What matters in practice? Understanding ‘quality’ in the routine supervision of offenders in Scotland

Scott Grant*, Fergus McNeill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


Little is known about the nature, character and construction of quality in the routine supervision of offenders in Scotland. Quality is an important yet contested concept with multiple facets and features, but its meanings for practitioners are under-researched. This article will present findings from a study using Appreciative Inquiry to reveal how Scottish criminal justice social workers attempt to conceptualise and construct meanings of quality in their daily practice with people who have offended. Our findings conclude that, despite significant fluctuation in criminal justice policy and practice, practitioners' ideas of quality seem to suggest resilience to both managerialism and punitiveness. Practitioners ultimately located quality within relational processes underpinned by social work values, but also saw it as being underscored by (or undermined by the lack of) adequate resourcing, professional supervision, flexibility and training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1985-2002
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
Early online date26 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • community corrections
  • criminal justice
  • social work
  • offender supervision
  • probation


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