Community Payback

Unpaid Work is a sentence available to courts and is intended as both a punishment and means by which someone can make amends to the community for the harm they have caused. Our approach to Community Payback is to make it engaging for service users so it improves their work ethic in general and, more specifically, so it makes them more receptive to learning new skills that will increase their chances of getting a job and ultimately stay out of trouble.

The courts can sentence anything between 40 and 300 hours of unpaid work depending on the seriousness of the crime or the person's record.

Unpaid workers assigned to our supervision are made to work at least seven hours - or one full day - per week, either as part of a group or on a single placement. The type of work done includes the following:

  • landscaping and forestry
  • building and maintenance
  • painting and decorating
  • litter picking and graffiti removal

Reducing crime

People sentenced to unpaid work are half as likely to reoffend as those sentenced to a short prison sentence. The sort of work they do - such as gardening, forestry, painting and decorating and carpentry - can be accredited by education providers, giving service users a recognised certificate. For many, this is the first qualification they have ever received and is an incentive to carry on with further education or apply for jobs. Research shows that if service users get a stable job, they are 30 per cent less likely to reoffend.

Type of unpaid workers

Our unpaid workers are classed as low to medium risk offenders. Typical crimes are motoring offences, public order offences, theft and other dishonesty.

Community safety

Unpaid workers are carefully assessed before being allocated to projects to ensure the safety of the public. Groups are always supervised by trained probation staff.

Selecting projects

Suitable projects are suggested to us by a wide range of organisations including community groups, charities, local authorities, schools, churches, mosques and care homes. We invite anyone to suggest a project and expect to take it up as long as it meets our criteria. To make a suggestion, please email