The new model for community justice came in to effect on 1st April 2017.   

As part of this, a new national agency (Community Justice Scotland) has been established to provide assurance to Scottish Ministers on the collective achievement of community justice outcomes across Scotland.  A National Hub for Innovation, Learning and Development has also been created, as a function of CJS. 

At a local level, strategic planning and service delivery is now the responsibility of local community justice partners.   The statutory partners are required to produce a local plan for community justice (known as a ‘Community Justice Outcomes and Improvement Plan.  The statutory partners are required to engage and involve the Third Sector in the planning,  delivery and reporting of services and improved outcomes.  

Further details about the Act and accompanying documents can be found below, along with information about the activities undertaken as part of the transition to the new model.  An online Knowledge Hub group has also been set up to share information about the new model and is open to all interested parties.  To access the group, you will need to be registered with the Knowledge Hub. It’s free to register and you can do so here.

The Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016

On 7th May 2015, the Community Justice (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament, to take forward the legislative change needed to establish the new community justice model in Scotland.   This Bill was passed on 11th February 2016, receiving Royal Assent and becoming the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 on 21st March 2016.

We have set up a specific page to provide more detailed information about the Act and its progress as a Bill through the Scottish Parliament.  Please click here to visit the Act page of our website.

A National Strategy for Community Justice

As part of the move to the new model, the Scottish Government collaborated with CJVSF and other stakeholders to develop a National Strategy for Community Justice.  The Strategy was formally launched on 24th November 2016.

As per the policy memorandum accompanying the Community Justice (Scotland) Bill (paragraph 23), the Strategy needs to set out “the aims for community justice around reducing re-offending; increasing positive citizenship; increasing public safety; increasing public reassurance; reducing costs; and reducing stigma”.

A National Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework for Community Justice

A National Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework for Community Justice has been developed.  The framework sets out the national outcomes aligned to the strategic vision set out in the National Strategy.

Guidance for Local Partners in the New Model for Community Justice

Collaborating with stakeholders, the Scottish Government has produced official Guidance for the new model for Community Justice, to elaborate on the duties of local community justice partnerships as described by the Act, and to inform their development, planning and delivery of the new model

Local Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plans

Local community justice partners are responsible for preparing, delivering and reviewing a Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan (CJOIP) for their local area. The first CJOIPs were due to be submitted to the Scottish Government by 1st April 2017.

The Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 states that the statutory community justice partners must:

  • Have regard to the national strategy, the national performance framework, the local outcomes improvement plan for the area (This is the plan that is prepared and published under section 5(1) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.), and any Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers
  • Consult with Community Justice Scotland, such community bodies and other persons in relation to the area as they consider appropriate. Third sector service providers will fall under the definition of ‘community bodies’
  • Consider which community bodies are likely to be able to contribute to the preparation of the plan and make all reasonable efforts to secure their participation. Where a community body wishes to participate in the preparation of the plan to any extent, the community justice partners must take such steps as are reasonable to enable it to do so.

Supporting the transition to the new model

Funding of £50,000 has been provided to each Community Planning Partnership (CPP) for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 to assist with the transition to the new model.   CJVSF has also been awarded £50,000 for these three years, to undertake a project for the Scottish Government which seeks to strengthen engagement between statutory community justice partners and third sector providers at a local level.

Background to the development of the new model

2016/17 activities (Transition Year)

The following activities took place during 2016/17 as part of the transition to the new model:

  • 1 April 2016 – Partners took on responsibilities in support of the new model in a transition year, working collectively through local arrangements;
  • During second half of 2016/17 – Community Justice Scotland was established, including appointment of Chair; appointment of Board members and recruitment of staff
  • November 2016 – The National Strategy, OPI (Outcomes, Performance and Improvement) Framework, and Guidance are launched by Scottish Government
  • 31 March 2017 – CJAs were formally dis-established;

2015/16 activities (Planning year)

The following activities took place during 2015/16 as part of the planning year for the new model:

  • During 2015/16 – Awareness raising, information provision from CJAs to Community Justice Partners and support on transition
  • 7 May 2015 – Introduction of the Community Justice (Scotland) Bill by the Scottish Parliament
  • During 2015/16 – Development of the national strategy for community justice and the national outcomes, performance and improvement framework.  These will be published after the Bill has received Royal Assent
  • During 2015/16 – Partners commenced their collective planning and capacity-building activities
  • January 2016 – Partners made their transition plans for 2016/17 available to the Scottish Government and to COSLA for comment
  • February 2016 – The Community Justice (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament
  • March 2016 – The Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 receives Royal Assent

2014 consultation on the future model

Following the initial consultation in 2012/13, the Scottish Government undertook further consultation in the spring and summer of 2014.  CJVSF members and staff attended the consultation workshops and CJVSF submitted a written response, developed from member feedback, in July 2014.  This highlighted the need for strong third sector engagement in any future community justice model.

In December 2014, The Scottish Government published its response to the Consultation on a Future Model for Community Justice, along with responses to a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).   These documents set out the plans for future Community Justice structures in Scotland, which are outlined above.  A CJVSF briefing, summarising the new community justice model proposed by the Scottish Government in 2014, can be found  here.

2012/13 consultation activities

In response to the findings of the Angiolini Commission and Audit Scotland’s Reducing Reoffending in Scotland report, the Scottish Government published a consultation on possible options for redesigning community justice in Scotland.

The initial consultation, launched in December 2012, proposed three options:

  • Option A: Enhanced Community Justice Authority (CJA) model
  • Option B: Local authority model
  • Option C: Single service model

CJVSF played an active part in gathering the views of third sector providers in relation to the options set out in the consultation document and in presenting these views to the Scottish Government.  As well as our written response to the consultation, we were invited by the Scottish Government, in collaboration with SCVO (the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) and third sector providers, to develop proposals for improving the engagement of voluntary sector providers within justice. These proposals highlighted the important role of the third sector in contributing to community justice and reducing reoffending.

In December 2013, the Scottish Government published its response to the key points made by respondents to the initial consultation. This response set out the Scottish Government’s plans for a new community justice model.   Further details are available in the CJVSF briefing paper about the Community Justice System redesign.