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Community Service by Offenders Scheme

What is Community Service?

Community Service is a sentence imposed by the Court as a direct alternative to prison and is served by an offender in the community. It can be a stand alone order or a requirement of a Probation Order.

The aim of Community Service is to allow offenders to pay back communities for their crimes by carrying out unpaid work for charities and community organisations or groups. 

The Court states how many hours must be worked, which can be for a minimum of 80 hours and up to a maximum of 300 hours, and should be completed within the year. If the offender does not comply with the Order, Criminal Justice Services can return the offender to the Court to decide what action will be taken.
Criminal Justice Social Work Services supervise and manage the Order on behalf of the Court through its 'Community Service by Offenders' Scheme. The Scheme operates 6-7 days a week, including evenings and weekends.

The number one priority of 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.

What is the aim of Community Service?

The aim of Community Service is to provide opportunities for participants to make reparation to the local community, for example local schools, 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.

What type of Community Work is covered by the scheme?

Work that benefits community organisations, charities, local schools and a variety of individual members of the community. This can include:

  • ground clearance work & general gardening projects;
  • environmental work;
  • recycling projects;
  • building maintenance and landscaping;
  • improvements to park and community facilities;
  • painting and decorating in community centres etc;
  • making and repairing goods for sale in charity shops.

How can we benefit?

Community Service is effectively unpaid work so community groups or charities can apply for help with their projects. We regret that we are currently unable to respond to requests from individuals. If you would like to make a request for work to be carried out on behalf of your group or organisation, you can download our Community Service Referral request form from this page. Alternatively you can email your request to:

Community Service provides the labour and tools and the community groups must therefore provide the materials, for example paint, plants or building materials.

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.

Unpaid work placements in the community can help offenders to learn and acquire new work skills to improve their employability and help them to move away from crime.

For further information about this page please see the contacts section below.

Back to the Criminal Justice Social Work Services home page.