Publication - Research and analysis

Redesigning the Community Justice System: Analysis of Consultation Responses

Published: 4 Oct 2013
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781782569411

A written consultation was carried out by the Scottish Government on “Redesigning the Community Justice System” between 20 December 2012 and 30 April 2013. This document reports on the analysis of the responses to the consultation.

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Contents
Redesigning the Community Justice System: Analysis of Consultation Responses
SECTION 2: OVERALL VIEWS OF OPTIONS

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SECTION 2: OVERALL VIEWS OF OPTIONS

2.1 This section outlines the three options as set out in the consultation document. The findings relating to respondents' overall views of the questions relating to all of these options (Questions 1-7 and Question 10) are then presented. The perceived equality and business impacts are discussed in Section 6.

The options

2.2 The Scottish Government identified three options for redesigning the community justice system, which are summarised below.

Option A - enhanced CJA model

2.3 Option A would involve an "enhanced CJA model", in which CJAs would continue to be the key strategic body, with the same geographical boundaries, responsible for reducing reoffending, but there would be three key changes:

  • A chairperson for each CJA would be appointed by the Scottish Ministers, and Board membership would be widened to include an appointed member of the Health Board. Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) would become a partner body.
  • A statutory duty would be placed on all partner bodies to work to develop a local plan for reducing reoffending and engage in its delivery.
  • CJAs' statutory functions would be expanded to include strategic commissioning of services and to promote the CJA's role in the community and represent community justice interests with the local judiciary, media and public.

2.4 The consultation document suggested a further option to give CJAs operational responsibility for the delivery of criminal justice social work services.

Option B - Local authority model

2.5 Option B would involve a "local authority model", in which CJAs would be abolished and local authorities would assume both strategic and operational responsibility for the planning, design and delivery of services for offenders.

2.6 A statutory duty would be placed upon local authorities to work in consultation with partner bodies to produce and deliver a strategic plan for reducing reoffending in their area. The duty would be in addition to existing local authority duties to work with offenders in the community as set out under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. It would be up to local authorities to decide how best to deliver these duties.

2.7 There would be a direct relationship, set out in legislation, between the Scottish Government and local authorities in terms of allocation of funding, and accountability and performance requirements.

2.8 The scope of the Risk Management Authority (RMA) would be extended to include community justice more broadly, and the RMA would take on responsibility for some of the improvement functions currently undertaken by the Scottish Government. This would include performance management, production of guidance, programme development and workforce development.

Option C - Single service model

2.9 Option C would involve a "single service model", in which the CJAs would be abolished and a national social work-led service for community justice established, with strategic and operational responsibility for the planning, management and delivery of community-based offender services. This would be separate to, and sit alongside the SPS, and would incorporate the existing functions of the RMA.

2.10 The new service would be a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), headed by a Chief Executive, appointed through open recruitment by the Board of the new service. Scottish Ministers would set the strategic framework for the body, but the NDPB and the services it manages and delivers, would be able to take decisions at some distance from the Government. Ministers would appoint a Board which could, if appropriate, include locally elected members.

2.11 Local authority criminal justice social workers (and other applicable staff) and relevant RMA staff would transfer to the new service. Community justice services would continue to be delivered locally.

Overall preferences

2.12 Although there was no specific question asked about respondents' overall preferred option, in many cases it was possible to identify this, either through a direct statement, or clear inference. It is important to bear in mind that this is indicative, not definitive (although it has been done consistently within a clear framework). It was possible to identify a clear view in almost three quarters of cases, either for one of the options provided, or for an alternative model. A small number of respondents indicated explicitly that they would not express a view, or that none of the choices would be appropriate, and made no other suggestion. A small number of additional respondents made similar comments, but provided an alternative. In terms of the choices expressed:

  • A very small number of all respondents expressed a preference for Option A, or for an alternative option building on Option A.
  • Option B was the preferred option of around two in five of all respondents This was by some margin the most commonly identified preference of option, either as specified in the consultation document, or as developed further by the respondent.
  • Less than one in ten of all respondents expressed a preference for Option C.
  • A very small number of respondents explicitly suggested a specific combination of, or an either/or between two options. It is recognised that this category overlaps to some extent with those who suggested developments of options A to C. In these cases, respondents appeared not to express a basic preference for one of the models, or specifically expressed a preference for two in combination.
  • Around one in seven of all respondents specified an alternative option (often labelled as "D"). It is recognised that this category overlaps with those who suggested further developments to existing options, but in these cases, the respondents appeared to present a distinct additional option.

2.13 When these preferences were examined by type of respondent, it was found that a majority of local authorities and partnerships expressed a preference for Option B. Preferences of CJAs were split between Options B and "D". Among individuals, around a third expressed a preference for each of options B and "D". Views among professional representative bodies, regulation and standards bodies and third sector respondents were more mixed, with relatively high proportions in each case who did not express a clear view.

Question 1 - Preferred options to meet key characteristics

2.14 Question 1 was a quantitative question which asked:

Which option(s) do you think is more likely to meet the key characteristics (set out on pages 15 and 16 of the consultation document) that, if integral to any new community justice system, are more likely to lead to better outcomes?

2.15 A total of 15 separate "key characteristics" were explored. These are set out in Annex 1. Summary tables detailing the pattern of responses are set out in Annex 2. Around two thirds of the respondents answered question 1 and most addressed all parts of it. Respondents were given a free choice, and could identify A, B or C individually or in combination. A very small number identified alternative options, or specified that none would meet the key characteristics.

2.16 Overall, with two exceptions ([part g] a strong united voice, and [part j] an overview of the system), more than two thirds of those who responded to this question identified Option B in some form as more likely to meet each of the key characteristics (and in 5 cases, over 80% did so). In contrast, fewer than a third identified Option A in each case.

2.17 Views of Option C were more varied. For some key characteristics ([part b] a focus on prevention and early intervention; [part e] effective local partnership and collaboration; [part i] involvement of service users, families and the wider community; and [part k] better integration) fewer than a third identified Option C as more likely to meet the key characteristics. For others ([part g] a strong and united voice; [part m] a strategic approach to workforce development and leadership; and [part o] ability to follow national and international innovation), two thirds or more did so.

2.18 Among the key characteristics, Option B was identified most frequently as more likely to meet these for all except three: [part g] a strong united voice; [part j] provision of an overview of the system as a whole; and [part o] ability to follow national and international innovation, where Option C was identified most frequently.

Question 2 - Culture change

2.19 Two further questions (2 and 3), both of which were qualitative, explored views of which of the options would address other particular issues. Question 2 focused on cultural change, and asked:

Which option(s) will result in the significant cultural change required to redesign services so that they are based on offender needs, evidence of what works and best value for money?

2.20 This question was open-ended, although it invited respondents to select an option. Over 80% of all respondents addressed the question, and almost three quarters of those who did so expressed a clear view of their preferred option. The remainder made comments without making a choice. Where respondents selected an option, Option B was selected most commonly, with almost a third of all respondents, and almost half of those who selected an option choosing B. The next most frequently selected option was Option C (around 1 in 8 of all respondents, and around a fifth of those making a selection). A very small number of respondents selected Option A. Small numbers of respondents also expressed the view that more than one option, or a combination of options would achieve this (most commonly A/B, but also B/C and A, B and C).

2.21 Additional comments most commonly focused on either perceived benefits, or concerns. Other common themes for comments included: views of the current system; and the identification of key factors or perceived requirements which should underpin the redesign, whatever the option selected. All of these themes are discussed below.

Comments on particular options

2.22 Among the comments on particular options, the most frequent related to Option B, particularly the perceived benefits of this option, although some comments also included potential concerns or suggested developments. The perceived benefits cited most frequently related to: the general effectiveness of this model in achieving the desired outcome; the impact at a local level (e.g. responsiveness to local needs; local knowledge; local ownership; partnerships and links between services; and links with the community); and links to planning structures. Other benefits identified related to: links to wider developments; links to evidence of "what works"; value for money or best value; accountability, performance measurement and scrutiny; the nature of the approach (e.g. as integrated; holistic; flexible; expert; equitable; and coherent).

2.23 The small number of concerns or issues raised included: the number of authorities and potential implications for smaller authorities and consistency; perceptions of current management; and whether the partnership working envisaged would happen in practice. Several respondents also made suggestions for development of the model, considered further later in the report.

2.24 Many respondents also made comments about Option C. These were more evenly split. Perceived benefits included: the general effectiveness of the option, or a preference for this; links to wider strategic and policy developments; overall strategy and direction; value for money or best value; and the development of an evidence based approach. A few respondents commented on the benefits of specific aspects of the model, such as the development of a Community Justice Unit or the emphasis on core social work values.

2.25 Among the issues raised, the most common related to the impact of this option on links with, and access to local services, and the impact of this upon joint working and offenders, including young people. Additional concerns related to the lack of evidence for the option and the potential loss of innovation.

2.26 Smaller numbers of respondents made comments on Option A, or a particular combination of options. In terms of Option A, the benefits identified focused on positive views of the value or impact of existing arrangements and the potential to build upon these in a cost-effective way. The issues raised focused largely on perceived problems with CJAs and concerns about the effectiveness or impact of the changes proposed.

2.27 In terms of comments on more than one option, it was suggested that both options A and B would minimise disruption, while retaining accountability and operational responsibilities, while a few respondents stated that either B or C could achieve the desired outcome, and others that all three options could do this. A few respondents expressed concerns about the impact of both options A and C.

2.28 Many of the comments made focused on respondents' views of the options as a whole, and overlapped to a large extent with views expressed at the specific questions which explored the individual options in more detail (11, 19 and 26). As such, they will be discussed further at those points in the report.

Current system

2.29 Several respondents expressed the view that current criminal justice services are already based upon offender needs, evidence of what works and value for money. Several questioned the need for significant structural change, highlighted positive aspects of the current system, or identified potential negative effects of change. Several stated that: structural change is not the key issue; does not equate to cultural change; or will not, in itself, achieve the desired outcome (with respondents highlighting, for example, the importance of issues such as: clear policy; the "four pillars" of public sector reform; leadership and direction; ownership; shared outcomes and resources; and local accountability).

2.30 Some respondents however identified a perceived need, or opportunity, for change, highlighting the findings of recent reports, structural and other barriers in the current system, or the opportunity for further improvement.

Key factors

2.31 Among the many comments on key factors, those identified most commonly were: links to and fit with the wider national agenda and specific issues within this (e.g. desistance; public sector reform; prevention; and integration); links to and co-operation with other services and partnerships; leadership and strategic direction (national and local); and provision to meet local needs (for offenders and victims). Others identified included the need for: clear aims, objectives and outcomes; an evidence base; strategic commissioning; appropriate resources; performance measurement; best value; clear roles and duties; accountability; workforce development; and shared good practice.

2.32 A few respondents identified specific types of criminal justice work they considered to be required in cultural change (e.g. tackling crimes of violence against women and the protection of victims of crime).

2.33 The identification of key factors and perceived requirements was also a common theme in the comments made by respondents in addition to answering the questions. These issues will be discussed further in Section 6 (at Question 32).

Question 3 - Improved access to services

2.34 Question 3 asked:

Which option(s) will result in improvements in engagement with, and quicker access to, non-justice services such as health, housing and education?

2.35 As with Question 2, this was an open-ended question, although it invited respondents to select a choice of option. Over 80% of respondents addressed this question, and almost three quarters of those who did so expressed a clear view of their preferred option. The remainder made comments without making a choice.

2.36 Where respondents selected an option, Option B was the one chosen most commonly, with over a third of all respondents, and almost two thirds of those who selected an option choosing this. The next most frequent view was that A and / or B would result in the type of improvements highlighted. A small number suggested Option C, and a very small number suggested Option A, or a different combination of more than one option.

2.37 Additional comments mostly focused on further views of the options or potential concerns. Some also identified key factors required to ensure engagement with, and access to non-justice services whatever the option chosen.

Comments on particular options

2.38 As at Question 2, the most frequent comments on specific options focused on Option B, particularly the perceived benefits of this model in terms of improving engagement with, and quicker access to, non-justice services such as health, housing and education. These comments focused on benefits in terms of:

  • A general view that this option would be most effective.
  • The local nature of non-justice services required to meet the complex needs of offenders, and the need for close links to these services.
  • The opportunity to build upon local services (with the integration agenda of health and social care. and new requirements relating to Single Outcome Agreements [SOAs]).
  • The existence, value and effectiveness of existing partnership arrangements (e.g. CPPs and Community Health and Care Partnerships [CHCPs]).
  • The opportunity for the identification of local needs and solutions; and for service provision which is flexible and integrated.
  • The effective use of resources.
  • Local accountability.

2.39 A very small number of potential concerns or issues were raised with Option B in this context, for example that this would be a "backwards move" and would favour larger authorities. Additional suggestions were also made, and are discussed further later in the report.

2.40 In terms of comments on more than one option, several respondents commented that either Option A or B could achieve the outcome sought, and a very small number that all three could do so. A few suggested specifically that both A and C could create further barriers to access to wider services.

2.41 While a small number of respondents were positive about Option C in terms of, for example: simplification of the landscape, consistency and a co-ordinated approach and greater power for the service, most raised issues and concerns, including: the disconnection of criminal justice social work from other services identified and the implications of this for offenders, holistic provision and safety; difficulties in addressing local needs; and difficulties in complementing local CPP arrangements.

2.42 Only a small number of respondents made comments on Option A. Positive comments on the option including identification of the opportunity to build on the work already done by CJAs to improve engagement and the opportunity to engage with services across a wide area. Concerns focused on: the perceived limited role of CJAs in developing partnerships; and difficulties for CJAs in sustaining relationships with a number of services across a range of local authorities with different needs and priorities.

Key factors and other comments

2.43 The key factors most commonly identified were the need for: local connections and links (including information sharing); partnership and joint working (for some, at different geographical levels); a strategic approach; the inclusion of other partners such as the third sector and sentencers; flexible, holistic and integrated provision; a skilled workforce; and alignment of, and integration of community justice to CPPs and SOAs. One respondent suggested here that a statutory duty to cooperate would improve engagement and access, and this issue is discussed further below (Question 4). Another respondent suggested pooling resources. Again, the perceived key factors and requirements are discussed further in Section 6.

2.44 Several respondents suggested that, in their view, it is not helpful to view services as "justice" or "non-justice", and stressed the need for co-ordinated provision to support offenders. It was also noted that reducing reoffending is a wider social problem, not a "criminal justice" problem.

2.45 A few respondents suggested that none of the options would necessarily achieve improvements to engagement and access, while one indicated that their answer would depend on the resources available. A few respondents commented on the role of particular types of support (e.g. education, employment and housing) in meeting offenders' needs, and one suggested a requirement for Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners to have a duty to assist in re-housing perpetrators and victims of crime.

Question 4 - Statutory duty

2.46 Question 4 asked:

Do you think a statutory duty on local partners will help promote collective responsibility for reducing reoffending among all the bodies who work with offenders? If not, what would?

2.47 This was an open-ended question, although the wording invited a "yes" or "no" answer. Almost 80% of respondents addressed this question, although only around a third stated a specific "yes" or "no". Additionally, many respondents made comments which implied their view. The remainder (just over a quarter) made comments, but did not express a clear view overall. Among those who expressed a clear view, the majority believed that a statutory duty on local partners would help promote collective responsibility for reducing reoffending.

2.48 While some respondents added that they believed such a duty to be required, or expressed general agreement, the question did not explore directly whether this course should be followed. Several respondents also expressed provisos, or qualified their view with additional requirements. These included, for example, views that, although a statutory duty may help: it may not in itself be sufficient, necessary or the only or best way; or that other conditions would also require to be in place (discussed further below).

2.49 The main areas raised in the many additional comments included both perceived benefits (or how a statutory duty may help), and concerns about such a duty, as well as the identification of other factors that may help to promote collective responsibility.

Potential benefits - statutory duty

2.50 A very large number of respondents identified benefits of having a statutory duty. While some focused on the perceived need for a duty, others focused on how it may help promote collective responsibility. Among the ways identified were: the formalisation of existing responsibilities; provision of impetus and promotion of commitment; identification of roles and involvement and clarity of expectations. Some additional potential benefits were identified, including improvements to: shared ownership, accountability and the recognition of responsibilities; planning; performance management; integration and consistency.

Potential concerns or issues - statutory duty

2.51 Potential concerns or issues were also identified by a large number of respondents (primarily those who did not believe such a duty would help, but also respondents with other overall views). As noted above, some stated that a duty would not help promote collective responsibility, or suggested that it was unnecessary or that other factors would be more effective. Several respondents expressed the view that even if a duty encouraged attendance at meetings, this would not equate to effective partnership service delivery. It was also suggested that there is a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of imposing such a statutory duty on partners, and that a statutory duty is not the same as statutory accountability. A few respondents suggested that a duty may have a negative impact on existing services or informal arrangements.

2.52 Other concerns included views that the proposal does not take account of the range and variety of organisations involved (statutory and third sector) or the role of many diverse partners, including small local organisations. It was also suggested that, given the nature of provision and involvement, it is difficult to apportion responsibility for success and failure.

Other factors promoting collective responsibility

2.53 A number of other factors were identified by respondents with different types of overall views, which it was suggested would impact upon promoting collective responsibility and other outcomes. These included:

  • Structural arrangements (including CPPs and other partnerships).
  • Identification of reducing reoffending as a priority (e.g. in SOAs).
  • A framework of leadership, performance and accountability.
  • Shared objectives, goals and outcomes, ethics, beliefs and understanding.
  • The behaviour and knowledge of key participants (e.g. local negotiation and joint working; good relationships; work with local communities; workforce development).
  • Funding issues (e.g. the use of Service Level Agreements [SLAs] and conditions) and the use of resources (e.g. shared resources).
  • Links to the wider agenda.
  • Another type of statutory duty (e.g. to provide services required).

Views of the way forward

2.54 A number of comments were made on the way forward. Some of these focused on which partners should be covered by a duty, with some respondents suggesting that this should include all relevant partners and others identifying specific partners, such as, for example: relevant local authority services; police; health; third sector; the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS); the Scottish Court Service (SCS); the Scottish Prison Service (SPS); the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP); and the judiciary. Some focused on the nature of the duty, with suggestions that it should, for example, include meaningful powers, that it should be specific and clear, that it should be accompanied by statutory guidance and a national commitment and that it could (or should) be applied whatever the structure adopted

2.55 Additional suggestions included a perceived need for: sufficient resources; compulsion or sanction; monitoring, scrutiny and reporting; and accountability. It was also suggested that there should be an emphasis on prevention. One respondent suggested that such a duty is best used "sparingly" for maximum effect.

Question 5 - Ring-fenced funding

2.56 Question 5 asked:

Under options A and B, should funding for criminal justice social work services remain ring-fenced?

2.57 This was also an open-ended question which invited a "yes" or "no answer. Over three quarters of respondents addressed this question, the majority of whom expressed a clear view.

2.58 The majority of respondents who expressed a clear view believed that funding for criminal justice social work (CJSW) services should remain ring-fenced under options A and B. A small number expressed a clear view that they were not in favour of this, while a few respondents indicated that their view would depend on which of the options were adopted. A few stated that the ring-fenced funding should remain in place at least during any transitional period, in the short term, or until the national review of the funding formula is concluded. Some also suggested reviewing ring-fencing in the future.

2.59 The theme identified most commonly among additional comments was the perceived benefits of ring-fenced funding, or reasons for the need for this. A further common theme was the identification of other related suggestions or requirements. A small number identified concerns with ring-fenced funding.

Benefits or perceived reasons for need - ring fenced funding

2.60 The most common theme among the additional comments was the identification of benefits arising from this. Some respondents expressed their general support.

2.61 A large number of respondents highlighted issues relating to the security and protection of spending on criminal justice social work, and the need for this to be a priority (nationally and locally) in the face of competing political and financial demands. Comments were also made on the perceived benefits of ring-fenced funding in terms of the impact on services, or the overall approach to provision. Some respondents identified related benefits in terms of the wider impact of services upon communities, safety and costs to the public purse.

2.62 Some respondents focused on a perceived negative impact of the removal of ring-fenced funding on the types of issues highlighted above, or identified specific concerns (e.g. budget cuts; reduction of third sector input; loss of confidence among some of the judiciary in the quality of aspects of provision; and a rise in reoffending).

Potential concerns or issues - ring-fenced funding

2.63 Several respondents identified concerns or potential drawbacks. Some simply emphasised their lack of support for this, or suggested that it was unnecessary. Specific concerns and drawbacks identified included the view that ring-fenced funding has, or can: be difficult and expensive to administer; be difficult to understand; restrict flexibility; reduce innovation; hamper commissioning; work against prioritising joint outcomes; create a barrier to integration of services; and work against full local democratic accountability. One respondent indicated that the CJSW budget is a small part of a larger reducing reoffending budget involving other organisations, and argued that ring-fencing the CJSW funding alone would not be effective.

Requirements or suggestions and other comments

2.64 Many respondents made additional suggestions or highlighted changes they considered to be required. The most common related to funding. Some highlighted the demands placed upon local authorities and CJAs; inequity in funding and availability of services; and the problems caused by short term funding.

2.65 A range of additional suggestions were made in addition to a call for proper resourcing for the reducing reoffending agenda and CJSW services, including the need for a strategic approach; flexibility; understanding of unit costs and the balance of resources between partners; and also funding for "non-core" and innovative provision. Some suggested a whole system approach; and identified the need to focus on outcomes, with reporting and accountability.

2.66 It was also argued that there should be consideration of: the Section 27 grant, funding allocation and the formula for distribution of monies; how the funding cycle works in practice; and the potential for combining funds from different sources or having a broader ring-fenced budget covering other elements of the agenda.

2.67 One respondent argued that the principle of moving away from ring-fenced funding should be at the core of the local authority model from the start. A few respondents welcomed the use of Reducing Reoffending Change Fund monies to develop PSPs.

Question 6 - Training and development

2.68 Question 6 asked:

Are there specific types of training and development that would be beneficial for practitioners, managers and leaders working in community justice? Who is best placed to provide them?

2.69 Just under 80% of respondents addressed this question. Only a very small number of respondents answered "yes" or "no" directly, although it was possible to ascertain from many of the comments the overall pattern of views of whether specific types of training and development would be beneficial.

2.70 Among those who addressed this question, the majority identified particular types of training and development that they considered beneficial. Some made comments about additional aspects of training and development, and the main broad themes identified here were: the nature of training and development considered beneficial; who should be included; and the means of provision. Additional themes identified included: the overall importance of training and development; existing training and development issues; and some additional comments.

Types of training and development

2.71 A majority of those who addressed this question made comments on types of training and development that may be beneficial. A large number identified the need for joint, cross-sectoral and multi-agency training. It was also suggested that there should be training and development that is: technical / specific; generic; diverse; evidence-based; consistent and linked to outcomes. A large number of respondents made comments on subject areas for training and development.

2.72 Some focused on aspects of practice and management (e.g. effective interventions and change; risk assessment; outcomes, standards and evaluation; reporting; leadership; service design and commissioning). Some focused on training and development on specific issues such as: abuse and violence; drug and alcohol misuse; mental health; challenging behaviour; child and adult protection; desistance; welfare reform; the needs of care leavers; speech, language and communication needs and issues for other groups.

2.73 Several respondents suggested a training programme focusing specifically on working with offenders, or nationally recognised qualifications (e.g. an MSc in Advanced Social Work Studies in Criminal Justice or similar; the use of SVQs and PhD research). It was also suggested that there should be further development of a professional career pathway for social workers (with early work having been started on this). One respondent suggested a specific qualification for prison officers.

2.74 Several respondents made comments on who should be included in training and development, and suggestions included: staff at different levels and stages; and staff in particular types of organisation (e.g. social work; local authorities; the third sector; prisons; housing; and health). It was also suggested that training should be extended to "all relevant agencies".

Means of providing training and development

2.75 A further common theme was the means of providing training and development. Some comments focused on the overall context and general approach, and several suggested a need for: a national framework and oversight; a strategy; and a national body or development team. Other suggestions included: a strategic approach; national standards; the use of workforce development planning; complementary provision to meet local and national needs and priorities; and a partnership approach. A few respondents suggested the use of specific forms of learning, including: mentoring; co-working; coaching; work shadowing; action learning; modular learning; and online learning. One suggested a "one stop shop" for academic literature.

2.76 Many comments were made on potential providers of training and development. A number of respondents suggested a need for a range of providers, given the range of requirements. A few stressed the need for appropriate expertise. A large number of organisations with a potential role in the development and / or delivery of learning opportunities were identified, including:

  • The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
  • The Risk Management Authority (RMA).
  • The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS).
  • Social Services Knowledge Scotland (SSKS).
  • Skills for Justice.
  • Academic institutions.
  • The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF).
  • The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).
  • Scottish Women's Aid.
  • Other third sector organisations.

2.77 It was also suggested that a partnership approach to planning, development, commissioning and delivery could involve the Scottish Government, RMA, local authorities, other relevant organisations (e.g. ADSW) and key partners. A few respondents argued that the CJA Training and Development Officers (TDOs) should continue to be involved.

Importance of training and development, existing issues and other comments

2.78 A number of respondents mentioned the importance of training and development in relation to all options, while others also identified the importance of high quality community justice services overall, and the importance to this of; skills and knowledge; good practice; professional identity; an understanding of roles; and joint working. Some respondents also highlighted previous and current training and development, with examples of: particular approaches to this; the roles of particular organisations or providers; types of training; and training on specific issues. The potential role of a Community Justice Centre (as proposed by the Commission on Women Offenders) either in Option C or additional to Option B, was also noted.

2.79 A small number of respondents made comments on perceived issues or problems with current training and development, such as: inconsistency in standards for accredited programmes; a reduction in post-qualifying training; different practices and monitoring; and resource issues.

Question 7 - Roles in supporting and developing skills

2.80 Question 7 asked:

Is there potential for existing organisations such as Scottish Social Services Council, Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services and knowledge portal Social Services Knowledge in Scotland to take on a greater role in supporting and developing the skills and expertise of professionals working with offenders?

2.81 Just under 80% of respondents addressed this question. More than a third of those who addressed the question expressed a "yes" or "no" response, and this could be inferred for a number of others. It was possible to ascertain overall views for around two thirds of those who addressed the question. Almost all of those whose view could be ascertained suggested that there was potential for these organisations to take on a greater role in supporting and developing expertise. The most common comments focused on the identification of perceived benefits, or positive aspects of this suggestion. Other themes included: some perceived requirements of such an approach; and some additional suggestions. A small number of respondents identified potential concerns or issues with the approach.

Potential benefits - greater role

2.82 A very large number of respondents identified benefits with this suggestion. Some expressed their general support, while others highlighted specific benefits, such as:

  • Promoting consistency and a national approach.
  • Giving recognition to this area of work.
  • Linking justice to other relevant learning opportunities and areas of work.
  • Improving integration and understanding between core and specialist workforce needs and training.
  • Using a range of resources and types of training and development.
  • Enabling needs to be met by the most suitable provider.
  • Providing an evidence base.
  • Providing a point of access to research.
  • Enabling clarity of roles.
  • Providing best value.

2.83 A few respondents stated that it is important for training and development for criminal justice social workers to remain within a unified social work framework.

2.84 It was also suggested that the roles of the Scottish Government and RMA should be considered, to ensure clarity of roles and avoid duplication. A few respondents commented on the current role of specific organisations (the SSSC and IRISS), the importance of continuing this role and the opportunity to develop this. Other organisations identified which could also have a greater role in supporting and developing the skills and expertise of those working with offenders included:

  • RMA.
  • The Scottish Centre for Criminal Justice Research (SCCJR).
  • The Scottish Government Effective Practice Unit.
  • Police and SPS colleges.
  • Universities.
  • The CJSW Development Centre.
  • Skills for Justice.
  • The Scottish Drugs Forum.
  • TDOs.
  • Scrutiny bodies (e.g. the Care Inspectorate).

Potential concerns or issues, and other suggestions - greater role

2.85 The small number of issues identified included: concerns about the level of specialist knowledge currently within the organisations and the lack of "track record"; the nature of some training documents; the role of the SSSC in registration and regulation (which may not be compatible with the extended functions); and the administrative nature of the bodies. A few respondents stated that the organisations would have to develop specialist skills and knowledge, and one stated that proper investment and involvement of employers would be required.

2.86 It was also suggested that these developments would need to be co-ordinated and integrated; collaborative; and linked to other relevant organisations or disciplines. It was noted that there would be a need for a shared strategy; improved joint working and sharing of good practice; effective third sector involvement; and local plans. A national training strategy was suggested, as well as a Community Justice Professional Framework

Question 10 - Other options or permutations

2.87 Question 10 asked:

Are there other options, or permutations of the options presented in this paper, which should be considered?

Overall views

2.88 More than two thirds of respondents addressed this question. A small number answered "yes" or "no" to this question (in similar proportions), although many other respondents implied that they did believe there were additional options or permutations of options, or made suggestions about perceived requirements of the options. Some respondents provided detailed views relevant to this question in a letter or supporting document, and these have also been included here.

2.89 Comments focused on the identification of additional options or permutations, and the most common suggestions related to further developments to Option B. The next most common was the suggestion of an fourth option (effectively an Option "D") suggested by around 1 in 7 of respondents overall, although, in a few cases there was not always a clear distinction between the fourth option and the further development of one of the existing options. Very few respondents identified an additional option involving the development of Option A or Option C. Some comments were made on particular considerations and requirements.

Developments to options presented in the paper

2.90 Most of the comments on the development of options presented focused on Option B. Two respondents, however, identified their fourth option as a variation of Option B, but considered it a new option, and these are considered later.

2.91 Among the additions to Option B, a number focused on the development of the use of CPP arrangements. A range of suggestions included:

  • Aligning political and operational responsibility for reducing reoffending as far as possible within the CPP.
  • Sharing ownership and accountability for reducing reoffending between local partners.
  • Incorporating strategic planning and leadership of community justice into CPPs.
  • Integrating community justice into CPPs through, for example, integrated health and social care structures, community safety, community justice, or reducing reoffending partnerships.
  • Developing greater cohesion between CJSW and CPP frameworks.

2.92 A further common suggestion was the need for some form of working across local authority boundaries and the need for strategic commissioning. Suggestions included some form of partnership between local authorities for planning, commissioning, delivering and monitoring shared services, as well as the need for a clear mandate and flexibility to enable this type of partnership working.

2.93 Some respondents also suggested the need for a national perspective, national strategic planning, national links and a national voice with Option B. Suggestions included: the inclusion of an enhanced Community Justice Unit; a National Strategic Board or other oversight body; a Chief Social Work Officers' Group; and enhancing the capacity of ADSW and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) to support national co-ordination. One respondent suggested the inclusion of the "governance aspects of Option C".

2.94 Among the very few suggested developments to Option A was the need for appropriate representation on the Board from specific groups. A few respondents identified their fourth option as a variation of Option A, although they clearly suggested this as a new option (considered below).

2.95 In relation to Option C, the suggestions made focused on the need to include strong local delivery and provision to ensure that adult and children's services work appropriately together at a policy and practice level. A very small number of respondents suggested combining existing options.

New options

2.96 In presenting new options, some respondents provided very detailed proposals, containing supporting material and extensive descriptions of how their model would operate and how it might link to the outcomes sought. While it is clearly impossible to include these details in this report, all of the information is available within the full text of the responses.

2.97 A number of the proposals involved arrangements at different levels (national, regional and local), and different configurations of responsibilities. Some suggestions were made for a partnership model based upon local authorities working together (e.g. in "cluster" areas), or for an arrangement including local authorities with an infrastructure for national accountability, governance and leadership. Other suggestions focused on wider partnership arrangements. These included the adoption of an approach which would enable working across local authority and/or community planning boundaries through "Reducing Reoffending Partnerships" or something similar, for example groupings of local authorities in particular areas working with partner agencies. Specific detailed suggestions were also made about issues such as: the roles of these partnerships; links to CPPs and reporting and governance arrangements.

2.98 A few respondents described what they identified as an "enhanced" CJA model. Two suggested that this should involve: a non-executive board with additional representation, commissioning powers and responsibility for reducing reoffending; a CJA Executive; and a National Community Justice Strategic Group with an advisory role. A few suggested a "national strategic oversight model" with: local delivery; enhanced CJAs and a new national strategic oversight body.

2.99 One respondent identified their new option as involving local authority commissioning, strategic and grant management, with a "CJA-style" arrangement to lead on training and development and to have a co-ordinating role in bringing CPPs together to manage the national agenda. Another suggested: a "three tier approach" with a Scottish Community Justice Board, disaggregated to areas with an Area Community Justice Board responsible for service delivery and outcomes; and local delivery. A very small number of other respondents also identified another form of three tier approach, or a combination of elements of A, B and C.

Requirements, specific suggestions and other comments

2.100 Several respondents identified additional considerations or requirements, such as the need to: ensure national oversight, collective vision and leadership; build on existing values; avoid duplication; address how CJA functions will be dealt with; undertake change management and workforce development. One respondent suggested that a cost benefit analysis of early intervention, diversionary services and innovative community sentence options should be included in the chosen model. Another suggested increasing the workforce with retired professionals and newly qualified people.

2.101 A small number of suggestions, while not new models, were also made, such as: a "criminal justice system organisation"; and an Offender Commissioner / Tsar. One respondent suggested that a model might be formulated on the basis of engagement and partnership rather than re-structuring and legislation.

2.102 Some respondents provided examples of ways of working to support their suggestions (e.g. local authority partnerships and means of information sharing). A few commented on the opportunity for change, or questioned the need for this. A very small number of other comments related to: the role of RMA; potential problems with the removal of CJSW from local authority control; and a concern about conflict of interest related to the SPS being part of the national model.

Summary of findings: Overall views of options

2.103 In summary, the main findings relating to overall views of the options are as follows:

  • Where clear preferences could be identified, the most common preference overall was for Option B.
  • Option B was identified most frequently as more likely to meet all but 3 of the key characteristics (a strong, united voice; an overview of the system as a whole; and ability to follow national / international innovation) where Option C was identified most frequently.
  • Option B was also identified most frequently as more likely to result in the culture change required and improvements in engagement with, and access to non-justice services.
  • The majority of those whose views could be ascertained believed that a statutory duty on local partners would help promote collective responsibility for reducing reoffending, and this was reflected in the balance of comments (although provisos and concerns were also highlighted).
  • The majority whose views could be ascertained believed that funding for CJSW services should remain ring-fenced, and this was reflected in the balance of comments.
  • The majority of those who addressed Question 6 made suggestions about training and development that would be beneficial for practitioners, managers and leaders.
  • The majority whose views could be ascertained, and the balance of comments, suggested perceived potential for the named organisations to take on a greater role in developing professionals' skills and expertise.
  • The most common suggestions for other options or permutations focused on further developments to Option B, with the next most common being the suggestion of a fourth Option (D).

Contact

Email: Carole Edwards