The Community Service Orders Programme derives its mandate from the Community Service Orders Act No. 10 of 1998, Laws of Kenya. Community Service Order refers to an order made by the court requiring a person found guilty of a criminal offence to perform unpaid public work within the community for the benefit of that community. In Kenya, the duration of community service ranges from a minimum of one (1) day to a maximum of three (3) years. Examples of public work include: construction and maintenance works, afforestion works, environmental conservation and enhancement works, specialist or professional services works, among others. Suitability for an offender to serve community service is determined by the Court, however, the general principle is that any person found guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for three years or less; or where the punishment is more than three years but for which the court in its discretion considers a sentence of three years or below is appropriate, after taking into all the circumstances, are also eligible.
The organs for the management of the Community Service Orders Programme in Kenya are the National Community Service Orders Committee which is Chaired by a Judge of High Court, the National Community Service Orders Executive Committee and District Community Service Orders Committees. The Secretary of the National Committee is the National Community Service Orders Coordinator whereas the Chairman of the District Community Service Orders Committee is the Magistrate in charge of the local areas of jurisdiction.