asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what surveys are currently being carried out to assess the effectiveness of community service orders; how many experiments are in progress; what is the cost to date of these experiments; and what are his interim conclusions.
Experimental community service schemes were established in six probation and after-care areas in 1973. In August 1974, in the light of a report by the Home Office Research Unit which concluded that these schemes were viable, all probation and after-care areas were invited to submit proposals for the introduction of community service arrangements from 1st April 1975. The total cost, at outturn prices, of the experimental schemes was £17,000 in 1972–73; £104,000 in 1973–1974; and £193,000 in 1974–75.Schemes have so far been established in 53 out of 56 areas, in the whole of 31 of these areas and in parts of 22 others. My Department's research unit has carried out a study of the reconviction rates of those offenders who were the subject of community service orders in the six experimental areas; this will be published shortly.