A proposed new version of the national standards for Scotland's youth justice services has been published for consultation by the Scottish Government.

First introduced in 2002, the national standards were updated in 2012, but in 2018 the National Youth Justice Advisory Group highlighted the need for updated standards which provide a framework for the audit of services which support children involved in offending behaviour. These should include core principles and data sets which support local and national data collection to help monitor service improvement and improved outcomes for children.

The standards now outlined are aimed to complement the Health and Social Care Standards which came into effect on 1 April 2018. As well as informing the Care Inspectorate's new inspection and scrutiny frameworks, the Health and Social Care Standards are being used to continually improve the quality of services across health, social care, early learning, childcare, children's services, social work and community justice. The Secure Care Standards will also align with the Health and Social Care Standards.

The standards outline the minimum expectations for all strategic and operational services delivering youth justice in the community, secure care and young offenders' institutions. They will influence how services are designed and delivered and will focus on the functions of youth justice rather than processes, thus offering the opportunity for flexibility to meet local needs.

They cover prevention and early intervention; the children's hearing system; alternatives to prosecutorial action; court; secure care and young offenders' institution; risk assessment and care and risk management; transitions; and improving outcomes.

Click here to access the consultation. The deadline for responses is 23 January 2020.