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The skills you need to be a Community Payback supervisor

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Personal stories, Probation, Uncategorized, Ways of working

Community Payback (CP) supervisors play a key part in supporting people on probation to do unpaid work to improve local communities and get their lives back on track. If you're a people person and looking for a rewarding career where you can make a real difference, find out more and take a look at our latest vacancies.

Barbara, who’s done the job for 22 years, gives us an insight into what makes a good CP supervisor.

We spend up to 7 hours a day with people on CP projects – often for many weeks. So, first and foremost, you’ve got to be a people person. If you can relate to the people in your group, in the main they’ll respond positively to you. Yes, people on probation have committed an offence, but they’re people just like you and me.

Of course, you do sometimes get individuals who are disruptive and seem determined to make everyone’s day as difficult as possible. And it’s then that it’s important to try to understand why they’re behaving like that. Sometimes, it can simply be because it’s the weekend and they’re resenting missing out on the football, or spending time with their kids, partner or mates. Or, more often than not, they don’t think they should have been sentenced to CP and have to do unpaid work.

Good communication skills are important

If people aren’t being co-operative or are disrupting the group, I’ll take them to one side for a chat. Listening, understanding and relating to what people have to say about their personal situation, can help improve their attitude and co-operation. I find that spending time working alongside them, talking, and discussing their concerns, can sometimes be all it takes.

Your really do need good communication skills, patience, and a sense of humour. It’s not just what you say that can make a difference, but how you say it. And getting people to think more positively. Even if it’s focusing on the date of their last CP session, rather than dwelling on the total number of hours they need to complete, can set someone’s mood for the day.

‘Walk a mile in their shoes’

I’m a very hands-on supervisor and always work alongside my group, while supervising and instructing them. I do  the same tasks as them – whether that’s restoring furniture for a local refugee charity, litter picking in a local park, or painting church railings.

For me, it’s all about ‘walking a mile in their shoes’: understanding what it feels like being on CP, and the impact it may be having on their families.

I enjoy new challenges and getting to know new people, learning as much from them as hopefully they learn from me.

Making a difference

I enjoy seeing the difference we make working in, and with, the community. Looking back at the end of the day and reflecting on what we’ve achieved – the number of fence panels we’ve painted or the number of bags of leaves we’ve collected – is rewarding. It’s great seeing the sense of satisfaction and pride this can give to the people in my groups.

It’s a great job. Every day, every group and every project is different. And I still enjoy getting up and going to work.

Find out more and apply today

You don't need any specific experience to be a CP supervisor, and you'll get all the training you need to help you work effectively and safely with people on probation. It's varied, meaningful work with job security, a great pension and employee benefits.

Visit our website to find out more about what Community Payback supervisors do. Watch our videos to hear from more of our staff what the work is like, and apply today.

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  1. Comment by Jan ranley posted on

    Love this. @! Fostered. HaD children straight from an emergency.looked after adults with severe learning disabilities. Also dementia in the community.

  2. Comment by Toni Chippendale posted on

    Could I become a CPS if I've been to prison

    • Replies to Toni Chippendale>

      Comment by lmorgan posted on

      Thank you for your interest in applying to be a Community Payback supervisor. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society we work in. We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds, including those with lived experience. Due to the nature of the work, all successful candidates will need to complete pre-employment background checks, including criminal history checks. You can find out more about the work here:, and here's a directly link to all our CP supervisor vacancies:

  3. Comment by Michele Parkinson posted on

    I’d love a rewarding job like this!

  4. Comment by Hilary Coyne posted on

    I have applied for this position in the northwest ...I am so excited I could eat this job I am such a people person and with my background have given my all to the people of Bolton As a Licensee at the Hen and Chickens public house which was next to the police station and courts ..we served everyone from shoppers to Magistrates for over 19 years ...I just hope I get the chance !!