Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics: Scottish prison population statistics

13 January 2023
Last updated:
12 January 2023


1.12 The team collaborates regularly with other analytical teams in Scottish Government. Within JAS, the team worked with crime statisticians to implement the new offence categories and is currently working with operational researchers to develop a prison microsimulation model. It also contributes to the JAS Safer Communities and Justice Statistics Monthly Report, which brings together summary statistics across a range of justice areas, including crime, criminal and civil proceedings, and prisons, to provide a coherent narrative on the justice system in Scotland. The team works with other divisions and directorates across Scottish Government, including health and education, to explore how prison data can be combined with other data sources to build a more complete picture of prisons in Scotland (see 1.24). As an opportunity for further collaboration, we suggest the team establish links with the prison statistics teams in the Ministry of Justice and Department of Justice (Northern Ireland), to share best practice and learning.

1.13 Scottish Government and SPS have formed an effective partnership to produce the statistics. The statistics team has regular high-level discussions with SPS analysts about the data. We are pleased to hear about two recent developments that are expected to further strengthen this partnership. Scottish Government and SPS are currently reviewing the memorandum of understanding between the two organisations. This is expected to lead to a closer working relationship by setting out the scope of the relationship, who is responsible for what, and how they will work together to analyse the data and produce the statistics. In addition, SPS recently recruited a Head of Data and Analysis. This role provides a key analytical link between the two organisations, supporting more coordinated and collaborative working. The new head is already having an impact, for example, through more-regular, in-depth discussions about the data and changes to PR2.

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