7. National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO)
7.1 The National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders ( NASSO) covers all housing tenures across public and private housing and sets out the roles and responsibilities of local authorities, housing providers and other statutory agencies involved in the accommodation and management of sex offenders. It also sets out the requirements for information sharing with housing and accommodation providers.
7.2 Housing agencies include both local authority housing services and Registered Social Landlords ( RSL).
Local authority housing services
7.3 Local authority housing services form part of one of the responsible authorities.
7.4 Local authorities (including those who have transferred their housing stock) are responsible for ensuring the development of a strategic response to the housing of offenders subject to the SONR. To do so they must involve and talk to RSLs in their area. This should include an assessment of local need and provision for the range of housing for offenders subject to the SONR and should clarify the contribution by RSLs in their area.
7.5 The key housing contact in each local authority is the Sex Offender Liaison Officer ( SOLO). The main aim of the SOLO role is to be the initial point of contact for housing enquiries for offenders subject to the SONR and to be the link between the responsible authorities and social housing providers under a DTC. In this role, the SOLO will:
- Identify housing providers using information about the sex offender from the responsible authorities.
- Make sure that the liaison arrangements for identifying suitable housing and supporting the management of risk by the responsible authorities includes the housing provider.
- Liaise pro-actively with responsible authorities and housing providers on on-going risk management and community safety issues.
Registered Social Landlords
7.6 RSLs are DTC agencies and as such they have to cooperate with the responsible authorities. RSLs do not themselves have responsibility for assessing and managing risk. The key housing contacts in each RSL is the Link Officer. The role of each RSL is to contribute to the responsible authorities management of risk by:
- exchanging information on housing with the responsible authorities;
- allocating housing that has been assessed as suitable by the responsible authorities;
- liaising with the responsible authorities on their on-going management and monitoring of the risks the offender may pose;
- having in place arrangements with the SOLO and the other responsible authorities to deal with situations where a property is no longer appropriate and/or the offender's safety is at risk, or if there are behaviour changes that suggest that the individual poses a risk to the community.
7.7 Housing providers depend on effective information sharing protocols and a coordinated approach by responsible authorities. Responsible authorities must therefore ensure that:
- they have effective liaison arrangements in place with the SOLO;
- housing providers receive (through the protocols for information sharing) sufficient information to manage tenancies occupied by sex offenders;
- they consider the size and stock profile of landlords when making decisions about housing; and
- they respond effectively to on-going issues of community safety identified by housing providers.
Environmental risk assessment
7.8 An environmental risk assessment is used to identify housing related risk and informs decisions on the most suitable housing for each offender that will minimise the risks to the community. The assessment brings together information on the offender, proposed property and location and nearby households to enable a decision on housing an offender to be made that will minimise the risks to the community.
7.9 An environmental risk assessment should be done for all offenders managed at MAPPA levels 2 and 3. The lead responsible authority managing an offender at MAPPA level 1 should also consider the need for an environmental risk assessment for such offenders, taking into account the risks the offender may pose, public protection issues or the high profile nature of the case. The need for an assessment should also be considered for housing for prisoners on temporary home leave.
7.10 An environmental risk assessment is accurate at the time it is undertaken, but the changing nature of communities mean that the Responsible Authorities must keep risk management arrangements under constant review. Social housing providers should make sure that the Responsible Authorities routinely receive, on a case by case basis, relevant information on changing household composition in the area. Updates should be supplied within the timescales agreed with the Responsible Authorities.
7.11 When circumstances change the Responsible Authorities may trigger a review of an environmental risk assessment. The Responsible Authorities should agree how often they will review the environmental risk assessment where it is not otherwise triggered. The frequency should be in line with the level of risk the sex offender may pose, and as a minimum the risk assessment should be reviewed on an annual basis.
7.12 Further information can be found within the National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders ( NASSO).