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Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had on the effectiveness of the high-visibility unpaid work community sentence. (284113)

Unpaid work was introduced as one of the 12 requirements that sentencers can impose as part of a community order by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Community Payback was launched nationally in 2005 with the aim, among other things, of increasing the visibility of the work done and improving public confidence. To increase visibility still further, distinctive clothing in the form of orange high visibility jackets, has been worn by offenders undertaking Community Payback since December 2008. The level of use of this distinctive clothing is being monitored on a quarterly basis and shows that by the end of March 2009 over 400,000 hours of Community Payback had been performed by offenders wearing distinctive clothing. Figures for the next quarter should be available by the end of July.

Home Office polling shows that nationally awareness of Community Payback has risen from 49 per cent. in November 2008 to 74 per cent. in April 2009.