Committee Report NSC



North Somerset Council


REPORT TO THE Community and corporate organisation policy and scrutiny panel


Date of Meeting:  27 September 2011


Subject of Report: COMMUNITY PAYBACK


Town or parish: ALL


Officer/Member presenting:



Key Decision: nO




The scrutiny panel are recommended to:

1.         Note and consider the contents of the report.

2.         To consider any possibilities for developing the project to support core council services.


1.      Summary of Report


1.1       This paper sets out the current partnership arrangements between Avon and Somerset Probation Trust and North Somerset Council (on behalf of the Safer and Stronger Partnership) in the operation of the Community Payback initiative across North Somerset.


2.      Policy


2.1       The Community Payback project supports the Safer and Stronger North Somerset partnership priorities to reduce reoffending and responding to community concerns around anti-social behaviour (ASB).


3.      Details


3.1       Background


3.1.1   Community Payback is a tough and visible consequence for offenders who have committed a crime.  Offenders can receive up to 300 hours, and work can involve hacking back dense undergrowth, clearing rubbish or scrubbing graffiti from walls.
Whilst doing this work offenders are required to wear high-visibility jackets to make sure the public are aware of the work they are doing. All offenders doing Community Payback are screened to assess the risk they may pose to the public, and they are closely supervised by professional staff at all times. Community Payback is a punishment which aims to support offenders developing skills which may be transferable to the work place.


3.1.2   Avon and Somerset Probation Trust are responsible for the administration and supervision of Community Payback locally. Probation officers work with a range of local agencies in order to find suitable work for offenders to complete as part of a community sentence.



3.2.      North Somerset Partnership Model


3.2.1   The partnership between Avon and Somerset Probation Trust and the CSDAT within North Somerset Council was launched in August 2010. The aim of the project was to ensure Payback could be delivered across North Somerset, picking up short term projects which are of benefit to local communities. In order to achieve this, Safer and Stronger Partnership capital funding was utilised to purchase a bespoke welfare trailer for the project.


3.2.2   The purchase of the welfare trailer has meant that work can now be undertaken across North Somerset, including in rural locations which were previously inaccessible due to a lack of provisions such as toilets and drinks making facilities. The trailer also allows the flexibility to undertake short terms pieces of work as the team now have the ability to switch quickly between locations, taking all facilities and tools with them.


3.2.3   The project is staffed by a dedicated Probations supervisor who is responsible for managing offenders on site and a coordinator within the CSDAT who manages work schedules and liaises with organisations wishing to nominate areas of work. A team of between 6-8 offenders currently work on projects over three days per week (Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays), working around 7 hours per day.


3.2.4   The initial work programme for the project was drawn from suggestions from council service areas such as parks. Since the launch however, this has extended to include nominations from Town and Parish Councils, individual members of the public and a range of voluntary and community groups. Nominations have been encouraged using a range of press releases, North Somerset Life articles and attendance of the coordinator at a range of public and council meetings and events.


3.2.5   The team have completed a varied work programme which has included litter picking parks and open spaces, clearing brambles and vegetation on public footpaths, painting of community buildings and clearance of community allotment sites. Feedback recieved from beneficiaries has been very positive, with many commenting that without the input of the team, work would not have been able to be completed due to financial constraints. The project supervisor has also recieved very positive comments from members of the public who have witnessed the project in action and who have commented on the benefits to the local area.


3.2.6   Suggestions for projects which could be undertaken by the team are always welcomed and can be made by contacting Amy Hurst- 01934 426494/



3.3.      Opportunities for Development


3.3.1   Now into its second year, discussions are now taking place in terms of possible developments for the project. A meeting has been scheduled for early October between Probation management and the CSDAT to discuss future development of the project.


3.3.2   Increasing awareness of the project has led to increased demand with work schedules now being planned several months in advance.  As a result of this, the possibility of extending the project to a fourth day is currently being explored.


3.3.3   In light of funding pressures and cuts to services currently being seen across council service areas, there may be potential to develop ongoing coverage of services such as litter picking or basic gardening work through the project.


3.3.4   Any future financial implications for extension of the project will be discussed at this meeting. At present the project operates without a dedicated budget with costs of any additional materials (paint, brushes etc) and the disposal of waste being picked up by beneficiaries.


3.3.5   Suggestions are welcomed as to how the project could be developed to support core council services or other initiatives. Discussions are currently at a very early stage so there is scope to explore a range of possibilities.




4.1       Not applicable.



5.      Financial Implications


5.1       All elements of the project have to date been delivered utilising Safer and Stronger   Partnership capital funding and in kind contributions from partner agencies.


5.2       The financial implications of any future developments will be considered as    discussions progress.





6.1       Risk assessments for all projects and individual offenders are undertaken and managed by Avon and Somerset Probation Trust.



7.      Equality Implications


7.1       Equality implications are addressed as part of the risk assessment process undertaken as part of the project.  



8.      Corporate Implications


8.1       The project forms part of the Safer and Stronger North Somerset partnerships commitment to tackling ASB and reducing reoffending.



9.      Options considered


9.1       Not applicable.





Amy Hurst

CSDAT Coordinator (Crime)

01934 426494