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If you are sentenced by a court you will usually be seen by staff from the National Probation Service and they will explain what your sentence means to you.

They will tell you which probation office to report to and arrange your first appointment, either with your probation case manager or with the nearest Community Payback unit.

You must keep this appointment or you risk being returned to court and being given a tougher sentence or a custodial sentence.

At your first appointment you will either take part in a group induction or be met by your probation case manager. The details of your sentence will then be explained to you, and you will be given an appointment.

If you have been sentenced to carry out Community Payback, you must wear suitable clothing for your first appointment. We will provide high-visibility jackets and any other specialist protective clothing you may need such as gloves or a hard hat.

You are expected to report to the Community Payback office yourself, but we will provide transport to the work site if this is in a different location.

Community sentences have been proven to be effective in reducing crime, and this makes them much more appropriate for some offences.

For many people, Community Orders are tougher than a prison sentence because you will have to face up to the consequences of your actions in the community. They may also allow you to keep your job, retain family ties and your home – all crucial factors in preventing reoffending.