Community payback scheme makes difference in north-east Fife

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Councillors at the North East area committee have heard how offenders working on a community payback order were helping to make a difference in the area.

The alternative model to custody was aimed at reducing re-offending while creating improvements for communities.

Projects in  north east Fife have included working with Fife Coast and Countryside Trust on a large scale litter-picking, path maintenance and repairs programme.

At the Ladybank Community Youth Club, two large halls were painted.

However, some councillors were keen to find out if the programme had actually reduced re-offending as intended.

Cllr Tim Brett said: “I am I big supporter of this and I think it’s the right way to deal with minor offences – but is there anyway to follow up on what the outcomes are?”

Councillors were told there was no way  unless the offenders found themselves back on a community payback order.

However, they heard that in a survey, 85 per cent believed that their attitude to offending had either partly or completely changed during the course of their Order, while just five per cent believed that their attitude hadn’t changed much or not at all.

Stewart Campbell, team manager added: “We have had some people who come back. Your frustrations are also shared with the supervisors, most of who would also like to know what happened to the offenders.”

Cllr. Donald Lothian, convener of North East Fife Area Committee,  said: “Recipients of the Community Payback Unpaid work scheme feedback high satisfaction from the work carried out reporting that teams are very professional and efficient and that projects are admired by children, parents and the community in general.

“Projects play a significant and positive role in local communities, repairing some of the harm caused by those who have committed offences as well as supporting them to reduce offending and integrate more positively within their local communities to create improvements.”

Emma Oneill , Local Democracy Reporting Service