Community Payback Order: summary of local authority annual reports 2015-2016

Document summarising Scottish local authority annual reports on the fifth year of operation of the Community Payback Order.

2. Background

1. The Community Payback Order ( CPO) was introduced in 2011 and replaced a number of community disposals including Probation Orders, Community Reparation Orders, Supervised Attendance Orders and Community Service Orders. The legislation governing these disposals, the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) was amended by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and the CPO came into effect on 1 February 2011. Courts are therefore able to use the CPO as a disposal for offences committed on or after that date.

2. In imposing a CPO, the court may include one or more of 9 specific requirements which are set out in the 1995 Act. These are:

i. unpaid work or other activity requirement;
ii. offender supervision requirement;
iii. compensation requirement;
iv. programme requirement;
v. residence requirement;
vi. mental health treatment requirement;
vii. drug treatment requirement;
viii. alcohol treatment requirement; and
ix. conduct requirement.

Further information on each of these requirements is contained in Sections 3 and 4

3. The 1995 Act, requires each local authority in Scotland to prepare an annual report 'on the operation of CPOs within their area during that reporting year' and send a copy to Scottish Ministers. Ministers may issue directions to the local authorities in relation to the content of the report. [1]

4. Ministers are then required, in accordance with the 1995 Act, to publish and lay before the Scottish Parliament, a report that collates and summarises the information in the local authority reports. This report is the fifth such summary and covers the reporting year 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. Previous summaries can be found on the Scottish Government website at:

5. As with previous years, local authorities were provided with a standard template with which to provide information on the delivery of CPOs in their area. This template requests information on a specific range of issues including:

  • a description of the types of unpaid work projects and activities which have been carried out;
  • the total number of unpaid work hours completed during the year;
  • information that helps to demonstrate how communities benefit from unpaid work;
  • quotes from beneficiaries and those subject to CPOs on the impact of unpaid work on them and the community;
  • a description of the 'other activity' carried out as part of unpaid work (see Section 3.5 for further information on other activity);
  • a description of the work carried out to consult prescribed persons and organisations on the nature of unpaid work and how this helped determine which projects were undertaken;
  • a description of the use by the courts of the CPO requirements other than unpaid work, e.g. what requirements are being used for those whose offending is driven by drug, alcohol and mental health issues;
  • details of any issues affecting access to services provided by other partners and what work is underway to resolve them; and
  • any other relevant information.

6. A copy of the guidance and template issued to local authorities, are provided at Annexes A and B. It should be noted that, while there is no statutory requirement to do so, local authorities can make separate arrangements to publish their annual reports in full. However, this is at their own discretion.

7. This summary comprises four sections which are based on the information that local authorities were asked to provide. These are:

  • the use of the unpaid work or other activity requirement;
  • the use of requirements other than unpaid work;
  • issues affecting services provided by other partners and work underway to resolve them; and
  • other relevant information.

8. Further information, including contact details for the Scottish Government and links to local authority and Community Justice Authority websites can be found in Section 7.


Email: Andrew Corrigan

Back to top