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Community Payback Order

What is a Community Payback Order (CPO)?

The Community Payback Order replaces the former sentences of Probation, Community Service and Supervised Attendance Orders. This community-based order gives the courts a range of sentencing options. It allows the courts to impose one or more of a range of nine requirements, giving options that encourage a reduction in re-offending through both rehabilitation and punishment. Someone sentenced to a CPO will be expected to attend appointments as instructed and to follow all other instructions given by their Supervising Officer, as par of the process of working to reduce their risk of re-offending.

The CPO must contain one or both of these two requirements:

  • Supervision Requirement
  • Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement

It may also contain any of the following seven requirements, each of which can only be imposed alongside a Supervision Requirement:

  • Compensation Requirement
  • Programme Requirement (taking part in groupwork or other structured activities)
  • Residence Requirement (living at a specified address)
  • Mental Health Requirement
  • Drug Treatment Requirement
  • Alcohol Treatment Requirement
  • Conduct Requirement (a new type of requirement, allowing the court to enforce particular types of behaviour; for example, a sexual offender on a CPO might have a conduct requirement that he should not approach playparks
Can someone be given a 'tag' (be placed on a Restriction of Liberty Order) as part of a Community Payback Order?

While a Restriction of Liberty Order may still be used, this will be a separate Court Order. There is no provision for a Restricted Movement Requirement (electronic monitoring) to be imposed as a requirement of a CPO at the point of sentence: it is only available to the court as a extra sanction for someone who has failed to keep to the conditions of a CPO and who has been taken back to court for this under Breach proceedings.

How long does a CPO last?

A CPO Supervision requirement can be from six months to three years in duration.

The time allowed by law to serve an Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement of a CPO will depend on the number of hours imposed. A Level 1 requirement will be for between 20 and 100 hours of unpaid work, to be carried out within 3 months. Justice of the Peace courts may only impose Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement at Level 1.

A Level 2 requirement of between 101 and 300 hours of unpaid work should be completed, unless the court states otherwise, within a period of 6 months.

Orders will commence as quickly as possible, within 5 working days after the order is made by the court .

The role of courts in managing sentences effectively

Sentencers will have the option, when they impose a Community Payback Order, of requiring offenders to attend Review Hearings at court, in order to report back on their progress or otherwise. This allows sentencers to have a role in monitoring and motivating the offender, as well as taking swift action when breach of an order is required.

Reporting on our Community Payback Scheme

Scottish local authorities are obliged by law to report annually on the operation of their Community Payback Schemes. These local reports may not be published until the Scottish Government publishes its own summary of progress nationally, usually around nine months after the end of the financial year. Here is  pdf icon the West Lothian Community Payback Annual Report for 2014-15 [258kb]