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Working together to keep communities safe

Published: 24 Nov 2016 12:13
Part of:
Law and order

Scotland’s new approach to community justice.

A bold new strategy seeking to break the cycle of offending by strengthening community justice has been announced by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

Tackling offending through early intervention, identifying the reasons why people offend in the first place, and helping people reintegrate into the community after custody, is at the heart of the new approach.

Strong partnership working is crucial to the new strategy, which will include increased use of community payback orders and electronic monitoring, and reducing the inappropriate use of remand.

Developed with local authorities, health boards, justice agencies, the third sector, victims groups and people with convictions, the strategy will strengthen the way public services, charities and communities work together to reduce and prevent offending.

The strategy supports Scotland’s new model for community justice which comes into effect from 1 April 2017. The new model will improve how community justice is delivered and give greater transparency over progress at a local level and across Scotland.

The Justice Secretary Mr Matheson said:

“Our vision of an inclusive society must be supported by a progressive justice system that works with communities to both prevent and reduce offending.

“Early intervention is the key to preventing crime in Scotland’s communities and tackling social inequality is at the heart of our new approach. Better access to welfare, housing, health and education will all help break the cycle of crime and keep our communities safe.

“By improving our community justice system we are offering more chances for people to tackle the underlying reasons for their offending and reduce the chances of them going on to offend again.

“Through our joint efforts we will also be improving the way victims of crime and their families experience the justice system, helping them access the right services at the right time.

“This strategy, which has received widespread support, is an important step forward for community justice in Scotland. We now must all work together and tackle the key issues that contribute to offending behaviour.”

Care Inspectorate chief executive, Karen Reid, said: “The Care Inspectorate supports and welcomes the Scottish Government’s vision that community justice in Scotland can be and should be safer, fairer and more inclusive.

“We were commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a new guide to self-evaluation to help partners in their efforts to strive for continuous improvement and excellence across community justice services. We were asked to undertake this piece of work based on our experience and knowledge in this area, and it has been a very successful example of stimulating true collaboration across a range of key partners. It is designed as a useful tool to help partners ask some key questions of themselves and ultimately help them improve the quality of services across Scotland.

“We hope the guide offers a useful approach for partners in striving for excellence in community justice, and will also serve statutory partners and third sector partners as a guide for planning and achieving positive outcomes for those with lived experience of community justice.”

Background

To read the National Strategy, click here

Statutory Partners:

(a) each local authority,

(b) each health board,

(c) the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland,

(d) the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service,

(e) Skills Development Scotland,

(f) an integration joint board established by virtue of section 9 of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014,

(g) the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, and

(h) the Scottish Ministers (In effect, by Scottish Ministers, we mean the Scottish Prison Service and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service)

When preparing local community justice outcomes improvement plans, Statutory Partners must work with relevant third sector organisations and community bodies. They must also refer to the National Strategy and show how they will meet – or are already meeting – the common outcomes.

The vision in the strategy is supported by a set of seven common outcomes, applicable at a local level, set out in the Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework also being launched on the 24th of November.