Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25th June 2019.

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

I have resubmitted this amendment to allow Parliament to consider its position. The principle founds upon the fact that, during stage 1 evidence, a Social Work Scotland witness told us:

“On the information and evidence that criminal justice social work receives to inform our risk and needs assessment ... what is sorely lacking is the summaries of evidence that are narrated in court.”

He went on:

“Without it, we are entirely reliant on the offender’s version of events.”—[

Official Report

,

Justice Committee

, 8 May 2018; c 8.]

We know that summaries of court evidence are critical to an objective and accurate risk assessment and that without them, social workers will have less information than they should have about how decisions may affect victims. My concern is that victims and the public are unnecessarily put at risk because the right information is not being shared.

I lodged an identical amendment at stage 2, when members had several concerns. John Finnie asked what status a summary would have. The answer is that it would have only the weight that the social workers preparing their risk and needs assessment attributed to it. The definitive document remains the risk and needs assessment that is prepared by criminal justice social work.