Aims and Accountability

The Council was established in October 2015 as an independent, advisory body as a result of the
Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010



What we do

We carry out a range of work concerning sentencing in Scotland.

Our responsibilities include:

 - preparing sentencing guidelines for the courts

 - publishing guideline judgments issued by the courts

 - publishing information about sentences handed down by the courts.

We can also conduct research, and provide general advice or guidance. We do not deal with individual sentences, which are a matter for the presiding judge in court.  

Our aims

Under law, we must:

 - promote consistency in sentencing 

 - assist the development of sentencing policy 

 - promote greater awareness and understanding of sentencing.


Accountability and reporting

Every three years, we prepare a Business Plan for the Scottish Ministers. We consult the Scottish Ministers, the Lord Advocate (head of the prosecution service) and the Lord Justice General (head of the High Court).  We also take others' views into account.

Each year, we prepare an Annual Report on our activities for the Ministers. These two reports are laid before the Scottish Parliament.


How we spend our money

Our Expenses Scheme shows what members can claim for Council business costs.

Our Business Plan outlines how we plan to spend our budget in the future and our Annual Report details how we have spent it so far.

Information on our procurement of goods and services is also published.

We are subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, and have produced a Guide to Information based on the Information Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme. The Guide provides more details on: the information we publish, how to find that information, how to request new information, and any charges for producing information.

See our publications page for other documents which provide information about the Council, including our latest Business Plan and Annual Report



How to make a complaint

Our Complaints Handling Procedure explains how we will handle a complaint and the likely timescale. Our complaints information is published after each Council meeting and in our Annual Report.



FOI Request

FOI Request

Please use this link to make a request under Freedom of Information.


Information about how we will handle any personal data you send us is available here.


FOI Request Form