Scottish Government
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Redesign of community justice

New Bill will reform the existing system in Scotland.

Plans for a new community justice model, designed to create a stronger community justice system in Scotland, have been published by the Scottish Government today.

The Community Justice (Scotland) Bill establishes a new model for community justice which puts local delivery, partnerships and collaboration at its heart.

The Community Justice (Scotland) Bill will:

  • Place responsibility for local planning and monitoring of community justice services with a defined set of local community justice partners
  • Place duties on these community justice partners to engage in local strategic planning and be accountable for its success
  • Develop a national strategy and a performance framework in relation to community justice
  • Create a national body to provide leadership, promote innovation and provide improvement support where it is required
  • Create a focus on collaboration – including the opportunity to commission, manage or deliver services nationally where appropriate

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to reducing re-offending and securing better outcomes for community justice services.

“Offending is a complex problem and there are well established links between persistent offending and poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental illness. Re-offending creates victims, damages communities and wastes potential. 

“We want to work in partnership with organisations and communities to reduce re-offending and to deliver better outcomes for offenders and communities.

“We have engaged extensively with stakeholders in developing this model and share their view that community justice services should be person-centred and evidence based while making the best use of resources, all of which is reflected in today’s Bill.”

Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of SACRO said:

“Sacro supports the introduction of proposals contained in the Community Justice (Scotland) Bill. This provides a strong opportunity for Scotland’s community justice services to work collaboratively and deliver reduced re-offending and safer communities.

“Working through Community Planning Partnerships, where multi-agency working supports the delivery of joined up services with strong leadership and accountability, is key to transforming the lives of people who are motivated to desist from offending.

“The lived experience of people using Sacro’s services to successfully change their life tells us this Bill is critical in building a socially just and inclusive society for all of Scotland’s communities.”

Councillor Harry McGuigan, COSLA's Spokesperson for Community Well-being said:

“COSLA will study the legislation and continue to work with Scottish Ministers to ensure that the Bill enables a truly local model with improved community justice outcomes at its core.

"Reducing reoffending continues to be a priority for local government and we are working closely with the Scottish Government to ensure a smooth transition to the new model for community justice.

"We have supported the redesign of community justice throughout the consultation process and we welcome the introduction of this Bill.”

Notes To Editors

The defined set of local community justice partners includes local authorities, NHS boards, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Health and Social Care Integration joint boards, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and Scottish Ministers in their role as the Scottish Prison Service.


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