Future Service Delivery
Since its introduction in 2002, the model of service delivery for electronic monitoring in Scotland has remained relatively static. A private service provider is contracted nationally, by the Scottish Government, to provide the monitoring equipment and to install that equipment in line with specified time periods. The service provider then monitors compliance with curfew times set by the Court, Children's Hearing System, Parole Board for Scotland or the Scottish Prison Service ( SPS), reports non-compliance to the issuing authority within set timescales and removes the equipment on the date specified by the issuing authority. The service provider's compliance with the contract is monitored by the Scottish Government.
To date, this model of service delivery has provided a robust and effective monitoring service within the terms set for it. Many of the people who have worked for this contract have been with the contract since 2002 and have built up considerable experience and have undoubtedly provided a professional service. However, compared to many other European countries there has been limited integration with criminal justice social work ( CJSW) or the third sector or with emerging support offered by the Scottish Prison Service. With both Scotland and England and Wales in mind, the recent EU comparative research on EM states clearly that "Private sector involvement in EM is associated with less integration into broader criminal justice structures" (Hucklesby et al 2016). This clearly has implications for the ways in which Scotland pursues a more integrated approach to EM.
The 2015 SCCJR research suggested that for EM to be most effective in aiding a reduction in further offending there was:
' moderately strong consensus in the international empirical literature that electronic monitoring should be used in tandem with more rehabilitation-focused supervision and reintegrated support options….in order to effectively maximise opportunities for compliance and desistance from crime.'
How Scotland could adapt its current service to achieve this integrated approach, while maintaining and indeed building upon existing standards was a key consideration of the Working Group. Even with the limitations of private sector service delivery it is clear that capacities for integration have not been maximised: more could have been done and could still be done within the existing framework.
To ensure that the future service would be fit for purpose, the Working Group considered a number of potential models for future service delivery. These included:
- the status quo
- a centralised model whereby the supervision and support elements were provided by a national group of electronic monitoring experts with statutory/third sector involvement and enhanced IT
- a more local model where the supervision and support was delivered locally by statutory organisations, the third sector, enhanced IT, local expertise and governance.
The Group was not asked to consider whether the technology and monitoring solution should be delivered by the statutory sector.
The Working Group concluded that for the service to be most effective and evidence based, the future model of service delivery for electronic monitoring in Scotland must be more integrated than it has been previously and the more local model/approach adopted. Stand-alone orders which confine people to their own homes will continue to be appropriate for some individuals and should, therefore, remain as a legitimate disposal, but sometimes lower down the tariff. However, for the majority of court orders, for HDC and for EM as a condition of Parole Licence a service should be created where electronic monitoring is better tailored to the personal circumstances of each individual. In addition, for EM to be effective at aiding desistance in the longer term it should be used within the context of a person-centred approach as one tool within a wider package of support.
The future service delivery model would retain a nationally commissioned technology and monitoring service.
To underpin this approach and to build knowledge and capacity within the existing services the Group recommended that:
- Electronic monitoring champions should exist within each of the appropriate statutory organisations, the Third Sector and other organisations as appropriate
- The CJSW Standards be revised to include robust standards on the use of EM
- Additional training is provided to all organisations/agencies as appropriate
- Existing IT systems are enhanced to support CJSW to consider EM as a disposal, in line with the Scottish Government's Digital Strategy for Justice
- A communications strategy is developed and agreed by all partners. This strategy should identify stakeholders and the most appropriate ways of communicating with those stakeholders as well as setting out a common language which can be used by all partners when communicating about electronic monitoring.
This more local approach would complement the new model for Community Justice in Scotland, encouraging each of the Community Justice Partners to consider EM within their wider planning for community justice; strengthening relationships with critical partners, including the Third Sector.
Recommendation 2: Future Service Delivery
To be most effective, the future model of service delivery for electronic monitoring in Scotland must be more integrated than it has been previously . Stand-alone orders will be suitable for some individuals and should, therefore, remain as a legitimate disposal.
However, in the majority of cases, whether a court order, HDC or as a condition of parole licence, electronic monitoring must be tailored to reflect the personal circumstances of each individual.
Where longer term desistance is the overarching goal, EM should be part of a wider package of support, delivered locally by statutory bodies with Third Sector involvement. Its use should not be restricted to particular crimes and need not be restricted to being an alternative to custody.
The future model will retain a nationally commissioned technology and monitoring service.