Community Payback Order (CPO)

Last updated: 18 September 2017

If you're given a Community Payback Order (CPO) it means you'll need to do what the court orders, and will serve your sentence in the community.

They can order you to:

  • be supervised at certain times by a social or case worker
  • do unpaid work
  • have treatment for a drug or alcohol problem
  • stick to rules about how you behave
  • go to a programme of help
  • stay at an address of their choosing
  • have treatment for a mental health problem
  • pay money to a victim of your crime

There is no limit to the number of these that the court can impose.

What you'll need to do

You must agree to a CPO before it can be given. CPOs are often given instead of sending you to prison.

Once you agree to a CPO and are sentenced, you have to go to the social work office at the court before you leave.

You'll also need to:

  • meet with your case manager when agreed
  • go to any other meetings that are part of the order

Length of a CPO

A CPO can last between 6 months and 3 years. During this time, the court may choose to set review dates. When you have a review date you'll need to go to court to give an update on your progress.

You or your case worker can request a change to your order if things change, like if your behaviour or lifestyle has improved.

Unpaid work

If you're given unpaid work, this can be anywhere between 20 and 300 hours. This must be done within the first 3 to 6 months of the order, unless you're told otherwise by the court.

Support you'll get on your CPO

If you are to be supervised, you'll be given:

  • an action plan to help you make changes
  • support from a case manager
  • work within a programme, if that's asked for by the court
  • access to help with your health, money or finding a job