Community Payback Orders


16th November 2020

Schemes which offer alternatives to prosecution or a prison sentence are central to reducing re-offending in Dundee according to a new report.

Measures including Diversion from Prosecution and Community Payback Orders are used for less serious offences when perpetrators want to work to address underlying issues.

Kevin Cordell convener of Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee said: “This year’s annual report offers an insight into the wide range of measures which are available to the criminal justice system and how they link together to create positive outcomes for people and their communities.

“What we see is when one scheme is used more or less it has a knock-on effect for others, but with the overall positive effect of maintaining and improving community safety and social inclusion.”

The report, which will be considered by Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee, covers the period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

It shows that increased use of initiatives which address offending behaviour without the need for a court appearance have resulted in a reduction in the number of court reports by social workers and also a dip in the number of Community Payback Orders (CPOs) issued.

Despite that decrease from 591 in 2017/18 to 535 in 2018/19 CPOs remain central to addressing reoffending and give courts an alternative to custody. The overall number of unpaid work hours went down from 51,012 in 2017/18 to 45,599 in 2018/19, and there was a reduction in the number of hours completed from 32,625 to 27,640. Even with the drop Dundee’s figures continue to be higher than the Scottish average.

In total there were 67 Unpaid Work team projects and 55 individual placements in 2018/19 which included transforming a neglected allotment at West Law into a community garden, beach cleaning at Broughty Ferry, renovating furniture for public spaces and preparing food parcels.

These projects were unanimously welcomed by people who had the work done and by 90% of the people subject to a CPO.

Lynne Short, deputy convener of the committee added: “Unpaid work continues to be a popular and effective way of meeting the needs of our communities while providing a positive and useful diversion for people subject to the orders.

“The support on both sides of the equation for unpaid work is overwhelming and shows the continued success of the scheme in Dundee.”

Since CPOs were introduced in 2011/12, successful completion rates have increased in Dundee from 52% to a high of 81% in 2017/18. In 2017/18 that went down to 69%. The average successful completion rate over that period is 73%, which again is better than the national average of 70%.

Re-conviction rates continue to fall in Dundee from 33% in 2014/15 to 25% in 2017/18, the most recent figures available from the Scottish Government.

The community safety and public protection meets on Monday (November 16).

Dundee City Council

Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.

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