Stage 2 - Development of a draft guideline
The committee established at stage 1 will oversee the drafting of the guideline, and all the work involved in developing it. At stage 2, our work will focus on engaging with those who have an interest or expertise in the guideline topic (who we refer to as stakeholders), gathering evidence, and developing a first draft of the guideline.
We know that many people will be interested in giving their views when we are developing a guideline. Engaging with stakeholders is an essential part of our work, and will continue through all stages of the process.
Once we have decided to go ahead with a particular guideline we will speak more extensively to organisations and individuals with an interest or expertise in the area to get their views on what the guideline should cover, and to identify where further research may be needed.
For example, we might speak to groups supporting victims of the offence, to people working with those who have offended to help to reduce the chance of them re-offending, or to academics with particular expertise in the area.
We will also consider the benefits of holding conferences or other events. In that way we can bring together people who are interested in a particular topic. (For example, see the report on the Council's conference on young people)
We are committed to taking an evidence-based approach to guideline development. This means that we will base our guidelines on research and other factual information that we can gather. This includes information on current sentencing practice. For example, it is useful for us to know:
- What sentences are usually imposed for the offence?
- What do judges take into account in deciding on a sentence for the offence?
- Are there any variations or apparent inconsistencies in how the offence is sentenced across Scotland and, if so,
- We will ask for data from the Scottish Government and criminal justice organisations like the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), and Police Scotland.
We will also review information on the subject of the guideline, to find out what research others have carried out and what their findings were.
This work might confirm that there is a need for more research and information. Where we think this is necessary in order to make the guideline as useful and accurate as possible we will carry that out. This may mean that developing the guideline will take longer.
We might also need to carry out new research to gain a better understanding of sentencing decisions for certain offences. Or we may fund new work to understand public views on sentencing for specific offences, or to explore what works in terms of sentencing.
Developing a first draft of the guideline
Based on the evidence gathered during this stage, we will develop a first draft of the guideline. This draft guideline can be discussed and tested with the help of interested parties. This is an important step, but the final guideline may be very different from the first draft.