The Community Payback Order

Community Payback Poster

The Community Payback Order (set out at section 14 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act) is a sentence which replaces provisions for Community Service Orders, Probation Orders, Supervised Attendance Orders and the former Community Reparation Order.  Other existing Court Orders - the Drug Treatment and Testing Order and the Restriction of Liberty Order (electronic tagging) – remain unchanged.

The Community Payback Order came into force on 1February 2011.

A Community Payback Order will consist of a number of requirements.  From these, the Court may select one or more in deciding on the make up of the Order and these can be tailored specifically to each offender based on the nature of their crime and the underlying issues which are fuelling it.  The requirements are:

  • Unpaid work or other activity requirement;
  • Offender Supervision requirement;
  • Compensation requirement;
  • Programme requirement;
  • Mental Health Treatment requirement;
  • Drug treatment requirement;
  • Alcohol treatment requirement;
  • Residence requirement; and
  • Conduct requirement.


Key Features

  • The community payback order will be a sentence – not an alternative to a sentence, which is what a probation order is.
  • The community payback order will be regarded as an alternative to custody; but courts will also be able to impose a community payback order with a restricted range of requirements as an alternative to, or in addition to, a fine.
  • Where the law would previously have imposed short jail terms (or more recently supervised attendance orders) on minor fine defaulters, courts will now impose a low tariff community payback order.
  • A community payback order including an unpaid work or other activity requirement may only be imposed on an offender aged 16 or above.
  • Unpaid work or other activity requirements can be imposed for between 20 and 300 hours. A requirement of 20-100 hours is referred to as a "level 1 requirement"; and a requirement of 101-300 hours as a "level 2 requirement".  Where an unpaid work or other activity requirement is to be imposed in a Justice of the Peace court, it will be limited to level 1.
  • Justice of the Peace courts can select from: offender supervision requirement, level 1 unpaid work or other activity requirement, residence requirement, conduct requirement and compensation requirement.
  • Orders can be made for a period of between 6 months and 3 years unless they consist solely of an unpaid work or other activity requirement.  An unpaid work or other activity requirement must be completed within 3 months (level 1) and 6 months (level 2) - unless the court states otherwise at the point of sentence.
  • An offender supervision requirement is mandatory when an order is imposed on an offender aged under 18 years. It is also mandatory when a court imposes any requirement apart from an unpaid work or other activity requirement.
  • A further offence committed during the order is not a breach of the order.
  • A court may schedule discretionary periodic review hearings to check on an offender's progress at any point within the duration of the order.
  • A court can decide to discharge an order early, in circumstances where an offender has made highly positive progress.
  • If an offender breaches a community payback order, the court can vary the order to impose new or different requirements. It can decide to impose a restricted movement requirement (electronic monitoring). Ultimately it can decide to revoke the order and impose a custodial sentence, or any other disposal which it could have used at first instance.
  • The local authority must carry out an annual community consultation on the types of activities to be carried out locally by those subject to an unpaid work or other activity requirement.

The following links provide further information about Payback in each of our consituent Local Authorities:

Payback in Clackmannanshire

Payback in Falkirk

Payback in Fife

Payback in Stirling


Glebe Hall
Burgh Mews
Alloa FK10 1HS

01259 727435

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