The Scottish Government is seeking views on a new way to manage offenders in the community in a bid to stem the £3 billion toll that reoffending costs the public purse.

A consultation launched today is seeking views on three new models.

The first would enhance the present Community Justice Authority (CJA) model, where changes are made to CJA membership and functions.

The second would see a shift to a model where local authorities take responsibility for the planning, design and delivery of offender services in the community.

The third option is a single service model, where a new national social work-led service for community justice separate to and sitting alongside the Scottish Prison Service is established.

The consultation follows the publication in June of the Angiolini Commission's report into female offending in Scotland, which found there were significant structural and funding barriers to the effective delivery of offender services in the community.

A recent report from Audit Scotland on reducing reoffending also called for a review of existing arrangements.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "It is critical that the right structural arrangements are in place to deliver clearer accountability."