PEOPLE now have their chance to say what work they want offenders to do in the community.

They have been urged to nominate potential projects that people given community-based punishments should carry out.

This could be anything from removing graffiti to renovating parks, playgrounds and community buildings.

The scheme, called Community Payback, is a new Government plan for offenders given unpaid work orders, which have replaced community service.

Offenders can be sentenced to complete up to 300 hours of unpaid work for the community and the public will be able to have a direct input into the work they do.

The scheme was launched in Kirklees on Wednesday at the Phoenix Community Centre in Holmfirth, where unpaid work teams have already done a lot of refurbishment.

Maxine Myatt, director of interventions for West Yorkshire's probation service, said: "Unpaid work - or community service as it was known - has been around for more than 30 years.

"It is a tried and tested way of punishing offenders and making them pay something back.

"More recently, it has grown to make it a more meaningful sentence.

"The types of projects we do now mean offenders learn trade skills, gain qualifications and improve their chances of employment, which is the most important thing when it comes to reducing re-offending and lowering crime rates.

"This latest move makes it more about the community.

"The campaign is reaching out to local organisations, charities, faith groups, schools and residents, so all can have a say in how the punishment works and can highlight the parts of our community that need improving.

"The probation service has the skills and experience to ensure that offenders carry out work properly, making it a worthwhile punishment for everyone."

Every year, offenders under the supervision of West Yorkshire's probation service carry out more than 250,000 hours of free work to improve local communities.

People can nominate projects by: email to unpaidwork@ online at or phone the Kirklees project officer on 01484 826160.