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Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS)

Last updated: 11th July 2024

Programme Name:

High Tariff Structured Deferred Sentence


A structured deferred sentence is a flexible intervention providing structured social work support for individuals post-conviction but prior to sentencing. They can be used for people who have offended with underlying issues that might be addressed through social work and/or multi-agency intervention. At the end of the period of intervention, the court retains the discretion to pass sentence in any manner that would have been appropriate at the time of conviction, but with the benefit of information from the supervising officer in relation to the period of deferral.

Further Information:

High Tariff Structed Deferred Sentence (HTSDS) is a locally agreed period of deferment for individuals who have a prolific history of offending. Individuals are subject to a HTSDS for an initial three-month period to ‘test’ their engagement (x2 appointments minimum per week) and assess their ‘test for change’. Referrals to support services are made where appropriate to help clients with any social or health issues linked to their offending. An agreement is in place between Justice Services and Police Scotland – if the individual fails to attend an appointment with their supervising officer, without an acceptable reason, they will be considered in breach of their order. The supervising officer will then contact the police to advise of the client’ non-attendance and a warrant to apprehend will be initiated. Justice appointments are made via an appointment slip (copy retained in the office and one to the individual) with two worker signatures (one must be the supervising officer/acting supervising officer) to provide evidence they have signed for their appointment.