employment services, and are more effective at reducing reoffending than short prison sentences – individuals released from a custodial sentence of 12 months or less are reconvicted nearly twice as often as those given a CPO  .
The management and supervision of people on CPOs is the responsibility of Criminal Justice Social Work Services ( CJSWS). Where a supervision requirement is imposed as a part of a CPO, a case management plan is prepared by CJSWS. In addition to addressing the issues which led to the person's offending behaviour, this plan incorporates elements to address other issues such as health and wellbeing, accommodation, finances and employment.
The National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Community Payback Order Practice Guidance  is used by CJSWS practitioners and managers to support delivery of effective CPOs.
The review will be undertaken in liaison with CJSWS. It will help to provide clarity around the options that can help to improve a person's employability and life skills thereby increasing their chances of securing training or employment opportunities after completing their sentence.
From June 2018, the Scottish Government will work collaboratively with Criminal Justice Social Work Services and Local Employability Partnerships to raise awareness of employability opportunities for people serving community sentences by identifying examples of best practice and arrange for these to be shared amongst local authorities to encourage more people into employability services.
Through unpaid work placements (either as part of a work squad or an individual placement) people on CPOs are able to build upon existing employment experience or are trained to develop new skills on the job, which can then be transferred to the workplace upon completion of the CPO. In addition, an individual on a CPO can develop skills to enhance their employability through the completion of 'other activity'. This allows the person to develop their educational, vocational or interpersonal skills which, in turn, can assist them in their efforts to reduce the likelihood of their reoffending. Local authorities report that 'other activity' is most often used to improve employability skills  .
In addition, to encourage further use of this opportunity under CPOs, we have included 'the use of other activities' as one of the indicators in the Community Justice: Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework  . This will encourage local authorities to showcase examples of creative and innovative use of 'other activity', including improving employability, in their Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plan. Under the new model for community justice which came into force on 1 April 2017, statutory Community Justice partners in each of the 32 local authorities are required to produce this plan by working in partnership with each other and submit it to Community Justice Scotland. This is a newly established body responsible for identifying best practice and promoting standards of community justice across Scotland.
By April 2019, the Scottish Government in collaboration with Scottish Prison Service ( SPS) will develop an agreed referral process to support people with convictions into local and national employability services.
The SPS is supporting people with convictions to develop employability skills and continues to work with a number of organisations including the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and third sector organisations.
We want to support more people with convictions to find and sustain work. To achieve this, we will work collaboratively with the SPS to identify and develop referral routes for people leaving custody to access employability support. SPS officials already offer pre-release planning and throughcare support to individuals leaving prison, and establishing a referral process to employability services will complement this work.
By August 2018, the Scottish Government, working collaboratively with the Violence Reduction Unit of Police Scotland, will develop an Employability Toolkit for use by Navigators so that they are able to signpost people who want to work to local and national employability support.
Navigator is an Emergency Department based service that aims to support people of all ages and genders, with a wide range of complex social and health needs, to move away from violent or chaotic lifestyles. Funded by the Scottish Government, it is managed by the Violence Reduction Unit in partnership with Medics against Violence, NHS Glasgow Greater Clyde, and NHS Lothian.
Navigator currently operates in Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Navigators meet people out in the community who they have initially met in the emergency department and work closely with them to link them up with organisations that can provide more specialised support. The Navigator approach is very much person centred and it is up to individuals to decide if and when they are ready to change and what feels right for them. As a result, each intervention that Navigators provide is bespoke and co-produced with individuals.
Navigator helps support people to address a range of barriers that they experience, including housing or benefits, and alcohol or drug misuse or addiction. If a person decides that they want to work, we want to make sure that they get the right kind of employability support to meet their specific needs.