Logo
Size: View this website with small text View this website with medium text View this website with large text View this website with high visibility


Part 1: Managing Individuals who Pose a Risk of Harm to Children

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter provides practice guidance and information about a range of mechanisms that are available when managing people who have been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children.

The Children Act 1989 recognised that the identification and investigation of child abuse, together with the protection and support of victims and their families, requires multi-agency collaboration. As part of that protection, action has been taken, usually by the police and Children’s Social Care, to prosecute known offenders or control their access to vulnerable children. 

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a number of new offences to deal with those who abuse and exploit children in this way (see Legislation website).

The term ‘schedule one offender’ should no longer be used for anyone convicted of a crime against a child. The focus should be on whether the individual poses a ‘risk of harm to children’.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Relevant Sexual and Violent Offenders
  3. Risk Assessment
  4. Child Protection Conferences
  5. Organisational Levels of Decision Making
  6. Level 2 Multi-agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP)
  7. Management of Level 2 MAPPP
  8. Level 3 Multi-agency Public Protection Panel
  9. Management of Level 3 MAPPP
  10. Wider Issues Arising from Level 2/Level 3 MAPPPs
  11. Defensible Multi-agency Decision Making
  12. Roles and Requirements of Individual Agencies
  13. Children’s Social Care
  14. Young Offenders – General
  15. Young Offenders – Looked After by the Local Authority
  16. Youth Offending Teams
  17. Education
  18. Mental Health Services
  19. Housing
  20. Crown Prosecution Service
  21. Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP)/Assessment of Risk Meetings (ARM)

    Appendices

    Amendments to this Chapter


1. Introduction

A Joint Policy Statement and a full document entitled Operational Guidelines for Dorset Police, the National Probation Service Dorset area and the Prison Service is with the management of each agency.

Each agency will be aware of its own operational guidelines and reference documents and care should be taken to refer to those where appropriate.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 Section 325 seeks to increase public protection by building upon the existing inter-agency arrangements.

The Act places a statutory duty on Police, Probation and the Prison Service as the ‘responsible authorities’ to make joint arrangements for the assessment and management of the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders, and other offenders who, by reason of offences committed by them, are considered to be persons who may cause serious harm to the public. These arrangements are known as the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

In addition to the statutory responsibilities that Children’s Services, Police, Probation and the Prison Service have there are a number of statutory and voluntary agencies that have an important role to play in effective public protection, these agencies have a duty to co-operate. This will include the National Health Service (including local Mental Health Services), Education, Local Authority Housing, Youth Offending Teams, NSPCC and a range of other agencies including the independent sector. In the County of Dorset, the aim of the Police, Probation and Prison Service will be to achieve agreement across agencies to put in place arrangements that will better protect the public.

Under S326 of the Act, there is a statutory requirement on the Police, Probation and the Prison Service to produce an annual report on the work carried out under the arrangements. It will be a clear and accessible document that informs and reassures the public about the work taking place for their protection. It will summarise the roles and responsibilities of all agencies involved.


2. Relevant Sexual and Violent Offenders

The Police, Probation and the Prison Service have a responsibility to implement joint arrangements for the assessment and management of the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders, and other offenders who may cause serious harm to the public.

A person is a relevant sexual or violent offender if s/he falls within one or more of the categories set out in S327 of the Act, as follows:-

Category 1

S/he is subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2003. See Operational Guidelines for Dorset Police, Prison Service and the National Probation Service Dorset Area.

Category 2

S/he is convicted by a court in England or Wales of a murder, or an offence specified in Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act, (See Operational Guidelines for Dorset Police and the National Probation Service Dorset area) and one of the following sentences is imposed:

  • A term of imprisonment of 12 months or more;
  • Detention in a Young Offender Institution for a term of 12 months or more;
  • Detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure;
  • A sentence of detention for public protection under S226 of the Act;
  • Detention for a period of 12 months or more under Section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (offenders under 18 convicted of certain serious offences);
  • Detention under S228 of the Act;
  • Detention and training order for a term of 12 months or more;
  • A Hospital or Guardianship Order within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983;
  • This category also includes persons found not guilty of murder or an offence specified in Schedule 15 of the Act by reason of insanity or under a disability and done the act charged against them in respect of the offence and one of the following orders is made:-
    1. An order that s/he be admitted to hospital; or
    2. A Guardianship Order within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983.

(“Court” does not include a Court-Martial or the Courts-Martial Appeal Court).

Category 3

Other offenders: These offenders must have been convicted/formally cautioned or in the case of juveniles, reprimanded or warned for an offence that indicates that he/she is capable of causing serious harm to the public and the Responsible Authority considers that they may pose a risk of serious harm to the public which requires active multi-agency management.

Agencies that operate an Integrated Care Programme Approach (ICPA) should consider and risk assess via that system first. Agencies or individuals concerned about people posing a risk of serious harm should raise those concerns with the MAPPA coordinator who will discuss with the Detective Inspector or Detective Chief Inspector (as appropriate) to determine which individuals may pose a risk and whether they have any relevant criminal history.

INITIALLY ALL ISSUES MUST BE RAISED WITH A LINE MANAGER


3. Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is an ongoing process. All agencies involved must remain sensitive to factors that could indicate a change in the level of risk. Concerns must be acted upon through liaison, consultation and either a Level 2 or Level 3 Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel, if applicable.


4. Child Protection Processes

See also Child Protection Conferences Procedure.

When it is apparent there is a risk of abuse from a convicted offender to an individual child which may not be alleviated by the management of the risk related to that person, a child protection strategy discussion will agree whether s47 enquiries are needed and if s47 enquiries are commenced there will then be a decision as to whether a child protection conference will be required.

This child protection conference will be held separately from any Level 2/3 MAPPP. Where the only identified risk posed by an offender who is under the supervision of the Probation Service is to an identified child (ren) and there is a robust risk management plan that includes arrangements for good information sharing and attendance by the Offender Manager at Child Protection Conferences it will not be necessary to hold a separate MAPPA level 2 or 3 meeting. This will be decided by the MAPPA co-ordinator and Detective Inspector/ Detective Chief Inspector in consultation with the offender manager and social worker/independent conference chair – in all other cases when the concern about an individual child is evident, it will be essential for Children’s Social Care, and any other agency relevant to the circumstance, to attend the Level 2/3 MAPPP and relevant agencies to attend the CPC.


5. Organisational Levels of Decision Making

There are three levels of MAPPA Conference decision making:-

Category 1, 2 or 3 offenders can be managed at Level 1, 2 or 3.

Level 1 Ordinary Risk Management

Is the level used in most cases where the risks posed by the offender can be managed by the agency responsible for supervision/case management of the offender. This does not mean that other agencies will not be involved only that it is not considered necessary to refer the case to a level 2/3 meeting. It is essential that good information sharing takes place and there are multi-agency case management meetings where necessary. This level can only be used for Category 1 and 2 offenders because by definition Category 3 cases require active multi-agency management.

If multi-agency meetings are required at Level 2 or 3 then the MAPPA Panel Criteria Checklist (Appendix 1: MAPPA Referral Form) should be completed and countersigned by a manager before being sent to the MAPPA co-ordinator.


6. Level 2 Multi-agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP)

The criteria for referring a case to the Level 2 MAPPP are defined as those in which the offender:

  • Is assessed under OASys or Risk Matrix 2000 or other validated Risk Tool as being a high or very high risk of causing serious harm;

    and
  • Active multi-agency management of risk is required (in addition to Police and Probation).

Consultation must take place between the MAPPA co-ordinator and Detective Inspector to confirm that the criteria are met in Category 3 cases but for Category 1 and 2 cases the decision of the manager is sufficient to refer to Level 2.

The role of the Level 2 MAPPP is to:

  • Share information on those offenders referred to;
  • Identify the likelihood of re-offending;
  • Identify serious risk of harm issues and their imminence;
  • Recommend the action necessary to manage the risk including any contingencies;
  • Consider whether disclosure needs to take place;
  • Undertake a review of the risk management plan and ensure implementation of the agreed action(s) and revise if necessary;
  • Review the risk level and decide if the case still needs to be managed at the current level.

See Appendix 1: MAPPA Referral Form.


7. Management of Level 2 MAPPP

Level 2 MAPPP will be convened on days as set out in the MAPPA timetable.

Category 1 offender’s panels will be chaired by a Detective Inspector, a Senior Probation Officer or the MAPPA co-ordinator.

Category 2 offender’s panels will be chaired by a Senior Probation Officer; a Detective Inspector, or the MAPPA co-ordinator.

Category 3 offender’s panels will be chaired by a Senior Probation Officer if current to the Probation Service but otherwise will be chaired by a Detective Inspector or the MAPPA co-ordinator.

The MAPPA co-ordinator will determine who will be panel members. The MAPPA Secretary will book a room for the panel meeting.

Other agencies may be invited on the basis of current involvement or the need for likely involvement.

Staff directly involved in the case and their immediate line managers will be required to attend as will the Victim Liaison Officer, if appropriate.

Attendees are required to provide a written summary and submit key information and/or documents to the Chair on the day of the Panel Meeting. The papers will be photocopied and then distributed with the minutes. The format is as MAPPA 3. (Appendix 2: Report to Level 2/3 MAPPP)

The meeting will follow the Standing Agenda MAPPA 5. (Appendix 3: Level 2/3 MAPPP Minutes & Initial Risk/Review Assessment Meeting)

A Level 2 MAPPP that concludes that a person meets the criteria for a Level 3 MAPPP must be referred to a Level 3 MAPPP via the MAPPA Co-ordinator.

Detailed draft minutes of the meeting will be made by the MAPPA secretary and distributed to the attendees by secure email only.

The chair of the meeting will be asked to confirm that the minute is a correct record or to identify any necessary amendments. This should be done by the conference Chair within 5 working days of receipt.

If there are any amendments these will be made by the Chair and the amended minutes distributed by secure email only.

It is the responsibility of each attendee and agency to keep these minutes confidential and secure within their own file retention policy. They should not be shared with any other party without the permission of the chair of the meeting.


8. Level 3 Multi-agency Public Protection Panel

The criteria for referring a case to the Level 3 MAPPP are defined as those in which the offender:

  1. Is assessed under OASys or Risk Matrix 2000, or other validated Risk Tool as being a high or very high risk of causing serious harm;

    AND
  2. Presents risks that can only be managed by a plan which requires close multi-agency (in addition to police/probation) co-operation at a senior level due to the complexity of the case and/or because of the unusual resource commitments it requires;

    OR
  3. Although not assessed as a high or very high risk, the case is exceptional because the likelihood of media scrutiny and/or public interest in the management of the case is very high and there is a need to ensure that public confidence in the criminal justice system is sustained.

Although these cases are not exclusively those assessed as high or very high risks, in almost all cases they will be. Also, while most will be offenders being released from prison, they may also include:

  • An offender on discharge from detention under a hospital order;
  • An offender returning from overseas (whether immediately following their release from custody or not);
  • An offender who having been managed as a medium or even a low risk in the community comes to present a high or very high risk as the result of a significant change of circumstances.

Agencies attending Level 3 will, at a minimum, be Police and Probation Services, but may - and often should - also include Prison Service (Senior Probation Officer and Governor grades), Children’s Services, Health, Local Authority Housing departments, YOTS, Victim Liaison and other statutory and voluntary agencies. Agencies should be represented at a senior level where an allocation of extra resources may be required to effectively assess and manage the risks.

The role of the Level 3, at a minimum, is to:

  • Share information on those offenders referred to it;
  • Identify the level of risk of serious harm posed by the offender and the likelihood of reoffending;
  • Recommend the action necessary to manage the risk including any contingencies;
  • Monitor and ensure implementation of the agreed action;
  • Review the level of risk and the action plan in the light of changes in circumstances or behaviour;
  • Consider and manage necessary resources;
  • Consider the need for disclosure and other community issues;
  • Agree a media strategy where appropriate;
  • Set a date for the review (4-6 weeks for those in the community).


9. Management of Level 3 MAPPP

When a Level 3 MAPPP case has been identified the decision to convene a meeting will be taken by the Assistant Chief Officer (Probation) and the Detective Chief Inspector.

The Assistant Chief Officer (Probation) and Detective Chief Inspector will agree arrangements for convening a Level 3.

The conference will be chaired by the MAPPA Co-ordinator, a Detective Chief Inspector or the Assistant Chief Officer (Probation). It will be held on the days set out in the MAPPA calendar unless extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise.

The MAPPA co-ordinator will determine who will be panel members and set a date for the MAPPP meeting. (Usually the date set out in the MAPPA calendar) The MAPPA Secretary will book a room for the panel meeting.

The panel will include representation from agencies determined as relevant to the case by the Assistant Chief Officer (Probation) and Detective Chief Inspector.

Consideration will always be given to requesting the attendance of managers from the Prison Service (Governor grades), NSPCC, Health, Children’s Services and Housing who have the authority and are in a position to commit resources.

Other agencies’ senior managers who have the authority and are in a position to commit resources may be invited on the basis of current involvement or the need for likely involvement.

Staff directly involved in the case and their immediate line managers will be required to attend as will the Victim Liaison Officer, if appropriate.

Attendees are required to provide a written summary and submit key information and/or documents to the Chair on the day of the Panel Meeting. The papers will be photocopied and then distributed with the minutes. The format is as MAPPA 3 and will be sent out with the MAPPA invitations.

The meeting will follow the Standing Agenda. (MAPPA 5) Appendix 4: Level 2/3 MAPPP Minutes & Initial Risk/Review Assessment Meeting

Detailed draft minutes of the meeting will be made by the MAPPA secretary and distributed to the attendees and as determined by the Chair.

If there are any amendments these will be made by the Chair and the amended minutes distributed by secure email or hard copy together with the reports presented.

It is the responsibility of each attendee and agency to keep these minutes confidential and secure within their own file retention policy. They should not be shared with any other party without the permission of the chair of the meeting.


10. Wider Issues arising from Level 2/Level 3 MAPPPs

As a part of the MAPPA process the Chairs of Level 2 and Level 3 meetings must consider issues which arise from the cases specifically considered, but which have a wider significance or where difficulties occur with the local provision of services to assist in the management of risk.

The MAPPA Co-ordinator needs to be made aware of these issues by Chairs in order that the MAPPA Strategic Management Board can consider the issue if necessary.


11. Defensible Multi-agency Decision Making

All agencies need to be aware that Multi-agency Public Protection Panels (Level 2 or Level 3) should be able to demonstrate:

  • Ensure decisions are grounded in the evidence;
  • Use reliable risk assessment tools;
  • Collect, verify and thoroughly evaluate information;
  • Record and account for your decision making;
  • Communicate with relevant others, seek information you do not have;
  • Stay within agency policies and procedures;
  • Take all reasonable steps;
  • Match risk management interventions to risk factors;
  • Maintain contact with offender at a level commensurate with the level of risk of harm;
  • Respond to escalating risk, deteriorating behaviour, and non-compliance.

An audit programme is in place conducted by the MAPPA Board Members, including the Lay Advisors and the Probation MAPPA lead, quarterly, to identify any areas of weakness.


12. Roles and Requirements of Individual Agencies

Duty to Co-operate

Section 325(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes on specific organisations which provide public services a ‘Duty to Co-operate’ with the MAPPA Responsible Authority in the fulfillment of its obligation to establish arrangements for the purposes of assessing and managing risks posed by MAPPA offenders. A reciprocal duty is imposed on the responsible authority to act in co-operation with those organisations.

The Act requires external organisations to co-operate only in so far as this is compatible with their existing statutory responsibilities. It does not therefore impose on them a duty to do anything operationally beyond what they are already required to do. They are, however, required to carry out their responsibilities where these relate to MAPPA offenders, collaboratively with the responsible authority and the other organisations on whom a duty is imposed.

The purposes of co-operation are:

  1. To co-ordinate the involvement of different agencies in assessing and managing risk;
  2. To enable every agency, which has a legitimate interest, to contribute as fully as its existing statutory role and functions require in a way that complements the work of other agencies.

Co-operation depends upon respect for the different role each agency performs and the boundaries which define it. Unless clarity about authority is maintained, responsibility and accountability will become clouded and Duty to Co-operate agencies may misunderstand the basis upon which they co-operate. In turn, this may cause representatives of those agencies to feel dis-empowered or professionally compromised – a result which the statutory basis of the duty is explicitly designed to prevent. Without this clarity, agencies may assume that a referral of a case to either a level 2 or level 3 meeting somehow diminishes or even absolves them of any continuing responsibility, which is not the case.

Successful engagement of an agency’s co-operation is therefore dependent upon:

  1. Identifying that an agency has a legitimate interest or specific responsibility;
  2. Advising about how best it can become involved; and
  3. Helping it to co-ordinate its involvement with that of other agencies.


13. Children’s Social Care

Children’s Services receive notifications from the police on adults and young people arrested for offences against children and young people under 18 years. Notifications of convictions can be received from the Court, penal establishments, the Probation Service, the Youth Offending Team and other local authorities and may relate to custodial and non-custodial sentences.

Notification is received from the Police Sex Offender Unit about convicted sexual offenders who have to register their address with the Police as part of the requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Included are those cautioned for sexual offences, who are also required to register their address with the Police. Where there is an identified risk to a child(ren), a referral will be also be made to Children’s Services under Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures.

When a notification is received Children’s Services will make initial checks including checking their database and record the information. If as a result concerns are identified these will be responded to in accordance with safeguarding procedures.

The information obtained on offenders convicted of offences against children will be retained by Children’s Services and referred to as and when need arises.

When a child is considered to be at risk, a strategy discussion will be convened (see Section 4, Child Protection Processes) will be required unless the risk is immediately alleviated by the intervention of Children’s Social Care and it is evident that the child/ren are not likely to suffer significant harm.

Transition protocols must be adhered to in respect of young people who are moving from Children’s Services to Adult’s Services, where it is identified that they may cause serious harm to the public or themselves.

As part of the MAPPA, Children’s Services will be invited to attend MAPPP’s as appropriate.


14. Young Offenders – General

The Act includes sexual offenders who are under 18 years of age when convicted or cautioned for a relevant sexual offence. The differences for young people are:

Registration Period

The duration of the registration period is halved unless the conviction is for an indefinite period.

Penalties for not Registering

An offender under 18 years who fails to register has committed an offence - the liability, if convicted, is a fine rather than imprisonment.

Responsibility for Notification

When a young person is sentenced to custody, the court may direct that an individual having parental responsibility for him or her complies with the provisions of the Act on behalf of the young person until the age of 18 has been reached.

Additional policy and procedures in relation to children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour can be found in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole’s Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures (see Harmful Sexual Behaviour Procedure).


15. Young Offenders – Looked After by the Local Authority

Children’s Services also have a specific role when:

  • A child who is looked after by the Authority is convicted of an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

When a looked after young person is cautioned for a relevant sexual offence, it is the young person’s responsibility to comply with notification requirements. The Police will notify the nominated person in Children’s Services of any such cautions. The nominated person will pass the information to the supervising social worker.

In the case of both convictions and cautions, the social worker will need to:

  • Ensure all written notifications are placed on the young person’s file;
  • Inform those with day-to-day care of the young person of the registration requirements;
  • Assist the young person to comply with notification requirements;
  • Ensure the young person is reminded of the requirement to notify the Police every time a move occurs, until the young person ceases to be looked after;
  • Ensure that any new day-to-day carers are informed of the registration requirements;
  • Ensure that the nominated Education representative is notified that the young person is a pupil at a school (including a 6th Form) or a student at a college.


16. Youth Offending Teams

YOT Risk Assessment

The Youth Offending Teams work with all young offenders aged 10 to 17. The teams follow the procedures outlined in this document. In this protocol for this age group of offenders references to “Probation Officer” can be replaced by “YOT Officer”.

The Probation Officers seconded to the teams are used as link points.

The Youth Offending Teams complete a standard assessment process, the “ASSET” form, on all young offenders with whom they carry out any interventions. This is a nationally implemented form issued by the Youth Justice Board.

ASSET is completed at the beginning, middle and end of an intervention.

ASSET creates a risk score, which can then be used to inform the assessment of likelihood of harm and risk to the public and others. Where significant risk of harm is identified in the core ASSET then a Risk of Serious Harm ASSET would be completed.

Following this assessment when appropriate the YOT would follow the MAPPA procedures.


17. Education

Schools and other educational establishments will have a direct interest and involvement if a convicted offender is:

  • A young person of compulsory school age or student in a school 6th Form/or a student at a college;
  • Known to have connections with the school, living near the school or loitering in the vicinity of a school.

Reference will be made to the nominated Education representative:

  • Where the above is known to apply and where a Level 2 or Level 3 Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel is scheduled, contact should be made initially with a nominated person in the relevant authority;
  • The nominated Education representative will consider the implications and will arrange for a relevant person to attend the Level 2/3 panel;
  • Discussion related to concerns, in advance of a Level 2/3 panel being scheduled, will be with the nominated person from Education, as above;
  • If a Level 2/Level 3 occurs within which there are implications for Education, but where there was no recognition in advance of such issues, a sub-group of the main panel will be identified to initiate contact with the nominated Education representative as above. This sub-group will then meet with the person identified by the nominated Education representative, to formulate an action plan to take account of the factors arising from the Level 2/3 panel;
  • Where the concern is initiated in a school or other educational establishment, the Head or other relevant person should seek advice from the person nominated by their Education Authority. As a result this nominated person will make contact with the local Probation office or Police as appropriate, or will agree who from the school staff will undertake this action;
  • Following a Level 2/3 panel, if the required action is continuing, then a method of updating/reviewing the progress will be identified.


18. Mental Health Services

Specialist Mental Health services are provided by two Trusts across Dorset: Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (DHFT) for East Dorset and North Dorset Primary Care Trust (NDPCT) for West Dorset. Teams to undertake the following in respect of MAPPA and mentally disordered offenders (MDO) to whom they provide care:-

  • To identify MDOs considered suitable for Level 2 and 3 MAPPPs;
  • To refer such individuals into MAPPA;
  • To disclose only the necessary information required to assess and manage the risks presented working as closely as possible within the Trusts’ policy on confidentiality;
  • Clinicians and managers involved in the case are to attend all panels and present reports as required;
  • To amalgamate risk management plans into the Integrated Care Programme Approach of the individual who is the subject of the MAPPA.

DHFT provide the Dorset Forensic Services (DFS) which is a pan Dorset service for offenders with more severe disorders and higher levels of risk. Staff from DFS will attend all Level 2 and 3 MAPPPs called on their patients. This service will also provide the Health Service representation on the Dorset Strategic Management Board for MAPPA.

Sex Offenders Detained in Hospital or Subject to Guardianship Orders under the Mental Health Act 1983.

A hospital manager’s referral of an offender who is detained in hospital or subject to guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983 following sentencing or cautioning for a relevant offence, on receipt of notification:-

  • Should ensure that the patients’ records are endorsed; and
  • If necessary, inform the new hospital managers, prison or local Children’s Services authority if the patient is transferred to another hospital, back to prison or guardianship. 

The hospital manager must remind the patient of the registration requirements when they leave hospital on discharge or long term leave in the community.

Hospital detention in these cases is likely to be at one of the special hospitals and, although there are no special hospitals in Dorset, both the main psychiatric hospitals at Forston Clinic, Dorchester and St Ann’s Hospital, Poole have the potential to receive such patients in their care. If staff are unsure whether the person they are supervising comes under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983, they should discuss the position with the relevant manager. If there are immediate child protection concerns reference should be made to the named nurse for child protection advice, followed as applicable by referral without delay to the relevant Children’s Services children services team.

Patients Subject to Guardianship

Children’s Services are not required to take any special action in respect of people subject to guardianship who are served with notice to register under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. However, as a matter of good practice a supervising social worker should discuss registration requirements with the person concerned and assist them to comply.

When a person subject to the provisions of the Act is discharged from guardianship or is transferred to another local authority area, the information regarding the address of the person, which is held by the Police, should be updated. Social workers should explain this to the person and ask their permission to disclose the information. If consent is refused the relevant senior manager will be informed, so that there can be a discussion about the risk posed by the person and a decision made on the basis of public interest and whether this justifies overriding the refusal of the person to have the information passed to the Police. This discussion should be recorded and signed.

Any information about change of address will be passed to the Police Sex Offender Unit in the area where the sex offender will become resident.

Disclosure of Information: Sex Offences/Other Potentially Dangerous Offences

Where it is important and relevant for staff and agencies to share information or have information disclosed to them regarding the offender, this will be on a strictly confidential basis.

Consideration of the need to make disclosure to protect victims, potential victims, staff and other persons in the community will be undertaken at every Level 2 and 3 MAPPP meeting and a plan identifying necessary action will be agreed if appropriate. The meeting will identify who needs to receive disclosure, what information needs to be disclosed, who will make that disclosure and where and when it will take place. The minutes of the meeting will clearly record those decisions. Disclosure to third parties will also include advice on how that information is to be used and where the recipients(s) may seek additional support and guidance.

The authority to disclose information is contained within section 115 Crime and Disorder Act.


19. Housing

Housing Authorities/Associations may have a role in connection with:

  • Housing applicants/tenants who have been/are convicted of sexual offences or other dangerous offences;
  • Housing applicants/tenants who live in proximity to a person convicted of a sexual offence or other dangerous offence;
  • Applications from persons convicted of sexual offences or who are deemed to be dangerous offenders.

When these factors arise, the Housing Authority should expect to be invited to the Level 2/3 panels, or if a concern becomes apparent, they should make contact with the local Probation office to provide relevant information.

Implications for Housing Policy and Practice

Where a person who is required to register as a sexual offender, or who is a dangerous offender, has a housing need and requires re-housing then the relevant housing authority should be invited to send a representative to the Level 2/3 panel. Identified concern relating to housing need should be included fully in the action plan. Where this need was not apparent in advance and the relevant housing authority was not represented at the conference, there should be a further conference or, if more applicable, a sub-group should be identified to share the matter in full with the relevant housing authority.

A secure Council/Housing Association tenant who is a sexual offender might apply for an urgent transfer after experiencing harassment/threats of violence as a consequence of the offence(s) committed or of the disclosure of information.

If an offender who is a tenant is considered to be at risk of violence following the disclosure of information, an urgent transfer should be considered if that is what the tenant wants. Similarly, if following a risk assessment the police ask for a transfer of an offender who is a tenant - and providing a transfer would assist in the management of risk - the housing authority will endeavour to comply with this request. Normally this could occur only if the tenant agrees to the transfer.

Tenants may apply for an urgent transfer because they believe they are at risk from a sexual offender or another dangerous offender in their area following the disclosure of information.

Tenants will not normally be granted an urgent transfer unless there is a specific risk to them from the sexual offender/dangerous offender. A more general risk to a local community (for example to all of those with young children) will not normally be considered cause to grant urgent transfers to all or part of the community.

A specific risk might be present for example:

  • If a tenant or a member of the household is a previous victim of the offender;
  • If a tenant is particularly vulnerable (for example people who have previously been the victim of a similar offence to the one committed by the offender, young care leavers, people with a mental illness or disability);
  • Due to of the location of the tenancy and the nature of the offence committed (for example an elderly woman sharing communal facilities with an offender who has been convicted of the rape or assault of an elderly woman).
  • In all cases, the individual circumstances of a transfer applicant will be taken into account in reaching a decision about whether to grant an urgent transfer or other method of re-housing.

The families of sexual offenders or other dangerous offenders may be the victims of harassment/threats of violence following disclosure of information. Such families will be supported, advised and given practical assistance by the housing authority. The practical assistance offered will depend on the needs of the family and could include increasing the urgency of any arrangement for a mutual exchange, supporting a move to another area or accepting the family as homeless and re-housing them in another part of the district.

Sexual offenders or other dangerous offenders may become homeless as a direct or indirect consequence of the offence(s) committed or the disclosure of information, for example following release from prison/discharge from hospital or after being forced by harassment or threats of violence to leave accommodation either in this area or another part of the country.

Homeless applications from sexual offenders must be assessed in accordance with the terms of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. If a duty to provide accommodation exists, neither the nature of the crime committed nor any difficulty in providing accommodation without risk to others negates that duty. To protect victims it is often necessary to ensure that dangerous offenders do not return to their original locality. In such cases Local Authorities should not insist upon a local connection before accepting the referral. In cases where the offender has no local connection anywhere (other than the locality of their original offence to which they cannot return), Local Authorities should not insist upon a local connection before accepting the referral. As far as possible in other cases Local Authorities should interpret any local connection with the Dorset area as being sufficient to accept a referral, even if a stronger connection exists elsewhere. It should be noted that residence in a Bail Hostel does not create a local connection. The duty must be discharged in a flexible and appropriate manner, to include the support of other agencies.

Housing Authorities have a statutory duty to consider whether an applicant has made themselves intentionally homeless as a result of their actions. If such a decision is made the local authority will actively work with the housing authority representative at the MAPPA panel to find an alternative housing solution'. Referrals will not be turned down as intentionally homeless solely on the grounds that they have perpetrated acts that have caused them to be imprisoned.

Homelessness applications might be received from people who believe they are at risk from a sexual offender or other dangerous offender in their area following disclosure of information.

A homeless applicant will not normally be considered homeless in these circumstances unless there is a specific risk to them from the offender. A more general risk to a local community will not normally result in a decision that all or part of that community is homeless.

A specific risk might be present, for example:

  • If the homeless applicant or a member of the household was a previous victim of the offender;
  • If the homeless applicant was particularly vulnerable (for example young care leavers, people with a mental illness or disability, people who have previously been the victim of similar offence to the one committed by the offender);
  • Because of the location of the homeless applicant and the nature of the offence committed.

In these circumstances, the homeless applicant may be considered homeless. However, the individual circumstances of the homeless applicant will always be taken into account in reaching a decision.

There may be considerable difficulty in managing risk where there is a duty to provide temporary or permanent accommodation for a sex offender or other dangerous offender.

If the housing authority has a legal duty to provide accommodation under the terms of Part VI (Allocation of Housing) or Part VII (Homelessness) Housing Act 1996, convictions for sexual or other dangerous offences do not negate this duty. In reaching decisions about the type and location of accommodation the following should be taken into account:

  • Location of any victims of the sex/dangerous offender;
  • The nature of the offences committed and the offending pattern;
  • Advice from other agencies on minimising risk. In particular, it is expected that the Police will give advice and guidance on what action is required to be taken following disclosure of information;
  • Those who are most at risk from the offender (children/frail/elderly/vulnerable adults/women/men).

It may be the case that an offender is harassed or threatened with violence by a tenant following disclosure of information. Such behaviour is anti-social and may breach the tenancy conditions. Action to evict a tenant in such circumstances could be considered.

Tenants who are convicted of offences during the course of their tenancy, where the victim is a person living in the locality, may be in breach of their tenancy conditions. This will constitute a ground for eviction if it is an arrestable offence committed in the locality of the property. The legislation does not define locality but this will depend on the circumstances.


20. Crown Prosecution Service

The CPS will take account as necessary of a MAPPP’s information with regard to an offender in the Criminal Justice System. Liaison with CPS will usually be via the Police or Probation service.


21. Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP)/Assessment of Risk Meetings (Arm)

The statutory MAPPA guidelines relate to convicted persons only and require that an individual must have been subject to some form of criminal justice disposal before inclusion in the MAPPA process.

There are a number of individuals that are potentially dangerous that pose a risk of sexual, violent or other serious harm to the public who are unconvicted. These are classed as Potentially Dangerous Persons.

The agency managing the individual will usually be the first to identify that a case involving an unconvicted person would benefit from a multi-agency assessment of risk meeting. Any agency can request this multi agency meeting to facilitate effective information-sharing in order to reduce the risk of harm to the public.

The requesting agency is responsible for the arrangements for such a meeting including; inviting relevant practitioners providing secretarial support and Chairing.

The MAPPA guidelines and MAPPA minutes form Appendix 4 can be used by any agency to document a PDP conference. In ALL cases the conference must be minuted. This ensures accurate recording and defensible decision-making with regard to an unconvicted person who poses a risk of sexual, violent or other harm to the public.

When requesting an ARM meeting consultation should take place via the Detective Chief Inspector or Detective Inspector responsible for MAPPA. This is in order to provide support for the process and to set clear expectations.

All documentation relating to an ARM meeting must be stored according to MAPPA guidelines. Records must be stored in the secure confidential section of files.


Appendices

Click here to view Appendix 1: MAPPA Referral Form

Click here to view Appendix 2: Report to Level 2/3 MAPPA

Click here to view Appendix 3: Level 2/3 MAPP Minutes & Initial Risk/Review Assessment Meeting


Amendments to this Chapter

This chapter was reviewed and updated in August 2016. Previously a single chapter it has now been set out in four parts to help professionals more easily identify what they need. It should be read in its entirety.

End.