Community Payback Pilots

Justice – in the House of Commons at on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Alistair Strathern Alistair Strathern Labour, Mid Bedfordshire

What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the rapid deployment community payback pilots.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

It is a pleasure to respond to my first question from the hon. Gentleman since his election.

As part of the Government’s antisocial behaviour action plan, community payback teams are working in partnership with 11 local authorities to rapidly clean up antisocial behaviour in the community. The pilots started in July 2023, and we are in the process of analysing the outcomes. Initial observations point to the pilots having been successful, with thousands of hours of reparative work being done by hundreds of people on probation within 48 hours of local authority notification, allowing the public to see justice done.

Photo of Alistair Strathern Alistair Strathern Labour, Mid Bedfordshire

These rapid-deployment community payback scheme pilots were supposed to pave the way for the accelerated roll-out of exactly the kind of swift, transparent restorative justice that victims of crime in my constituency are desperate to see. Unfortunately, I understand that, of a planned 20,000 hours of work, only 2,000 hours have been delivered by the pilots. Can the Minister reveal whether that is the case? If so, what can be learned from the clear barriers to success?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but the clue is in the word “pilot.” These pilots were carried out in 11 areas, over three months, in the run-up to Christmas, and 175 people completed around 2,000 hours of unpaid work. We are analysing the outcome of those pilots and, based on what that analysis says, I look forward to exploring how we can roll this out more widely across the country.