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Community Sentences

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of (a) public awareness of unpaid work carried out by offenders complying with the terms of community sentences and (b) public engagement in selecting the work to be undertaken by offenders pursuant to community sentences. (114480)

The Home Office has not made any formal assessment of the public awareness of unpaid work carried out by offenders, however Community Payback (the name by which we promote unpaid work in the community) continues to receive significant amounts of local and national media coverage. Probation areas seek to make the public aware of this work and the positive contribution it makes to the community by means such as the use of plaques and signs at work sites, displays in public buildings, and by presentations to community groups. All probation areas have set up systems encouraging the public to suggest projects which they would like to see carried out.

In March 2006, probation areas completed a snapshot of their unpaid work provision. This showed the strong links to a wide variety of partners as sources of unpaid work of which the main ones were the voluntary sector (45 per cent.), local authorities (38 per cent.), education (15 per cent.), faith groups (12 per cent.) and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (10 per cent.). The overall numbers add up to more than 100 per cent. as some projects fit more than one category.