Justice social work

Unpaid Work by Offenders Scheme

What is Unpaid Work?

A Community Payback Order with an Unpaid Work and Other Activity Requirement or a Community Service Order, is a community-based disposal available to Courts for those offenders who are at risk of custody. It enables the offender to remain at liberty whilst undertaking a specified number of hours of unpaid work to the benefit of the community.

It is a direct alternative to custody, involving a high level of supervision and management from criminal justice staff, and demanding high levels of compliance from the offender.

The Court states how many hours must be worked, which can be for a minimum of 20 hours and up to a maximum of 300 hours.

If the offender does not comply with the Order, they will be returned to Court.

  •  Level 1 Orders are 20-100 hours and should be completed within 3 months unless a different timescale is specified by the court
  •  Level 2 Orders are 101-300 hours and should be completed within 6 months unless a different timescale is specified by the Court

A priority for the Service is the protection of the public.

Each offender is carefully assessed before they are assigned to a work project or placement.

Trained supervisors employed by Criminal Justice supervise the small teams of offenders at all times. Those individuals who are on placements within voluntary organisations are supervised by their staff. The Scheme operates 2-4 days a week, including weekends.

The ‘Other Activity’ of an Order allows 30% of the Order up to a maximum of 30 hours, to be used for activities that will increase an individual’s chances of gaining employment i.e. employability training and short term training courses.

What is the aim of Unpaid Work?

The aim of Unpaid Work is to provide opportunities for participants to make reparation to the local community, for example local youth clubs, charities and community organisations.
A further objective of unpaid work placements in the community is to help offenders to learn and acquire new work skills to improve their employability and help them to move away from crime.

Types of Work Projects:

  • Painting and decorating churches, community halls and youth clubs
  • Beach clearing
  • Environmental projects
  • General ground clearance and gardening
  • Recycling projects
  • Individual placements within non profit making organisations

What are the criteria that govern Unpaid Work?

  • Work must benefit the local community
  • Work must be aimed at not-for-profit organisations and charities
  • It must not take away paid work from others
  • Costs of materials must be supplied by the beneficiary

Consultation to indentify projects and work requests

We will consult with community groups and councils to identify projects that would benefit their areas. Work requests can also be made directly to the service.
If you would like to make a request for work to be carried out on behalf of your group or organisation, you can request our Unpaid Work Referral request form. Alternatively you can email your request to criminaljustice@shetland.gov.uk or telephone 01595 744 446.