I’m being sentenced, what can I expect?
If you are sentenced by a court to a Community
Order or Suspended Sentence Order, you will be seen in court by a
Probation Officer who will explain the terms of your
Do not leave court without contacting
the Court Probation Officer.
The Court Probation Officer will tell you
which probation office to report to and arrange your first
appointment, either with your offender manager or with the nearest
Community Payback unit.
You must keep this appointment or you
risk being re-arrested and returned to court.
At your first appointment you will meet your
offender manager who will explain the details of your sentence and
give you a list of appointments.
- You must turn up for all appointments
on time and not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You must tell your offender manager if
you plan to change your address or phone number.
If you miss an appointment or break the rules
without good reason your offender manager will give you a final
If you miss an appointment or break
the rules for a second time you will be taken back to court and
could be sent to prison.
Community Payback gives local communities the opportunity to
suggest suitable areas for offenders to improve as part of their
Community Payback projects include litter removal, clearing
dense undergrowth and environmental improvements, repairing and
redecorating community centres and removing graffiti.
In London, Community Payback in London is delivered by Serco in
partnership with London Probation Trust.
If you have been sentenced to carry out Community Payback, you
must wear suitable clothing. Serco will provide high-visibility
jackets so that the public know where and when Community Payback
work is being done. You will also be given any other specialist
protective clothing you may need such as wellingtons or a hard
For more information about what you will be expected to do,
Payback Leaflet for Service Users
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlaws discrimination
against ex-offenders. It is intended to help people with few and/or
minor convictions. People with many or serious convictions will
probably not benefit from the Act because their rehabilitation
period will usually be longer.
Certain criminal convictions are ‘spent’ (forgotten) after a
rehabilitation period. This period varies according to the offence.
For people aged 18 or over when convicted:
- most convictions become spent after five
- prison sentences up to six months become
spent after seven years
- prison sentences up to two and a half years
become spent after ten years
- sentences over 2.5 years are never
You don't need to disclose spent convictions
when applying for most jobs. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders
Act 1974 it's unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the
grounds of a spent conviction. However, some types of jobs
are exempt from this Act – this means you have to disclose spent
convictions as well as unspent ones. These jobs include:
- working with children and vulnerable adults,
such as elderly and disabled people
- senior roles in banking and the financial
- certain posts connected to law enforcement,
including the judiciary and the police
- work involving national security
- certain posts in the prison service
- certain professions in areas such as health,
pharmacy and the law
- private security work.
For more information about disclosing your conviction to employers,
please speak to your offender manager, or visit the
DirectGov Careers Advice website.
The Community Compact is a high level
agreement, or contract, between the Probation Trust, the offender
manager, and the offender. It sets out a series of mutual
expectations and standards of behaviour whilst the offender is
subject to a Community Order, Suspended Sentence Order, or a
licence. The compact details the offender's rights, and what
they can expect from us during their supervisory period.
Community Compact example
Employment and Skills and Next Step
For offenders sentenced to Unpaid Work, the Next Step
service within Community Payback units provides employment and
skills information and advice. This nationally available
service enables individuals to obtain the latest career advice
empowering them to make informed choices about how to improve
their skills and look at gaining Employment.
For further information, offenders can pick up a
leaflet at their local office or contact their offender
Information on Next Step
Employment and Skills page