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1.4.15 Management of Those Presenting a Risk to Children

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AMENDMENT

March 2014, this chapter was updated to provide links to the most recent MAPPA guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice and Home Office guidance on Offences against Children.

Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 LASSL(2005) 'Identification of Individuals who Present a Risk to Children' appended Home Office Circular 16/2005 which indicated that the use of the term 'Schedule 1 Offender' commonly used to describe those convicted of offences against children should be discontinued and replaced with the term 'a person identified as presenting a risk or potential risk to children'.
1.2

The rationale for this advice was that:

  • The term 'Schedule 1 Offender' could be unhelpful because it defined people by their offending history rather than any on-going risk they pose;
  • The term is a label that lasts for life and had no review procedure, though may have been derived from a trivial childhood incident such as a fight with another child (this situation may be open to challenge as a breach of Human Rights);
  • Many practitioners were uncertain about which offences are included in Schedule 1 Children and Young Persons Act 1933;
  • There are anyway offences where the child may be an intended victim but the primary offence is not a child specific one e.g. obscene text messages, harassment etc.
1.3 The work of the multi-agency Schedule 1 Review is continuing but advice in LASSL (2005) is that any conclusion that an individual poses a risk to children should be based on all available information including that provided by relevant agencies such as assessment of risk made by Probation, Police Health individually or via MAPPA.
1.4 A consolidated list of Schedule 1 offences provided in the above guidance is not exhaustive and should not to be used as a trigger to denote risk. The protection of children at risk of Significant Harm remains the responsibility of practitioners exercising professional judgement.
1.5 The remainder of this section provides procedures in relation to the responses required with respect to those identified as presenting a risk or potential risk to children.

2. Register of Sexual Offenders

2.1 Notification requirements of Part 2 Sexual Offences Act 2003 (known as the Sex Offenders Register) are an automatic requirement on offenders who receive a conviction or caution for certain sexual offences.
2.2 Notification requirements are intended to ensure police are informed of the whereabouts of offenders. They do not bar offenders from certain types of employment, being alone with children etc.
2.3 Offenders must notify the police of certain personal details within 3 days of their conviction or caution for a relevant sexual offence (or, if they are in prison on this date, within 3 days of their release.)
2.4 Such an offender must then notify the police, within 3 days, of any change to the notified details and whenever they spend 7 days or more at another address within a 12 months period.
2.5 All offenders must reconfirm their details at least once every 12 months and notify the police, 7 days in advance of any travel overseas for a period of 3 days or more.
2.6 The period of time that an offender must comply with these requirements depends on whether s/he received a conviction or caution and, where appropriate, the sentence received.
2.7 Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 5 years' imprisonment.
2.8 The police should be contacted if such an offence is committed.

 

3. Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

Introduction

3.1 The following material reproduces the multi-agency protocol signed off in February 2005 by respective senior managers in Thames Valley Police, Probation and the Prison Service.
3.2 The protocol revised previous local arrangements following publication of national guidance by the Home Secretary in March 2003 and subsequent review of local practice. It takes full account of the legislative requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Criminal Justice Act 2003, Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000, the Human Rights Act 1998, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 1998.
3.3

The protocol forms the basis for multi-agency information sharing and participation in MAPPA operating in the Thames Valley.

Click here to view Joint Protocol between the Thames Valley Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and the Strategic MAPPA Board (SMB).

3.4 Each member of each agency contributing at any level i.e. providing written or verbal information through the initial referral process or participating in meetings / panels must confirm that their agency will comply with its expectations.


Requirement for MAPPA

3.5

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and Criminal Justice Act 2003 require Police, Probation and Prison services (jointly comprising the 'responsible authorities') to establish formal arrangements for the purpose of assessing and managing risks posed by:

  • Category 1: Registered sexual offenders;
  • Category 2: Violent and other sex offenders (violent = 12 month or more sentence of imprisonment for violent offence, other sex offenders and those not required to register, convicted before relevant law introduced or who have come off the register);
  •  Other persons of concern: who need a multi-agency approach to manage but do not fall within either Category 1 or 2.
3.6 The arrangements may also be used for cases that have no formal convictions where advice is sought outside MAPPA, from the professionals attending the meeting, e.g. a non-convicted domestic abuse perpetrator.  This is considered a 'Professionals Meeting'.


Purpose of MAPPA

3.7

MAPPA exist in order to:

  • Agree nature and level of risk posed by persons meeting the referral criteria by sharing relevant information and assessment;
  • Produce, monitor and review risk management strategies and plans designed to reduce the risk posed;
  • Encourage and support the involvement of all agencies and individuals (statutory and voluntary) involved in management strategies and plans;
  • Provide information and protection for past and potential victims;
  • Decide what information should be shared, with and by whom.


MAPPA Levels

3.8

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements will identify 3 levels at which risk is assessed and managed:

  • Level 1: risk management by a single agency and considered as low risk of causing serious harm (in the previous protocol level '1' related to Police/Probation intervention);

  • Level 2: local management by more than one agency using local resources;

  • Cases that are jointly managed by Police and Probation are now considered as level 2;

  • Level 3: Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels (the ‘critical few' imminently very high risk offenders).

3.9 National MAPPA Guidance pages 34 to 37 provides further details.
3.10 Meetings held to consider level 2 cases are known locally as 'Multi-Agency Risk Management Meetings' (MARMMs) to distinguish them from Panels (MAPPs), which are reserved for level 3 cases.
3.11

'Relevant sexual or violent offenders' are those:

  • Subject to notification requirements of the Sex Offenders Act 2003;
  • Convicted of a sexual or violent offence by a court in England and Wales who receive a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or more, detention in a YOI for a period of 12 months or more, detention during Her Majesty's pleasure, detention of 12 months or more under s.91 PCC(S)A 2000 ( those under 18 convicted of certain serious offences);
  • Made subject of a DTO of 12 months or more;
  • Made subject of a hospital or guardianship order (MHA 1983);
  • Persons found not guilty of a sexual or violent offence by reason of insanity or under a disability but deemed to have done the act charged who are subject to a hospital order or a guardianship order are included in the definition as are persons subject to orders disqualifying them from working with children (CJCSA 2000 sections 28 and 29).

Click here to access the most recent Mappa Guidance issued by the Government.


Forms

3.12

PP1

PP1 - the standard notification form is the method of notifying the Police Public Protection Office of MAPPA cases. Notifications will be completed by public protection officers on registered sex offenders in the community and those who receive short custodial sentences.

PP1s should be completed by probation officers/case managers (including YOT officers) for sex offenders or violent offenders who are serving over 12 months imprisonment and cases assessed as posing high or very high risk of serious harm of violence when the offender is subject to a Community Rehabilitation Order.

Other agencies may also refer cases to the MAPPA Co-ordination Panel but they are required to complete a notification form. 

PP2

Minutes of 'initial meetings' and 'reviews' are produced for each level 2 and 3 case discussed at MAPPA meetings.  This standardised form is designed to guide the discussion and decision-making.

PP3 (additional housing information)

The form should be attached to the PP1 notification form and needs to be completed if housing concerns are identified on high risk or very high risk cases. 

A copy must be sent directly to the NPS-TV housing needs team manager (this is particularly important when a hostel-based release plan is envisaged for serving prisoners as it will ensure that move-on resettlement work is considered at the earliest opportunity).  All other cases requiring housing input can be dealt with using the usual probation housing referral process.


MAPPA Coordination Panel

3.13 Thames Valley MAPPA Co-ordination panel meets weekly to review all PP1s, (the standard notification form) received for relevant cases.
3.14

Panel members are drawn from the 'responsible authorities' and include:

  • The Detective Chief Inspector - Public Protection Unit Force Crime Management;
  • Thames Valley Probation Principal Forensic Psychologist;
  • Thames Valley Probation Senior Probation Officer with specific MAPPA responsibility.
3.15 The role of the panel is to demonstrate public accountability, consistency in assessment and adherence to government expectations in relation to MAPPA.
3.16 It is also to quality assure the MAPPA process by confirming that assessments are supported by appropriate evidence and are defensible and proportionate. This role is important both for the appropriate level of supervision of dangerous offenders and the probity of MAPPA statistics which are published annually.


Structure of MAPPA

3.17 In each police command area within the Thames Valley, it is the joint responsibility of the police, prison and probation services to convene and chair Multi-Agency Risk Management meetings (MARMMs) and MAPPs. This will be achieved through the identification of local lead managers in each agency.
3.18 Thames Valley Police provide a centralised administrative resource, within the Police Public Protection Office, through which MAPPA referrals (PPIs) will be channelled. This enables consistent collection of information, appropriate and timely notification to local lead managers of relevant information for meetings under MAPPA and facilitation of the MAPPA co-ordination panel.
3.19 In each police command area there will be a monthly meeting under MAPPA. Meetings will be chaired by either a manager from the Probation Service of at least senior probation officer grade or a manager from the Police of at least Chief Inspector rank.
3.20 Such meetings may additionally be convened at short notice in response to events or receipt of information about risk which requires urgent attention.
3.21 Where a referral under MAPPA has been confirmed as level 1 following consideration by the co-ordination panel, the chair of the local meeting will ensure that information contained in the MAPPA referral is made available to partner agencies.
3.22 Those cases confirmed as Level 2 will additionally require a MARMM to be convened. Cases confirmed as Level 3 will require that a MAPPP is convened.
3.23 MAPPs and MARMMs may have the same or similar membership and it will often be convenient to manage both Level 2 and Level 3 meetings within the local monthly meeting cycle.
3.24 Where this occurs, that part of the meeting constituted as a Level 3 (MAPPP) meeting must be attended, additionally by either the Detective Superintendent (Specialist Operations) or the DCI Public Protection Unit Force Crime Management and an Assistant Chief Probation Officer, one of whom will chair the MAPPP.
3.25

The number of people involved in meetings arranged under MAPPA should be restricted to those who have a significant contribution to make and/or are at a level/rank which enables them to commit their agency to the agreed involvement in any subsequently determined risk management plan, including, where appropriate, the allocation of specific (additional) resources.

3.26

Representatives attending meetings should include, among others:

  • Senior probation officer and/or Divisional ACPO;
  • Superintendent / DCI Public Protection Unit Force Crime Management or Chief Inspector from Police area;
  • A representative from the prison service in accordance with the Prison Service Protocol;
  • A probation officer or other referring / supervising officer / social worker;
  • A police officer / worker with specific responsibility for dealing with offenders subject to this protocol in the police area (Public Protection Officer);
  • The child protection co-ordinator or her/his representative (Children's Social Care);
  • A management representative or other delegated officer from the local authority housing management department;
  • A management representative NPS-TV Housing Advice Service;
  • A representative from Thames Valley Project (community sex offender treatment programme);
  • The YOT manager or representative;
  • A representative from Mental Health Services e.g. Community Mental Health Team;
  • A representative from Probation's Victim Unit.
3.27 This list is not exhaustive but the chair of each meeting must be satisfied that invitees are able to conform to expectations clarified elsewhere in this protocol regarding the confidential receipt and use of information - see paragraphs on Information Sharing
3.28 Attendance by a representative of the Prison Service will be in accordance with 'SE1 Prison Region MAPPA Protocol' which confirms there will be a prison representative at all Level 3 meetings on prisoners held in Thames Valley prisons with Thames Valley addresses for which the authorities have accepted responsibility.
3.29 Attempts will be made, where possible, to return prisoners to Thames Valley prisons to facilitate local release. Attendance over and above is at the discretion of the prison governor and can be negotiated.


Duty to co-operate

3.30 S. 325(1-5) of the Criminal Justice Act (2003) imposes a 'duty to co-operate' with the MAPPA responsible authorities on various organisations providing public services. This development has been informed and defined in co-operation with relevant government departments and interest groups.
3.31 The purpose of this development is to help strengthen the MAPPA in making defensible decisions about the management of offenders. It acknowledges the crucial role in the resettlement and rehabilitation of offenders that is played by various governmental and other organisations.
3.32 It is designed to enable these agencies to work together in order to achieve co-operation rather than 'collision', whereby agencies might unintentionally frustrate or compromise the work of one another through lack of communication or recognition of their responsibilities.
3.33 The MAPPA in itself is not a legal entity but rather a set of administrative arrangements - authority and professional responsibility for action remains with the agencies involved and to this end MAPPA aims at 'co-ordination not conglomeration'.
3.34 The legislation does not define the activities that the duty to co-operate involves but provides guidance to this effect. It requires duty-to-co-operate agencies to co-operate only insofar as this is compatible with their existing statutory responsibilities.
3.35 It is vital that different agencies respect the role provided by each other and the professional responsibilities and limitations that this might involve.
3.36 Co-operation cannot be based on the command and control of one agency by another. There is a recognition that co-operation between agencies will not always be plain sailing. Partnerships of the sort embodied by MAPPA can be problematic, particularly when they involve individual offenders who present considerable challenges to the professionals concerned. The aim for the agencies is to work together to protect known victims and the public.
3.37 It is recognised that in many cases 'duty to co-operate' agencies are already represented and active in the MAPPA process both at local level and on regional Strategic Management Boards and to this end the legislation may be clarifying practice that is already in place.
3.38

The 4 key roles of any agency operating within the MAPPA process are to:

  • Provide a point of contact for other agencies;
  • Provide general advice about an agency's role and the service it provides;
  • Provide specific advice about the risk assessment and management of a particular offender;
  • Co-ordinate its approach as best as possible with other agencies.


Agencies Involved in MAPPA

3.39 The following agencies have a duty to co-operate in MAPPA. Details of their respective roles and responsibilities are provided.


YOTs

3.40 YOTs are multi-agency partnerships established by local authorities across England and Wales.
3.41 YOTS can provide a 'single agency' risk assessment and risk management at MAPPA Level 1 though are required to refer into the MAPPA for young people meeting the requirements of Level 2 or 3.
3.42 Further MAPPA involvement may come about in some cases where supervision of the case is being transferred to the Probation Service (generally those serving s.91 sentences for very serious offences).


Jobcentre Plus

3.43 This agency was formed in April 2002 by combining the employment service and parts of the benefits agency providing services to people of working age.
3.44 Jobcentre Plus is involved in MAPPA under the auspices of Probation Circular 48/1999 regarding the employment of potentially dangerous offenders.
3.45 Information disclosed in these cases should only be strictly limited to the identity of the offender and the nature of the employment from which s/he should be restricted. In appropriate further disclosure may be unlawful.


Children's Services (Education)

3.46

It has been agreed that the most likely involvement of Children's Services (Education) in MAPPA will involve either:

  • An offender aged under 18 who is referred from a YOT to MAPPA at either Level 2 or 3; or
  • In cases where a MAPPA offender may pose a risk to young people for whom Children's Services (Education) has a responsibility.
3.47

In both cases Children's Services (Education) is most likely to become involved either through the YOT (of which it is a statutory partner) or through child protection arrangements. Children's Services (Education) can further contribute to MAPPA by:

  • Providing pupils at schools with programmes of child protection awareness (especially at times when a particular local risk has been identified);
  • Being alert to activities within a locality that might put children at risk and thereby being able to warn individuals or groups of pupils or staff about possible danger;
  • Being the first port of call for parents who want to voice their concern about worrying activities in the area.


Local Housing Authorities (LHAs)

3.48 The duty to co-operate does not create a duty for LHAs to house offenders.
3.49 LHAs do have a role in providing information and allocating long-term accommodation to those entitled, who have become homeless through no fault of their own; this includes some offenders who can be classified as 'vulnerable' if they have spent time in custody.


Registered Social Landlords

3.50 This group includes Housing Associations and Trusts, Co-operatives and Companies. Only those which provide accommodation to MAPPA offenders have a requirement to co-operate - normally when considering the offer of housing to such an offender.


Children's Social Care

3.51 Links between these agencies and MAPPA are likely to be in the area of child protection and also operate under the auspices of the Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board. Children's Social Care under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, has a duty to investigate and if needs be intervene in cases where it has 'reasonable cause to suspect' that a child might be suffering Significant Harm.


Health agencies

3.52 Mental Health Trusts are the most likely health agencies to be involved in MAPPA as their remit includes mentally disordered offenders, some of whom are MAPPA cases.
3.53 Liaison between criminal justice agencies and mental health agencies predates MAPPA by many years and such co-working will still apply in many non-MAPPA cases.
3.54 Complications may arise here because of the different way in which health professionals may work particularly regarding the issue of patient confidentiality.
3.55 In cases where such complications arise the need for senior representation from the health authority is important. Discussions with the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Forensic Faculty have highlighted the importance of clarity of role and authority.


Electronic monitoring providers

3.56 These groups play an important part in the management of high-risk MAPPA cases. Their duty to co-operate is synonymous with their contractual responsibilities.
3.57 They may provide an input to MAPPA by advising about available electronic monitoring technology and its limitations and also giving advice to MAPPP meetings regarding the requirements of particular cases.


Other Home Office units with release & recall responsibility

3.58

Although not part of local MAPPA, certain central Home Office bodies are involved in procedures that are central to the processes of MAPPA. These include:

  • Lifer Review and Recall section (this agency is part of the Sentencing Policy and Penalties Unit of the Home Office with responsibility for the review, release and recall to prison of life sentence prisoners - staff from this unit are available to attend MAPPA meetings involving lifer cases where necessary;
  • Early Release and Recall section (this agency coordinates its work with the Probation Service, the Prison Service and the Parole Board in both casework and policy concerning offenders who have yet to be released from prison and those who have been released onto supervision licence); in particular it is involved in the recall of offenders subject to ACR, DCR, extended sentence or Home Detention Curfew and is responsible for consideration of breach notification sent by supervising probation areas and able to revoke an offender's licence;
  • Mental Health Unit (this agency takes responsibility for certain types of mentally disordered offender who have been sectioned under various conditions of the Mental Health Act 1983 and thereby become 'restricted patients'); in each of these cases the Home Secretary has powers to protect the public from unjustified risk by overseeing the detention of such patients in Special Hospitals (very high security) or Medium Secure Units; Mental Health Review Tribunals are responsible for reviewing the cases of such offenders at regular intervals in order to ensure that their on-going restriction is appropriate;
  • The Parole Board (this is an independent organisation set up in 1967 to consider risk assessments prepared by probation and prison staff which inform decisions on the release and recall of prisoners; it is made up of various specialist professionals from legal and forensic fields as well as lay members from all walks of life; release decisions are usually taken by panels of 3 Parole Board members and to make their decisions it is vital that they have access to relevant case material that relates to risk; the number of offenders recalled to prison has increased significantly over recent years (7000 in 2002-3, projected to rise to 15,000 over the next 3 years); the Parole Board normally know of MAPP involvement via the supervising probation officer and rely on being informed of any relevant information related to risk from that source.


Information Sharing

3.59 Critical concepts in terms of information sharing are those of necessity and proportionality - that there must be a pressing public need for the information and the amount of information shared must only be that necessary to achieve the purpose for which it is being shared.
3.60 Different MAPPA agencies may have different policies about sharing of information about offenders involved in the MAPPA process. This may especially be the case for the health professionals who are governed by confidentiality clauses within their professional role. The duty imposed by s.325 does not create a requirement to disclose in all cases but provides a statutory gateway that permits disclosure when it is necessary.
3.61 It should be noted that s.96 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 contains specific provision to allow the Home Secretary to make regulations on the sharing of information on registered sex offenders including those held in hospital settings.
3.62 Further guidance from Annex B of the NHS code of practice states that information about a patient should not be used for any purpose 'except as originally understood by the confider'.
3.63 There are some cases where breach of confidentiality is justified 'where there is an over-riding public interest' e.g. to prevent and support detection, investigation and punishment of serious crime - defined as murder, manslaughter, rape, treason, serious public disorder, kidnapping and child abuse)
3.64 This can be achieved under s.60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 so long as whoever authorises disclosure makes a record of this providing clear evidence of the reasoning used and circumstances prevailing. Where possible the patient should be informed if such a procedure has taken place although in some cases such disclosure might not be considered safe.
3.65 MAPPA meeting minutes should remain confidential and only contain information strictly relevant to matters discussed. They should only be given to people who attended and further seen by those who have the duty to consider what was discussed and decided.
3.66 Requests for disclosure of MAPPA minutes by an offender can be made through her/his legal representative though there are some exemptions to the Data Protection Act when access can be refused.
3.67 A decision to refuse access for a given reason can be made by the Chair of the MAPPA meeting where the minutes were taken although where there is a lack of clarity about how to proceed, the responsible authority should seek legal advice.
3.68

Information-sharing should be in accordance with the:

  • Human Rights Act 1998, specifically where it refers to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which qualifies the right to respect for private and family life as follows -'there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of .....public safety... for the prevention or detection of crime for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others';
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (s.17) which places a duty on every local authority to 'exercise its various functions ....with due regard to ... the need to do all that it reasonably can to prevent... crime and disorder in its area'; s.115 of the above Act provides legal authority for those agencies involved in MAPPA to share information for the above purpose;
  • Data Protection Act 1998 which allows agencies to process data held by them for their lawful purposes and duty; the assessment and management of the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders is part of that duty;
  • Freedom of Information Act 2001 which the MAPPA process takes into consideration.


Referral Process

3.69 All cases falling within the definitions contained in ss.67 and 68 of the CJCSA 2000 will be notified to the Thames Valley Police Public Protection Office Manager using the standard notification form (PP1). This also serves as the Level 2 and Level 3 MAPPA referral form for those cases assessed as meeting the criteria identified in pages 34 to 37 of the National MAPPA Guidance.
3.70 For prison and probation service offenders the joint prison / probation Offender Assessment System (OASys) is the principal risk assessment tool, in particular the risk of harm assessment. This assessment will trigger the need for specialist assessments.
3.71 The Risk Matrix 2000 is the principal tool for assessing risk of reconviction in adult male sex offenders and is used by the Police Public Protection Office to assess static risk for registered male sex offenders. The Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA is the principal tool used by Probation for assessing risk in cases of domestic abuse.
3.72 Referrals under MAPPA can be made by any agency. It is essential that assessments are informed by consideration of the dynamic risk factors relevant in each case.
3.73 Professional judgement remains an essential ingredient in all risk assessments and for this reason active participation by a range of professionals at inter-agency meetings will be a vital part of the risk assessment and management process within MAPPA.
3.74 Following assessment, Thames Valley Police Public Protection Office will be notified of all relevant offenders (whatever the risk level), using the standard notification form (PP1).
3.75 If housing concerns are identified at this stage the Housing Information form (PP3) attached to the PP1, will also be completed and sent to the Public Protection Office and copied directly to the NPS-TV Housing Needs Team Manager.
3.76 It will be clear from the notification which cases are deemed to meet the criteria for consideration by a MAPPP.
3.77 The co-ordination panel will either confirm the assessment or require that further evidence be submitted before the appropriate risk and management level is agreed.
3.78 The Thames Valley Police Public Protection Office Manager will then distribute notifications to the appropriate MAPPA lead managers for inclusion on the agenda of the next meeting (or for the convening of an urgent meeting if required).
3.79 Cases which are identified as Level 1 will be included on the agenda for information only.
3.80 Cases identified as Level 3 will require that the designated senior managers are invited to attend and to chair the MAPPP.
3.81 In practice, agendas are likely to be constructed by Police Public Protection Officers (PPOs) but local variations may be agreed. Agendas and relevant papers will be sent to local MAPPA members by PPOs 7 days before the meeting (immediately if the meeting is to be convened urgently).
3.82 Referrals under MAPPA arising from applications to approved hostels within the Thames Valley Area from other probation areas, where there is no local supervising officer, will be the responsibility of the hostel manager or her/his deputy.
3.83 It is imperative that hostel managers keep their local senior probation officers informed of high risk referrals so that they may contribute to the hostel high risk referral panel. Chairs of MAPPA meetings must also be kept informed of the release dates including releases on temporary licences and parole dates.
3.84 Subsequent reviews of risk assessments may also trigger a change of risk management level. Such changes will be minuted and forwarded to the central Public Protection Office.


Meetings Including Reviews

3.85 The lead officers from Police and Probation will share responsibility for acting as chair for Level 2 cases. They will ensure that those required to attend are provided with relevant information as far in advance as possible to enable their full participation.
3.86 To ensure timely planning for release of identified prisoners, all eligible custodial cases should be referred at the start of sentence or wherever possible at least 6 months prior to expected release.
3.87 In those cases where sentence length permits, referral should preferably be made at least 6 months prior to release.
3.88 For those cases considered to pose imminent risk on release, 12 months notice is normally required so that plans for additional resources relating to accommodation, surveillance, and community treatment may be sought.
3.89 The Area Manager responsible for prisons in the Thames Valley has established local procedures to ensure prisoners with release addresses in the area assessed by the prison service as meeting the MAPPA criteria, are referred to the relevant lead managers.
3.90 This will be particularly useful in those cases where there is no statutory licence and therefore no supervising probation officer in the community (see Prison Service MAPPA Protocol).
3.91 Each agency represented at meetings under MAPPA is required to follow this protocol.
3.92 At each meeting the chair will routinely draw members' attention to the 'information sharing fact sheet' which will be available at each meeting to clarify the position of each participant with respect to information sharing. The meeting should not proceed until each member present confirms that they have read, understood and are able to comply with the expectations outlined in the fact sheet.
3.93 Risk assessment information on all offenders referred under MAPPA will be copied in confidence to all those invited to attend the meeting. It will be made clear which cases are for full consideration (i.e. Level 2and Level 3 cases) and which are provided to enable agencies to contribute further information if available (Level 1).
3.94 Information copied to agencies prior to and after meetings will be sent using the most secure means available. This will require agencies to identify to PPOs precisely how this is to be achieved. Electronic exchange of information is not deemed to be sufficiently secure at the present time and will not, therefore, be acceptable unless security can be demonstrated.
3.95 There will be no discussion at the meeting of Level 1 cases where risk assessment details are supplied for information only, unless an agency present has additional information to offer which may affect the assessment.
3.96

For Level 2 and Level 3 cases, discussion will be focused on the development of a strategy to reduce the risk posed and manage the offender in the community. The template entitled 'minutes initial meeting /-review (PP2) will guide discussion which will include consideration of the following:

  • Confirmation of the risk assessment;
  • Potential for specific and realistic plans to minimise risk;
  • Arrangements to ensure effective implementation and monitoring;
  • Need for information sharing and protection measures for past and potential victims;
  • Allocation of specific resources;
  • Review of suitability of current or planned housing (the PP3 may need to be completed at the meeting if housing issues emerge which were not identified at referral);
  • Potential risk to children / young people;
  • Authorisation to apply for a civil order;
  • Management of serious community concerns and/or media implications;
  • Wider disclosure.
3.97 Each case considered under MAPPA will be fully and separately recorded and agreed action by individual agencies identified. No handwritten notes should be taken at the meeting except for official minute taking. Representatives at the meetings may take notes of any immediate action points they have agreed.
3.98 The timing of reviews will be noted on the minutes but will normally be no longer than every 6 months for Level 2 MARMM cases. This includes Level 2 cases that are managed jointly by police and probation.
3.99 The timing of reviews need to take into account the level of risk posed, how closely the case needs to be monitored and any intervention that is planned e.g. does the meeting need to consider progress during treatment or just post programme; and whether agencies are working together effectively.
3.100 Level 1 cases need to be reviewed by Police and Probation at least annually to monitor any changes. If there is an increase in risk level a review of the management plan needs to be considered. If this increases the agencies involved the MAPPA level will also be increased and the reasons for the change will be noted in the minutes.
3.101 Originals of recorded notes (PP2 and PP3) will be sent to the Thames Valley Police Public Protection Office Manager. Copies will be distributed to members by the chair of the meeting or the PPO depending on local arrangements.
3.102 Such notes will be in type-written form (word processed). While discussing each case consideration should be given about who else, outside the meeting, requires a copy of the minutes. For example, if an offender is visiting another area, a copy of the minutes would normally be sent to the corresponding MAPPA meeting Chair.
3.103 If an offender is considered by either a MARMM or a MAPPP, there must be a presumption in favour of informing her/him of this and its implications.
3.104 This should be an open, participative process where the offender is left in no doubt as to the focus of the work and the expectations on her/him for change within it and the sanctions to be applied throughout.
3.105 This open dialogue requires considerable skill and necessitates careful planning of the input, where it should take place, who should give it and with what support.
3.106 Careful consideration should be given to this disclosure and agreement to withhold it should only be given if the interests of public safety (including the safety of staff in the various agencies with whom the offender is likely to come into contact) or the protection of victims are deemed to override such disclosure. This decision must be clearly recorded on the PP2 form.
3.107 In order for the MAPPA list to remain up to date and accurate it is important that MARMMs consider removing names from the list, i.e. at the end of a prison or community penalty. However the converse is also essential to managing risk, i.e. to keep an offender on the agenda if they are considered to pose a high or very high risk of serious harm.


Referral to the Public Protection Unit

3.108

Probation Circular 15/1999: 'Early Warning Mechanism for the Release or Discharge of Potentially Dangerous Offenders' advises that the early warning system i.e. referral to the Public Protection Unit (formerly Dangerous Offender Unit) should be triggered in those cases where there is a 'strong risk' that serious violent or sexual offending will be committed following release and:

  • The case and, in particular, accommodation plans are likely to be subject to media scrutiny;
  • There are victim issues, e.g. fear and alarm from previous victims or an identified future target;
  • There are concerns about probable non-compliance with the supervision plan making it likely to fail;
  • Placement in suitable accommodation is proving very difficult.


Victim Protection

3.109 The Probation Service has a statutory duty to consult with victims of sexual or violent offenders sentenced to imprisonment of 12 months or more to provide information and to ascertain their views regarding release conditions.
3.110 The duty is performed by the Victim Contact Officer, who should be considered as a core member of any MARMM or MAPPP if there is a named victim.
3.111 If the case is managed by Probation, the case manager should have involved the Victim Contact Officer prior to any meeting.


Strategic Management Board

3.112 A multi-agency SMB will oversee and review the operation of this protocol and will be responsible for the production of the annual report as per the MAPPA guidance (pp.45 - p.51). This group will also assist in organising necessary training identified under MAPPA but lead managers will be responsible for inducting new members locally. The SMB will conduct ad hoc and specifically requested individual case reviews.


Lay advisors

3.113 Lay advisors are appointed to assist in the MAPPA review functions, not the operational decision making. They will operate as full members of the SMB although their role is very much part time.
3.114 It is expected that they will attend each of the SMB meetings - at least 4 each year, and undertake such familiarisation and reading to enable them to understand and contribute to these meetings.
3.115 The SMB will appoint a lead officer who will take responsibility for implementing the recruitment and training of lay advisors to the Thames Valley Area.


Police National Intelligence Model

3.116

The model highlights the needs to:

  • Plan and work in co-operation with partners to secure community safety;
  • Manage performance and risk;
  • Account for budgets.
3.117 The MAPPA process must engage effectively in accordance with the above.

4. Developing Intelligence About Organised or Persistent Offenders

4.1

Each Public Protection Unit has an intelligence capability responsible and may:

  • Collate and disseminate relevant intelligence to local, area and central police databases regarding persons likely to be committing offences against children;
  • Initiate proactive assessment and tasking plans regarding identified suspects and control or assist with progression of these plans within the police;
  • Submit intelligence reports through the appropriate channels for action in cases where suspects are committing offences outside the Thames Valley boundary;
  • Prepare information to be shared within MAPPA.

5. Release and Temporary Release of Prisoners Convicted of Offences Against Children

Guidance on Offences against Children can be found by clicking on the following link: GOV.UK.

Release of Prisoners Convicted of Offences Against Children

5.1 When a prisoner convicted of offences against a child is to be released at the end of her/his sentence the director of Children's Social Care and chief probation officer must, prior to the release date, be informed by the prison probation officer.
5.2 If there are children at the household where the prisoner intends to live, a Section 47 Enquiry must be initiated (see Section 47 Enquiries Procedure).


Temporary Release or Parole of Prisoners Convicted of Offences Against Children

5.3 When a prisoner convicted of offences against a child is being considered for parole or is to be released from custody on a temporary basis, the prison probation officer must, in writing inform the director of Children's Social Care of the area where the prisoner is expected to reside on release, with a copy sent to the chief probation officer for the area concerned.
5.4 Where the prisoner is being considered for parole, the prison probation officer must request comments from the director of Children's Social Care on the prisoner's release with particular reference to the effects which release could have upon any children at the address at which the prisoner is expected to live.
5.5 Probation staff must interview those living at the address to assess the home circumstances and, if appropriate authorise the provision of accommodation to the prisoner.
5.6 Depending on the risk involved, probation staff may conduct a home visit jointly with the police.
5.7 The significance of the offence/s for any child living or likely to visit the address must be established and Children's Social Care informed.
5.8 For any child identified by the probation officer as either living or likely to visit the address, the social worker must undertake an assessment of potential risk in relation to the release of the prisoner.
5.9 The social worker must identify in writing any child protection issues arising from the proposed release of a prisoner to a specified address and indicate any action that Children's Social Care may need to undertake to protect the child/ren in the household.
5.10 The probation officer for the local area must share her/his report with the appropriate Children's Social Care.
5.11 If the prisoner is to be released to an address with a child/ren, a Section 47 Enquiry must be initiated (see Section 47 Enquiries Procedure).


Assessment of Young People Accused, Finally Warned About or Convicted of Offences Against Children

5.12 These procedures should be considered along with those about abuse by children (seeAbuse by Children Procedure).
5.13 There is a need to distinguish between those young people under the age of 18 who pose a significant risk to children and those who do not and where the circumstances of the offence do not indicate on-going child protection concerns e.g. unlawful consensual sexual intercourse between children of a similar age.
5.14 Both the police and the appropriate worker from YOT must notify Children's Social Care whenever a young person is accused of, or convicted of an offence against a child (including but not limited to Sch.1) and assess if there is immediate risk to any child/ren in the household or community.
5.15 Children's Social Care team/group manager must decide if any immediate action is necessary to protect the children.
5.16

Within 10 working days of conviction, the YOT worker must:

  • (Where relevant) inform the young person and her/his family about the potential implications of the offence being designated under Schedule 1;
  • Submit a report to the child protection manager, outlining the context of the offence, available evidence, age differential between the young people, triggers to the offending, substance misuse and mental health issues;
  • Recommend whether or not the child protection procedures should be invoked (the pre sentence report and the assessment instrument used by YOT should be attached).
5.17 The team/group manager must consider whether a Section 47 Enquiry or Child and Family Single Assessment should be commenced. If s/he concludes further assessment is not required, a recommendation must be made to the service manager, and the resulting decision must be recorded on both Children's Social Care and YOT files.
5.18 Where there are convictions for sexual offences, there may be a requirement for registration on the Sex Offender's Register. In these circumstances, the YOT report and any Children's Social Care assessment and recommendations will be considered via MAPPA.

6. Identified Offenders & Others Who May Pose a Risk to Children

Recognition

6.1

Indicators of people who may pose a risk to children include:

  • Risk to Children Offenders;
  • Individuals known to have been cautioned / warned / reprimanded in relation to an offence against children;
  • Individuals against whom there is a previous finding in civil proceedings e.g. Sex Offender Order or care proceedings;
  • Those about whom there has been a previous Section 47 Enquiry which came to the conclusion that there had been abuse;
  • An individual who has admitted past abuse of a child;
  • Others whose past or present behaviour gives rise to a reason to suspect that a child may be at risk of Significant Harm e.g. a history of domestic abuse and other serious assaults;
  • Offenders against adults who are notified to the local authority, because the prison or probation services are concerned about the possible risk to children;
  • Offenders who come to the attention of the MAPPPA.


Response

6.2

On notification or discovery of a person who may pose a risk to children, Children's Social Care must treat this information as a child protection referral and instigate a Section 47 Enquiry:

  • If the person is living in a household with children;
  • Has contact with children; or
  • Is suspected of posing a risk to children in the area.
6.3

Checks (including the prison service that may hold important information) must be undertaken to establish:

  • Any children believed to have been abused by the individual in the past;
  • Other children who are believed to have been in contact with the individual in the past and may therefore have been at risk;
  • Children with whom the individual is currently in contact in a family or work / voluntary setting;
  • Children (or groups of children) with whom the individual may seek contact, such as children attending a school located near the home of an individual known to target such children.
6.4

All assessments of risk must consider the:

  • Needs of the children affected;
  • Level and pattern of abusing or offending behaviour, including behaviour thought to have occurred, but which has not led to a criminal conviction;
  • Level of protection which is likely to be provided by other significant adults;
  • Ability of the children to protect themselves.
6.5 A Child Protection Conference must be convened if the threshold criteria are met - seeChild Protection Conferences Procedure and if any child/ren require continuing protection, therapeutic intervention or family support services.


Disclosure of Information by Local Authority

6.6 This procedure applies when disclosure to 3rd parties of an offender / suspected offender's previous history is being considered.
6.7

Subject to the conditions set out in the Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure, the general presumption is that information should not normally be disclosed, except if 1 of the following applies:

  • Consent from the suspected offender / alleged offender / offender;
  • Statutory requirements or other duty;
  • Duty to the public.
6.8 Legal advice should be sought where doubt exists as to the lawfulness of disclosure.
6.9 Absence of a conviction for child abuse in a criminal court does not prevent a local authority from informing parents or carers of the potential risk posed by someone who is honestly believed on reasonable grounds to have abused other children.
6.10

Generally the risk assessment for disclosure of information on convicted abusers will be led by the Police and Probation service (see MAPPA), but Children's Social Care may need to consider the risk also of those alleged abusers who:

  • Have been charged with an offence and the outcome of their case is pending;
  • Were not prosecuted because the required standard of proof did not allow for a criminal case to be pursued;
  • Were not prosecuted but the case 'left on file';
  • Were acquitted.
6.11 In view of the possibility of legal challenge by the individual concerned or a future victim, all agencies must, in addition to seeking any legal advice required maintain a written audit trail of events, actions, discussions, decisions and the reasons for them.


Risk Assessment

6.12 Prior to any decision by Children's Social Care to disclose information, a risk assessment must be undertaken, in order to establish what risks the person poses to children in the prevailing circumstances and the risks associated with disclosure.
6.13 The risk assessment and management of alleged / suspected offenders will usually be through MAPPA. Children's Social Care has a particular role to play when an individual is setting up home with a new partner who has children.
6.14

The risk assessment must consider both enduring and changeable factors and take account of:

  • Nature and pattern of previous offending;
  • Compliance with previous sentences or court orders;
  • Proximity of potential victims;
  • Probability that a further offence will be committed;
  • The harm such behaviour will cause;
  • Any behaviour indicating likelihood that s/he will re-offend;
  • Any expert opinion e.g. psychiatric;
  • Any other relevant information e.g. specific vulnerability of child/ren.
6.15

The risk assessment must also consider the following risks:

  • Displacing or increasing offending;
  • Pushing an offender 'underground';
  • Potential consequences to the offender and her/his family;
  • Potential consequences in the context of law and order;
  • Any other operational considerations.
6.16 Where possible, the individual should be consulted to provide information to assist the risk assessment.
6.17 The individual should be given the opportunity to challenge the information on which the decision to disclose is being made, and the response considered as part of the risk assessment.
6.18 The child protection manager and legal department must be consulted regarding the possibility of disclosure and the decision taken by the service manager, in consultation with Police and Probation at a Strategy Meeting.
6.19 If the Police do not support any planned disclosure based on the potential risk to an identified child, further legal advice must be taken.


Disclosure Process

6.20 Each decision to disclose must be justified on the likelihood of harm which non-disclosure might otherwise cause and the pressing need for such a disclosure.
6.21

Consideration must be given to other, less intrusive methods that might achieve any required objectives:

  • If the offender is supervised by Probation, the use of its powers may assist or obviate the need for disclosure;
  • Consent to disclosure should be sought from the individual in question (unless this increases the risk to any child);
  • Consideration should be given to allowing the individual to make the disclosure themselves, which may be sufficient to achieve the objective e.g. promise to move to less provocative surroundings (unless this increases the risk to any child).
6.22

Where a decision to disclose is agreed, the risk management process must consider at a strategy meeting:

  • Nature of the information to be disclosed;
  • Extent of its distribution;
  • Time scales;
  • Who will disclose the information and how;
  • Advice and guidance to be given to the recipients regarding the use they are to make of the information;
  • Identification of a contact person identified to provide further advice and guidance to the recipient.
6.23

Following disclosure, the social worker, police or probation officer must note:

  • How seriously the child / carer took the information;
  • The carer's ability and plans to protect the child;
  • The carer's immediate plans for protection.

7. Visits by Children to High Secure Hospitals & Prisons

7.1 High secure (formerly known as special) hospitals have a duty to implement child protection policies, liaise with their LSCBs, provide safe venues for children's visits and provide nominated officers to oversee assessment of whether visits by specific children would be in their best interests. Many prisons now operate a similar system in relation to sex offenders and other dangerous offenders.
7.2 Children's Social Care must assist staff in high secure hospitals to carry out their responsibilities in relation to the assessment [LAC (99) 23 amended by LAC (2000)18].
7.3 With respect to visits by children to patients who have mental health difficulties and are in local non-special hospitals (including those detained under the Mental Health Act 1983), the onus for risk assessments lies with the Mental Health Trust.
7.4 Offenders against children, those found unfit to be tried, or not guilty by reasons of insanity, in respect of murder, manslaughter or a 'Schedule 1 offence' will only be eligible for a visit if within the permitted categories of relationship.
7.5

The nominated officer of the relevant hospital must contact a person with Parental Responsibility for the child to:

  • Seek her/his consent for the visit;
  • Confirm the relationship of the child to the patient;
  • Clarify who will accompany the child (must be a parent, relative, foster carer or employee of Children's Social Care;
  • Inform her/him of the requirement for an assessment by Children's Social Care.
7.6 A clinical assessment of the patient must be undertaken by the hospital. If clinical findings are supportive of the visit and the person with parental responsibility agrees, Children's Social Care must be asked to assess if the visit is in the child's best interests. The clinical assessment should be provided to the local authority.


Assessment with Respect to High Secure Hospitals

7.7

On receiving the request for an assessment, the social worker must:

  • Inform the child protection manager for monitoring purposes;
  • Contact a person with Parental Responsibility for the child to gain consent for the assessment.
7.8

Children's Social Care' assessment should establish:

  • The child's legal relationship with the named patient (only children in specified categories of relationship may visit);
  • The quality of the child's relationship with the named patient, both currently and prior to hospital admission;
  • Whether there has been past, suspected, alleged or confirmed, abuse of the child by the patient;
  • Future risks of Significant Harm to the child if the visits take place;
  • The child's wishes and feelings about the proposed visit, taking into account her/his age and understanding;
  • The views of those with parental responsibility and, if different, those with day to day care of the child;
  • If it is known that the child lived in other local authority areas, what other information is known about the child and the family;
  • The frequency of contact that would be appropriate;
  • Who would accompany the child on visits, and the type and nature - e.g. quality and duration of relationship with the child.


Report

7.9 The assessment must be completed within 1 month of the referral and the report sent to the nominated officer at the high secure hospital stating whether, in the opinion of Children's Social Care, the visit would be in the best interests of the child. A copy must be sent to the child protection manager.
7.10

The decision should take account of the:

  • Nature (e.g. quality and duration) of child's attachment to patient;
  • Past abuse and /or risk of Significant Harm to the child from the named patient;
  • Views of the child, those with parental responsibility and those with day to day care of the child;
  • Opinions of professionals who have knowledge of the child;
  • Hospital's assessment;
  • Whether the visit is, overall, in the child's best interests;
  • Who will accompany the child on her/his visits to the high secure hospital.
7.11 If the person with Parental Responsibility refuses to co-operate with the assessment and no information is known about the child, the nominated officer must be informed that a report cannot be provided.
7.12 Where the child is known to Children's Social Care information from records may be supplied with the agreement of the person with parental responsibility.


Refusing a Visit

7.13

There following are the circumstances in which the nominated officer must refuse to allow a child to visit. These are if:

  • The relationship between the patient and the child is not within the permitted categories of relationship as set out in paragraph 2(2) (b) of the Directions (see The Directions and Associated Guidance to Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton Hospital Authorities HSC 1999/160). The nominated officer must notify the patient of the decision and reasons for it in writing. However, the patient has no right to make representation against this decision;
  • The person/s with Parental Responsibility responds to the nominated officer stating that they do not agree to the child visiting the patient. The decision and the reasons for the decision must be put in writing to the patient;
  • The hospital's assessment indicates that the patient's mental health state and/or risk to children is such (in the immediate or longer-term) that it would not be appropriate for the child to visit the patient. The decision to refuse the visit must be put in writing to the patient, the child (if appropriate), those with Parental Responsibility and persons with day to day care for the child, if different. The letter should also include details of the complaints procedure;
  • The relevant Children's Social Care Services conclude that the visit would not, or may not, be in the child's best interests then the hospital must not allow the visit. The decision to refuse the visit must be put in writing to the patient, the child (if appropriate), those with parental responsibility, person's with day to day care for the child, if different, and, if appropriate, the child;
  • If the social worker advises that the visit would be in the child's best interests, then the hospital nominated officer should make the decision, following discussion with the social worker and after taking account of all available information.


Monitoring

7.14 All requests for assessments and their outcomes should be reported to the LSCB on a quarterly basis.


This page is correct as printed on Wednesday 24th of October 2018 05:15:17 AM please refer back to this website (http://mkscb.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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