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Public performance reports

Justice social work

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our outcomes for 2022-27. Connect Outcomes should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others. In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our Outcomes show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

For daily updates, stories and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View.

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Outcomes. To complement these we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business. This report outlines the performance in relation to our justice social work service and how this links to the outcomes of our objectives.

Note: There remains a legacy impact of COVID-19 and the response to it in some areas, and performance should be considered in that context.

Justice social work services ensure that those in conflict with the law are appropriately assessed and managed within the community. In undertaking this work justice services contributes to the wider aim of enhancing community safety and wellbeing for all residents of South Lanarkshire. We also work closely with partner agencies to ensure that we are contributing towards the Community Justice Outcome Improvment Plan (CJOIP) which is currently under review and will be available from the end of June 2024.

The overarching aims of the Justice Social Work Services are to:

  • Deliver a justice service that contributes positively and helps to create an inclusive and respectful society in which all people and communities live safely and securely
  • To reduce reoffending and support people to pay back constructively for their crimes, to build better lives for themselves, their families and their communities
  • To promote strong, equal partnership working between third party and public sector organisations and other agencies with an increased emphasis on public protection
  • To contribute to making our community a safer place to live

The implementation of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 led to Justice Social Work Services forming part of a wider Community Justice Partnership. 

Community Justice Scotland (CJS) established by the Scottish Government in 2016, provides leadership, opportunities for innovation, learning and development and provides assurance for the delivery of improved outcomes for those who re-offend. CJS is directly accountable to Scottish Ministers for overseeing the delivery of community justice national outcomes.

The Scottish Government's Community Justice Strategy 2022-2027 was introduced in June 2022 and has a number of associated documents:

  1. Delivery Plan
  2. Performance Framework
  3. Community Justice Scotland's Improvement Tool
  4. Care Inspectorate's Self-Evaluation Framework

All the documents contribute to ensuring the new Strategy's aims and priority actions are successfully achieved.

Justice Services is a key partner of the South Lanarkshire Community Justice Partnership. The partnership is a collection of individuals, agencies and services that work together to support, manage and supervise people who have committed offences, from the point of arrest, through prosecution, community disposal or custody and alternatives to these, until people being released from prison are reintegrated back into their communities.  The South Lanarkshire Community Justice Partnership Community Outcome Improvement Plan (CJOIP) is currently under review and will provide an overview of the work for the partnership in relation to the Scottish Government's new national Strategy, as well as setting out how the Partnership aims to secure better outcomes for those with convictions, their families and their victims.

The aims of the Justice Social Work service are delivered through a range of methods and interventions as identified in our web pages (follow the links to our web pages for further information).

Justice social work services employ a range of professionally qualified staff as well as para professionals and those with lived experience across our services alongside third sector agencies to deliver interventions and support which meet the wider goals of the Community Planning Partnership.

Justice services continue to utilise the models of working that have been developed since the reintroduction of services following the pandemic. This has meant that there has been a continuation of a hybrid approach to the office and home working for staff, utilising digital technology to support virtual meetings with service users and partner agencies and community visits.

Unpaid Work Services has seen a return to a model of service delivery that is most familiar to our community. The range of work that is undertaken as a reparation for harms that have been caused as a result of offending behaviour continues to grow. With the use of, and support of, voluntary and third sector agencies this ensures that we have a broad range of options to allow those in conflict with the law to payback for the harms their offending has caused. As well as benefitting the community, there is also a range of opportunities and supports offered to service users to reduce their risk of repeating their behaviour.

As part of our commitment to supporting the Scottish Government’s Vision for Justice in Scotland 2022 areas of priority, Justice Services should utilise those with lived experience to develop person centred and trauma informed services.

During the past eighteen months the Justice Services have successfully introduced and established new recovery orientated service delivery approaches across South Lanarkshire Council.  This includes the enhancement of our dedicated Diversion from Prosecution (DfP) service and the introduction of the new Hamilton Alcohol and Drug Problem Solving Unit (HADPSC), within Hamilton Sherriff Court.

Justice Services were successful in securing additional CORRA funding to create a new dedicated team, which consists of both social workers and a specialist nurse. The Recovery Orientated Justice Service (ROJS) support individuals who are in conflict with the law as a result of their alcohol and drug use. The team will aim to work with people on a voluntary basis via a Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS), empowering individuals to access appropriate treatments and services to aid their recovery and reduce their involvement in the Justice System. In addition, the team work closely with partner services to help provide support to family members affected by their loved ones alcohol and drug use.

The Justice Peer Support Workers were allocated 88 cases, involving 84 individuals, from August 2021 to March 2023. This exceeds the target of 50 to 60 service users during the funding period.

There are four locality-based Justice Social Work Teams in South Lanarkshire, based in Hamilton; Cambuslang; Lanark and East Kilbride.  These teams provide assessments for The Scottish Court and Tribunal Services and their Judiciary to be used in sentencing decisions and manage a wide range of service users in the community.  They work with individuals who have been in conflict with the law to identify the reasons why this has happened and put in place plans and strategies to prevent further offending and keep the public safe from further harm.  The type of work carried out varies widely and is decided on a case-by-case basis.  It includes one to one programme work to address different types of offending, including victim awareness work, as well as support to access relevant services in relation to, for instance, mental health or addiction issues.  The locality teams also carry out crucial risk management tasks, often in partnership with the police and other statutory and voluntary agencies, to promote public protection.  There is a specific service to support females who have become involved in the Justice system. The Women’s Service runs ‘hubs’ in each locality area with a focus on providing holistic support and intervention to address the specific needs of the female population. 

Whole Systems Approach for young people in conflict with the law

When considering the needs of our young people in South Lanarkshire we have considered and responded to national developments including “The Promise” and the incorporation of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In addition, in preparation for the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill, South Lanarkshire Justice Services have further developed our Whole Systems Approach and have a dedicated centralised social work team, who work with young people aged 16-21 who are in conflict with the law.

The Whole Systems Approach team aims to reduce the number of young people from South Lanarkshire who are at risk of custody or placement in either secure care or custodial settings, such as HMP/YOI Polmont. The team also seek (where appropriate) to request remittal to the Scottish Children’s Hearing System for young people who find themselves in conflict with the law and by providing intensive support plans tailored to meet their individual needs, we aim to reduce the number of young people entering the adult Justice System. This includes an approach to young people who remain subject to Compulsory Supervision Orders after the age of 16, as well as those aged 16-21 who appear before the Court or who are being considered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) for Diversion from Prosecution (DfP).

The team will provide a range of assessments and interventions alongside a tailored care and support plan for young people aged 16-21; including those in receipt of bail supervision and voluntary bail support. They will work with young people on Diversion as well as those who receive the opportunity to engage with a Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS) often resulting in admonition following successful completion). For those young people who require this the Whole Systems Approach team will also supervise and manage court orders for young people including those who receive Community Payback Orders (CPO’s).

The Whole Systems Approach team will often work with young people who may have become involved in serious conduct, which may have resulted in harm being caused to others. In these instances, we will often adopt a multi-agency approach (where required) and will utilise Care and Risk Management (CARM) processes and procedures, that involve key partner agencies working together to reduce elements of risk. This includes Police Scotland, Education, Health, and Housing services, along with a range of third sector partner agencies including SACRO, Action for Children, INCLUDEM, The GIVIT, and Venture Trust.

Relationship based practice and a strengths-based approach are key fundamentals for work undertaken by the Whole Systems Approach team with young people in conflict with the law. The young people referred to the Whole Systems Approach team are actively encouraged and supported; throughout their involvement with the team, to be key decision makers and participants, in all meetings and plans that involve or impact upon them and their circumstances. They are provided with advocacy support services in order to ensure that their rights and needs are being met.

Lanarkshire Court Services

The Lanarkshire Court Service provides social work provisions across the three Sheriff Courts in Lanarkshire, namely Hamilton, Lanark, and Airdrie Sheriff Courts.

The court social work team provides assessments and support to individuals who appear from custody, as well as those who appear in court for trial and sentencing. The court social work team also provides any advice and guidance required to support individuals and their families attending court; this includes signposting to relevant support services and agencies within the local community.

In addition, the court social work team will provide any necessary social work information to the Sheriff’s and court officials. This can be used to aid decision-making relating to sentencing and bail. Same day/stand down reports are also provided, where required, and the team will liaise with other social work teams and services in order to ensure that relevant and up to date information is provided to the court. Any matters relating to Adult Support and Protection (ASP), or Child Protection (CP) concerns are also assessed by the team, and information is shared with appropriate services, in order to ensure public safety and welfare needs are being met.

The court social work team are also responsible for the provision of Electronic Monitoring (EM) and bail supervision assessments and provides bail supervision case management and interventions across Lanarkshire, working alongside partner agencies such as SACRO to support those who receive bail supervision orders.

Diversion from prosecution is also an area of work for the court social work team where there is a dedicated co-ordinator and diversion from prosecution assistant, who undertakes assessments and interventions at the request of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). When an individual is assessed as suitable for diversion from prosecution a tailored action plan will be progressed over an agreed period of time and regular progress reports provided. The plans will normally involve a range of supports and services that will address any unmet welfare needs that have been identified as part of the assessment. This can include referrals for access to services such as alcohol or drug-related support services, mental health services, debt and money management services, and housing support services.

Performance Management

As part of performance improvement and governance of our services, we have developed a Justice statistics dashboard aligned to the Social Work Resource Plan 2024/25 performance measures and outcome plan.

These resource measures focus on:

  • 95% of Criminal Justice Report submission to court on due date
  • 75% of Service Users on Community Payback Orders with an Unpaid Work Requirement are seen within 5 working days by their case manager
  • 75% of Service Users on Community Payback Orders with an Unpaid Work Requirement commencing Unpaid Work Placement within 7 days

Feedback, participation, and consultation with individuals who use Justice Services is an area of ongoing work for the service as we want to ensure that we are always learning and developing our service delivery in line with our need.  This is also an area of work with stakeholders and the community to provide the best service we can. 

Over the past 6 months Justice Social Work Services have created additional opportunities for those who come into contact with our services to tell us about their personal experiences of our services via the Care Opinion website. The Comments and stories told by those who use our services will be carefully monitored and considered and any changes to our service delivery will be implemented and action taken accordingly in order to ensure we are responsive to the needs of individuals who use our services.

The Community Justice Partnership, developed a Community Engagement Strategy which aims to communicate and engage with a wide range of audiences that have an interest or say in what we do to ensure we deliver the best possible service to all our key stakeholders.  

Links to other websites and information that may be of interest:

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. In the coming year Social Work Resources will take forward all necessary actions, where reasonable and appropriate, to mitigate or reduce the Resource’s exposure to these risks. More information on performance and actions relating to Justice Services can be found in the Social Work Resource Plan, the Chief Social Work Officer Report.

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect Priorities are prepared. See Quarter 2 (September) and Quarter 4 (March - year end).for performance reports for further information.

More information on our outcomes can be found in the Council Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Spotlights.

Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. For more information and links relating to this framework go to the 'Benchmarking' paragraph on the Improvement and how we compare page on our website.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2024).