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
9. Post Sentence

9. Post Sentence

Arrangements for post sentence interview are the same for all the requirements of a Community Payback Order (CPO). It is recognised that local procedures may vary and the focus of this guidance is to give a framework within which local practice can operate.

Court staff will arrange for a copy of the order to be printed off and available within a short time of imposition of the sentence. As a separate exercise, sheriff clerk staff will provide an electronic version of all orders made that day to a central receiving point, usually a secure email box, within the local authority where the court is located, by close of business that same working day.

Where an order is received by a local authority for an individual not resident within its area, arrangements should be made by the receiving local authority for its immediate electronic transfer to the relevant authority. All authorities require to carry out a daily check of the secure email box for receipt of CPOs and where necessary, to electronically forward an order to the appropriate relevant authority. This will ensure that local authorities have the earliest possible notification of all cases where a CPO has been imposed.

Written instructions with details (time and location) of the individual's post sentence interview with a member of Justice Social Work (JSW) staff must be given to the individual following sentence. How this is achieved can be agreed locally e.g. the instructions may be incorporated in the Criminal Justice Social Work Report (CJSWR) or attached as an annex to the CJSWR.

An example of good practice may be for the individual to sign an agreement at the CJSWR stage to attend for post sentence interview at an agreed time and place. Consideration can then be given as to the appropriate action in respect of disciplinary matters if the individual fails to attend.

Where in exceptional circumstances it is not possible for the post sentence interview to take place on the day of sentence, the written instructions given to the individual should be for them to report for an initial appointment no later than the next working day.

The serving of the CPO should be undertaken at the post sentence interview by a member of the JSW team within the court or at a previously agreed location. The member of staff must explain to the individual in detail the nature of the order and check that the individual understands their obligations, rights and responsibilities and the possible consequences of non‑compliance. The serving of the CPO does not necessarily require to be carried out by a social work qualified member of the JSW staff. In line with good practice, the individual must sign and date two copies of the order to signify that they understand and accept the order. A copy must be retained in the department's records.

During the post sentence interview, information can be gathered which will help give an overview of the individual's circumstances, deficits, and living arrangements, and will also inform staff safety assessments pertaining to home visits and overall supervision of the CPO. (See Section 10 (Case Management Plan) and Annex 1 of this guidance).

In addition, the opportunity of the post sentence interview should be used to obtain a medical mandate so that contact can be made at a future point, if necessary, with the individual's General Practitioner. Consent to this should be sought and a mandate fully explained and signed by the individual. The mandate should then be retained on file. (Annex 2)

Reference should also be made to section 22.5.2 of this guidance, which contains further information about the purpose of a post sentence interview when the CPO includes an unpaid work or other activity requirement.


Email: Community Payback Orders - General Enquiries