5.4 Fiscal work orders
5.4.1 Fiscal work orders (FWOs) were introduced nationally on 1 April 2015 and allow Procurators Fiscal to offer unpaid work orders as an alternative to prosecution. They can be for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 50 hours and should be completed within six months.
5.4.2 The number of FWOs commenced in Scotland increased from the base level of 510 in 2015-16 to 1,030 in 2017-18 (Table 32). However, numbers have dropped sharply in each of the last two years, to 630 in 2018-19 and 250 in 2019-20.
5.4.3 In addition, in 2019-20, there were 430 fiscal work order assessments undertaken by local authorities, 270 of which resulted in the orders being accepted. The number of orders which finished was 220, 78 per cent of which were successfully completed.
5.4.4 People given fiscal work orders tended to be younger than those given community payback orders. Fifty-three per cent of FWOs commenced in 2019-20 were for people aged 25 and under, while only 17 per cent were for those aged over 40 (Table 33).
5.4.5 In years 2015-16 to 2018-19, substantially more people were employed or self-employed than any other category of employment. In 2019-20 for the first time, a higher proportion were unemployed or economically inactive (42 per cent) than were in employment (39 per cent).
5.4.6 2019-20 also showed a change in the lengths of orders that were issued. In years 2015-16 to 2018-19, more orders were for 30 hours than any other length. However, the most common length in 2019-20 was 50 hours (35 per cent of the total), while 30 and 40 hours accounted for 34 and 21 per cent respectively. As a result, the average length in 2019-20 was 38 hours, the highest since the orders were introduced.
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