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Community Payback Orders

Community Payback Orders

The Court cannot impose a Community Payback Order (CPO) without taking account of a report from an officer of a local authority. Given the possible conditions/requirements that can be imposed through a CPO the nature of the assessment undertaken by the officer of a local authority will be different to our current Criminal Justice Social Work Report (CJSWR) assessment practices.

Key Features of the Order

  • A CPO is a sentence of the court.
  • A CPO can be imposed in addition to another sentence eg a CPO can be imposed alongside a fine or alongside a restriction of liberty order (RLO) at first instance as penalties for the same offence.
  • Monetary penalties (eg fines, compensation orders) and deferred sentences remain disposals available to the Court as disposals separate from CPOs.
  • There is no minimum age for a CPO (other than the age of criminal responsibility) except where an unpaid work or other activity requirement is made in which case the individual must be aged 16 or above.
  • Where an individual is under 18 years of age, the Court can remit back to the Children's Hearing system for disposal. The CPO is not however available to the Children's Hearing system as a disposal.
  • CPOs can be made for a period of between 6 months and 3 years other than an order consisting solely of an unpaid work or other activity requirement. The latter requirement must be completed within 6 months (3 months for a level 1 requirement) unless the Court determines otherwise at the point of sentence.
  • No requirement, other than an unpaid work or other activity requirement, will be in operation longer than that of any offender supervision requirement.
  • Where existing provisions require to be extended to allow for completion of the requirement this can be sought through application to the Court.
  • An offender supervision requirement is mandatory when a CPO is imposed on an individual under 18 years old.

An offender supervision requirement is mandatory when the following requirements are imposed by the Court:

  • a programme requirement;
  • a residence requirement;
  • a mental health treatment requirement;
  • a drug treatment requirement;
  • an alcohol treatment requirement;
  • a conduct requirement; or
  • a compensation requirement.

The consent of the individual is needed before the Court can impose a CPO unless the order is imposed under section 227M(2) of the 1995 Act for fine default.


There is no limit on the number of requirements which can be imposed by the Court. In writing a CJSWR for the information of the Court, however, report writers must consider the risks of reoffending and the harm caused by previous behaviours, the needs of the individual and the intensity of supervision required, to inform the Court as to appropriate requirements which could be included. The requirements recommended by the CJSWR should be proportional, relevant and outcome focussed.

The requirements that can be imposed by a Justice of the Peace (JP) Court as part of a CPO are limited to:

  • an offender supervision requirement;
  • Level 1 unpaid work or other activity requirement;
  • a residence requirement;
  • a compensation requirement; and
  • a conduct requirement.

A restricted movement requirement can only be imposed when the Court is considering the appropriate sanction to be applied in dealing with a proven breach of a CPO. As noted above, however, there is provision to impose a concurrent restriction of liberty order along with a CPO at first instance if the court considers that electronic monitoring would assist in the management of the individual.

A further offence committed during a CPO is not a direct breach of the Order.

For Further Information Contact

Justice Service
Patons, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 452200 / 450000