Changes are to be made to the way community justice services are delivered in Scotland.
In response to a consultation, the Scottish government announced this week that it would introduce a new model for community justice.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said that the new approach would “create a stronger community justice system that will improve collaboration between professionals at a local level to better support offenders and address the root causes of their offending, with leadership from a new national body driving progress.”
Responsibility for the planning and delivery of community justice services will be transferred from Scotland’s eight Community Justice Authorities (CJAs) to the 32 Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). The government believes this will ensure that criminal justice social workers maintain their links with colleagues in local authorities, while developing stronger links with partners in areas like health, housing and welfare to improve how they work together to tackle reoffending.
On a national level, the Scottish government will develop a new strategy for community justice and reducing reoffending. This is expected to set the national strategic direction for CPPs to plan and deliver services as well as provide the framework against which progress can be assessed and improvement driven.
And a new national body will be created to provide leadership and strategic direction for community justice in Scotland.
According to the government, these changes will help make best use of the £100 million allocated each year to deliver community sentences, support the rehabilitation of offenders and reduce reoffending.
Cllr Harry McGuigan, COSLA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, welcomed the shift to a more community-focused approach to improving community justice.
He said: “It is really important that local housing, health, employment, education, courts and police plan and deliver their services in a strategic way. This is fundamental if we are to achieve the continuing downward trend in offending.”