Publication - Advice and guidance

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA):national guidance 2016

Published: 3 Mar 2016
Safer Communities Directorate
Part of:
Law and order

Ministerial guidance to responsible authorities on the discharge of their obligations under section 10 of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA):national guidance 2016
15. Offenders In The Prison System

15. Offenders In The Prison System


15.1 All offenders convicted and sentenced to a period of imprisonment are managed via the Integrated Case Management (ICM) process which operates on two levels, Standard and Enhanced. The Enhanced ICM process applies where offenders are subject to post-release supervision ( i.e. all sex offenders sentenced to six months or more in prison, all offenders sentenced to four years or more and all offenders sentenced to less than four years in prison whose conviction includes an element of post-release supervision).

15.2 The Enhanced ICM process represents a joint approach to the assessment and management of risk. Prison staff and Prison-based Social Workers carry out a joint assessment of the risks presented by offenders and work together to create an individualised action plan aimed at reducing and managing risks through a range of appropriately sequenced interventions. This process is facilitated through a case conference approach in which the offender's participation is actively encouraged. ICM involves a range of professionals across the criminal justice system, including Community-based Social Workers and, where appropriate, Police Scotland and the National Health Service.

15.3 Since the introduction of MAPPA in 2007, where an offender is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and the conviction requires the person to be subject to the Sex Offender Notification Requirements ( SONR), MAPPA are put in place. The Scottish Prison Service ( SPS) acts as the lead Responsible Authority until the offender is released from custody.

Registered Sex Offenders ( RSOs)

15.4 RSOs in prison are subject to all 5 key stages of the MAPPA in operation as described in Chapter 5 of the guidance. RSOs are identified on admission to custody by their requirement to register on the SONR when released. Their exit from the MAPPA is determined by the length of time that they are required to remain on the register.

Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders

15.5 The MAPPA have now been extended to include those offenders who, by reason of their conviction, are assessed as posing a risk of serious harm to the public, referred to as Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders. This offender category, including risk of serious harm definition and criteria for MAPPA entry, is detailed in chapter 9 of this guidance.

15.6 The decision to make a referral for Level 2 or Level 3 multi-agency management under this MAPPA category must be informed by a current risk assessment and supported by a current Risk Management Plan.

15.7 The consideration that there is evidence that the criteria are met, and the decision to make a MAPPA referral, will be taken by the Enhanced ICM case conference that precedes the offender accessing the community. This includes by progression to less secure conditions, becoming eligible for release on parole licence via the casework or tribunal procedures or release on non-parole licence.

15.8 As consideration of MAPPA entry takes place at the Enhanced ICM case conference prior to an offender's access to the community, an initial, advanced notification for potential Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders cannot be made on admission to custody. Where a relevant offender has been assessed as meeting the criteria as detailed in chapter 9, a notification must be issued to the MAPPA co-ordinator from the offender's home area within 10 days of the Enhanced ICM case conference making the decision to refer. The MAPPA flag on the Prisoner Records (2) system should be activated when the decision to refer is made. SPS will create the ViSOR nominal on receipt of confirmation of the referral from the community MAPPA Coordinator.

Progression Through the Prison System

15.9 The decision to grant an offender access to the community prior to release from prison is owned by the SPS as the lead Responsible Authority. However, to ensure all relevant and appropriate information is taken into account during the decision-making process, SPS invites the input of partners, particularly CJSW & Police Scotland. In the spirit of partnership working, the decision to allow an offender to progress is made by a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary Risk Management Team, chaired by the prison's Governor/Deputy Governor.

15.10 The risk assessments carried out as part of ICM inform decisions on how the offender will be managed both during the custodial period and upon transition to the community. An important element of this transition is progression though the prison system. Offenders may, as they approach their release date, progress to less secure conditions such as a national 'top-end' facility, where controlled access to the community is allowed to help prepare offenders for their release. This controlled (temporary) access to the community may take the form of day release; special escorted leave; community work placements.

15.11 HMP Open Estate plays a vital role in preparing offenders for release, provided it is in the public interest in individual cases. When transferred to the Open Estate, offenders can, in addition to work placements and unescorted leave, benefit from access to the Home Leave Scheme (provided a Home Background Report is submitted by community-based Social Work confirming the required community supports are in place and suitable victim safety planning has taken place).

15.12 The risk assessment process as offenders gain community access through progression prior to the point of release must be viewed as a continuum. Criminal Justice Agencies should ensure that appropriate steps are taken to provide an effective mechanism for ensuring the public are protected from harmful offending, particularly in the case of those offenders whose risk assessment continues to identify a high or very high risk of serious harm.

15.13 Prior to formal consideration of progression by a Risk Management Team, SPS invites input from the police while Community-based Social Work is preparing the Home Background Report. This is typically around eight weeks prior to the Risk Management Team meeting, and in almost all circumstances follows an ICM case conference where consideration of progression is part of the ICM action plan for the following 12 months. At this point in an offender's sentence, where SPS is minded to consider an RSO or other risk of serious harm offender for progression to less secure conditions, SPS will issue a MAPPA Referral to the MAPPA Coordinators covering both the area local to the prison and also the area which is considered the home area of the prisoner. The home area is more likely to be aware of the background information on the offender and the local prison area will be aware of the environmental factors which will require to be considered prior to the decision being made in respect of community access.

15.14 Justice Directorate Circular 3/2010 provides further guidance for professionals involved in the home leave process.


15.15 All sex offenders, whether in custody for their index offence or otherwise, sentenced to six months or more in custody are subject to the Enhanced ICM process. Offenders subject to the parole process (including Other Risk Of Serious Harm Offenders) are managed in a similar manner with the obvious additional considerations that surround decisions on release ( i.e. in such cases, the actual release date is not known until the Parole Board for Scotland reach their decision). In this respect - for the purposes of ICM - the Parole Qualifying Date ( PQD) is treated as a release date and used to schedule the pre-release case conference and issue the appropriate MAPPA Referral.

15.16 Where release on parole is refused, subsequent review dates are set. The number of reviews will depend upon the length of time between the original PQD and the Earliest Date of Liberation/Sentence Expiry Date in the case of offenders serving a determinate or extended sentence. In the case of life sentence prisoners or prisoner Subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction, the first review will take place at the expiry of the punishment part, and thereafter at the discretion of the Parole Board for Scotland, with the maximum review period being not longer than 2 years. SPS also occasionally holds prisoners serving indeterminate sentences on restricted transfer from other UK jurisdictions, who are subject to the relevant parole law from that jurisdiction. All review dates will be treated in the same manner by SPS, i.e. treated as potential release dates for the purposes of ICM.

15.17 Prior to release, the ICM (pre-release/pre-parole) case conference is used to establish the offender's continued level of risk and recommend the level of multi-agency management required upon release ( i.e. MAPPA Level 1, 2 or 3). Such considerations will be informed by the offender's response to community access (where this has been granted as part of the progression process) and to prison-based interventions. In considering the MAPPA Management Level, the principles of FRAME should underpin the final decision. Active multi-agency risk management can require significant resource and should only be used where this level of collaboration and co-ordination is necessary and commensurate with the management of the risk of serious harm.

15.18 Any decision to refer an offender to Level 2 or Level 3 management must be made on the basis that a coordinated multi-agency response by senior staff is required and proportionate to the management of the risk of serious harm.

15.19 Where an offender will be managed at MAPPA Level 3, the SPS will attend MAPPP meetings in the community prior to release. In certain circumstances, the SPS may also attend MAPPA Level 2 meetings in the community, although this is not a formal requirement, consideration of whether SPS attendance is required (and appropriate) at Level 2 meetings is on a case-by-case basis. If requested, SPS will search records and provide a written update to Level 2 meetings where attendance is not required.

15.20 The notification and referral processes for RSO & Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders released from prison are detailed on the following pages.

Further Information

15.21 Questions or queries in relation to this chapter of the guidance should be directed to:

Public Protection Policy
Strategy & Innovation Directorate
Scottish Prison Service Headquarters
5 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh EH12 9HW

0131 244 8632

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: RSO Offenders in Custody

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: RSO Offenders in Custody

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: RSO Offenders in Custody

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: RSO Offenders in Custody

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders

MAPPA Notification/Referral Process: Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders