Court social work services need more consistency

    The first ever inspection of social work services to sheriff
    courts, managed by local authorities, has highlighted a valued
    service, but one of inconsistent delivery.

    The report by the Social Work Services Inspectorate, ‘Settled in
    Court’, examined provision in sheriff courts in Arbroath,
    Dumbarton, Hamilton and Glasgow, which is one of the busiest courts
    in Europe. While the services were found to be highly valued by
    other criminal justice services, the report concluded that certain
    action was required to ensure consistency of services.

    Local authorities, who manage the service, are recommended to
    maximise the number of post-sentence interviews carried out at
    court following a remand or custodial sentence identifying those
    people who are vulnerable and may be at risk in the prison
    environment. The authors also conclude that a better focus of
    social work service at courts would go some way towards promoting
    the uptake of community rather than custodial disposals.

    Overall the report recommends that national protocols be
    introduced as well as an agreed national statement as part of a
    package of developments which would lead to 100 per cent funding by
    the Scottish executive on similar lines to other social work
    criminal justice services.


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