Headlines: January 15th, 2007



Mayors across the country are to get the chance to nominate a project in
their areas which would benefit from being worked on by offenders who have
committed crimes in that area. The Home Secretary, John Reid, has announced
that communities throughout England and Wales will have the opportunity to
get something back from offenders this year as part of a drive for local
councils to work more closely with the Probation Service.

Dr Reid said the Mayors’ Community Payback Scheme 2007 would be a forum for
mayors to choose a worthy project that could benefit their communities.
Mayors would be able to nominate projects themselves or they could use
suggestions from local people, the media or community groups. The idea is
that successful projects would be announced at the mayoral installation in

The Community Payback scheme of unpaid work being done by by offenders was
launched in six pilot areas in the summer of 2005 and rolled out across the
country a few months later. The scheme aims to give local people an
opportunity to see the work being carried out by offenders who are visible
and also to give members of the community the chance to decide what
projects the offenders should work on.

The Home Secretary said he wanted the Probation Service to work more
closely with local authorities and this was why the new scheme for mayors
was being launched. “The successful mayors, whatever their political hue,
will identify suitable community projects which, through Community Payback,
will be cleaned up, landscaped, maintained or even constructed during their
year of office,” he said. Linking mayors to the scheme, he added, would
provide even greater local involvement and ensure the benefits of the
offenders’ work would be felt by those most in need.

“I want local mayors across the country to champion for their community
this ‘positive’ that comes from the ‘negative’ of crime, and to help us
make sure it has an impact where it is most needed,” Dr. Reid said.