Community Payback

Community Payback, also known as Unpaid Work, is a visible punishment delivered in the community. Courts have the power to sentence people who have committed certain crimes to undertake between 40 and 300 hours of Community Payback rather than a prison sentence. Beneficiaries include a wide range of community groups, not-for-profit and charitable organisations.

Community Payback involves service users undertaking unpaid work in the community for the benefit of the community. They may be directly supervised on an individual or group basis by specialist staff or by beneficiaries on individual or small group placements. Through Unpaid Work the services users “pay back” but they can also learn valuable practical and life skills which support desistance.

There is a 300 hour maximum to the amount of Community Payback which can be in place at any one time. Up to 20% of the hours can be used to support educational outcomes which will improves skills and employability.

Across BeNCH the following work placements are typically available although this list is not exhaustive:

• Conservation and environmental work (eg cutting back overgrowth, tree planting, fence building)
• Safer Communities work (eg supporting community clean ups and days of action or litter picking)
• Painting and decorating (for community recipients such as social and sporting associations, community halls and facilities)
• Garden maintenance (eg: for vulnerable and elderly Housing Association residents or community allotments)
• Supporting Charities (through collection and sorting of donations or work in charity shops)

Those carrying out Community Payback wear bright jackets with ‘Community Payback’ printed on them. They are supervised while carrying out the work.

Community Payback is generally suitable for all service users with appropriate and reasonable adjustment for varying degrees of ability. Placements for women are available throughout the BeNCH area with some women-only work parties, according to the requirements of our caseload.

How to get involved

Community Payback projects range from litter removal to clearing dense under growth, and environmental projects through repairing and redecorating community centres or removing graffiti. Service users usually work as part of a team, monitored by a supervisor, and will work all day with short breaks, although there are some opportunities for individual placements.

To be considered your project must meet the following criteria

  • It must provide a tangible benefit the local community and be visible
  • It must not take paid work away from others
  • No one must make a profit from the work
  • It must be challenging and demanding
  • It must be worthwhile and constructive
  • Service users must be seen to be putting something back into the community
  • There must be lasting benefit to service users through improved practical, social skills and self confidence
The Community Payback team will assess the project for suitability and for health and safety implications.

Anyone can nominate a project, so, if you are an individual, member of a club, community group, faith group or voluntary organisation and have a project that fits the criteria above, please call your local BeNCH CRC office and ask to speak to Community Payback or complete the form with details and we will contact you.