A breakdown of unpaid work orders by council area 2014 to 2019: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

You asked for the following information relating to Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray Council areas for each of the last five years and the current year to date:

1. A breakdown of the number of unpaid work orders in each month.

2. The total number of unpaid work hours imposed in each month.

3. The total number of unpaid work hours completed in each month.

4. The total number of hours of unpaid work outstanding at the end of each month i.e. the total number of hours outstanding at that point, not just hours relating to that month.


Our aim is to provide information whenever possible. In this instance, the Scottish Government has some but not all of the information you have requested. The reason why we don't have the exact information you have requested is explained below.

The attached Table 1 shows the number of unpaid work or other activity requirements imposed as part of community payback orders and the total hours issued as part of these. This is given, by month of imposition, for residents of Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray for the most recent five years for which data is available, covering April 2014 to March 2019.

Information is not collected centrally on the hours of unpaid work or other activity requirements done in each individual month, only on the total hours done for requirements that were successfully completed and the date on which the requirement was completed. This information is published at local authority level and can be found by going to Criminal justice social work statistics in Scotland: 2018-2019 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot), selecting "Supporting files", then opening the file entitled "CJSW LA file community payback orders - Tables" and picking the table entitled "Unpaid work or other activity requirements successfully completed : Requirements, average length and average time taken". That table shows, under each year, the number of hours completed as part of requirements which successfully finished in that year. For example, if a requirement for 75 hours was given out in February 2018 and was completed by 25 hours being done in each of February, March and April 2018, this would be classed as 75 hours under year 2018-19 as that was the year in which the requirement was completed.

While the annual data obtained from local authorities does not collect information on the number of hours outstanding, we have been asking authorities at various points during the Coronavirus crisis for information on this, in order to inform our understanding of the likely pressures on local authorities as a result of the impact of physical distancing and other restrictions on their ability to deliver unpaid work hours. For additional context, it may be useful to note that unpaid work was suspended across Scotland following lockdown and gradually restarted over the summer as restrictions eased. However, capacity to deliver unpaid work continues to be significantly impacted by physical distancing and other measures to keep individuals on orders and staff safe.

The information collected, which exclude requirements that are in breach, is as follows:

Local authority
outstanding in
May 2020
outstanding in
outstanding in
Aberdeen City 44,421 49,438 49,590
Aberdeenshire 34,566 31,838 36,781
Moray 15,699 15,620 17,249

As the data in this particular table is not part of the regular data collected annually from local authorities, it is not subject to the same National Statistics levels of quality assurance as the rest of the data in this reply. A degree of caution should therefore be exercised when interpreting the figures in this table.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI202000113364 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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