The Community Justice Bill is a strangely low-profile piece of legislation, given the amount of work it is expected to do.

It offers a shake-up of the delivery of alternatives to custody and other community justice measures and should support government plans to cut the number of people going to prison. It is also intended to back up work that tries to help those at risk of slipping into criminal activity, although that is not its primary goal.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its scope, it has become bogged down in controversy over funding and priorities. Alison McInnes, the Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman at Holyrood, told her Justice Committee colleagues this week that she was dismayed at the "wrangling" that had gone on over the bill.

Ms McInnes, the Herald's 2015 Holyrood committee member of the year, was proposing a series of amendments designed to clarify what exactly 32 local community planning partnerships (CPPs) will be expected to deliver in areas such as housing, health and mental health support when they take on responsibility for offenders and potential offenders in their area.

The minister, Paul Wheelhouse, was urging the committee to leave it up to the new, locally based CPPs to decide what is needed.

Perhaps wisely, the committee chose instead to back the amendments. I say wisely, because there remains considerable anxiety about what will be delivered locally –with no additional resources – when the eight Community Justice Authorities (CJAs) are abolished. Last Autumn, on behalf of those authorities, councillor Peter McNamara, pithily warned MSPs that councils were being given "absolutely hee-haw" to implement the reforms.

The situation is so bad, Cosla community wellbeing spokesman Councillor Harry McGuigan told me this week, that the Bill will ultimately make communities less safe. "Local partnerships are being created to deliver on the Scottish Government's community justice strategy, but are not being given the resources or the legal teeth to make this happen. On the other hand the new national body will receive in the region of £2 million a year to check up on the work," he said.

"The local element of the new model may be completely undermined by the new national body Community Justice Scotland."

Labour MSP Elaine Murray has tabled a number of amendments which Cosla is backing, to shore up perceived gaps in the bill. She fears that, without more clarity, community justice will become an optional extra for community planning partnerships under pressure to cut costs. Meanwhile, onerous and unfunded reporting duties on local partnerships should be scrapped, she says.

The Scottish Government argues transitional funding will be available to ease the handover and it will look at whether additional funding is needed.

Lest you think this is merely a party political issue, former SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who started the reforms, has criticised the resulting morass, telling Holyrood Magazine that it has failed to resolve existing tensions between local and national agencies, leaving funding at the whim of cash-strapped local authorities.

The committee will return to Ms Murray's amendments on Tuesday as they were not able to be heard this week, so the wrangling seems set to continue.