6. Any Other Relevant Information
79. Local authorities were asked, under this section, to provide details of any other relevant information, e.g. details of work which is carried out with people on CPOs to address their offending behaviour, but which does not fall into the category of a specific requirement. As with previous years, many local authorities reported that work being carried out to address offending behaviour usually takes place under one of the requirements (e.g. supervision or programme), and that even if a CPO did not contain a specific requirement (such as an alcohol treatment requirement), any risk or need identified in relation to this issue would still be addressed regardless.
6.1 Women on CPOs
80. Many local authorities wished to highlight the work that was being undertaken with women on CPOs, and in particular the specific programmes and supports that are available. It was noted by one local authority that the continued availability of funding for women's services has permitted them to sustain and continue to develop their women's groupwork programme, with work ongoing to increase their links with other agencies to support the women beyond their exit from the criminal justice system.
6.2 Welfare reform
81. A number of local authorities reported that they work closely with colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that those subject to unpaid work can continue to meet their obligations in terms of being 'available for work' so that their benefits are not jeopardised as a result of their community sentence.
82. One local authority noted that there had been an increase in requests for financial advice and assistance with benefit claims following recent welfare reforms and added that work undertaken with a local charity in assisting with food parcels and cooking on a budget had been very beneficial.
6.3 Resource implications
83. A small number of local authorities had concerns about the pressure on resources coming from the increase in CPOs each year since 2011, particularly in relation to achieving speed targets on the time taken to get individuals through their unpaid work. To address this, one local authority had adopted a Red-Amber-Green status reporting system to highlight those at risk of failing to meet these targets as well as recruiting sessional unpaid work supervisors to offer additional placements where available.
6.4 Other information
84. Some other information provided by local authorities in their reports included:
- the use of new psychoactive substances ( NPS) continues to be experienced by a small number of local authorities, although the recent change in the legislation and the provision of appropriate advice by CJSW and health colleagues which appears to have improved matters;
- the co-location of council services such as Criminal Justice Groupwork, Throughcare, and Women's Community Justice within one building assists with access to wider services. In some instances the co-location of NHS or Turnaround staff with Criminal Justice Services has also helped; and
- a project to trial a problem-solving approach in one sheriff court. This approach sees individuals receiving a Structured Deferred Sentence as an alternative to a CPO or custodial sentence, and has the potential to reduce the number of CPOs which are issued in the area in the future.
Email: Andrew Corrigan