Scottish Sentencing Council announces commissioned research programme for 2019/20.

A review of the current understanding of the development of cognitive maturity in young adults and a study exploring young people’s attitudes to sentencing, including those of young offenders, will be included in the Scottish Sentencing Council’s commissioned research programme for 2019/20, the independent advisory body announced today.

These projects will help in the development of the Council’s guideline on sentencing young people, which is due to go to public consultation later this year.

The Council will also be continuing its work on sexual offences and plans to commission research to build on the outputs from its current projects. In addition, the Council will be continuing its support of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Ph.D. internship scheme with a project in late autumn.

Professor Neil Hutton, Chair of the Council’s Research Committee, said: “The Council is always keen to work with skilled researchers to ensure independent, high quality evidence is available to support our development of sentencing guidelines. We would encourage all those who may be interested in bidding for our future research projects to get in touch at to register their interest.”

In addition to the 2019/20 programme, three commissioned research projects are currently underway.  These projects, which began in late 2018, include an in-depth exploration of public perceptions of sexual offences and death by driving offences (focusing both on the public generally and those directly affected by these offences), a survey of public attitudes to sentencing in general, and a review of academic literature on sentence discounting. 

These projects are expected to report back to the Council later this year, with final reports published thereafter.

As a public body, the Council issues its requests for tenders through the Public Contracts Scotland website and in line with procurement best practice. Invitations to tender for the 2019/20 programme of work will be issued in due course.

Anyone interested in bidding for future research projects should register their interest with the Scottish Sentencing Council by emailing

Wherever possible, the council will seek to publish the research. These reports will be available on the publications page of our website. Previous publications include research on death by driving.