22. Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement
This section of the guidance, which focuses on the unpaid work or other activity requirement of a CPO, requires to be read in conjunction with the rest of this practice guidance and the high level NOS for the Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System . This supporting guidance is intended to translate section 8 - 'Reparation' - of the NOS into an operational framework for the delivery of the unpaid work or other activity requirement of a CPO. This guidance replaces the revised community service guidance issued on 27 February 2009 - JD Circular JD/05/2009.
The 1995 Act refers to "unpaid work or other activity". At the point of sentence the court may impose an unpaid work or other activity requirement as part of a CPO. It will be the responsibility of CJSW staff following sentence to identify and arrange, after consultation with the individual, the nature of the other activity to be undertaken, if appropriate. In some cases it may be that no "other activity" is deemed suitable and in this case the unpaid work case manager may decide that the CPO will consist solely of unpaid work.
For the purposes of the guidance, the unpaid work or other activity will be referred to as "unpaid work".
22.2 Integration with other Social Work services- Roles and responsibilities
Every unpaid work or other activity scheme requires a staff team with a relevant mix of appropriate skills and experience.
Unpaid work schemes should be planned and organised as an integral part of local authority social work services in the criminal justice system. In reaching a view about how such integration is to be achieved, account should be taken of the activities appropriate to unpaid work. When a CJSWR is being compiled it is the case worker's responsibility to consult with the unpaid work staff as to the individual's suitability to undertake unpaid work.
The roles and responsibilities of the staff groups are outlined in section 4.
Section 8 of the high level standards describes 'Reparation' as:
"Reparation enables offenders to 'pay back' for the harm that they have caused and to demonstrate that they are capable of change. Reparation makes sense to communities and the general public and can enhance the credibility of criminal justice social work services. Through reparation individuals can develop personal responsibility for their actions, enhance their employability and improve their relationship with local communities. The opportunity to make reparation should be available to all individuals".
The main objectives of an unpaid work requirement as part of a CPO are:
- To provide courts with a credible community based penalty, which has the potential to achieve a positive outcome in respect of the individual's future likelihood of re-offending;
- To ensure that courts have access at all times to a community disposal which offers a credible alternative to a sentence of imprisonment or detention, by requiring the individual to undertake unpaid work for a specified number of hours for the community;
- To achieve a high degree of credibility with the public and judges as a high quality intervention, which balances the requirement that individuals pay back for their crimes to communities with opportunities to address their offending behaviour and improve their opportunities to avoid such behaviour in future; and
- In particular, to improve chances of desistance from offending by providing individuals with an opportunity to develop interpersonal and vocational skills to enhance their employability prospects.
22.4 Key Features of Unpaid Work
Key aspects of the requirement include:
- Designed to offer courts a disposal for use as a first instance and for use with those who have defaulted on payment of a fine;
- Individuals must be aged 16 or above before this requirement can be made;
- Where a court imposes an unpaid work or other activity requirement on an individual aged 16 or 17 the order must also contain an offender supervision requirement in addition to any other requirements;
- There are two categories of an unpaid work requirement:
- a level 1 requirement specifies a period of between 20 and 100 hours of unpaid work
- a level 2 requirement of between 101 and 300 hours of unpaid work
- The legislation provides for the case manager and/or unpaid work case manager to exercise within certain limits a degree of flexibility between unpaid work or other activities designed to improve the individual's interpersonal and employability prospects;
- The total number of specified hours on multiple orders cannot exceed 300 (including any outstanding hours on an existing Community Service Order, Probation order with an unpaid work condition, and Supervised Attendance Order);
- Local authorities have a statutory responsibility requiring them to consult each year, representative community individuals and organisations about the nature of unpaid work to be undertaken by individuals living in the local authority area.
Level 1 Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement (common elements)
- need not be a direct alternative to custody (in contrast to level 2 and most other CPO requirements);
- Must not exceed 100 hours;
- Up to 30% of a level 1 unpaid work requirement can consist of activity other than unpaid work. The unpaid work case manager is responsible for deciding on the nature and extent (if any) of the 'other activity' element;
- The specified number of hours requires to be completed within 3 months unless otherwise specified by the court when imposing sentence;
- A level 1 unpaid work requirement can be imposed by a JP court;
- A report is not required if the CPO will contain only a level 1 unpaid work or other activity requirement.
Level 1: when used with a fine defaulter
- The consent of the individual is not required;
- Where a court (sheriff or JP) is dealing with those defaulting on fines (or instalments of fines) not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale of fines (see section 225 of the 1995 Act (£500 as at December 2010)) it must instead of imprisonment impose a CPO making a level 1 unpaid work requirement
- A fine defaulter has the opportunity to pay back all of the outstanding balance at any point - in which event the court will discharge the requirement and notify the relevant criminal justice team;
- Local arrangements will require to be agreed between the courts and CJSW staff and adhered to, so that where an outstanding amount is paid off, the unpaid work team are notified without delay;
- Where the original fine or outstanding amount exceeds level 2 on the standard scale of fines (see section 225 of the 1995 Act (£500 as at December 2010)), a CPO imposing a level 1 unpaid work or other activity requirement can be imposed instead of custody;
- No report will be required prior to a court imposing a level 1 unpaid work requirement on a fine defaulter;
- Where the individual is aged 16 or 17 years old a period of supervision not exceeding 3 months, usually, will be imposed. It is recognised this supervision will be for the purposes of supporting the young person to complete his/her order, but can also be used to offer any other advice and guidance as sought;
- Where an individual with a CPO for fine default breaches that CPO and the court revokes the CPO under section 227ZC(8) of the 1995 Act, imposing a prison sentence instead, the original fine for which the CPO was imposed is discharged.
Level 2 Unpaid Work or other Activity Requirement
- Must not exceed 300 hours;
- Is a direct alternative to custody;
- Requires the consent of the individual;
- Specified number of hours require to be completed within 6 months unless otherwise specified by the court at the point of sentence;
- A level 2 unpaid work requirement cannot be imposed by a JP court;
- The maximum period of 'other activity' must not exceed 30 hours.
Key Guiding Principles
Achievement of the objectives set out in section 22.3 above and against the legislative framework requires regard to be paid to the following key guiding principles:
- Equal Opportunities
CPOs with an unpaid work requirement should provide punishment and challenge to the individual and ensure that he or she pays back to the community through their work. The work undertaken, as well as being reparative, should be of clear tangible benefit to the local community. Payback should usually also extend to requiring the individual to take responsibility for their own behaviour by spending time, through the "other activity" component of the requirement, on developing their interpersonal, educational, and vocational skills to support continued desistance from further offending after the end of the order.
CPO unpaid work placements should not be used in situations which are likely to deprive others of opportunities for paid employment.
For CPOs to have credibility with the wider public and, in particular, the victims of the offence and their supporters, who may be in court to hear sentence being passed, it is important that justice be seen to be carried out swiftly. Wherever possible, therefore the individual should not leave the court premises without first being given a copy of the order by a member of the court social work team. Where in exceptional circumstances it is not possible for this to take place on the same day of sentence within the court or the office of the court social work team, the individual should be required to attend an initial appointment the next working day. This instruction should be attached to the CJSWR. In addition to the individual signing the order, this initial appointment will provide an opportunity for the requirements of the order and the reporting arrangements for induction to be reinforced. Further information should be recorded indicating health issues, availability for unpaid work and other activity etc as detailed in post sentence interview ( Annex 1).
To ensure that an individual has the optimum chance of completing their unpaid work order safely, an induction programme should be undertaken within 5 working days. This will highlight and reinforce the individual's and the local authorities' responsibilities for Health and Safety procedures ( Annex 10).
The work placement should commence as soon as possible after the CPO has been imposed, ideally on the same working day or within 24 hours. The placement should in any event begin within 7 working days of the imposition of the CPO to ensure that the individual's motivation is maintained and a strong link established between the offending behaviour, the decision of the court, and the start of unpaid work.
Where the CPO consists solely of an unpaid work requirement the allocated unpaid work case manager should arrange to meet with the individual within 10 working days of the order being imposed by the court, if this does not occur at the post sentence interview stage. The allocation of the appointed unpaid work case manager and the arranging of the meeting should not delay the commencement of the order. The purpose of the interview with the unpaid work case manager is to review the suitability of the placement, to discuss and agree the 'other activity' component of the requirement and to discuss any issues which have arisen during the first 10 days.
Any work teams or individual placements must meet the requirements of health and safety regulations and take regard of the additional social, personal and health needs of individuals. The principal considerations in determining the suitability of an individual to undertake a specific placement must however be the physical safety of any person residing at or working in the location of the placement, including the unpaid work supervisor in group placements. The CJSWR will always include an assessment of risk of re-offending and harm but further assessment requires to be carried out once an order has been made taking into account the personal abilities and disabilities of the individual. This process must commence at the post sentence interview and should be ongoing throughout the order. If an individual is assessed as presenting a risk of serious harm, appropriate departmental protocols and policies must be adhered to e.g. the unpaid work case manager must provide information and be part of multi-agency public protection arrangements ( MAPPA) where the individual meets the criteria for such arrangements. Special consideration with regard to appropriate placements is required for those who present a risk to others and for those who potentially might attract high profile media attention. Work is in hand to define the scope for consistent risk practice across organisations and improved case management in dealing with offenders who present a risk of serious harm through the commission of offences of violence. This work is being taken forward by the Scottish Government working with partners as part of the follow-up to the Thematic Inspection on High Risk Offenders.
CJSW staff should not assume that activities requiring health and safety training - such as use of graffiti cleaning equipment - are unsuitable for unpaid work placements. Such training can provide an opportunity rather than an obstacle. It can enhance the benefit of a placement both to the community and to the individual; and possibly to members of the unpaid work supervision team.
It is important that an unpaid work requirement is completed within the shortest possible timescale without prejudicing an individual's employment or entitlement to benefits. A focused period of activity for the individual will ensure that the link between the conviction and the punishment is maintained.
Completion should normally be achieved within:
- 3 months (unless the court otherwise determines) for level 1 requirements;
- 6 months for level 2 requirements, again unless the court otherwise determines.
This may present particular challenges for requirements with a high number of specified hours, particularly if the individual is in employment or has other important commitments e.g. carer responsibilities. It is important in such circumstances that CJSWR authors make the court aware of the position in their report to allow the sentencer to decide whether a longer period for completion should be set. CJSWR authors may therefore require to address in the CJSWR how many hours per week can be carried out if an individual has particular commitments.
Please refer to section 21 of this Guidance.
22.5 Operational Arrangements
Where a CJSWR has been requested there must be consultation between the CJSWR author and colleagues in the unpaid work section to assess suitability and to ensure appropriate targeting.
Where an individual is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance which reflects that his/her health is such that they cannot undertake any paid employment, the individual would normally be deemed unsuitable for unpaid work and this would require to be reflected in the CJSWR.
Where a CPO with a requirement of unpaid work is imposed despite the individual being subject to Employment and Support Allowance, e.g. where a CJSWR was not requested prior to imposition of a Level 1 requirement, it will be the responsibility of the unpaid work case manager to evaluate whether there is any unpaid work the individual can carry out which would fulfil the purposes set out in section 22.4 above. If the unpaid work case manager concludes that there is not, he or she should apply to the court for variation, revocation or discharge of the order, as appropriate, on the basis that the order as it stands is unworkable.
During interview, CJSWR authors will require to be mindful of circumstances where individuals are claiming to be unfit for work, but who are not in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance. In such circumstances, where agreed with the individual and where practical, contact should be made (prior to the court appearance) with the individual's GP to ascertain the individual's suitability for unpaid work or other activity. This will require a medical mandate ( Annex 2) to be explained to, and signed by, the individual. In such circumstances, the medical mandate must be explained fully to the individual and only seek information pertinent to the individual being able to undertake unpaid work. The individual's suitability should also be discussed with an unpaid work case manager to ensure that appropriate "light work" can be provided if necessary. It is entirely reasonable to request a deferment to ensure that such information is available at the point of sentence.
The CJSWR author has responsibility for consulting with unpaid work colleagues as to the suitability of an individual to undertake unpaid work. The CJSWR author, will, where such a report has been requested, be responsible for explaining to the individual what an unpaid work requirement will entail, so that the individual can give the informed consent to the making of an unpaid work requirement should this be the decision of the court. To assist this process, unpaid work schemes should provide CJSWR authors on an ongoing basis with information, which explains the nature of the requirement and what is expected of individuals.
Where an individual is in employment (or has other commitments which the court may consider it to be important to support) a view should also be provided by the CJSWR author in the CJSWR for consideration by the court as to the length of time anticipated being needed for completion of an order. Individuals must provide proof of their employment e.g. current payslip, letter from employer or agree to contact by the CJSWR author with their employer for confirmation of work. Where an individual is self employed then a self employed self assessment tax number should be provided.
Where, as part of a CJSWR, a CPO is considered a possible sentencing option, details of reporting instructions should be attached and/or form part of the report to support immediacy. This will assist with fulfilling the need for the individual to be seen within one working day of imposition of the Order. An example of good practice may be for the individual to sign an agreement at CJSWR stage to attend for interview at an agreed time within the set timescales. Consideration can then be given if the individual fails to attend, as to the appropriate action in respect of disciplinary matters.
22.5.2 Post sentence interview
Reference should also be made to section 9 of this guidance.
An initial post sentence interview should take place on the same day as sentence or, if this is not possible, the next working day. At this meeting CJSW staff must explain to the individual in detail, the nature of the requirement and check that the individual understands his/her obligations, rights and responsibilities. In line with good practice, the individual must sign and date two copies of the order to signify that he/she understands and accepts the order. A copy must be retained in the department's records.
During this interview:
- The individual should be made aware of the powers of the court in the event of it having been proved that the individual has failed to comply with any of the requirements of the CPO without reasonable cause;
- The individual should be advised that should he/she commit an offence against a placement attended during the course of their order or against a member of CJSW staff, a court will take into account that it was committed by the individual as part of a CPO when sentencing the individual for that offence;
- A literacy assessment to assess the individual's learning needs should be carried out as a first step towards community re integration. However, should the individual not pursue any advice given to follow up any deficits, this should not be deemed an occurrence which would attract disciplinary procedures as lack of literacy skills is not directly related to offending as opposed to e.g. drug use. Nevertheless, it may form the background to any subsequent breach action.
In addition, the post sentence interview, and the form completed at post sentence interview ( Annex 1) provides opportunity for an assessment to be carried out of work placement suitability and the risk the individual poses in such a placement against the backdrop of the risk assessment completed at CJSWR stage. The other activities referred to may include literacy assessment, developing employment skills, parenting skills, attending college, addressing health needs or other issues relevant to the individual which would decrease further offending incidents.
Where there is any doubt about the court's intention in relation to whether the hours specified in an unpaid work or other activity requirement are deemed by the court to run consecutively or concurrently with any existing unpaid work or other activity requirements, clarification as to the sentence imposed should be sought from the Sheriff Clerk's office.
As noted above, the work placement should commence as soon as possible after the CPO has been imposed - ideally on the same working day or within 24 hours. The placement should in any event begin within 7 working days of the imposition of the Order.
To achieve this, when a CPO has been imposed containing an unpaid work requirement, arrangements should be made for the individual to begin the induction process, which will include a Health and Safety induction ( Annex 10), as soon as possible and in any event within 5 working days of the order being made. Health and Safety must be covered by the minimum standards of the authority's Health and Safety policy. A model of good practice in Health and Safety is set out in Annex 10. When the Health and Safety Induction has been completed, this should be signed by the individual and recorded as per the local authority's policy. Health and Safety Induction may be part of the post sentence meeting but even if it is not, both must be completed within 5 working days.
The work placement should commence later on the induction day or within 2 working days of induction having taken place i.e. within seven working days of imposition of the order. To achieve these timescales it may be necessary for an individual to be placed temporarily within a group placement until a more suitable placement can be identified which may utilise and/or increase the skills identified at post sentence interview.
22.6 Health and Safety Induction
All placements require to operate within the local authority's Health and Safety policy. This will require the maintenance of close operational links between schemes and local Health and Safety officers. Both employees and individuals need to be covered by this policy. A hard copy and/or DVD should be available covering all risk and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health ( COSHH) assessments and should be considered when work tasks are being assessed. This must be updated annually and signed and dated by the unpaid work team manager.
It is the local authorities' responsibility to ensure that all unpaid work supervisors have their training needs in relation to all aspects of Health and Safety identified and met.
22.7 Organising Work Placements
Unpaid work placements fall into two main categories: those offered and supervised internally within unpaid work schemes and those offered and supervised by external organisations and agencies. In general, group placements fall into the first category and individual placements the second. Irrespective of the type of placement, delivery agencies require to ensure that minimum agreed standards are achieved or exceeded.
Unpaid work schemes should make available placements across a wide range of work settings and types of activity, work which is available throughout the week including evenings and weekends and work which so far as is possible is available throughout the geographical area covered by the scheme. Where possible, placements should be made within those communities which have suffered from the individual's offending behaviour. The choice of placement should also however have regard to the need to minimise the prospect of direct contact between the individual and any victim(s) of his or her offences.
Consideration must therefore be given to ensuring that individuals do not come into contact with their victims. For example, if it is known that a victim of an individual on a work team frequents a particular day centre and unpaid work is carried out there, that particular individual should be reassigned to another work team. Unpaid work supervisors have a responsibility to remove a work team from the vicinity if it becomes known that a victim is in the immediate area.
22.7.1 Issuing Work Instructions
The individual must be issued with written work instructions to cover all required work or other activity sessions. A copy must be retained on file. ( NB this does not mean that separate work instructions require to be issued for each session.) The following features should be observed:
- Instructions must detail the date, place and time at which attendance is required;
- All changes in date, place and time must be notified in writing to the individual in amended or new instructions;
- The instructions must also include what is not permitted at placement e.g. not to attend in possession of or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
- The individual must sign and date the original instructions and each set of new or amended instructions. The top copy of these instructions and receipts must be retained where possible, duly signed and dated;
- The signing and dating of instructions by the individual must normally be witnessed by a member of the unpaid work team, who should countersign and date the individual's receipt; and
- Instructions should provide for completion of the required number of hours within the time set out by the court - normally 6 months (3 months if a level 1 requirement) of the date of the order.
22.7.2 Placing the Individual in Work
Responsibility for the allocation of individuals to placements rests with the unpaid work case manager and if the order includes an offender supervision requirement should reflect also the views of the case manager. In determining the most suitable placement, CJSW staff should have regard to the circumstances of the individual, his or her assessed needs and skills, the assessed nature and level of risk and the type and location of available work placements. Consideration should also be given to any adverse publicity due to the nature of the offence. Careful consideration must also be given to any increased risk to a placement by the number of individuals present at one time or by the total number of individuals involved in completing the task. Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that that the level of supervision provided is sufficient to minimise risk to anyone at the placement.
The individual must be involved at an early stage in discussion about the most appropriate placement. The case manager or unpaid work case manager should inform the individual of decisions on placements following assessment.
Drugs (unless medically prescribed and confirmed) and/or alcohol must not be carried or consumed during unpaid work or other activity including break periods. Any individual reporting for work who is deemed to be unfit for work, or who is subsequently deemed to become unfit for work during the placement by the unpaid work supervisor must be dismissed from work that day as unable to perform unpaid work duties satisfactorily. Where the individual is in a personal placement the agency may wish to contact the unpaid work case manager to have the individual dismissed from site.
It will be for the unpaid work case manager to investigate the circumstances of an individual being dismissed from work and to assess the culpability of the individual and decide on what disciplinary action, if any, to take. Where the unpaid work or other activity is imposed as a requirement alongside a supervision requirement of a CPO the unpaid work case manager must notify the case manager within one working day of the absence and a decision as to the acceptability or otherwise must be made within 2 days and recorded accordingly.
22.8 Equality and Diversity Issues
A sufficient range of placements must be made available to individuals to ensure due regard is paid to their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age and/or religion. Unpaid work schemes also require to ensure that placements can accommodate individuals with inescapable commitments relating to paid employment, education and domestic circumstances. Care arrangements for single carers therefore will require to be considered and measures put in place so that they are not disadvantaged or discriminated against in undertaking an unpaid work or other activity requirement. Refer to guidance on expenses payable to offenders to be issued by the Scottish Ministers.
22.8.1 16/17 Year olds
Young people aged 16 and 17 year old will require to be carefully assessed as to the most appropriate placement. It is envisaged that the majority of this age group will be placed in work teams, supervised by local authority supervisors as young people in this age group may encounter difficulties with individual work placements. Additionally, individual placements may not be able to cope with the extra support and needs such an age group often requires.
Unpaid work schemes may wish to give consideration to flexibility in recognition of the needs of young people in this age group and the difficulties which can be experienced by them. Particular attention must be given to the mix of such groups where individuals with a sustained history of offending, or where those of an older age group are present and any local territorial issues must be considered to avoid confrontations.
It is especially important that young people in this age group are encouraged in conjunction with their case manager/unpaid work case manager to identify their "other activity", if any, at the 10 day stage, at the latest, and to commence this as soon as possible to ensure that they begin to benefit from the input the "other activity" can offer.
If a young person is at risk of breaching their unpaid work requirement, unpaid work case managers should review the situation as soon as possible to discuss any issues preventing the young person completing their order. This review should involve the young person and further support should be offered, or a change of placement suggested, if required, to support completion of the order. As outlined above, where necessary the case manager can consider making an application to the court to vary the order if it seems such a variation might assist in ensuring compliance.
Gender issues must be considered when arranging unpaid work or other activity so that women in particular are enabled to complete their CPO without harassment based on their gender or circumstances e.g. consideration should be given for the provision of female only work teams. Placements which do not offer the opportunity of women only groups may expose women to intimidation and bullying. This is an important consideration and particularly so, for example, where a woman may have been the victim of domestic abuse and/or other forms of abuse.
Placements, as for those provided to men, should focus on allowing women to develop and gain skills which may increase opportunities for personal learning and employment.
Many women may also be carers and schemes are responsible for ensuring that women are supported in accessing support which will enable them to complete their CPO. This may include help in securing nursery placements or the provision of registered child care lists. Additionally, this may also include the opportunity for flexible contracts which allow women who are carers for children, to drop children off to school and to collect them at the end of the school day, or to meet other caring responsibilities. Consideration should also be given to allowing appropriate networks to be established which can provide support once the CPO is completed to facilitate women building on skills learned/achieved during their period on unpaid work or other activity.
22.9 Minimum and Maximum Hours
The period of any work session must be sufficient to ensure the completion of worthwhile work and should not normally be less than 2 hours. There is no limit to the maximum number of hours an individual can undertake in a week if there is capacity. If the individual is not in employment, the case manager/unpaid work case manager must ensure that unpaid work does not endanger the individual's entitlement to benefit and that the individual must remain available for work, is able to actively seek employment during this period and is able to take up an offer of employment or attend an interview on being given 24 hours' notice.
The individual must inform his/her case manager/unpaid work case manager or another member of the unpaid work team as soon as he/she has such an appointment if it conflicts with his/her work instruction. Work instructions must not be given for the day on which the individual "signs on".
Where an individual is a benefit claimant and is required to attend courses as instructed by the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP) to ensure they retain their benefit, CJSW staff should take this into account when arranging unpaid work or other activity placements. Where a work or training placement is arranged through DWP some consideration may be given to a small percentage of the individual's attendance contributing towards their hours if the work/training is beneficial to the community and does not attract additional payment other than to cover expenses.
Notwithstanding these measures, benefit claimants taking part in unpaid work may not have as much time available as others to look for work and this should be taken into account by JobCentre Plus staff when examining an individual's job search according to the conditions stated above. CJSW staff may, with the individual's agreement, wish to liaise with JobCentre Plus staff to confirm that the individual is subject to a CPO with unpaid work or other activity requirement.
Nevertheless, an unpaid work requirement must not be seen by the individual as an exemption from seeking employment. It must be made clear by the case manager/unpaid work case manager that entitlement to benefit is still dependent on fulfilment of the conditions irrespective of the extent to which the claimant participates in unpaid work.
For those individuals in employment the working pattern for the unpaid work requirement will require to accommodate the hours of work or shift pattern of the individual. This will often result in a requirement for provision of evening and/or weekend placements to accommodate those in employment. For individuals who work a shift pattern, consideration should be given to providing a "flexible contract" stipulating that a minimum number of hours must be completed each week thereby not jeopardising employment.
22.9.1 Recording Hours Worked
Section 227O of the 1995 Act permits Scottish Ministers to make rules about how the time spent undertaking unpaid work or other activity should be managed and reckoned. No such rules have been made at the date of publication of this guidance. Individuals must however be credited for work undertaken as part of the unpaid work requirement, subject to the following qualifications:
- placement agencies must only ask individuals to undertake work, as part of their unpaid work requirement, which has previously been agreed with the unpaid work case manager, other than in exceptional circumstances;
- time to assemble equipment such as scaffolding, and to clean and put away tools, will be included in the record of hours worked;
- meal or coffee/tea breaks will be included in the record of hours worked but must not exceed one hour in total for each full working day. Individuals must not be allowed to leave site during such breaks and must be supervised at all times. This also applies to personal placements;
- the expected standards of behaviour during meal breaks will be the same as those expected during the hours of work and must be supervised;
- when travel to and from a placement or reporting point exceeds one hour per day in total the additional required travelling time, over one hour, must be credited in full;
- when the individual reports for work as instructed and the work/task cannot commence or a suitable alternative cannot be found, the individual may, subject to the discretion of the unpaid work case manager, be credited 2 hours of work.
If the individual reports as instructed, the work commences but cannot continue, and alternative work cannot be found, the individual should be credited with the number of hours worked or, subject to the discretion of the unpaid work case manager, 2 hours, whichever is greater. Where a work task finishes early due to inclement weather or where it is impractical to commence a new task before the work team is to be dismissed, the actual finishing time must be clearly recorded. Hours should only be credited when the individual is physically present at placement, with the exception of the aforementioned circumstances.
Where an individual is subject to an offender supervision requirement and a requirement of unpaid work or other activity the case manager should avoid making supervision appointments with the individual during the times that the individual is at placement.
Unpaid work case managers must ensure that a record of the hours worked by each individual is maintained in his or her case file. The case file must contain a record of:
- the hours worked for each work session;
- a record of all acceptable and non-acceptable absences;
- the accumulated total of hours worked by each individual;
- comments on attendance, punctuality, behaviour and work performance on each attendance.
This case file constitutes the official organisational record about the individual and must be made available to the individual on request as per local authority procedures. It will record information contained in the proposed attendance sheet to be completed by placement agencies (see Annex 11 Form 6).
22.10 Group Placements
A group placement is one to which two or more individuals may be assigned and which is supervised by a member of the unpaid work team and/or an approved agency provider. Group placements should not normally contain more than 5 individuals at any one time.
In order to allow individuals to start their CPO as quickly as possible, schemes should arrange for one or more group placements to be available to allow new individuals to be slotted in, if necessary on a temporary basis, until a permanent placement becomes available.
Case managers, where an offender supervision requirement is also imposed, and unpaid work case managers should take into account the range of differing needs of individuals. For example, consideration should be given, where numbers allow, to providing women only work parties, "light work" parties for individuals whose health or other circumstances make that necessary, or providing individual work placements.
Unpaid work supervisors should ensure that there is no harassment or intimidation of vulnerable people by other individuals in the work party. Unpaid work supervisors also have a responsibility to promote pro-social modelling, where the quality of the relationship between the supervisor and the individual can impact on changes in the offender's behaviour in addition to challenging unacceptable behaviour. Unpaid work supervisors should use their authority to deal with such incidents at the time, and notify the case manager and/or unpaid work case manager, where practical, by the end of the working day.
22.11 Individual placements
In large part, individual placements will be provided by external organisations and agencies. Unpaid work case managers have the following responsibilities to organisations providing placements:
- to maintain weekly contact as to the progress of the placement and to ensure that weekly time sheets are submitted promptly;
- to carry out a risk assessment of the agency and the placement and to ensure that all health and safety requirements will be explained during induction to the placement which must take place on, or before, the first day at the placement;
- to explain to staff within the agency the nature of unpaid work and the obligations it places on individuals;
- to consider the views of organisations about those individuals who are best suited to work in the organisation, and, after full discussion, to respect any restrictions or special requirements (other than those which would be in breach of equal opportunities);
- subject to data protection legislation, to offer relevant information to nominated staff within the organisation about the individual's background and history of offending, including the nature of the offence for which the CPO has been imposed, and to satisfy themselves that this information will be used appropriately and stored securely by the organisation;
- to ensure that arrangements are in place to record and conform to agreed standards regarding regular attendance, prompt timekeeping and satisfactory work performance;
- to outline the nature and extent of the assistance which the organisation may expect from unpaid work staff;
- to provide rapid follow-up when problems emerge during the work placement, both at the request of the agency or where concern is expressed by another party;
- to be responsible for all disciplinary measures, including initiation of court proceedings;
- to avoid where possible the involvement in court proceedings of outside organisations offering placements, especially where breach procedures are initiated; and
- to ensure that only those organisations which meet the obligations outlined below are used for unpaid work placements (see model of good practice for Individual Service Agreement in Annex 11 Form 4).
All organisations offering unpaid work placements should fulfil the following basic duties:
- inform the unpaid work scheme how the organisation proposes to deal with relevant and confidential information about the individual's background, offending history and current offence, provided by the unpaid work case manager. Such information should only be shared with previously nominated staff or volunteers when it is considered necessary in the interests of managing the placement safely;
- assess any potential risk to the organisation or others within it, which may result from the placement of an individual;
- assist the process of "matching" the individual with a particular work placement;
- comply with the local authority's practice and procedures regarding the sharing of personal information;
- apply the same standards to their working relationships with individuals subject to an unpaid work or other activity requirement as they apply to their relationships with other members of staff or volunteers;
- ensure the availability of sufficient work to occupy the individual during agreed working hours;
- ensure adoption of the following procedures:
- all absences and instances of significant misconduct should be reported to the unpaid work case manager without delay and normally within one working day;
- complete and return an attendance sheet detailing hours of work undertaken for each session on a weekly basis to the unpaid work section of the CJSW office. This sheet must include details of times of arrival and departure, the hours credited, details of tasks undertaken and a comment on work performance. All absences and instances of significant misconduct must be noted and reported immediately to the unpaid work case manager, or a member of the unpaid work team and at the latest within one working day. Each attendance sheet must be signed by the individual and countersigned by the agency supervisor on the site;
- comply with all health and safety regulations;
- refuse any requests for loans from the individual;
- it is the unpaid work case manager's responsibility to ensure that agencies offering personal placements are made aware of these procedures.
A model of good health and safety practice is attached in Annex 11.
22.12 Other Activity
An unpaid work requirement provides the opportunity within certain prescribed limits for an individual to undertake other activities which are designed to address identified deficits in the individual's lifestyle which may improve a variety of areas in their life. Other activity must not exceed 30% of the specified number of hours in the requirement, or 30 hours, whichever is the lower. The legislation does not stipulate a minimum period of other activity and it is feasible for the requirement to consist solely of unpaid work. This is a decision for the case manager or unpaid work case manager.
Where a supervision requirement is made in addition to an unpaid work or other activity requirement, case managers have overall responsibility for decisions on the extent and nature of the other activity component of the requirement in respect of an individual. This should follow consultation and agreement with the individual and the unpaid work case manager and form part of the case management plan which requires to be finalised within 20 working days of imposition of the order.
Unpaid work team managers have responsibility for identifying and developing appropriate local resources, both internal and external, in conjunction with other agencies, which will assist delivery of other activities.
Unpaid work team managers may wish to give consideration to the following possibilities for "other activity", although they are not designed to represent an exhaustive list:
- Specific training which addresses issues of literacy, numeracy and/or problem solving. This may require liaison with local colleges or other similar resource to develop and facilitate appropriate courses. The aim should be to provide opportunities for individuals to address any educational deficits, which might be identified at the pre/post sentence review through sensitive questioning and elaboration of given answers. However, should the individual not pursue any advice given to follow up any deficits, this should not be deemed an occurrence which would attract disciplinary procedures as lack of literacy skills is not directly related to offending as opposed to e.g. drug use Nevertheless, it may form the background to any subsequent breach action. (See also section 10.1.);
- There may be a need to address anger management issues, which even where they are not directly related to the offence, could be an area which causes the individual and/or others difficulties;
- Addressing alcohol problems through the "other activity" component, where neither an offender supervision requirement nor an alcohol treatment requirement is imposed, but where the individual's use of alcohol is such that he or she could benefit from such input;
- Development of certain modules (traditionally delivered as part of Supervised Attendance Orders) to address issues such as improvement of interview techniques, dress code for and appropriate behaviours at interviews, and improved understanding of the implications of the Rehabilitation of the Offenders Act 1974 for job applications and interviews;
- Exploration of the potential of the work carried out counting towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification ( SVQ). Unpaid work supervisors may have a role in the setting of specific goals whilst suitably qualified assessors can assess the skills developed/learned. A full record should be kept to ensure that the competencies which are met can be attributed to a SVQ;
- Where a placement involves construction activity this may contribute to the individual securing a Construction Skills Certificate, which is a mandatory requirement for working on construction sites. The Construction Skills Certification scheme is principally education based but may be augmented by experience gained as part of unpaid work. Whilst there may be existing local providers, these or other agencies may be able to offer a partnership approach geared to the specific circumstances of individuals.
It should be made clear to the individual that "other activity" is an intrinsic part of the unpaid work or other activity requirement and must be complied with in similar manner to the unpaid work component with similar consequences for non-compliance. Once the "other activity" component has been agreed as part of the case management plan, the case manager, (where a supervision requirement is imposed) or unpaid work case manager must ensure that arrangements for rigorous monitoring are in place and that appropriate sanctions are applied in the event of non-compliance. Hours spent at "other activity" must be recorded in case files in similar manner to unpaid work.
(Please read this in conjunction with section 14 of this guidance)
When the unpaid work case manager concludes that an explanation offered by the individual for failure to comply with the requirements of the Order is unacceptable, the actions as detailed in section 14 of the CPO Practice Guidance should be invoked. Nevertheless, all efforts should be made to ensure that support and guidance is provided to prevent further unacceptable absences. Where disciplinary actions are invoked during the course of a CPO, this should be done where possible in a manner which allows the individual to continue to focus on progress towards successful completion of the order rather than regarding the disciplinary action as inevitably leading to breach.
However, in the interests of justice and to maintain the credibility of the unpaid work requirement, disciplinary procedures must reflect the requirements of the legislation and be reasonable, clear, consistent and enforceable. They should be capable of being upheld in a court of law and also capable of swift implementation.
Where an offender supervision requirement is imposed in addition to an unpaid work requirement, or where an unpaid work requirement is solely imposed, the responsibility for issuing warnings in relation to the unpaid work or other activity requirement, is that of the unpaid work case manager.
Where there has been a significant occurrence e.g. where the case manager/unpaid work case manager doubts whether the objectives of the CPO remain appropriate or can be achieved e.g. the safety of another person is compromised, it may be appropriate to return the CPO to court regardless of the stage the individual is at in the warning process.
However, unpaid work case managers should take reasonable steps:
- to support and enable the individual to complete his/her order; and
- to enforce the requirements of the order timeously, should the individual fail to comply with that order without reasonable cause.
The unpaid work case manager must therefore be fair, reasonable and consistent in the application of the unpaid work requirement.
When the individual fails to comply with any aspect of the unpaid work or other activity requirement, the unpaid work case manager must take the action outlined earlier.
It is clear that a single unacceptable failure to attend as instructed constitutes an absence and each absence requires a decision as to acceptability or otherwise to be made within 1 week and certainly before the next instructed attendance and recorded as per the local authority's policy and procedures.
The unpaid work case manager must decide, after full consideration, which should include full discussion with the individual, whether the explanation for failure to comply which is offered is acceptable or not as indicated in the preceding guidance relating to other requirements ( section 14). In this context the following reasons for failure to comply will generally be acceptable. Where discretion is being considered, this should be discussed with the unpaid work case manager's line manager and decisions regarding acceptability or otherwise must be clearly recorded and detailed in the case file:
- ill health:
- where the individual is in custody;
- where unforeseen requirements are placed on the individual by his/her employer and these are confirmed in writing; and
- where the individual is faced with a serious and unforeseen crisis arising from other responsibilities. Confirmation of such circumstances should be sought.
In general, formal disciplinary action should always be taken where the failure to meet the requirement is serious, or where there are repeated minor failures. Where an unacceptable failure to meet a requirement occurs which does not interfere with the performance by the individual on unpaid work, the case manager may decide to issue a caution. Where a caution is given, the failure and the caution should be recorded in the case file and the individual notified.
When the individual has failed to comply with other requirements of a CPO, unpaid work case managers should exercise their judgement as to the appropriate action to be taken in relation to the unpaid work requirement.
Where an individual has accrued 2 unacceptable absences, and is subject to a Final Warning, and incurs a further unacceptable absence, the unpaid work case manager should notify the case manager if a supervision requirement is also imposed. Where unpaid work is the sole requirement, the unpaid work case manager will then be required to notify the responsible court that the individual is deemed to be in breach of their CPO by virtue of failing to undertake and comply with the unpaid work requirement. Once a decision has been taken to return a CPO to court, the appropriate report must be lodged at court within five working days of the decision to breach.
Where the unpaid work or other activity has been imposed in addition to an offender supervision requirement, the unpaid work case manager should copy all relevant correspondence to the case manager to allow the case manager to prepare the breach report to be submitted to the court.
Where an unpaid work or other requirement is returned to court under breach proceedings, the unpaid work or other activity may, after full consideration of the individual's overall response to the CPO, be suspended pending the outcome of the court decision although the supervision of any other requirement should continue pending the outcome of the court's decision. This assessment should also consider the maintenance of credibility of the order/scheme with other offenders.
Where there are further failures to comply pending the outcome of a breach application, these may addressed in the subsequent report requested by the court when dealing with the breach. This would give clearer information to the court as to the individual's likely ability to comply further with the CPO.
22.15 Breach Proceedings
Where the individual continues to fail to comply with the required standards even though reasonable steps have been taken by the case manager (where a supervision requirement is imposed) and/or unpaid work case manager to enable him/her to complete the unpaid work requirement, and when formal disciplinary procedures have failed to have the desired effect, unpaid work case managers have responsibility for informing the case manager, where unpaid work or other activity has been imposed in addition to an offender supervision requirement, so that breach proceedings can be initiated.
Where solely an unpaid work or other activity requirement has been imposed, the unpaid work case manager will submit the breach using a standardised form, within 5 working days ( Annex 12). This standardised form will effectively be the complaint or indictment and refer to the relevant legislation and the specific date of the conduct complained of, that purports to constitute the breach of the order.
22.15.1 Reports to accompany Breach of Unpaid Work or Other Activity
Any breach which is presented to the court may be challenged and must therefore be supported by sufficient evidence. The evidence of one witness can provide sufficient evidence to establish a breach (section 227ZD(1) of the 1995 Act). In all cases it is essential that it can be established that the CPO was issued to, and signed by, the individual and that a clear work instruction was given.
Once the CPO has been received and signed there are 2 further elements which require to be proved for every case of breach for failure to attend, both of which must be recorded in the case file:
- that the individual was given and received relevant work instructions, detailing the date, place and time of work (see section 22.7.1); and
- that the individual failed to attend work as instructed with no reasonable excuse.
Every application to the court must be accompanied by a report which provides information and expresses a view about:
- the setting and nature of the work and the time when it had to be done;
- the tasks undertaken and the individual's response to the demands made;
- the extent of the individual's overall compliance with the order;
- any external ( e.g. domestic) factors affecting the individual's compliance with the requirement;
- a reasoned opinion as to whether the order might usefully continue, be varied, or be revoked in the event of the breach being accepted or proved.
Where a failure to comply with the unpaid work or other activity requirement is the grounds for the breach but an offender supervision requirement has also been imposed, all relevant information must be collated in a suitable form and passed by the unpaid work manager to the case manager for the submission of a breach of the order. In such instances it will be the responsibility of the case manager to submit the breach within the aforementioned timescales.
A suggested template for this task is provided in the Annex 6.
The standardised front sheet should be accompanied by a breach report placing the current alleged breach in the context of the individual's attitude to, and previous efforts to comply with, court orders. The circumstances of each breach will obviously be varied and the breach report should reflect this. The breach report should contain contextual information in relation to the breach and must include, in addition to that noted at section 14 of this Guidance:
- information on the individual's progress throughout the unpaid work requirement and the circumstances which led to the breach;
- the report should also contain relevant information on changes in individual's circumstances where these are known to the report author; and
in addition, the report should contain a reasoned opinion as to whether the requirement might usefully continue, be varied or be revoked in the event of the breach being accepted or proved.Where the order consists solely of an unpaid work requirement, however, the unpaid work case manager should restrict advice to variation of the requirement e.g. an increase in the number of hours.
22.15.2 Failure to Attend
The standards of evidence in relation to failure to attend unpaid work or other activity are the same as those identified at section 14 of this Guidance.
22.15.3 Unsatisfactory Performance at Work
Where procedures for breach are being considered on the above grounds, it is necessary to ensure that the conduct complained of is witnessed and recorded by the unpaid work supervisor or placement agency. Depending on local policies and procedures, an incident reporting form may require to be completed.
22.15.4 Failure to Comply
The standards of evidence required to prove lack of punctuality are the same as those for failure to attend.
22.15.5 Failure to Notify Change of Address
The standards of evidence are the same as those referred to in section 14 of this Guidance.
22.15.6 Failure to Notify Change in Employment
Although technically possible, it is most unlikely that the case manager/unpaid work case manager will need to use these grounds alone for instituting breach proceedings as, if the individual continues to comply with all other aspects of their CPO, failure to notify a change in employment, in itself, would not be viewed as grounds to return an order to court under breach proceedings.
22.15.7 Timescales for Breach
Rigorous and robust breach procedures are essential if the unpaid work or other activity requirement of CPOs is to be regarded as a credible community penalty. Case managers and unpaid work case managers have a critical role to play in supporting and encouraging individuals to remain compliant throughout the period of the order. As a general principle, the appointed case manager/unpaid work case manager, in situations where an individual has failed to comply with the requirement through a third unacceptable absence, should submit a breach report to the court within five working days of the decision to breach.
Where the court has imposed an offender supervision requirement in addition to the unpaid work or other activity requirement and where an individual is absent:
- the unpaid work case manager must notify the case manager within one working day and the absence noted on the individual's record of attendance;
- following consultation with the member of staff reporting the absence and the individual to establish the acceptability or otherwise of the absence, the unpaid work case manager should decide on the action to be taken within two working days of the reported absence an no later than the next instructed day to attend unpaid work.. All parties should be informed of the decision taken;
- if the decision is to breach the order, a report ( Annex 12) by the case manager/unpaid work case manager requires to be submitted to the court within five working days.
An unpaid work flow chart is attached in Annex 14
22.15.8 Breach Established
If the court holds that an unpaid work or other activity has been breached it may:
- impose a fine on the individual not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale;
- revoke the order and deal with the individual in respect of the offence in relation to which the CPO was imposed as it could have dealt with the individual had the order not been imposed;
- impose a custodial sentence of up to 3 months (60 days in a JP court);
- vary the CPO so as to impose a new requirement, vary any requirement imposed by the CPO ( e.g. increase the number of hours) or discharge any requirement;
- both impose a fine and vary the order.
Should the court decide to impose a new requirement this can include a restricted monitoring requirement (not available as part of a CPO when the original CPO is made).
In dealing with an accepted/proven breach of a CPO originally imposed instead of a fine, or imposed following fine default under section 227M of the 1995 Act, and where the court decides to revoke the CPO and instead impose a custodial sentence, the maximum term when dealt with by a JP court is 60 days and 3 months by a higher court. If imprisoned, the original fine will be discharged.
22.15.9 Concurrent/Consecutive Orders
For breach purposes, concurrent CPOs should be treated as one order and consecutive orders should be treated as individual orders. In the case of consecutive orders, whilst the focus should be on the specific order which gave rise to the breach, the court should also be asked to consider the position in respect of any subsequent CPOs in the light of the breach.
22.16 Other Provisions
There are no specified circumstances contained in the 1995 Act which constitute grounds for revocation, variation or discharge. However, an application may be made by the individual or by the case manager/unpaid work case manager to request a revocation, variation or an early discharge. As a broad principle, such applications are appropriate where circumstances have arisen since the CPO was imposed, which suggest that it would be in the interests of justice for the court to consider amendment or revocation. However, the following illustrate the most common grounds for such an application:
- medically certified illness over a lengthy period of time which prevents the individual from performing the CPO in a satisfactory manner including where an individual is subject to a Compulsory Treatment Order under the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003;
- insufficient progress towards completion of the CPO even where absences have been for acceptable reasons;
- the individual's conviction for further offences resulting in a significant period of custody;
- the individual's employment circumstances over a significant period of time are such that there are no available and reliable times to fulfil the requirement.
In addition there is an ability within the legislation for an application to be made to the court for early discharge of the CPO regardless of the nature of the requirements. This would be on the basis of the individual's highly positive progress. Where such an application is to be made, it would normally be the case manager, where an offender supervision requirement is imposed, or unpaid work case manager in the circumstances where an unpaid work or other activity requirement solely is imposed, who would make the application.
22.16.2 Progress Reviews
The court may decide as part of an unpaid work or other activity requirement that the individual should attend for a review hearing to assess his/her progress in fulfilling the requirement. It would not normally be expected that review hearings would be held for those individuals subject to a level 1 requirement because of the short time period for completion but there is nothing to preclude the court requesting a review hearing in such circumstances.
Reference should be made to section 16 of this Guidance for further information on progress reviews.
There are no issues specific to the transfer of those orders which contain unpaid work and other requirements beyond those set out in section 17 of the broader guidance for CPOs to which reference should be made when an individual moves residence.
On completion of an unpaid work requirement, an exit questionnaire ( Annex 8) should be completed by each individual, with assistance from a member of the CJSW Staff assessing the quality of the individual's experience and allowing the individual the opportunity to express their views independently and offer suggestions for improvements thereby giving the individual an opportunity to be involved in contributing to the service. A formal review should be held addressing the quality of the service provided in managing the order, changes in the individual's motivation to offend, learning, changes in behaviour, offending during the period of supervision, future prospects etc. This review should be recorded and collated so as to contribute to an overall evaluation of effectiveness.
It would be considered good practice for the unpaid work case manager to submit a completion report ( Annex 9) to the court and include a copy on the case file. Its content should include an outline of the setting and nature of the work undertaken, the standard of work achieved, the content of other activity and the impact, if any, the requirement had on the behaviour/attitudes of the individual and any change in employment status. Comments made by the individual in terms of his experience of being subject to a CPO should be included in the completion report.
The opportunity should also be taken to remind the individual of the effects of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it relates to the order.
Local authority managers, including the unpaid work team manager, must ensure that there is an appropriate emphasis on unpaid work or other activity in the course of regular liaison with the judiciary. In addition, courts should be provided with annual reports about the operation of the local unpaid work scheme, with regular updates and feedback. This is the responsibility of the local authority.
A wide variety of skills across a range of staff groups are required to ensure that unpaid work or other activity is delivered effectively. It is essential that sufficient specialist training is consistently available to all staff involved in schemes to ensure that the highest standards are maintained.
Distinctive staff groups, with specific and differing training needs, are employed in unpaid work schemes. For this reason the training strategy for unpaid work should form a separate, but integral, part of a training strategy developed for all CJSW staff and should be reviewed annually.
Local training strategies should include:
- induction programmes for all staff covering the philosophy of unpaid work and its place in the CJSW system;
- familiarisation with National Outcomes and Standards, quality of service and assessment.
Additional components in relation to health and safety, and an introduction to issues of offending behaviour and pro-social modelling and anti-discriminatory practice should be included for supervisory staff and staff involved in placement finding e.g.:
- diversity training for all staff ;
- ongoing health and safety training for unpaid work supervisors and other staff as relevant;
- first aid training for unpaid work supervisors and subsequent updating as required;
- ongoing technical training and refresher courses for task supervisors as required;
- training opportunities which may lead to relevant vocational qualifications ( SVQs) should also be made available.
All social work qualified staff must be enabled to fulfil their SSSC responsibilities to complete 15 days' training within 3 years.
22.16.7 Health, Safety and Other Statutory Regulations
Each scheme must comply with its internal local authority accident reporting procedures. A copy of this must be available to any party requiring access. Where an injury occurs which requires reporting under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 ( RIDDOR) guidelines, this will be the responsibility of the unpaid work team manager.
Any individual who refuses to comply with health and safety instructions given by the unpaid work case manager or unpaid work supervisor will be judged to be failing to perform the work satisfactorily and dismissed from work that day. Disciplinary action may be considered in the event of such behaviour.
Individuals must be offered protective clothing and footwear to enable them to carry out the tasks safely. Where an individual refuses to wear such items, they may be subject to disciplinary action.
22.16.8 Working Time Directive
The Working Time Regulations 1998/1833 (which transpose the Working Time Directive) do not apply to offenders subject to CPOs. This is because the working time regulations apply only to paid work.
It is important to recall however that the court has a degree of discretion when making a CPO requiring unpaid work to specify the number of hours and the period of time within which those hours are to be carried out. In doing so the court may have regard to any criminal justice social work report which sets out the offender's circumstances. The offender will have the opportunity to bring existing work commitments to the court's attention. This may influence the number of hours and length of time over which the unpaid work or other activity that any order imposes is to be completed.
There is also provision under the 1995 Act for the responsible officer or the offender to apply to the court to vary, revoke or discharge an order. Here the court could consider any new paid employment obligations on the offender since the order was made.
The following minimum standards of insurance provision must be agreed between the local authority and their insurers:
- all unpaid work schemes should be covered by the local authority for Public and Employers Liability Insurance exposures. This may be accomplished by the extension of existing local authority Public and Employers Liability Insurance policies to cover CPO schemes;
- these policies cover the local authority's legal liability arising out of any injury, loss, illness or damage occasioned by negligence;
- the level of insurance cover provided for individuals undertaking unpaid work or other activity requirement should be no less than the cover provided to the local authorities' own employees.