CJVSF National Policy Engagement

Our role involves working with relevant partners and stakeholders to help them engage with third sector organisations directly, responding to consultations and calls for evidence and participating in relevant meetings and working groups.

CJVSF currently participates in the following working groups at a national level:

Third Sector Engagement with Local Community Justice Partnerships

“The third sector plays an important role in improving community justice outcomes. They are a source of innovation, responsiveness and flexibility, and can provide a meaningful connection to otherwise hard-to-reach service users and communities.” (National Strategy for Community Justice)

Under section 17 of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016, every local Community Justice Partnership must produce a plan for community justice in their area (known as a ‘Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan’ or ‘CJOIP’ for short).

The statutory partners have a duty to involve third sector organisations working in community justice in their area and community bodies in the development of the plan.  The requirement is for local statutory partners to:

  • Consider which relevant third sector bodies and local community bodies are likely to be able to contribute to the preparation of the local plan
  • Make all reasonable efforts to secure the participation of such bodies in the preparation of the local plan.
  • Consult appropriate third sector bodies when preparing their annual report.

As a third sector organisation, how can I engage with my local Community Justice Partnership?

It is up to each local area to determine the structures that are most appropriate for their needs and, as such, the routes through which the third sector can engage with community justice planning will vary across Scotland.

In the first instance, third sector organisations are advised to contact their local Third Sector Interface or local Community Justice Coordinator, who should be able to advise them of the relevant route.  Please contact us if you are unable to find contact details.

Strengthening third sector engagement with CJPs

CJVSF has been involved with a number of pieces of work to help support stronger engagement between third sector organisations and local CJPs.  These include:

  • The Strengthening Engagement Transition Project
  • The Making the Change Project
  • A joint event between CJVSF and the Community Justice Network to explore good practice in third sector engagement across CJPs and to identify ongoing barriers and how these could be addressed.

Strengthening Engagement Transition Project

The Strengthening Engagement Transition Project ran between 2015 and 2018, to support the transition to the new local model of community justice.   It was led by CJVSF and funded by the Scottish Government.

During the project, tools were developed to support the inclusion of the third sector in community justice planning, reporting, and service provision and to foster and improve collaboration between statutory and third sector stakeholders.  Copies of these tools are available to download from our resources page.

Making the Change Project

Making the Change was a programme for cross-sectoral leadership that ran between 2019 and 2020.  It was hosted by CJVSF and Community Justice Scotland and facilitated by Wren and Greyhound.  It aimed to:

  • Develop relationships and gain support from likeminded leaders
  • Increase individuals’ ability to frame questions and develop solutions
  • Make the most of existing resources
  • Identify and share learning and new ideas
  • Develop innovative responses by exploring and testing potential challenges and changes

A copy of the final report is available to download from our resources page.

Strengthening Third Sector Engagement with Prisons

Third sector organisations deliver a range of support and services in prisons as well as to people in the community before they enter and after they return from prison.

Third sector national engagement with SPS

At a national level, SPS works with the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum (CJVSF) to facilitate third sector engagement around strategic issues and tackle shared challenges.   This engagement includes:

  • CJVSF participation in SPS working groups
  • Regular meetings between CJVSF and SPS
  • Jointly facilitated discussion events on topics of shared interest
  • Undertaking joint pieces of strategic work
  • Work to ensure the structures and processes for third sector engagement are in place and strengthened.

Third sector local involvement with Scottish prisons

Third sector organisations wishing to deliver services in Scottish prisons should contact the Head of Offender Outcomes at the relevant establishment in the first instance to explore opportunities for service delivery.

CJVSF has worked with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and other partners to develop a template prison Partnership Agreement to support collaborative working between SPS and third sector organisations delivering independently funded services in Scottish prisons.

The purpose of the Partnership Agreement is to:

  • provide a structured set of questions to prompt discussion about potential new services
  • capture the agreed actions from both SPS and the external partner in relation to what is required to deliver the service successfully (having this in place can be particularly important when staff move on to new roles)
  • improve data collection to inform the design and delivery of services across the prison estate
  • give funders confidence to fund services where there is an identified need for the service.

When should the Partnership Agreements be used?

This Partnership Agreement applies to third sector organisations that are seeking to deliver services in prisons which are independently funded (i.e. are not funded by the SPS or other statutory bodies).  The Partnership Agreement needs to be fully completed where a third sector organisation has secured funding to deliver services for those in and leaving SPS’s care.

The Partnership Agreements do not apply to:

  • Services that are procured by SPS
  • Services that are procured by other statutory bodies
  • Prison Visitor Centres  (Third Sector organisations that are located within Prison Visitor Centres and delivering services across the secure line should complete a Partnership Agreement)
  • Services that are not delivered by third sector organisations.

These services are commonly funded by the delivery organisation or by independent trusts and foundations.  The funding landscape is complex and may require different approaches, depending on individual funder’s requirements.  Please click here to read SPS’s corporate position on working with the third sector under different funding arrangements.

The following resources have been developed to support the use of the Agreements and are available to download from the SPS Partnership Working page:

  • Review documentation
  • Information Sharing Agreement Template
  • Consent form Template

If you have any questions about the Packs, please contact us.