THE GANGS ALL HERE

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JUSTICE COMMITTEE

AGENDA

28th Meeting, 2012 (Session 4)

Tuesday 2 October 2012

 

The Committee will meet at 9.45 am in Committee Room 2.

1. Role of the media in criminal trials: The Committee will take evidence from—

Aamer Anwar, criminal defence lawyer;

Helen Arnot, Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, and Matt Roper, Digital

News Editor, STV;

Alistair Bonnington, former principal solicitor, BBC Scotland;

Detective Chief Superintendent John Cuddihy, Association of Chief Police

Officers in Scotland;

Donald Findlay QC, Chair, Criminal Bar Association, Faculty of Advocates;

David Harvie, Director of Serious Casework, Crown Office and Procurator

Fiscal Service;

Magnus Linklater, former Scotland Editor, The Times;

Alan McCloskey, Head of Victim and Witness Service, Victim Support

Scotland;

Iain McKie, campaigner and former police officer;

Steven Raeburn, Editor, The Firm.

2. Decisions on taking business in private: The Committee will decide whether

to take items 3 and 4 in private.

3. Draft Budget Scrutiny 2013-14: The Committee will consider its approach to

the scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget 2013-14.

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4. Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill: The

Committee will consider a revised draft Stage 1 report.

5. Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill (UK Parliament

legislation) (in private): The Committee will consider possible witnesses or

recipients of a targeted call for evidence in relation to the legislative consent

memorandum lodged by Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice

(LCM(S4) 13.1).

Peter McGrath

Clerk to the Justice Committee

Room T2.60

The Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 348 5195

Email: peter.mcgrath@scottish.parliament.uk

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The papers for this meeting are as follows—

Agenda item 1

 

Written submission from The Firm

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SPICe Briefing: Role of the Media in Criminal Trials

 

Agenda item 3

 

SPICe briefing on the Draft Budget 2013-14: Justice

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Paper by the Clerk (private paper)

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Agenda item 4

 

Draft report (private paper)

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Agenda item 5

 

Paper by the Clerk (private paper)

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Papers for information

 

Letter from the Scottish Government on redesigning the

community justice system

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Letter from the Scottish Government on tackling

sectarianism

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Additional submissions for agenda item 1

 

Written submission from Iain McKie

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Written submission from Alistair Bonnington

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Written submission from BBC Scotland

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Written submission from the President of the Law Society of

Scotland

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Written submission from Channel 4

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Written submission from Aamer Anwar

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1

Justice Committee

28th Meeting, 2012 (Session 4), Tuesday 2 October 2012

The role of the media in criminal trials

Written submission from The Firm

 

[Note by the Clerk: the following two articles have been previously published in The

Firm magazine and have been provided by Steven Raeburn to narrate his views on

the topic.]

Time to bring broadcasting to Court (published 13 January 2010)

As Sky News initiates a campaign for cameras to be allowed to cover court

proceedings in England and Wales, it is worth revisiting the constantly recurring

debate as to whether such a development is welcome, desirable or even necessary.

In my view, a reappraisal is well overdue, and the arguments against cameras in

court are getting thinner to the point of dissipation.

“If the legislature is to be subject to far greater scrutiny so too must the judiciary, so

the public can fairly judge the balance of responsibility between them,” says head of

Sky News, John Ryley, launching their campaign.

“Far from being the downfall of the judicial system, I believe exposure to public

scrutiny could be its saviour.” He added that it would enable the public “to

understand the constraints under which our judges operate – the complexities of

many of the cases before them which are inevitably over-simplified in a 30 second

news piece.”

The significance of the democratic function of proper scrutiny of our judicial system

cannot and must not be lost sight of. The presence of cameras in court is nothing

new in Scotland, although their use has been very tightly controlled since they were

permitted in 1992. In 2008 the Nat Fraser and Luke Mitchell appeal advisings were

covered by cameras, but only under tight provisos which ensured that only the judge

and the macer could be seen. Whilst this was welcome, it is overcautious, and there

is no reason why proper televised court coverage cannot fully simulate the

experience of attending court in person, warts and all.

The potential for the court to become a form of theatre or entertainment is often

touted as a justification for evading the arguments for increasing the coverage. Aside

from legitimate issues of juror anonymity or the temptation for advocates or even

judges to perform to their increased audience, the real danger –it is said- that may

insidiously arise from increasing the exposure of the court’s workings beyond its own

walls of the court is that administration of justice itself may somehow become

perverted.

This argument is specious and does not bear close scrutiny. Court itself is often very

boring to all except the enthusiastic or those with special interest. The days of

fearing the eyes of the television passed half a century ago, and whilst the quality of

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much of what is offered up by television as entertainment can be challenged, the

maturity of the medium itself, and its potential, are tried, tested and woefully under

exploited. The added dimension of near-universal digital access, a phenomenon only

certain to expand as time passes, allows dedicated niche channels to broadcast any

special area of interest without alienating the space available to the broad audience.

They are capable of producing content that will not require editing, filtering,

exposition or added filling to appeal to a common denominator. A specialist audience

will lap it up. The model to follow and take inspiration from is not The X Factor, Cash

in the Attic or Judge Judy. It is BBC Parliament that provides the template, where

lengthy sessions of Parliamentary debate play out all hours of the day and night, no

doubt to a small audience, but one that definitely welcomes it.

Even Holyrood TV has pioneered skilled, informative and well packaged live streams

of its committees and consultations for years without attracting controversy or

diluting the gravity and significance of its content. The ongoing sessions scrutinising

the Legal Services Bill have been required desktop viewing at the offices of the Firm.

If the process of making the law itself is capable of being wrested into a coherent

television package, its denouement and execution in court itself should able to be

translated too, with no fear of diminishing its import or prejudicing its conduct.

The Firm magazine is about to embark on its next poll of the Judges of Scotland.

One of the reasons it is necessary to carry this exercise out is because there is no

other forum or means of accounting for the behaviour of the Senators of The College

of Justice. The court has demonstrated through the centuries that it does not fear

scrutiny, which is why their doors are open to the public without restriction.

Newspapers and the press have traditionally been the eyes and ears of the wider

world who cannot make it in person, but now that technology allows the courts to be

accessed with desktop or even smartphone ease, there is no sustainable argument

that can be advanced to prevent the public observing the courts through the medium

of a screen and a microphone, rather than in person. There are enough smart heads

in television production to devise a package that ensures the administration of justice

is not adversely affected. The presence of an audience beyond the walls of court

should not give the judiciary or the advocates either stage fright or an opportunity to

grandstand that is not in fact present every day before the live audience already.

Contempt of Court restrictions already exist to restrain the reporting of the wider

media, so there is little danger of adverse follow up coverage. And if any outlet

decided to try to cover the courts with a daily digest of drivel as they do populist

shows such as Big Brother, if the existing contempt provisions are not sufficient, they

can easily be updated. It has been long argued that they are ripe for an overhaul in

the digital age. Now is the time to take the opportunity to update our legal coverage

and the laws attending it, and in doing so, perhaps some proper understanding of

justice could be provided to those with the patience and interest to follow it, as well

as those who hitherto did not.

Edward R Murrow said over fifty years ago that television was a medium that had

great under-exploited potential, and he argued that it should in fact be used for

“exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation.”

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“To those who say people wouldn’t look; they wouldn’t be interested; they’re too

complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter’s

opinion, considerable evidence against that contention,” he argued.

“But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and

this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube

is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can

do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends.

Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.”

Now is the time, I would argue, to reverse the trend towards facile and trivial

television by providing court coverage that is full, thorough and ranges across the

work of the courts. To do so would advance the function of our democracy in the

forum where it affects us most, when we are at the mercy of the state and our very

liberty is at stake. If that does not deserve an audience, what does?

Steven Raeburn

Editor

The Law and Social Media: A bow and arrow against chemical warfare

 

(published on 22 November 2011)

Lord Levesen said yesterday that the spread of defamatory gossip online using

social networks was the “elephant in the room” of the inquiry into phone hacking.

Within 24 hours a YouGov study has been published which concludes that 48% of

Twitter users do not consider whether their tweets could be breaking the law before

they send them, and only 19% read the terms and conditions of sites.

Perhaps most importantly, only one in ten knew their own legal rights.

The law governing the rights and duties of twitter users pre-dates VCRs, and was

written in a time when a newspaper was the primary source of news for the majority

of people. No 24 hour news, no mobile phones, no internet, no social media, and

most importantly, no means for a lay member of the public to transmit their thoughts

to a mass audience. Almost nothing is left of that lost, analogue media world. With

one exception.

The Contempt of Court Act 1981 remains the cornerstone of the law applicable to

social media, despite being as unfit for purpose as a bow and arrow against

chemical attack. Earlier in the year its frailties were so ridiculously exposed over the

super injunction farce, in which newspapers were barred from reporting on the

existence of and the identities pertaining to a series of newspaper injunctions, whilst

those on social media could disseminate the same information widely and without

consequence. The farcical anomaly led to the Sunday Herald’s courageous use of

the situationism defence, by publishing a prominent picture of Ryan Giggs with his

eyes minimally and ludicrously blacked out.

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The invention of the internet rendered the Act obsolete in a theoretical technical

sense, but the explosion of Facebook and Twitter in the last several years has

rendered that obsolescence practical and very, very real.

All those twitter users who openly disseminated the same information (and indeed,

more) as the Sunday Herald were as equally in breach of the Contempt of Court Act

as any newspaper editor would have been, although action against them would have

been utterly impractical, impossible even, given their impenetrable veil of anonymity

and absence of accountability.

Their likely ignorance of the legal consequences now established by YouGov is

perhaps the most revealing factor. The Contempt of Court Act is so utterly beyond

relevance for players in the online world, it can hardly be a surprise it is so easy to

ignore. Editors of responsible social media websites adhere to its provisions, but

editors make up the tiniest conceivable fraction of the online population, and anyone

with the legally protected knowledge can project it around the world without a trained

editor’s restraining hand in moments, reaching a potential circulation audience most

publications could only dream of. It would be impossible to try to train every twitter

user in the subtleties of the Act’s provisions. That battle is long since lost.

The Act has struggled to cope with the evolved media, although its unwieldy

provisions are still the only weapon in the armoury of the online defamed. For that

reason alone education of the online masses may be a first step, but new tools are

required, and this area of law needs urgent reform.

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The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Parliament Information Centre logos.

  

SPICe Briefing

  

Draft Budget 2013-14: Justice

 

27 September 2012

Frazer McCallum

   

This briefing has been prepared to assist the Justice Committee in its scrutiny of the Scottish

Government’s draft budget for 2013-14. The Committee has indicated that it intends to include

consideration of both police and court budgets as part of this year’s scrutiny. It has also noted

an interest in looking at monies available to implement the recommendations of the Commission

on Women Offenders. Taking forward the Commission’s recommendations may be expected to

have financial implications in a number of areas (eg for the work of the Scottish Prison Service

and criminal justice social work).

In light of the above, the following areas are considered:

spending on Justice and Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service portfolios plus ringfenced

central government grants to local authorities to help pay for justice related

activities

spending on police and courts at a more detailed level, as well as policy and other

developments which may impact on the level of spending required for police and courts

the work of the Commission on Women Offenders and any significant costs involved in

implementing its recommendations

The SPICe briefing Draft Budget 2013-14 (Financial Scrutiny Unit 2012) provides information on

spending plans for all subject portfolios.

2

CONTENTS

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

JUSTICE AND COPFS SPENDING …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

POLICE …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

   

DEVELOPMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

  

Legislative Reform ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Current Funding Arrangements …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

New Funding Arrangements ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10

Police Officer and Staff Numbers ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

   

SPENDING ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12

  

COURTS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13

   

DEVELOPMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13

  

Future Court Structure …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13

Reviews into the Delivery of Justice …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Making Justice Work ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

   

SPENDING ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

  

Scottish Court Service ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

Courts, Judiciary and Scottish Tribunals Service …………………………………………………………………………………. 19

   

COMMISSION ON WOMEN OFFENDERS ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19

   

Commission Recommendations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19

Scottish Government Response ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 20

Scottish Prison Service Consultation ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21

   

SOURCES …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 22

   

3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Justice and COPFS Spending

 

The most striking features of Justice and COPFS spending plans, as set out in the Scottish

Government’s draft budget for 2013-14, are:

the very large increase in funding within the Justice portfolio (rising from £1,341m in

2012-13 to £2,547m in 2013-14)

the disappearance of two central government ring-fenced grants to local authorities from

2013-14 (Police and Fire Capital grants)

These changes flow from reforms provided for in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act

2012, which will replace the current eight police forces and eight fire brigades with a single

Police Service of Scotland and a single Scottish Fire & Rescue Service. Funding arrangements

for both services will change significantly under the new arrangements, with all core funding

coming directly from central government (rather than a mix of local and central government

funding). The Scottish Government’s intention is that the new arrangements will come into

effect on 1 April 2013.

Scottish Government figures indicate that more than £1,253m of police and fire service funding

for 2013-14 is being moved from the Local Government settlement to the Justice portfolio. If

one removes this sum from the Justice portfolio, the portfolio budget falls (in cash terms) by

£48m between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Last year’s Scottish Government spending review

provided for a similar fall within the Justice portfolio budget over the same period.

Apart from the structural changes to police and fire service funding, the cash terms figures for

Justice and COPFS spending set out in this year’s draft budget are broadly similar to those

which were set out in the 2011 spending review (for the same years). One of the more

significant changes is an additional £20m of Scottish Prison Service capital funding for 2014-15.

Police

 

As noted above, the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 includes provisions which will

significantly reform the police. They will:

abolish the existing eight territorial police forces, the Scottish Police Services Authority

and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency

establish one national police force (the Police Service of Scotland) along with a single

Scottish Police Authority

create new police governance and funding arrangements

One of the main drivers for police reform was a desire to achieve efficiency savings, thereby

protecting frontline police services during a period of general financial cuts. However, the

Scottish Government has indicated that transitional costs involved in the changes are predicted

to increase the overall costs of policing during 2013-14.

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One of the issues raised during scrutiny of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill was

whether the police will be able to maintain an efficient, balanced workforce if they have to

operate within constraints imposed by:

the Scottish Government commitment to maintaining an additional 1,000 police officers

the Scottish Government commitment to no compulsory redundancies

the need to make savings in budgets

Stephen House (the current Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and recently appointed first

Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland) has been reported as stating that the

process of police reform may involve the loss of large numbers of police support staff.

Comparing the cash terms figures for police spending in 2013-14 as set out in this year’s draft

budget, with those set out in the 2011 spending review (for the same years):

Scottish Police Authority plus Police Central Government – the combined total is very

similar to the sum allocated for Police Central Government in the spending review plus

elements of the Local Government settlement which have been moved to police

spending within the Justice portfolio

Police Pensions – the figures are identical



Courts

 

The Scottish Court Service (SCS) has, in response to proposed justice reforms and restrictions

on its budget, started to formulate options for changes in court locations and structures –

including possible court closures. It has recently published a consultation paper on the topic

(with responses sought by 21 December 2012).

Various reviews into the delivery of justice have reported over recent years (including one into

the civil courts and another looking at sheriff and jury procedure). The SCS anticipates that

proposed justice reforms flowing from these reviews will have a significant impact on court

business.

The work being taken forward by the SCS in relation to court structures, as well as planned

reforms arising from the above mentioned reviews, form part of the Scottish Government’s

Making Justice Work programme. It was set up in 2010 and comprises five projects:

delivering efficient and effective court structures

improving procedures and case management

widening access to justice

co-ordinating IT and management information

establishing a Scottish Tribunals Service

There are only small changes to the cash terms figures for courts spending set out in this year’s

draft budget, as compared with those set out in the 2011 spending review (for the same years).

Commission on Women Offenders

 

In 2011, the Scottish Government established a Commission on Women Offenders chaired by

Dame Elish Angiolini (the former Lord Advocate) with a remit to: “consider the evidence on how

to improve outcomes for women in the criminal justice system; to make recommendations for

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practical measures in this Parliament to reduce their reoffending and reverse the recent

increase in the female prisoner population”.

The recommendations set out in its report (published in April of this year) included a number

which may involve additional costs (at least initially) for a range of organisations, including the

Scottish Prison Service and those involved in criminal justice social work services.

In its formal written response (published in June) the Scottish Government accepted the

majority of the Commission’s recommendations. In August 2012, the Scottish Prison Service

published a consultation paper as part of a process aimed at informing the Government’s

approach to implementing various recommendations made by the Commission on Women

Offenders. Both documents highlighted resource issues.

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JUSTICE AND COPFS SPENDING

  

Table 1 sets out information, derived from the Scottish Budget: Draft Budget 2013-14 (Scottish

Government 2012a) (hereafter referred to as the Draft Budget 2013-14), on the following areas

of spending:

the Justice portfolio

the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) portfolio

ring-fenced central government grants to local authorities (forming part of the Local

Government budget) to help pay for certain justice related activities – Police, Criminal

Justice Social Work and Fire Capital

Unless stated otherwise, all real terms figures in this briefing (ie figures adjusted for the effect of

inflation) are expressed in 2012-13 prices.

Table 1: Spending on Justice, COPFS and Grants to Local Authorities, 2012-13 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

 

Cash terms

Justice 1,341.0 2,546.6 2,527.4

COPFS 108.1 108.1 108.7

  

Grants Police 480.3 – –


CJ Social Work 86.5 86.5 86.5

Fire Capital 16.4 – –

 

Total Grants 583.2 86.5 86.5

Real terms

Justice 1,341.0 2,484.5 2,405.6

COPFS 108.1 105.5 103.5

  

Grants Police 480.3 – –


CJ Social Work 86.5 84.4 82.3

Fire Capital 16.4 – –

 

Total Grants 583.2 84.4 82.3

  

Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (tables 6.01, 6.02, 6.16, 11.01 and 11.02)

 

The most striking aspects of the above table are:

the very large increase in spending within the Justice portfolio (a cash terms increase of

£1,205.6m between 2012-13 and 2013-14)

the disappearance of two central government ring-fenced grants to local authorities

(leaving only the Criminal Justice Social Work grant from 2013-14 onwards)

Both flow from the reforms provided for in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. The

2012 Act will (once relevant provisions are commenced) replace the current eight police forces

and eight fire brigades with a single police force (the Police Service of Scotland) and a single

fire service (the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service). Funding arrangements for both services will

change significantly under the new arrangements, with all core funding coming directly from

central government (rather than a mix of local and central government funding). The Scottish

Government’s intention is that the new arrangements will come into effect on 1 April 2013 (thus

applying to 2013-14 budgets).

The increase in spending within the Justice portfolio is only partly accounted for by the

movement of funds from the Local Government portfolio to the Justice portfolio following the

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ending of the Police and Fire Capital grants. This reflects the fact that the two grants are not the

only elements of police and fire service funding which are being transferred from Local

Government to Justice. For example, current police funding includes significant sums which

local authorities spend on policing over and above the monies provided by the ring-fenced

Police Grant. This additional spending is drawn from general local authority funds (which

include monies provided by central government – eg by way of revenue support grant). In fact,

Scottish Government figures indicate that £1,259.4m of police and fire service funding for 2013-

14 is being moved from the Local Government settlement to the Justice portfolio (although

£5.8m of this transfer does not appear in budget lines for police spending within the Justice

portfolio due to the accounting treatment of loan charges).1 If one removes £1,253.6m (ie

£1,259.4m minus £5.8m) from the Justice portfolio, the portfolio budget falls (in cash terms) by

£48.0m between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Last year’s Scottish Spending Review 2011 and Draft

Budget 2012-13 (Scottish Government 2011a) (hereafter referred to as the Spending Review

2011) provided for a slightly larger fall of £49.3m within the Justice portfolio budget over the

same period.

More detailed (level 2) figures for spending within the Justice portfolio are set out in Tables 2

and 3 below. Apart from the significant changes to police and fire service funding, the cash

terms figures set out in Table 2 are broadly similar to those which were set out in the Spending

Review 2011. Further information on police reform and police funding is set out later in this

briefing. In relation to other areas of justice spending, changes include:

Scottish Resilience – the figures for 2013-14 and 2014-15 are lower than those set out in

the Spending Review 2011. The reductions reflect the fact that certain elements of

funding are being moved from this budget line to the new Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

budget

Scottish Prison Service – planned spending for 2014-15 is £20m more than set out in the

Spending Review 2011. The Draft Budget 2013-14 notes that, during the stage 3 debate

on the 2012-13 Budget Bill, this additional sum was allocated for capital funding, with the

intention that it should be targeted towards the needs of the female prison population

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) – responsibility for OSCR was

transferred from the Justice portfolio to the Finance, Employment and Sustainable

Growth portfolio in June 2012. As a result, the relevant budget line no longer appears

within the Justice portfolio

Table 2: Justice Spending in Cash Terms, 2012-13 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

Community Justice Services 31.3 31.8 32.3

Courts, Judiciary & Scottish Tribunals Service 52.4 52.1 51.6

Criminal Injuries Compensation 25.5 20.5 17.5

Scottish Resilience 17.9 14.0 14.0

Legal Aid 155.8 149.3 142.8

Scottish Police Authority – 1,085.5 1,040.6

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service – 293.1 288.1

Police Central Government 242.4 115.8 106.1

Drugs & Community Safety 38.3 38.7 39.7

Police & Fire Pensions 281.9 291.8 309.8

Scottish Prison Service 400.6 364.5 398.7

Miscellaneous 17.9 16.2 16.8

 

Scottish Court Service 77.0 73.3 69.4




Total 1,341.0 2,546.6 2,527.4

  

1 See Draft Budget 2013-14 (p 74-75) and Financial Scrutiny Unit 2012 (p 9-12).


8

Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (tables 6.01)

 

Table 3: Justice Spending in Real Terms, 2010-11 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

Community Justice Services 31.3 31.0 30.7

Courts, Judiciary & Scottish Tribunals Service 52.4 50.8 49.1

Criminal Injuries Compensation 25.5 20.0 16.7

Scottish Resilience 17.9 13.7 13.3

Legal Aid 155.8 145.7 135.9

Scottish Police Authority – 1,059.0 990.5

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service – 286.0 274.2

Police Central Government 242.4 113.0 101.0

Drugs & Community Safety 38.3 37.8 37.8

Police & Fire Pensions 281.9 284.7 294.9

Scottish Prison Service 400.6 355.6 379.5

Miscellaneous 17.9 15.8 16.0

 

Scottish Court Service 77.0 71.5 66.1




Total 1,341.0 2,484.5 2,405.6

  

Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (tables 6.02)

 

POLICE

 

DEVELOPMENTS

 

Legislative Reform

  

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 includes provisions which will (once they are

fully commenced):

abolish the existing eight territorial police forces, the Scottish Police Services Authority

(SPSA) and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA)

establish one national police force (the Police Service of Scotland) along with a single

Scottish Police Authority

create new police governance and funding arrangements

One of the main policy objectives behind the reforms in this area is to:

“protect and improve local services despite financial cuts, by stopping duplication of

support services eight times over and not cutting front line services” (Police and Fire

Reform (Scotland) Bill: Policy Memorandum, para 3)

The Police Service of Scotland will replace the eight territorial forces and take over most of the

work of the SPSA and SCDEA. It will be headed by a single Chief Constable whose

responsibilities will include:2

2 Stephen House (current Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police) has been appointed as the first Chief Constable of


the new Police Service of Scotland. It is expected that he will work with the chair of the new Scottish Police

Authority, in advance of next year’s formal establishment of the single police force, to prepare for the transfer of

functions.

 

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direction and control of police officers and civilian police staff

administration and planning within the Police Service of Scotland

ensuring that all local authority areas have adequate arrangements for policing

designation of a local commander for each local authority area, with responsibilities

relating to policing in that area

securing best value in the use of resources

The Scottish Police Authority will be a new public body comprising members appointed by the

Scottish Ministers.3 It will have the ability to appoint its own staff and may also engage police

officers on secondment. It will also be able to borrow money with the prior consent of Scottish

Ministers. Its responsibilities will include:

promotion of the policing principles and continuous improvement in the policing of

Scotland

preparation of a strategic policing plan (in conjunction with the Chief Constable)

provision of appropriate resources for the Police Service of Scotland (eg providing the

Chief Constable with a budget to spend, buildings and equipment, as well as being

directly responsible for the provision of forensic services to the police)4

holding the Chief Constable to account for carrying out the responsibilities of the post

(including the proper use of resources)

The role of the Scottish Ministers will include:

providing the Scottish Police Authority with the funds to resource the Police Service of

Scotland and cover its own costs

setting strategic priorities for the Scottish Police Authority and approval of its strategic

police plan

holding the Scottish Police Authority to account for the delivery of effective policing

Many of the tasks currently carried out at local authority level by police authorities and joint

police boards, including the setting of police budgets, will form part of the work of the Scottish

Police Authority. Although the current statutory police authorities and joint police boards will

cease to exist under the new arrangements, local authorities will still have a role in local policing

(eg monitoring local performance and working with local police commanders in setting local

priorities). Local authorities will also retain the ability to provide additional funds for policing in

their areas.

The Scottish Government is working towards the new arrangements coming into effect on 1

April 2013.

As indicated above, one of the main drivers for police reform was a desire to achieve efficiency

savings, thereby protecting frontline police services during a period of general financial cuts.

The financial memorandum published along with the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill

provided estimated set-up costs and efficiency savings for a fifteen year period (2011-12 to

2025-2026). In addition to what it described as ‘best estimates’, it provided adjusted figures in

relation to which:

3 Vic Emery (current convener of the SPSA board) has been appointed as the first chair of the Scottish Police


Authority.

 

4 It is intended that the transfer of forensic services from the SPSA to the Scottish Police Authority, rather than the


Police Service of Scotland, will help protect the impartial nature of such services.

 

10

costs were adjusted upwards to take account of ‘optimism bias’ (a method of mitigating

the risk that the costs of major projects are underestimated)

savings were adjusted downwards to account for potential margins of uncertainty

The predicted impact during years 2012-13 to 2014-15 is summarised in Table 4. It indicates

whether overall costs (after comparing set-up costs with efficiency savings) are predicted to rise

or fall. All of the figures are at 2011-12 prices.

Table 4: Predicted Impact of Reforms on Policing Costs, 2012-13 to 2014-15

2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

  

£m £m £m

Best estimate figures -9.1 +9.1 -28.4

Adjusted figures +3.2 +38.2 +13.2

 

Source: Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill: Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (table 1A)

 

As can be seen from the above table, the police reforms are predicted to increase the overall

costs of policing during 2013-14 – the first year during which the new Police Service of Scotland

will be operational. (It should be noted that both best estimate and adjusted figures in the

financial memorandum predict significant overall savings from 2015-16 onwards.)

Current Funding Arrangements

  

Under current arrangements (ie those applying in 2012-13) policing is paid for through a mix of:

central government expenditure on policing within the Justice portfolio (Police Central

Government and Police Pensions)

central government expenditure on policing within the Local Government portfolio (mainly

the ring-fenced Police Grant paid to local authorities)

monies which local authorities choose to spend on policing (around one-third of total

police funding)5


The level of spending on policing by local authorities used to be directly linked to the level of

Police Grant. However, this was ended following the 2007 Concordat between the Scottish

Government and Local Government, under which local authorities were given more flexibility in

managing their budgets and agreed to play a part in delivering certain Scottish Government

commitments (including one relating to police officer numbers).

New Funding Arrangements

  

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 provides for the consolidation of the various

elements of police funding discussed above into a single funding stream. This will be provided

directly by the Scottish Government to the Scottish Police Authority. This funding is subject to

the approval of the Scottish Parliament through the normal budget process. As noted above,

local authorities will retain the ability to provide additional funds to supplement policing in their

areas. The new funding arrangements will apply to the 2013-14 budget.

Under current funding arrangements, provisions in the Value Added Tax Act 1994 allow Scottish

police forces to recover VAT costs. This is on the basis that they form part of the services

provided by local authorities. One of the issues covered during scrutiny of the Scottish

Government’s proposals for police reform was whether a move to a single national police force

5 The funds from which any local authority draws upon for policing and other services include monies provided by


central government (eg through revenue support grant).

 

11

would result in the loss of this ability to reclaim VAT. It is understood that the Scottish

Government and HM Treasury explored options under which VAT could still be recovered but

that HM Treasury has now confirmed that a national police force will not be able to recover VAT.

The financial memorandum (para 178) published along with the Police and Fire Reform

(Scotland) Bill estimated that this would cost the Police Service of Scotland in excess of £21m

per annum.6




Police Officer and Staff Numbers

  

The most recent police officer quarterly strength statistics published by the Scottish Government

(2012b) indicate that Scottish police forces had a total of 17,373 police officers (full-time

equivalent posts) on 30 June 2010.7


In 2007, the Scottish Government outlined a commitment to make “an additional 1,000 police

officers available in our communities through increased recruitment, improved retention and

redeployment” (Scottish Government 2007b, p 61). Table 5 sets out quarterly figures for the

total number of police officers since 31 March 2007 (the baseline used for the commitment). As

at 30 June 2012, Scottish police forces had 1,139 more police officers than they had on 31

March 2007.

Table 5: Number of Police Officers, March 2007 to June 2012

2007 2008 2009

  

date number date number date number

31 Mar 16,234 31 Mar 16,222 31 Mar 17,048

30 Jun 16,265 30 Jun 16,339 30 Jun 17,278

30 Sep 16,306 30 Sep 16,526 30 Sep 17,217

31 Dec 16,267 31 Dec 16,675 31 Dec 17,273

 

2010 2011 2012

  

date number date number date number

31 Mar 17,409 31 Mar 17,263 31 Mar 17,436

30 Jun 17,424 30 Jun 17,339 30 Jun 17,373

30 Sep 17,371 30 Sep 17,265

31 Dec 17,217 31 Dec 17,343

 

Source: Scottish Government 2012b, table 2

 

The above figures do not include police support staff. Scottish police forces employed a total of

6,890 support staff (full-time equivalent posts) on 30 June 2012. This is 462 less than they had

on 31 March 2007 (and 972 less than the recent peak of 7,862 support staff on 31 March 2010).

Table 6 sets out quarterly figures for the total number of support staff since March 2007

Table 6: Number of Police Support Staff, March 2007 to June 2012

2007 2008 2009

  

date number date number date number

31 Mar 7,352 31 Mar 7,528 31 Mar 7,713

30 Jun 7,543 30 Jun 7,577 30 Jun 7,691

30 Sep 7,411 30 Sep 7,529 30 Sep 7,808

31 Dec 7,621 31 Dec 7,579 31 Dec 7,841

 

2010 2011 2012

  

date number date number date number

 

6 The estimated financial implications of police reform, as set out in the financial memorandum and reproduced in


Table 4 above, assumed that VAT costs would not be recoverable.

 

7 The figures for both police officers and police support staff include those working within the SPSA and SCDEA.


12

31 Mar 7,862 31 Mar 7,447 31 Mar 6,947

30 Jun 7,841 30 Jun 7,109 30 Jun 6,890

30 Sep 7,833 30 Sep 7,001

31 Dec 7,708 31 Dec 6,957

 

Source: Parliamentary Questions S4W-09275, S4W-06611, S4W-06043 and S4W-02796

 

One of the issues raised during scrutiny of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill was

whether the police will be able to maintain an efficient, balanced workforce if they have to

operate within constraints imposed by:

the Scottish Government commitment to maintaining police officer numbers at no fewer

than 17,234

the Scottish Government commitment to no compulsory redundancies

the need to make savings in budgets

The Justice Committee’s Stage 1 Report (2012) on the Bill noted “concerns regarding the ability

to achieve the projected savings” and sought “clarification as to the impact of the projected

redundancies of civilian posts on the front line” (para 265). In its Response to the Justice

Committee’s Stage 1 Report (2012c), the Scottish Government stated that:

“We are entirely confident that these projected savings – the calculation of which has

erred on the side of caution – are deliverable and we will look to the new Chief

Constable and Scottish Police Authority to identify the right balance between

protecting police officer numbers and the level of support staff required for an

effective, efficient service. (…)

A projected level of voluntary redundancy which would deliver the appropriate

efficiencies and removal of unnecessary duplication was factored into both business

cases. We expect this reduction to be managed through not replacing people leaving

the service and voluntary redundancies, rather than through compulsory

redundancies.” (p 10-11)

Stephen House (the current Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and recently appointed first

Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland) has been reported as stating that the

process of police reform may involve the loss of large numbers of police support staff (eg see

‘Stephen House Warns of Police Service of Scotland Job Losses’, BBC 26 September 2012).




SPENDING

  

Table 7 (below) draws together the following elements of police spending (all within the Justice

portfolio):

Scottish Police Authority – funding for the new Scottish Police Authority and, through it,

the Police Service of Scotland

Police Central Government – funding for police support services and national police

funding and reform

Police Pensions – provides funding to meet the pension costs of retired police officers

From 2013-14, general police spending is met through funding for the Scottish Police Authority.

However, the Police Central Government budget line does not disappear. The Draft Budget

2013-14 notes that much of the funding previously included in that budget line is moved to the

Scottish Police Authority:

13

“£236.9 million of funding was set out within the [Police Central Government] PCG

budget for 2013-14 in the Scottish Spending Review 2011. A significant part of this is

now part of the wider Scottish Police Authority (SPA) funding, including funding for

1,000 additional officers, forensics services, police training, criminal records, ICT,

serious crime and drug enforcement and counter terrorism. The funding transferring

from PCG to SPA also reflects the savings expected from police reform.” (p 76)

It indicates that:

“Funding remaining in the Police Central Government (PCG) budget in 2013-14

includes spending on building the new Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, funding

the Police Investigation Review Commissioner (PIRC), the Scottish Safety Camera

Programme and Airwave” (p 76)

Table 7: Police Spending, 2010-11 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

 

Cash Terms

  

Scottish Police Authority – 1,085.5 1,040.6

Police Central Government 242.4 115.8 106.1

Police Pensions 222.6 231.0 249.6

 

Total 465.0 1,432.3 1,396.3

Real Terms

  

Scottish Police Authority – 1,059.0 990.5

Police Central Government 242.4 113.0 101.0

Police Pensions 222.6 225.4 237.6

 

Total 465.0 1,397.4 1,329.1

  

Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (tables 6.08, 6.10 and 6.12)

 

Comparing the cash terms figures for police spending in 2013-14 as set out in the Draft Budget

2013-14, with those set out in the Spending Review 2011:

Scottish Police Authority plus Police Central Government – the combined total of

£1,201.3m set out in the Draft Budget 2013-14 is very similar to the sum allocated for

Police Central Government in the Spending Review 2011 plus elements of the Local

Government settlement which have been moved to police spending within the Justice

portfolio

Police Pensions – the figures are identical




COURTS

 

DEVELOPMENTS

 

Future Court Structure

  

The SCS has, in response to proposed justice reforms and restrictions on its budget, started to

formulate options for changes in court locations and structures. During May and June 2012, it

held a number of events with users of court services (including local authorities, legal

professionals, and consumer and victim organisations) to discuss its ongoing work in this area.

An associated news release (SCS 2012a) noted that:

14

“The Scottish Court Service is faced with some quite significant changes to the way

in which court services are provided. Challenge is also found in the increasing

expectations of court users, particularly victims and witnesses. Recommendations

within Sheriff Principal Bowen’s review of Sheriff and Jury business and Lord Gill’s

review of the civil courts anticipate significant changes to how and where court

business will be conducted in the future, with an emphasis on specialisation and a

move away from the model where all types of business are conducted at all court

locations. We have been looking at whether the current structure of the courts could

sustain all these changes. A guiding principle of this work has been to look at how

the court estate can be structured to deliver the best possible services at less cost,

whilst anticipating and benefiting from potential future changes.

From our work, the SCS Board have asked four underpinning questions:

(i) Could the High Court circuit be reduced and, if so, where should it sit?

(ii) Could Sheriff and Jury cases be consolidated into fewer centres and, if so, where

should they be?

(iii) Could we manage with fewer buildings where we have more than one in a town

or city?8


(iv) Could we manage with fewer courts where we have more than one within a

reasonable travelling distance?”

Those attending the above meetings were provided with a paper entitled Shaping Scotland’s

Court Services: a dialogue on a court structure for the future (SCS 2012c). It highlighted

planned reductions in the operating budget of the SCS. It also outlined a number of planned

justice reforms which might be expected to have an impact on court business:

“Assuming the recommendations of the Gill and Bowen reviews are implemented, the

main changes to which the SCS will have to respond are:

• a new salaried judicial office of summary sheriff, below the level of sheriff, dealing

with summary criminal cases, summary cause and small claims cases and some

family cases

• a new sheriff appeal court dealing with both civil and criminal appeals from the

sheriff courts and justice of the peace courts

• a sheriff personal injury specialist court, probably in Edinburgh, with other judicial

specialisation managed within sheriffdoms

• the redistribution of civil cases from the Court of Session to sheriff courts, and at the

lower level from sheriffs to summary sheriffs

• more active management of sheriff and jury cases, in particular a sheriffdom-wide

approach to matching cases to court capacity

• increased use of videoconferencing and other arrangements to support vulnerable

witnesses and victims of crime”. (p 5)

The paper also provided an illustration of how the courts might be restructured, including

possible court closures.9 In relation to potential savings from such restructuring, it indicted that:

“The actual savings achieved will depend on the final proposals that are approved.

However, the current estimate of the potential on-going revenue savings from the

court structure proposals illustration in this paper, if taken to their fullest extent, are in

8 A recent example of a court building being closed, with business moved to another building in the vicinity, is the


move of Glasgow’s Justice of the Peace and Stipendiary Magistrate court to share the same building as Glasgow

Sheriff Court (SCS 2012b).

 

9 See pages 14 to 17 and appendix 2.


15

the region of £2 million a year, through the closure of split site courts, rationalisation

of the High Court and possible court closures. There would also be a saving of an

estimated £6-9 million on outstanding building maintenance.

Opting to rationalise the court estate would seem to us to preserve the essential

judicial and staff resources to operate the system and allow future investment,

particularly in facilities for jurors, victims and witnesses and in communication

technology, to be targeted across a smaller group of buildings, maximising the benefit

of that investment in the services delivered to court users.” (p 9)

Following the above discussions with court users, in July 2012 the SCS published a summary of

what was covered, including an outline of concerns raised (eg the possibility that greater

centralisation of court services would lead to increased travel and costs for court users). In

relation to next steps, it stated that:

“The points raised at the events are being taken into account during the further work

the SCS is now doing to refine the initial thinking and develop proposals for

consideration by the SCS Board later in the summer. We would anticipate a three

month public consultation on final proposals being launched in the autumn of 2012.

Only after the outcome of that consultation would final decisions be made, and, as

necessary, statutory orders laid before the Scottish Parliament for approval.” (SCS

2012d, p 5)

The above mentioned consultation paper was published on 21 September 2012 and runs for

three months – Shaping Scotland’s Court Services: a public consultation on proposals for a

court structure for the future (SCS 2012e).




Reviews into the Delivery of Justice

  

As noted above, the SCS anticipates that proposed justice reforms will have a significant impact

on court business – in particular, reforms arising from the reviews headed by Lord Gill and

Sheriff Principal Bowen.

The first of these reviews – the Scottish Civil Courts Review or ‘Gill Review’ – began its work in

2007. Its 2009 report made a raft of recommendations relating to the principles, structures and

procedures which, it argued, should underpin the delivery of civil justice. It also made significant

recommendations affecting criminal justice. The Scottish Courts website provides a useful

synopsis of the review and report. In 2010, the Scottish Government published a response to

the report which, broadly speaking, accepted the review’s recommendations. It expressly

acknowledged the impact of budget constraints on implementation:

“the reforms recommended by Lord Gill must be viewed in the context of the current

pressures on public spending which will constrain the scope for additional

investment, and at the very least will require that reforms are managed carefully and

phased in over a period of years”. (Scottish Government 2010, para 31)

The Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill (currently before the

Scottish Parliament) includes provisions seeking to create a Scottish Civil Justice Council. This

body will be responsible for (amongst other things) implementing some of the reforms to court

procedures flowing from the Gill Review. The financial memorandum published along with the

Bill notes that:

“The Scottish Government’s planned programme of reform of the civil courts is

expected to give rise to additional costs for the Scottish Court Service including in

relation to the operational costs of the [Scottish Civil Justice] Council. The potential

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costs of the Council in relation to implementation of civil courts reform are provided,

for illustrative purposes only, at paragraphs 125 to 144 below.” (para 104)

The timetable for introducing other reforms recommended in the Gill Review, including those

requiring further legislation, is still unclear. However, the Scottish Government’s Programme for

Scotland 2012-13 (2012d, p 67) stated that a Courts Reform Bill taking forward Lord Gill’s

recommendations will go out for consultation by the end of 2012.

The Independent Review of Sheriff and Jury Procedure undertaken by Sheriff Principal Bowen

reported in 2010. It followed on from earlier reviews of the High Court (led by Lord Bonomy)

and summary criminal justice (led by Sheriff Principal McInnes). Recommendations flowing

from the review of sheriff and jury procedure included ones relating to compulsory business

meetings between defence and prosecution lawyers, and better use of pre-trial hearings (first

diets).

The Scottish Government’s response (2011b) to the review of sheriff and jury procedure stated

that it “is of the view that the overall shape of the recommendations made by Sheriff Principal

Bowen are to be welcomed” (p 5). The relevance of budgets when considering implementation

was again highlighted:

“Ultimately, any proposals which the Scottish Government may wish to take forward

must be viewed in the context of the current pressures on public spending which will

constrain the scope for additional investment, and will require that all reforms are

managed carefully. It is likely that the recommendations would lead to cost savings

in significant areas of the current system, such as the citation of witnesses, but we

must be careful to account for any investment required to change processes and

procedures.” (p 7)

Only some of the recommendations relating to sheriff and jury procedure would require

legislation. In relation to those which would, the Scottish Government’s Programme for

Scotland 2012-13 (2012d, p 67) states that it will legislate in a Criminal Justice Bill to take

forward recommendations of the review of sheriff and jury procedure.10 It is currently

anticipated that the relevant legislation will be introduced around spring 2013. The Scottish

Government intends to consult on Sheriff Principal Bowen’s recommendations before

introducing relevant legislation.

Making Justice Work

  

The work being taken forward by the SCS in relation to court structures, as well as planned

reforms arising from the above mentioned reviews, form part of the Scottish Government’s

Making Justice Work programme. It was set up in 2010 and comprises five projects:

1. Delivering efficient and effective court structures

2. Improving procedures and case management

3. Widening access to justice

4. Co-ordinating IT and management information

5. Establishing a Scottish Tribunals Service

10 It is intended that the same piece of legislation will also deal with reforms resulting from the Carloway Review.


Recommendations made in that review may also have significant implications for court business (eg the possibility

of Saturday courts if needed to ensure that suspects are not kept in police custody for unduly lengthy periods of

time prior to a first appearance in court).

 

17

The Scottish Government wrote to the Justice Committee in August 2012 providing an update

on the programme. It noted that:

“The programme contains a number of projects and work streams which are being

taken forward by different partners in the justice system. The programme overall is

managed from within the Scottish Government’s Justice Directorate. The Scottish

Court Service is managing the work on court structures (project 1) and the Scottish

Legal Aid Board is managing the work on access to justice (project 3). The Crown

Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Association of Chief Police Officers in

Scotland are also leading important projects within the wider project on improving

procedures and case management (project 2). The Scottish Tribunals Service is

leading project 5.” (Scottish Government 2012e, p 1)

Further information on each project (background and progress) is set out in the Scottish

Government’s letter. The work involved in these projects is of relevance to various priorities

outlined in the recently published Strategy for Justice in Scotland (Scottish Government 2012f).

For example, see ‘Priority 9: Transforming civil and administrative justice’ (p 55).

SPENDING

 

Scottish Court Service

  

The responsibilities of the Scottish Court Service (SCS) include providing the staff, buildings

and technology to support Scotland’s courts and the work of the independent judiciary. It has,

since April 2010, been run as an independent statutory body governed by a board chaired by

the Lord President (the most senior judge in Scotland). The SCS budget covers the main

operating costs of the courts (including the employment of around 1,500 staff but excluding

judicial salaries) and the maintenance and development of court buildings.

Table 8 reproduces level 3 cash terms figures from the Draft Budget 2013-14, as well as

providing figures in real terms.

Table 8: Scottish Court Service Spending, 2010-11 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

 

Cash Terms

  

Operating Expenditure 68.5 67.3 65.4

Capital 8.5 6.0 4.0

 

Total 77.0 73.3 69.4

Real Terms

  

Operating Expenditure 68.5 65.7 62.2

Capital 8.5 5.9 3.8

 

Total 77.0 71.5 66.1



Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (table 6.15)

 

Comparing the cash terms figures for SCS spending as set out in the Draft Budget 2013-14,

with those set out in the Spending Review 2011, the only differences are small reductions in the

2013-14 and 2014-15 budgets for operating expenditure (minus £0.1m in each year). The Draft

Budget 2013-14 indicates that:

“Figures for 2013-14 and 2014-15 have been adjusted to include a transfer to the

Scottish Tribunals Service to support the funding for shrieval conveners.” (p 81)

18

19

Courts, Judiciary and Scottish Tribunals Service

  

This budget line covers the costs of judicial salaries and pensions, the running costs of a

number of justice agencies (eg the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland) and the Scottish

Tribunals Service (which provides support to a number of tribunals operating in Scotland).

Table 9 reproduces level 3 cash terms figures from the Draft Budget 2013-14, as well as

providing figures in real terms.

Table 9: Courts, Judiciary and Scottish Tribunals Service, 2010-11 to 2014-15

2012-13

  

budget

 

2013-14

  

draft budget

 

2014-15

  

plans

£m £m £m

 

Cash Terms

  

Courts, Judiciary Services 10.8 10.3 10.0

Scottish Tribunals Service 11.8 11.5 11.0

Judicial Salaries 29.8 30.3 30.6

 

Total 52.4 52.1 51.6

Real Terms

  

Judicial Costs 10.8 10.0 9.5

Scottish Tribunals Service 11.8 11.2 10.5

Judicial Salaries 29.8 29.6 29.1

 

Total 52.4 50.8 49.1

  

Source: Draft Budget 2013-14 (table 6.04)

 

Comparing the cash terms figures as set out in the Draft Budget 2013-14, with those set out in

the Spending Review 2011, the only differences are increases in the 2013-14 and 2014-15

budgets for the Scottish Tribunals Service (plus £0.7m in each year). The Draft Budget 2013-14

indicates that:

“Additional funding was allocated in 2012-13 to support the potential transfer of

administrative functions for reserved tribunals operating in Scotland to the Scottish

Government. The delay of this transfer will require the resources to be made

available in 2013-14. Figures for 2013-14 and for 2014-15 have been adjusted to

include funding to be transferred to the STS from relevant Level 3 budgets outwith

Justice for the costs of tribunal administrations incorporated into the Service.” (p 70)

COMMISSION ON WOMEN OFFENDERS

 

Commission Recommendations

  

In 2011, the Scottish Government established a Commission on Women Offenders chaired by

Dame Elish Angiolini (the former Lord Advocate). It was given the following remit:

“To consider the evidence on how to improve outcomes for women in the criminal

justice system; to make recommendations for practical measures in this Parliament to

reduce their reoffending and reverse the recent increase in the female prisoner

population.”

The recommendations set out in its report (published in April of this year) included a number

which may involve additional costs (at least initially) for a range of organisations, including the

20

Scottish Prison Service and those involved in criminal justice social work services.11 For

example:

community justice centres – one stop shops based on the 218 Service, Willow Project

and Women’s Centres in England should be established for women offenders to enable

them to access a consistent range of services to reduce reoffending

Cornton Vale prison – should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for women

offenders serving long-term sentences and those who present a significant risk to the

public

community reintegration support – should be available for all women offenders during

and after a custodial sentence

Community Justice Service – a new national service should be established to

commission, provide and manage adult offender services in the community

In relation to possible costs, the Commission’s report noted:

“While we recognise that practitioners in the criminal justice field are operating in an

environment of significant financial constraints and increasing demands upon them,

we consider that many of our recommendations could be achieved through

reconfiguration of existing funding, rather than significant new investment. To enable

some of our recommendations to succeed, we consider it imperative that mainstream

service providers, such as health, education and housing work, recognise their

responsibilities and work collaboratively with each other and with criminal justice

partners to facilitate the provision of all necessary services to women offenders.”

(para 9)

“The establishment of a Community Justice Service will have resource implications.

In a time of significant financial constraints in the public sector, the creation of a new

service could be achieved largely through reconfiguration of existing resources

(money, staff and buildings). In line with the findings from the Commission on the

Future Delivery of Public Services, the Scottish Government should carry out a costbenefit

analysis, as well as considering whether there are functions in other existing

agencies that might be incorporated into the new Community Justice Service.” (para

331)

Scottish Government Response

  

The Scottish Government’s Response to the Commission on Women Offenders was published

in June 2012. It accepted the majority of the Commission’s recommendations, including the first

three referred to above. In relation to the fourth (setting up a national Community Justice

Service), the Government accepted that the current arrangements should be reformed and

indicated that it would consult later in the year on the structures that support community justice.

The Government’s response also noted:

“It is important to recognise that far-reaching and radical changes cannot be

delivered overnight. Changes to our prison estate cannot be delivered quickly or

cheaply, and a system that is run by a diverse range of stakeholders cannot simply

be directed to change by central command. (…)

11 The successful implementation of recommendations in the Commission’s report may also be expected to lead to


the future reduction of some costs (eg by reducing the use of imprisonment).

 

21

As the Commission recommends, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice will report to the

Scottish Parliament in October 2012 on progress against implementing the report’s

recommendations, and then annually thereafter.” (paras 10-11)

In relation to costs, it stated that:

“We are living in exceptionally challenging financial times with great uncertainty in the

European and world economies, and huge cuts imposed on Scotland by the UK

Government at Westminster. Despite this, the Scottish Government retains the

highest ambitions for Scotland and for our public services, and we share the

Commission’s view that much of what it recommends can be achieved through the

reconfiguration of the significant resources that we already invest in this area. We

have committed significant funding to community justice activities year on year,

allocating just under £100 million in this financial year through the eight Community

Justice Authorities. We have also allocated £20 million additional capital funding to

the Scottish Prison Service for 2014-2015 that will be targeted towards the needs of

the female prison population.

To underline our commitment to the implementation of the changes the Commission

recommends, we will invest £1 million in this financial year to support projects that

will demonstrate how the envisaged changes to service delivery can be put into

practice.” (paras 13-14)

Scottish Prison Service Consultation

  

In August 2012, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) published a consultation paper, entitled

Women in Custody, as part of a consultation process aimed at informing the Government’s

approach to implementing various recommendations made by the Commission on Women

Offenders. In relation to the future of Cornton Vale prison, it included the following comments:

“The SPS is committed to establishing a regime for women based on the

recommendations in the Commission’s Report. However, at this point, the SPS does

not have the resource to build a new national prison for women either stand alone or

as part of a larger complex. Even if resources were available immediately, it takes

around 6 years to design and build a new facility wherever it is located.

The SPS supports the view that it is not acceptable to maintain a regime that centres

on HMP Cornton Vale in its current form for this length of time.

The challenge facing the SPS is therefore to devise proposals that deliver the

essence of the Commission’s recommendations within a reasonable timeframe and,

as far as possible, within existing resources. SPS considers however, that in a

shorter timeframe and for the most part within its current budget, it has the

opportunity to create the desired improved regime for women on a national scale by:

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