The government has announced that more than 500 community payback supervisors are to be recruited, a move that is costing £93 million.

What is community payback?

Community payback is known more commonly as community service. It was first introduced as a sentencing option in 1973. It is when a court orders an offender to complete a set number of hours of unpaid work. This work can take many forms, such as litter picking, painting over graffiti, clearing undergrowth from public areas and planting trees. It always has a community focus, because as the name suggests, it is intended to provide reparation to the community.

The minimum number of hours for a sentence is 40 hours, while the maximum is 300 hours. The work can be completed around the offender’s employment requirements if needed. Supervision is provided by the Probation Service – a dynamic you might be familiar with if you have seen the BBC series The Outlaws.

More than 500 new recruits

The government has now announced that more than 500 new community payback supervisors are to be recruited. It is not certain why the new recruits are needed. It could be that there is a shortage of staff, or that courts are being told to use more community payback orders. The aim is to enable offenders to serve an extra three million hours of payback each year, all with a focus on outdoor projects.

Working with charities

The Probation Service has started to partner with charities across the country, a trend that is likely to continue over the coming months and years. Offenders are performing manual tasks on behalf of the charities, such as tidying towpaths across the country’s waterways and canals for the Canal & River Trust. Offenders in London have been working with the charity Hands on London to distribute coats to people in need around the city.

The Probation Service has also partnered with local councils. One example is a scheme in Wiltshire where offenders maintained the five park and rides around Salisbury.

Local Councils and Charities

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