News story

Winner of probation competition announced

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new approach to Community Payback that aims to reform the sentence radically was announced today.

From October this year SERCO will run Community Payback across London, helping to more effectively punish and reform the 15,000 of offenders who receive the sentence each year in the capital. The penalty sees offenders visibly paying back to their communities through appropriate work, including tough physical work clearing-up local ‘grot spots’.

Probation Minister Crispin Blunt MP said:

‘Community Payback is a sound principle, with offenders being punished making reparation through unpaid work to the neighbourhoods where they have brought misery and fear. But it is not meeting its full potential and does not command the confidence of the public.  

‘This new provision is a real game -changer, making the payback real, driving innovation and value through the criminal justice system. In time, this approach will be copied throughout England and Wales, leading to offenders making real reparation, restored and safer communities and fewer victims of crime.

‘I congratulate SERCO and London Probation Trust on winning the contract and look forward to seeing how they will deliver for us over the coming months and years.’

Drawing on the innovation and capacity of the private sector (and the knowledge and experience of the Probation Service) the partnership will help to reform the sentence so it better tackles reoffending, commands public confidence and delivers greater value.

The new four-year London contract will save taxpayers £25 million and ensure:

  • offenders begin paying back within seven days of sentencing
  • better links with communities so offenders pay back in the area, or even street, their crime was committed in
  • unemployed offenders pay back over four full days a week; and
  • swift, robust action is taken against offenders who misbehave or fail to attend.