Local justice social work services top of the class

The Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is top of the class according to a new Care Inspectorate report on its justice social work services.

The services’ work includes providing court reports, supervising people on statutory social work orders and licences and administering community payback orders.

The ratings achieved by Inverclyde’s HSCP, three very goods and two goods, are currently the best in the country under the new inspection regime introduced by the Care Inspectorate.

Councillor Robert Moran, Convener of Inverclyde Council’s Health & Social Care Committee, said, “The Care Inspectorate is currently focussing on justice social work services because of the growing move towards using community payback orders in place of short prison sentences.

“It is very important for the inspectorate how well community payback orders are implemented and managed and how effective services are in delivering positive outcomes for communities and offenders.

“We recognise how important it is to reduce crime in our communities by cutting re-offending as well. We also recognise that many of the people passing through the criminal justice system in Inverclyde come from some of the most deprived areas in Scotland. Many of them live in poverty, experience mental health issues and have issues with alcohol or substance misused.

“One of our main achievements is reducing the chances of re-offending by helping people bring stability back into their lives.”

The Care Inspectorate report highlighted the fact that, “the justice service was well integrated into the health and social care partnership which supported quick and easy access to services for individuals  including those aimed at addressing mental health and addiction issues.”

The inspectors also singled out the services’ management team for particular praise saying, “Inspirational leadership, and the vision and values promoted by leaders, permeated the service and had a significant impact on the culture within the service of treating individuals with dignity and respect that staff had clearly adopted.”

This was reflected in interviews with service users who, “were positive about the experience and impact of participating in community payback orders. Most individuals undertaking unpaid work found work placements to be beneficial, well-managed and rewarding. They highlighted that unpaid work staff were supportive, approachable and courteous.”

The management team also, “demonstrated a strong commitment and vision to improved outcomes for individuals which was supported by a clear understanding of their needs and a well-informed strategic plan.”

This in turn resulted in, “strong justice service performance that exceeded national targets, sometimes by a considerable margin.”

The report said that the service achieved, “a range of positive outcomes for individuals. This included improved access to stable accommodation and increased access to further education and learning opportunities.

“The unpaid work service was operating effectively and played an important role in improving outcomes for individuals while ensuring payback to communities.”