The first year of a radical shake-up in how Tayside sex offenders are dealt with went under the microscope.
More than 50 men are being dealt with by the Moving Forward Making Changes (MFMC) scheme administered by the Tayside Criminal Justice Social Work Partnership’s Tay Project.
A meeting of the Tayside Community Justice Authority heard of the “good effect” the Tay Project has had on “high risk of harm” offenders across the Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross council areas.
However, the meeting in Forfar also heard the scheme is being monitored for cost implications due to “additional demand” on social work services.
Tayside was the first Scottish area to roll out MFMC. It replaced the previous Community Sex Offender Groupwork programme in May last year.
Participation is a requirement of either a community payback order or of post-custody supervision.
The new programme, which is based on psychological therapy, lowered the age of participating sex offenders from 21 to 18 and included those with learning disabilities and personality disorders for the first time.
Glyn Lloyd of Dundee City Council said government accreditation of the scheme, along with growing demand, has had an “impact on resources”.
He added: “Having said that, we’ve implemented it effectively and had extremely positive feedback from the Scottish Government, comparing us with the 29 local authorities across Scotland.”
Members of the authority were told by officers that “the implementation of a new approach to working with high risk of harm offenders…has been achieved to good effect in Tayside.”
Authority convener Bailie Helen Wright said: “This is already hugely challenging work and there have been many extra efforts made to ensure that Tayside was in a position to move on with the new programme.”