Publication - Advice and guidance

Community Payback Order: practice guidance

Published: 25 Jan 2019

This updated guidance replaces 'National outcomes and standards for social work services in the criminal justice system: community payback order practice guidance' issued in 2010.

Community Payback Order: practice guidance
17. Transfers

17. Transfers

17.1 Within Scotland

The legislation provides for an individual on a Community Payback Order (CPO) to change their residence, subject to the responsible officer[16] being informed at once of the changed address. However, where a residence requirement or restricted movement requirement is imposed as part of the order, different arrangements apply. Such changes require the agreement of the sentencing court prior to the address change.

The following general procedures apply where an order does not contain a residence and/or restricted movement requirement:

  • Where the new address is in the same local authority area, the individual must inform the responsible officer of the change of address. The new address must be recorded and placed on the case file.
  • Where the new address is in a different local authority area, the procedures to be followed are subject to section 227ZB of the 1995 Act and would normally include an application to transfer the order by varying it so that it specifies the new local authority area in which the individual resides or will reside. See further details in section 17.2 below.
  • Where circumstances permit, responsible officers should plan transfers in advance in order to obtain a smooth transfer and maintain good standards of supervision.
  • Responsible officers should not normally supervise an order from another local authority area, other than in exceptional circumstances such as the individual securing short term employment opportunities, and for no longer than 3 months without formal transfer of that order.
  • Responsible officers should ensure there is evidence to show that any change of residence is sufficiently permanent before making an application to court for transfer.
  • All relevant information should be transferred to the receiving local authority immediately and certainly no longer than 6 weeks of the transfer of the order.
  • When an order is transferred to another sheriff or Justice of the Peace court, all of the powers of the court holding the order are transferred to the receiving court.

Where provision of a specified requirement, in the way that it was imposed, is not available in the area in which the individual intends to reside, this must be brought to the attention of the court.

17.2 Change of address to new court and local authority area

The following procedure should be applied where the proposed (or actual) new address lies outwith the existing court jurisdiction and local authority area.

The receiving Justice Social Work (JSW) office should respond in writing to requests within 5 working days. Where responsibility for the CPO is agreed, the name of the appointed responsible officer should be identified and provided in writing. All requested paperwork (e.g. risk assessments, Criminal Justice Social Work Report etc.) should be forwarded to the new local authority at the earliest possible opportunity. On confirmation of details of the new responsible officer, a written application to the court for transfer should be made by the existing responsible officer within 5 working days. The application should contain the reason(s) for the transfer, details of the new JSW office and responsible officer and confirmation of willingness to accept the transferred order. The application should always be accompanied by a brief progress report.

Where the receiving local authority is not able to deliver in full the requirements set out in the order (e.g. a specific programme requirement), the court should be advised of the position to allow it to consider what action, including variation of the order, should be taken.

It is the responsibility of the court social work staff to inform the existing and new responsible officer without delay of the outcome of the transfer application. Where case records have not been forwarded, the existing responsible officer should arrange for all relevant case records to be transferred at the earliest opportunity, to the proposed JSW office or new responsible officer. Arrangements then require to be made to ensure that the transferred order be served on the individual at the earliest opportunity. In addition all the powers of the court responsible for the CPO to date transfer to the receiving court.

17.3 Transfer to other parts of the United Kingdom

Schedule 13 of the 1995 Act provides for the transfer of individuals who propose to move to an address outwith Scotland.

17.4 Change of address by an individual subject to a residence requirement or, following breach of CPO, a restricted movement requirement

Individuals who are the subject of a residence and/or restricted movement requirement, should seek the prior agreement of the court before changing address, if that change may affect their compliance with that requirement. The court in considering any such application may decide to:

  • vary the requirement to reflect the proposed change of residence;
  • discharge the requirement; or
  • refuse the application.

To assist the court in arriving at a decision, a report from the responsible officer should set out the reason(s) for the proposed change of address, details of the proposed new address and the extent to which a new residence requirement would be appropriate and the individual's progress and ongoing risk during the order. Where the individual is subject to a restricted movement requirement, the responsible officer should request a compliance report from the company responsible for providing the electronic monitoring service in Scotland and submit it to the court along with the variation report.

Breach proceedings should be initiated in respect of any individual subject to a residence requirement or a restricted movement requirement who has moved address without the prior approval of the court.


Email: Community Payback Orders - General Enquiries