ANNEX C: THEMATIC REPORT ON COMPENSATION OFFERS
As part of an ongoing review of summary justice reform a second report on direct measures was published in January 2010 on the use of Compensation Offers and combined Fiscal Fines and Compensation Offers (a first report on the use of Fiscal Fines was published in March 2009).
Summary justice reform as contained in the 2007 Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) (Scotland) Act had raised several concerns particularly in the area of non court disposals for assault.
This report (as with the previous report on Fiscal Fines) adopted an evidence based approach and a random selection of cases was examined taken from all 11 of the Procurator Fiscal Areas in Scotland. The sample included all possible levels of Fiscal Fine and bands of Compensation. 120 combined offers were examined and 151 stand alone compensation offers were examined in addition to an earlier sample.
As with the examination of Fiscal Fines the overall conclusion was that, looking at the number of cases examined and the range of offences, that the use of Compensation Offers and combined Fiscal Fine and Compensation Offers was proportionate and generally in line with the philosophy of the enhanced use of these measures. Crown Office policy in this area has not been made public but the Inspectorate had access to the policy when examining the cases.
A number of queries were made but these were generally of a minor nature and four recommendations for improvement were suggested.
1. That the guidance on the use of Compensation Offers be clarified by the Crown Office. In particular there should be a clear indication of whether compensation should be a first consideration and only excluded for good reason (as envisaged by the McInnes Report leading up to the Act).
2. In the case of combined Fiscal Fines and Compensation Offers that there be revised guidance on the calculation of the relative amounts in order to simplify the procedure.
3. That revised guidance be issued to marking Deputes for the choice of the payment period with regard being given to the circumstances and means of the offender.
4. That the Prosecution Code be updated to include information on the new provisions on direct measures.
The recommendations made in the report were accepted by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
An update on implementation is contained in Annex E.