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Criminal Justice Services

The Scottish Government funds Scotland's local authorities to provide Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW), responsible on behalf of Scottish Courts for supervising those individuals aged 16 and over who have been subject to a community disposal. CJSW provide reports to courts to assist with sentencing decisions, and a range of other services as set out below. Criminal Justice Social Work Services in Orkney are located within the newly created partnership arrangements for Orkney Health and Care, and aim to provide services which contribute to community safety and public protection.

Bail Supervision

The Criminal Justice Social Work department identify and provide services for those people on, or at risk of, a custodial remand who, if subject to supervision in the community, could be considered for bail. This could be before trial or before sentence.

Bail supervision schemes identify individuals, based on assessed need, who require support to reduce the risk of a further offence whilst on Bail.

The worker will obtain information about you from:

If you are assessed as suitable and the Court agrees that Bail should be granted:

Supervised Release Order

When a sentence of at least one year and less than four years in prison is imposed by a court, a Supervised Release Order (SRO) may be made. The individual must therefore be supervised by a criminal justice social worker upon release. SROs must not exceed 12 months.

Community Payback Orders

The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 provides for a Community Payback Order (CPO) - giving Courts the ability to require individuals to address their offending through Supervision and/or the performance of Unpaid Work. The Order also allows for up to nine requirements which could be included should this be appropriate and assessed as suitable for the individual concerned:

The overall aim is to bring together a range of options for sentencers which balances punishment in a way which also addresses the areas of individuals lives which need to change.

A CPO is intended to serve the following main objectives:

Courts will still have the discretion to send individuals to prison if they think this is the best way to deal with the individual.

Sentencing in each individual case is always a matter for the Court and the Scottish Government cannot intervene in matters of the Judiciary. However, it does have a responsibility to make a wide a range of sentencing options available to Sheriffs, Judges and Justices of the Peace.

The use of other agencies in the delivery of Community Payback Orders is critical to the success of providing the Court with credible and robust community based sentence for appropriate individuals who come to our attention.

All Community Payback Orders will be supervised in line with the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System.

How will this help your community?

Individuals can be required to carry out unpaid work in your community. This could include:

How can community groups or Orkney residents benefit?

The Community Payback Scheme’s individuals are effectively unpaid labour so community groups or charities can apply for help with their projects. Community Payback provides the labour and tools and the community groups are generally expected to provide the materials e.g. paint, plants or building materials.

What are the criteria that govern Unpaid Work?

A short film titled 'Helping to Build Better Lives' is available to watch on the Northern Community Justice Authority website available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Criminal Justice Social Work Reports

An important part of our Service is the provision of accurate information to the Courts about an individual to assist them in determining sentence.

These written reports also enable the Courts to make comprehensive assessments regarding the risk of re-offending and harm to the community.

Reports are always produced for:

The report must include the following information:

Information is available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Diversion from Prosecution scheme

Diversion from Prosecution provides an opportunity for someone accused of minor offences to be dealt with outwith the court system.
The aims of Diversion are to:

The decision as to whether or not an individual should be diverted from prosecution is taken by the Procurator Fiscal, following receipt of the police report of any alleged offence.

Diversion programmes are tailored to the individual and aim to address underlying causes of offending. They are designed to prevent individuals entering the criminal justice system prematurely and to stop the cycle of offending before it starts.

Criminal Justice Social Work staff initially assess individuals referred to the Scheme by the Procurator Fiscal. Once work to address the risk of offending is complete, the Procurator Fiscal is provided with a final report detailing the work done and commitment shown.
If satisfactory, the Procurator Fiscal will divert the person from prosecution for the alleged offence. However, if unsuccessful, prosecution may follow.

Parole reports

Parole means that you may be released under specific conditions from prison to serve part of your sentence under supervision in the community. If you are detained in prison or a young individuals' institution serving a sentence of 4 years or more, you are entitled to be considered for Parole after serving half the sentence.

You can decline to be considered for Parole.

If Parole is granted, your supervising social worker will explain the conditions that apply to you. You will be asked to give your consent and sign a copy of the Licence at your first appointment.


Throughcare is the provision of a range of social work and associated services to prisoners and their families from the point of sentence or remand, during the period of imprisonment, and following release into the community.

We are responsible for offering voluntary throughcare for short and medium-term prisoners and their families following release from custody.

Throughcare may consist of giving advice and guidance on matters such as housing and welfare benefits, or education and training or alcohol/ drugs rehabilitation. Voluntary throughcare services are available for all released prisoners from Orkney who are within 12 months of release from prison.

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) were established under the terms of the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2005, which placed duties on police, local authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and health authorities to establish joint arrangements for the assessment and management of risk posed by certain high-risk individuals such as sexual offenders. These arrangements are supported by national guidance and procedures.

Other agencies are also required to co-operate with these responsible authorities to manage the risks posed by high-risk individuals including Jobcentre Plus, registered social landlords, voluntary organisations and companies providing electronic monitoring of individuals.

The MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements) Annual Report is available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Contact Details

Criminal Justice Service, School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535, extension 2660.

Email the Criminal Justice Team

Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS