Community Payback can be part of a 'community sentence'. A 'community sentence' means that the offender is supervised in the community and in the case of Community Payback has to carry out between 40 and 300 hours of unpaid work. This work benefits the community - and means the offenders pay back the community for their crimes by doing tough demanding work. For this reason members of public are encouraged to nominate Community Payback work projects for offenders which will benefit the community.

Nominate a project

Community Payback work projects can include:

  • removing graffiti
  • clearing litter and rubbish from public areas
  • repairing and decorating public building such as community centres
  • clearing undergrowth from paths and other areas
  • working on projects which benefit the environment

Nominate a Community Payback project

About Community Payback

In England and Wales offenders usually wear bright orange high-visibility jackets, marked 'Community Payback' while they're working. The jackets mean you can see that they're paying back for their crimes. Employed offenders usually work one full day a week on a Saturday or Sunday. Most unemployed offenders are required to work a minimum of 28 hours each week over 4 days, leaving one day for job search. Community Payback can help unemployed offenders gain the skill needed for paid employment and this pattern of work is intended to be like a normal working week.

Community Payback is not suitable for offenders who pose a high risk to the public and all offenders are carefully risk assessed before being sent to work placements. Community Payback sentences are strictly enforced and offenders are sent back to court if they are absent without good reason on more than one occasion.

In England and Wales between April 2012 and March 2013 approximately 75,000 offenders were sentenced to Community Payback and over 7 million hours were worked on projects which benefited local communities. Calculated at the national minimum wage the value of this work is approximately £45 million.

In Northern Ireland an average of 250,000 hours each year are worked by offenders carrying out Community Service.