Community Payback Orders

The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 provides for a Community Payback Order (CPO) - giving Courts the ability to require offenders to address their offending through Supervision and/or the performance of Unpaid Work. The Order also allows for up to nine requirements which could be included should this be appropriate and assessed as suitable for the individual concerned:



Unpaid Work or Other activity.

Specific Offending Behaviour Programme.


Mental Health Treatment.

Drug Treatment.

Alcohol Treatment.

Specific Conduct.

The overall aim is to bring together a range of options for sentencers which balances punishment in a way which also addresses the areas of individuals lives which need to change.

A CPO is intended to serve the following main objectives:

Achieve a positive impact on individuals.

Require individuals to make payback to the community.

Replace an unnecessary complex range of community sentences and increase public understanding.

Ensure the level of intervention matches the level of assessed risk.

Create a robust and consistently delivered community sentence, which enjoys public confidence and credibility.

Courts will still have the discretion to send offenders to prison if they think this is the best way to deal with the offender.

Sentencing in each individual case is always a matter for the Court and the Scottish Government cannot intervene in matters of the Judiciary. However, it does have a responsibility to make a wide a range of sentencing options available to Sheriffs, Judges and Justices of the Peace.

The use of other agencies in the delivery of Community Payback Orders is critical to the success of providing the Court with credible and robust community based sentence for appropriate individuals who come to our attention.

All Community Payback Orders will be supervised in line with the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System.

How will this help your community?

Offenders can be required to carry out unpaid work in your community. This could include:

Grass cutting and gardening for community organisations.

Building gardening areas for schools.

Decorating community centres or churches.

Building garden furniture from waste wood and distributing the products to local charities.

Helping to maintain playparks.

Making and repairing goods for sale in charity shops.

Further illustrations of work completed can be viewed here.

A short video produced by the Scottish Government shows some of the past beneficiaries and can be viewed here.

How can community groups or Orkney residents benefit?

The Community Payback Scheme’s Offenders are effectively unpaid labour so community groups or charities can apply for help with their projects. Community Payback provides the labour and tools and the community groups are generally expected to provide the materials e.g. paint, plants or building materials.

What are the criteria that govern Unpaid Work?

Work must benefit the local community.

Aimed at not-for-profit organisations and charities.

It must not take away paid work from others.

The costs of materials are generally supplied by the beneficiary.


If you would like more information about Community Payback or have any ideas of how Unpaid Work might further benefit our community then please email [email protected] or telephone the criminal justice team on 01856 873535.

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Community Justice
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