Community Payback projects in Gateshead are managed on a day to day basis by Northumbria Probation Area's Quality Assurance Manager and are coordinated by the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer at Gateshead Council, who is the single point of contact for the scheme. A Steering Group comprising of the key partners oversees this work.
On the ground delivery
- Projects are identified and agreed by the steering group.
- A scoping meeting will then take place followed by a site visit. Timescales and deadlines are then agreed with the date of commencement.
- The probation service provides risk assessment for offenders and health & safety risk assessments. Projects take place with a group of up to 6 offenders per supervisor.
- Probation staff supervise offenders at all times.
- Gateshead council provides support with waste removal, storage facilities and in some circumstances equipment and transport.
Our Objectives and Outcomes for the project
- Reduction of fear of crime.
- Increased community confidence in local service provision.
- Increased public confidence in the Criminal Justice System.
- Reduction of reoffending.
- Address priorities identified by local communities.
- Reduce the visibility of signal crimes.
How this benefits Gateshead's residents
- Local people see the Criminal Justice System working.
- Victims of crime see local reparation.
- Offenders can gain useful life skills to increase their chances of employment thereby making a positive contribution to Gateshead's economy and helping to fill vital skills gaps.
- Local facilities are rendered fit for use again.
- Offenders make reparation back to their local community
How we select our projects
Community Payback consists of a combination of pre-programmed seasonal work as Gateshead has extensive green belt areas across the borough. Community Payback also has the flexibility of being able to respond quickly to community concerns regarding litter and graffiti. Elected councillors can refer in concerns through the members enquiry system. This demonstrates how Community Payback has become embedded across our services and is an integral initiative which contributes positively to tackling anti-social behaviour.
Organisations in Gateshead wishing to put forward a Community Payback suggestion should complete a project proposal form supplied by the council. This should include a description and the aims and desiredoutcomes of the project. Proposed projects are presented to a bi-monthly steering group who decide and rectify if the project is suitable. The project is then scheduled into a timetable with regular updates provided to the steering group members.
Education and Employment
The Economic Development Service provide a drop-in session for offenders. The service assists offenders to:
- Access information, advice and guidance.
- Produce a quality CV
- Prepare for interviews.
- Identify training needs
- Complete application forms and write letters.
- Gain new skills and update current skills.
Community Payback has been rolled out across England and Wales and has strong government support. The aim of the Gateshead project is to develop an ongoing calendar of projects throughout the year. By coordinating the work that benefits the communities of Gateshead this will help to create a cleaner and safer environment for local people.