Estimate payback under Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021: FOI release

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

Information requested

When the Scottish Government produced an estimate of 290,000 hours being cut as part of the Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, how they came up with this estimate. Please provide all data used in order for the Scottish Government to compute this estimate.


Attached is a copy of all information requested. The estimate was provided by Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services to inform finalisation of the policy and scrutiny of the draft regulations to reduce the imposed unpaid work or other activity requirements on existing community payback orders by 35%, with exceptions for orders imposed for sexual offences, domestic abuse or stalking. The estimate was published in the draft Policy Note when the regulations were laid, which is available at: The Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (

The analysis sought to estimate the number of hours that might be removed if regulations were approved by Parliament and came into force in March 2021. The content of the note did not change but was republished with the SSI reference added once the regulations were made: The Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

A detailed outline of methods, assumptions and data applied in generating the estimate is provided at Annex A. The overall approach adopted in the analysis, was to develop a simplified model, based on available aggregate-level data and best assumptions, to produce a point estimate of hours that would be removed at a future date (i.e., when the policy was enacted). The aforementioned Policy Note emphasised the uncertainty involved with producing estimates during the Covid-19 pandemic and changing landscape of court and JSW capacity═ż hence, the actual number of hours removed by the Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 were lower than the 290,000 hours estimate, albeit within a 10% margin of error.

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FOI202100235677 - Annex A


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