The Scottish government has announced changes in the planning, management and delivery of offender services. The aim is to further improve the community justice system, building on the success achieved so far in reducing crime and reconviction rates.
Every year, the government spends £100 million on community sentence delivery, rehabilitation support for offenders and initiatives designed to cut down re-offending rates. With a view to making maximum use of the funds, current affairs magazine Holyrood launched a consultation and the announced changes are based on input gathered throughout the process.
Among the key changes is making service planning and delivery the responsibility of the 32 Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). So far, the task has fallen to the eight Community Justice Authorities. This move is intended to ensure that criminal justice social workers remain in close contact with local authorities staff, but also to strengthen their links with colleagues in the health, housing and welfare sectors.
The government will also map out a national strategy for community justice and reduction in re-offending. This strategy will serve as guidance for the CPPs and as a framework for assessing progress.
In addition to developing a strategy, the government will also create a new national body that will independently assess results and present them to ministers. This organisation will also be able to commission services nationally should that be required. In this way, partners will be able to make the most of their resources and taxpayers money.
Last but not least, ministers and locally elected members will gather regularly to identify areas of mutual interest and promote collaboration for the purpose of improving offender management.