Victims Taskforce papers: June 2023

Papers from the meeting of the group on 1 June 2023.

Transformational change programmes (paper 6)


As some members are aware, the Scottish Government is coordinating a set of cross-sector Transformational Change Programmes (TCP) with a focus on delivering improvement across the justice sector and within specific justice services. These programmes reflect the priorities of the Scottish ministers and the wider sector and are a subset of work which will deliver on the outcomes set out in the Justice Vision. 

The approach has evolved from the work taken forward under the Recover, Renew and Transform programme set up to ensure a cross sector approach to responding and recovering from the COVID19 pandemic. The approach to these programmes has a wider scope and are being set up to ensure clarity about what they will achieve. It is intended that the work of the programmes will take us closer to achieving the two fundamental changes set out in the Justice Vision:

  • delivering person-centred and trauma informed practices across the justice sector and
  • working across public services to improve outcomes for people, focusing on prevention and early intervention

The current programmes are as follows: 

  • person-centred and trauma informed justice - focussed on working across the whole justice system to ensure that trauma is recognised and responded to, and that people are treated as individuals rather than as part of a process
  • shifting the balance between custody and justice in the community - focussed on delivering the revised National Strategy for Community Justice which was published last year and sets the national direction for community justice by building on progress made to date.
  • criminal justice system efficiency - focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system so that all people involved within it will have a better experience of the system while they move through it and cases will reach an outcome as efficiently and effectively as possible

The intention is that these programmes will deliver change across the justice system in line with outcomes set in the Justice Vision and recently affirmed in the Scottish Government’s Policy Prospectus. These are, of course, not the only ways in which the Justice Vision will be implemented or realised.

As is the case for public services across Scotland, the sector faces fiscal challenges as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. It is therefore important that as government, Scottish ministers are clear about their priorities and how they will support the sector to deliver on these. The programmes therefore focus on areas that require cross sectoral collaboration in order to deliver real change.

These programmes of work are following a tried and tested methodology of delivering transformative change within the public sector. The approach is unique in the way it uses data and evidence to drive delivery and ensure we are taking forward the right things in order to achieve the outcomes. For each programme, we will aim to be clear about what we are going to achieve, how we will know if we have achieved it and put the governance and resources in place to support that process.

The programmes are in their infancy, the definition phase (i.e., what the programmes are aiming to achieve) has been completed and now the process of applying and embedding programme management approaches is taking place. There is still scope to adjust and refine the workings of these programmes. 

Person-centred Justice programme 

Vision – Our justice services will be person centred and trauma informed. Person-centred justice services will ensure that a person’s needs and values are respected. There will be timely, clear communication ensuring people understand areas of complexity. Individuals and their families will be involved in decisions which affect them, with a recognition that people are the experts in their own lives. This means that within the parameters of legal frameworks and justice processes, people will be treated as individuals rather than part of a process. People will be treated with empathy and kindness, and provided with the support they need to thrive. 

Scope – This programme is focussed on working across the whole justice system to ensure that trauma is recognised and responded to, and that people are treated as individuals rather than as part of a process. In the first phase, it will concentrate on the experience of victims and vulnerable witnesses, and on areas where collaboration is required to further implementation by embedding ongoing work and developing good practice, with a view to benefit all users of the system as the programme develops.


  • victims feel informed about their case
  • victims feel safe
  • victims are given choices 
  • victims feel like they have been treated with compassion 
  • victims’ voices are heard 
  • victims know what their rights are

Current projects

  • implementation of the Trauma Informed Justice Framework 
  • implementation of the “People at Heart” approach to communications, including the style-guide 
  • extend Victim Impact Statement Scheme 
  • extend Restorative Justice Practices
  • extend use of Pre-Recorded Evidence 

Governance of the Person-Centred Justice programme

The programmes will be monitored and considered by new governance arrangements. Two programme boards, reporting ultimately to the Justice Board, will have oversight on the direction and pace of the programmes. One board will look after the Person-Centred Justice programme and the Criminal Justice System Efficiency Programme. A separate board with different membership is being set up to oversee the shifting the balance between custody and justice in the community programme. 

Membership of the Person-Centred Justice Programme Board and of the workstreams that will sit under the programme board is provided at annex A. 

Members of the programme boards are particularly tasked with addressing blockers to progress within their own organisations. They will use information provided on the progress and impact of the projects within the programmes to consider whether any additional action is required. The boards operate on the basis of collective accountability for the work of the programmes.

These programme boards must also interact with existing governance arrangements and effective delivery structures, most notably the Victims Taskforce. 

It is proposed that the taskforce will maintain its strategic and direction setting role for the sector in improving the experiences of victims and survivors. It is proposed that the taskforce discharge a monitoring and tracking role to the programme board (via the taskforce’s current workstream 2 on Trauma Informed Workforce). The programme board will consider monthly updates and progress, while the taskforce will continue to review information on a six monthly basis. Information will flow both ways between the two groups, with the programme board providing an update on their considerations for each taskforce meeting and the taskforce providing advice and where required, direction and decision, to the programme board to inform the ongoing delivery of work within the programme. 

In addition, understanding the impact of the projects on the experiences of victims and survivors will be important insight to evaluate the effectiveness of the projects and progress towards the programme’s outcomes. It is therefore suggested that any relevant information (in the form of actions or advice) flowing from the Victim/Survivor Advisory Board which could be taken forward by the projects within the programme should be shared with the programme board to ensure actions are followed through. 

“People at Heart” approach to communication in the justice system

The “People at Heart”/First Word project originated with taskforce but the work has since been led directly by the Scottish Government, rather than through a taskforce workstream. Implementation of the “People at Heart” approach will require collective leadership and project governance now needs to be strengthened to support that. 

The taskforce is invited to consider taking on a clearer role in improving communications. That might include establishing a specific working group to lead this work. Such a group could also provide regular updates to the TCP via the programme board (as is suggested for workstream 2). That would ensure the “People at Heart” approach was fully connected with taskforce work and other aspects of improving communications, including those raised by the victims advisory board. 

Further down the line, this approach might also enable taskforce to take on a role in implementation of the Victim Notification Scheme review.

Questions for the taskforce

The Taskforce may wish to consider the following questions:

  • do members of the taskforce have any comments on the proposed governance structure for the TCP and how it relates to the taskforce, including the proposal that workstream 2 provides a monthly update to the programme board?  
  • does the taskforce agree that the implementation of the “People at Heart” approach to communications should be taken forward as a new, separate workstream that is accountable to the taskforce but reports to the Person-centred Justice Programme Board? 

Annex A - Programme board and project membership 

Membership of the Person-Centred Justice Programme Board: 

  • Neil Rennick (Chair), Director of Justice, Scottish Government
  • Willie Cowan, Deputy Director, Justice Transformation, Scottish Government
  • Anna Donald, Deputy Director, Criminal Justice, Scottish Government
  • Fiona Cameron, Justice Transformation, Scottish Government
  • Amy Wilson, Head of Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government
  • Ruth McCallum, Justice Transformation, Scottish Government
  • Rob Hay, Police Scotland
  • Jennifer Harrower, COPFS
  • Marie-Louise Fox, Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland
  • Gemma Fraser, Community Justice Scotland
  • Mike Milligan, SCTS
  • David Fraser, SCTS
  • Sue Brookes, Scottish Prison Service    

Membership of the Trauma Informed Workforce workstream: 

  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (Chair)
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • NHS Education Scotland (NES)
  • Police Scotland
  • Community Justice Scotland
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  • Scottish Government (Secretariat)

The COPFS Short Life Working Group – Victim Statements is a COPFS internal group.

Membership of the Restorative Justice Stakeholder Group:

  • Community Justice Scotland
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Services
  • Police Scotland
  • Restorative Justice Forum
  • SCOREscotland
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Women's Aid
  • Turning Point
  • Victim Support Scotland
  • Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
  • National Youth Justice Advisory Group
  • Social Work Scotland
  • Scottish Children's Report Administration
  • Children's Hearings Scotland
  • Thriving Survivors

Membership of the Vulnerable Witnesses Act Implementation Group:

  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service 
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Law Society Scotland
  • Police Scotland
  • SLAB 
  • Scottish Government 

Membership of the VRI Pilot Advisory Group:

  • Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service 
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service 
  • Police Scotland 
  • Scottish Government (Secretariat)


Victims Taskforce minutes: June 2023

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