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.

4. Requirements Other Than Unpaid Work

4.1 Other types of requirement

41. As outlined in Section 2, in addition to the unpaid work or other activity requirement, there are a further 8 requirements which a court can impose as part of a CPO. These are offender supervision, compensation, programme, residence, mental health treatment, drug treatment, alcohol treatment and conduct.

42. Where the court determines that any requirement other than unpaid work or other activity is necessary, it must also impose an offender supervision requirement. Supervision requirements are also mandatory in cases where the individual is under 18 years old.

4.2 Use of other requirements

43. As with previous years, the unpaid work or other activity and supervision requirements remain the most commonly imposed requirements by far. Aside from the residence requirement, the treatment requirements (alcohol treatment, drug treatment and mental health treatment) are used least often, although this does vary across the country, with some local authorities reporting higher numbers than others.

44. A number of local authorities reported that the continuing low use of the treatment requirements did not reflect the scale of the problems faced by those subject to CPOs, but many were keen to point out that these issues were being appropriately addressed through another requirement, predominantly through offender supervision.

45. One of the reasons given for the low number of treatment requirements was that, generally, individuals are already engaged with services at the time of their assessment. It was also suggested that partner agencies could sometimes view that compelling someone to engage with multiple requirements as unhelpful because this could 'jeopardise the nature of a self-motivated change process'.

46. Further information on the use of each of the requirements, other than unpaid work and other activity, is outlined below.

4.2.1 Offender supervision requirement

47. The supervision requirement involves the individual's Criminal Justice Social Worker working with them to achieve positive change in their behaviour and compliance with the order. As outlined previously, this requirement is mandatory in cases where the individual is aged under 18 years old or where the court has imposed any requirement other than unpaid work or other activity.

48. The majority of local authorities noted that the supervision requirement was the second most frequently used requirement after unpaid work or other activity. They reported that this requirement is generally used to undertake offence focussed work with the individual. In practice, this can mean the Criminal Justice Social Worker drawing up an action plan for the individual to follow during the course of the CPO, with many plans including contributions from partner agencies such as services specifically aimed at women, young people or those with learning disabilities. These agencies provide a variety of interventions to help people to make significant changes in their lives, both in terms of lifestyle and behaviour.

49. Some local authorities reported that the supervision requirement was often used to prepare individuals to participate in programmes and to address drug and alcohol problems.

4.2.2 Compensation requirement

50. This requires the individual to pay the victim of their offence a sum of money as compensation for damage, loss or personal injury. It is always imposed in conjunction with a supervision requirement and the Criminal Justice Social Worker is required to monitor the payments made by the individual by requesting evidence of payment and liaising with the court. The sum must be paid within 18 months, or two months before the end of the offender supervision requirement - whichever is first.

51. Other than slight variances in the numbers of compensation requirements imposed in a small number of local authorities, little mention was made of the usage of this requirement.

4.2.3 Programme requirement

52. The programme requirement is used when the court considers that an individual needs to undertake a programme or course to address their offending behaviour.

53. As with previous years, local authorities reported that programme requirements were one of the most frequently imposed after the unpaid work or other activity and supervision requirements. The programmes used most often were the nationally accredited Moving Forward, Making Changes, for sexual offending, and Caledonian, for domestic abuse.

54. Further programmes mentioned by local authorities include:

  • Venture Trust's Living Wild, Chance for Change programme which helps men and women in the criminal justice system to reduce their risk of re-offending through personal and social development, specifically through a combination of outreach support and an intensive wilderness experience;
  • Turning Point Scotland's Turnaround project, for men and women involved in the criminal justice system who have complex social and addiction issues;
  • Constructs: Positive Steps to Stopping Offending, a groupwork programme aimed at helping persistent male offenders reduce their risk of re-offending by assisting them to become better problem-solvers and develop social skills to help prevent a relapse into offending;
  • Drink driving or road traffic programmes, aimed at those with motoring convictions, to challenge offending behaviour and support the development of consequential thinking as well as a more pro-social attitude; and
  • Women's programmes, with a particular focus on addressing the specific needs of women either through groupwork or individually

55. One local authority noted that, due to their rural setting, the numbers of people on CPOs tended to prevent groupwork being able to take place, and as a result, programme requirements were not frequently used. However, the local authority continues to work with individuals to address their offending behaviour through other requirements, such as supervision.

4.2.4 Residence requirement

56. The residence requirement is imposed when the court considers that an individual must reside within a designated address. In general terms, this is imposed when an individual lacks settled accommodation and requires practical assistance in securing accommodation in order to stabilise their lives and improve their chances of engaging with interventions.

57. As outlined in previous reports, the residence requirement continues to be imposed less frequently than all of the other requirements. Aside from one local authority noting a continued decrease in the number of residence requirements imposed, there were no particular issues raised by any local authority in relation to this requirement

4.2.5 Mental health treatment requirement

58. The mental health treatment requirement is imposed to allow an individual who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition to receive support, care and treatment to help them improve their mental health.

59. This requirement continues to be one of the less frequently imposed requirements. One of the reasons reported for this is that these requirements are only used in cases where there is a diagnosed disorder or condition, and the lack of availability of up-to-date information in this regard reduces the likelihood of these requirements being routinely used.

60. One local authority advised that particular effort had been made this year to train their staff in techniques which would allow them to engage more effectively with individuals with personality disorders. They reported that while many of these individuals are not engaging with mental health services, and are also not able to engage effectively in personal change work, they do benefit from a structured management plan. Another local authority reported that they found it difficult to secure mental health support for individuals who present with mental health issues, particularly ongoing support for people who are difficult to engage or who have dual diagnoses (e.g. co-morbid mental health and substance misuse issues).

61. However, a number of local authorities pointed out that one of the reasons for the low number of mental health treatment requirements may be because individuals with mental health issues who require clinical treatment are already in the NHS system. They advised that where higher-end intervention is not needed these issues are dealt with as part of regular supervision and in conjunction with Community Psychiatric Nurse services.

4.2.6 Drug treatment requirement

62. The drug treatment requirement is used in instances where the individual has identified drug issues which contribute to their offending, but does not have an established chronic history of drug misuse. It provides an alternative to a Drug Treatment and Testing Order ( DTTO) particularly for individuals with drug problems who are not eligible for a DTTO because their offending history is not sufficiently high tariff.

63. A number of local authorities reported that drug treatment requirements continue to be imposed in relatively few cases. This is not representative of the significant part that substance misuse plays in offending behaviour.

64. Local authorities also reported that some individuals with drug issues may already be in treatment, or they may be assessed as being unable to comply with the more stringent conditions of the requirement, or that the substance misuse may not be acute enough to warrant such a highly invasive intervention. As with previous years, it was highlighted that individuals are accessing support for drug misuse through other requirements such as supervision.

4.2.7 Alcohol treatment requirement

65. The alcohol treatment requirement is imposed in cases where there is an alcohol dependency identified as contributing to an individual's offending behaviour. Individuals are required to undertake alcohol treatment, including counselling, which can be delivered on a community or residential basis.

66. As with the drug treatment requirement, the use of the alcohol treatment requirement remains low. It was suggested that one of the reasons for this was that individuals who have established issues with alcohol can already be voluntarily attending such services and so would not require to have attendance imposed within a requirement. Another reason given was that establishing whether an individual has an assessed dependency relies on partner agencies completing a report to confirm this which can be difficult to obtain within the court's timescale.

67. Similar to the drug treatment requirement, it was reported by a number of local authorities that the low number of alcohol treatment requirements was not representative of the number of individuals for whom alcohol is an issue. However, these local authorities also pointed out that, despite there being no specific requirement regarding alcohol, addiction issues were still being addressed through supervision.

4.2.8 Conduct requirement

68. The conduct requirement is imposed to provide the courts with additional flexibility to direct an individual to do or refrain from doing specified things not covered elsewhere in the legislation. In doing so, the court has to be satisfied that this is necessary to obtain or encourage good behaviour by the individual. For example, the court may require the individual not to enter a certain street or enter specific stores if they are an habitual shoplifter.

69. The conduct requirement continues to be imposed less frequently than requirements such as unpaid work or other activity and supervision, but significantly more than the treatment requirements. A small number of local authorities reported increases in the number of conduct requirements imposed, with a suggested reason for this being that they allow additional sub-requirements to be easily added to the CPO, such as to 'remain drug free' or 'submit for breath testing by the police'.

70. One local authority reported that a conduct requirement had been used to instruct an individual 'not to use alcohol' which left the Criminal Justice Social Worker no discretion in their management of the person, and meant that the case was soon subject to breach proceedings. In this instance, the case was returned to the case manager with no additional sanction, but the local authority questioned the value of such a requirement.

71. A couple of local authorities highlighted the overlap between the conduct requirement and other requirements, such as the court imposing a conduct requirement to attend the Caledonian programme, or a conduct requirement to undertake drug counselling, both of which could have been addressed through other requirements such as a programme requirement or drug treatment requirement.


Email: Andrew Corrigan

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