Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland: national overview report 2017 to 2018

Operation of multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland in 2017 - 2018.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland: National Overview Report 2017 / 18

1.0 Background

The Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), are a set of statutory partnership working arrangements introduced in 2007 under Section 10 of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.

The purpose of MAPPA is public protection and the reduction of serious harm. In Scotland the MAPPA brings together the Police, Scottish Prison Service (SPS), Health and the Local Authorities, in partnership as the Responsible Authorities, to assess and manage the risk posed for certain categories of offender:

  • Sex offenders who are subject to notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Mentally disordered restricted patients.
  • Other offenders who are assessed by the Responsible Authorities as posing a risk of serious harm by reason of their conviction.

A number of other agencies are under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authorities and include housing providers, the voluntary sector and the Children's Reporter.

MAPPA is supported by the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR). This is a UK-wide IT system which facilitates inter-agency communication and ensures that the Responsible Authorities contribute, share and securely store critical information about MAPPA offenders. It improves the capacity to share intelligence and supports the immediate transfer of key information when offenders move between areas.

Responsible Authorities fulfil their statutory duties by jointly preparing and publishing MAPPA annual reports. Each of these reports can be viewed on Local Authority websites as included at Appendix A and cover the reporting period - 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

This report covers the eleventh year of MAPPA in operation in Scotland and provides an overview of the main national developments in relation to MAPPA as a result of work conducted by the Scottish Government, and its partners. The statistics provided at Appendix B are an aggregate of data collated via the 10 MAPPA areas.

2.0 The National Picture

Nationally MAPPA has seen a number of developments in the past 12 months and work continues to deliver future improvement to the arrangements.

3.0 Operational Process and Progress

The Joint Thematic Review of MAPPA in Scotland (November 2015) and Progress Review published in June 2017 pointed to the positive contribution the MAPPA arrangements make. It is critical that all of the Responsible Authorities and duty to cooperate agencies continue to demonstrate excellence and continuous improvement.

Throughout 2017-18, the Scottish Government, Responsible Authorities and Strategic Oversight Groups (SOGs) have continued to work together in order to effectively deliver upon the Thematic recommendations.

A summary of this work includes:

National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders and Environmental Risk Assessments

In November 2017, the National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO) - Guidance on Parameters and Minimum Standards for Conducting Environmental Risk Assessments (ERAs) was published. An "environmental risk assessment" is carried out by the Responsible Authorities to identify whether there are any housing-related risks associated with a particular offender. This guidance has been designed to provide Responsible Authorities with minimum practice standards which must be used when carrying out ERAs.

Moving forward, a review of the NASSO is currently underway to take account of
and reflect recent policy updates and developments. This is not a review of the strategy's key principles, but of how those principles are being applied in practice.
A consultation with practitioners on the working arrangements set out in the current strategy has been completed and a revised strategy is due to be published before the end of 2018.

Management of Level 1 cases - Minimum Practice Standards

Scottish Government, in partnership with Responsible Authorities, also collaborated and developed a set of minimum practice standards for the management of Level 1 cases in order to support consistent and efficient practice.

These practice standards were introduced in December 2017, and now provide agencies and practitioners with guidance on the management of those offenders who do not progress to multi agency risk management (known as Level 2) or those managed through Multi Agency Public Protection Panels (known as Level 3), or who, having been managed at Level 2 or 3 for a period of time are reduced to Level 1 management.

Strategic Oversight Groups (SOGs) ensure that MAPPA Level 1 processes and minimum standards are in place within their area and are followed by each Responsible Authority.

Online resource for MAPPA Practitioners

The Scottish Government have also worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and developed a specific web platform for MAPPA practitioners in Scotland. The MAPPA Web Platform is a secure community of practice in which members can share resources, advice and best practice. The website is a 'one-stop-shop' for the most up to date MAPPA resources and documents, actively encouraging and facilitating increased collaboration between MAPPA practitioners and provides a platform to share best practice and maximise learning and developments.

4.0 Risk of serious harm

Throughout 2017/18, the Risk Management Authority (RMA) has continued to deliver the Fundamentals of Risk Practice training to Criminal Justice Social Work Staff and Police Offender Management Officers. Nine courses have been delivered to 220 staff bringing the total number of staff trained in Scotland to 736. The course is intended to support risk assessment and management practice with individuals who present a risk of serious harm. Ongoing evaluation of the training indicates significant increases in confidence and knowledge. Following delivery, support has been provided to participants including the opportunity for staff to have their initial post training assessment and risk management plan evaluated against the RMA's Standards and Guidelines for Risk Management.(2016)

During 2017/18 further development work was undertaken to ensure the form of risk management incorporated within MAPPA guidance was consistent with methods used on the Fundamentals of Risk Practice training and by agencies. This reflects an ongoing objective of having a consistent form of multi-agency risk management plan as part of the nationally agreed Framework for Risk Assessment, Management and Evaluation (FRAME, 2011).

In response to the Joint Thematic review of MAPPA in Scotland, the RMA commenced a large scale review of the evidence available on the assessment of those who have been convicted of online sexual offences. Drawing on the findings of the literature review, the RMA will put forward proposals to the MAPPA National Strategic Group regarding the development of a practice model to fulfil the Thematic review's recommendation for practice guidance on the assessment of risk posed by internet offenders (HMICS, 2015).

5.0 ViSOR

ViSOR is the Home Office's recognised IT system designed to support MAPPA by assisting co-operative working between the Responsible Authorities in their joint management of individuals subject to the arrangements.

The Scottish Government has continued to work with the Responsible Authorities to develop and support delivery of the ViSOR National Action plan to overcome barriers to the effective and efficient usage of ViSOR and to improve local authority usage of this database.

6.0 The Scottish Prison Service (SPS)

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is committed to protecting the public from harm as a Responsible Authority in the operation and governance of the MAPPA.

The risk assessment and management of offenders in custody who are subject to release on licence is carried out in partnership with Local Authority Criminal Justice Social Workers, through an enhanced version of the Integrated Case Management (ICM) process.

Such offenders are risk assessed by Prison Based Social Workers, using a structured professional judgement approach informed by a variety of risk assessment tools. For certain offenders, a Psychological Risk Assessment may be carried out by SPS Forensic Psychologists and used to inform ICM case conferences and at key points in an individual's time in custody, to share information and inform action plans.

SPS establishments work in partnership with MAPPA coordinators, prison and community based Criminal Justice Social Work Teams and Police Scotland Offender Management Units.

SPS is represented on the MAPPA National Strategic Group, MAPPA Development Group and short-life working groups established to progress the future delivery of MAPPA. SPS have representation on Police Scotland's Offender Management Working Group and Prison Governors contribute to and attend Strategic Oversight Groups.

A summary of SPS activity in 2017-18 includes:

Ensuring all internal practitioners and stakeholders are aware of relevant policy and guidance including:

  • Significant Case Review (SCR) Guidance (communication exercise in September 2017).
  • MAPPA Level 1 Minimum Practice Standards Guidance (communication exercise in January 2018).
  • MAPPA - Operational Guidance on disclosure to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (communication exercise in March 2018).
  • In January 2018 a presentation covering MAPPA 2007-2017 was delivered to SPS Heads of Offender Outcomes by the Scottish Government National MAPPA Lead. This has led to improved partnership working and understanding of MAPPA processes and guidance.
  • In February 2018, Lifer Liaison Officers attended an event focussed on roles, responsibilities and effective delivery of MAPPA. This has informed a revised development pathway for LLOs.

Furthermore, SPS has established a Short-life Working Group with members from the Responsible Authorities to review the Prison Chapter of National MAPPA Guidance. The aim of this review is to bring clarity within the Chapter in relation to the Notification and Referral processes.

Programme Delivery

SPS delivered a total of 360 completions of its range of offending behaviour programmes to individuals who were assessed as eligible and motivated to participate:

Programme Target Risk Number of Completions
Moving Forward: Making Changes Sex Offending 55
Self-Change Instrumental Violence 40
Controlling Anger & Regulating Emotion Violence 27
Constructs Problem solving & consequential thinking 118
Pathways Drug & Alcohol Misuse 99
Youth Justice Youth Offending 16
Female Offending Behaviour Programme Female Offending 5
Total 360

In addition, SPS offers a range of other opportunities and supports to people in custody to help them build their strengths and address their needs in preparation for release. Such supports are assessed on an individual basis and can include substance misuse treatment, assistance with mental health, vocational and academic education to increase job readiness, and support with family matters such as parenting and relationships. There is a specific intervention for young adult men and a separate specific intervention for female offending.

7.0 Health

Restricted patients have been subject to MAPPA since 2008. The Care Programme Approach (CPA) for restricted patients and MAPPA have a common purpose of maximising public safety and the reduction of serious harm. The underlying principle is the gathering and sharing of information between agencies in relation to risk. The CPA focuses on care and treatment likely to minimise the risk posed, whilst MAPPA focuses on the multi-agency management of risk.

The inclusion of restricted patients under MAPPA has led to better multi-agency management of the risk posed by such patients. Having restricted patients under MAPPA has had the additional benefit of enhanced multi-agency working in relation to non-restricted mentally disordered offenders, in addition to Health's general duty to co-operate. The general consensus from health service professionals and those from other agencies is that MAPPA process works well for restricted patients and has supported multi-agency working.

The NHS also has a duty to provide points of contact for strategic and operational management of MAPPA, for attendance at MAPPA meetings, and to provide support to other agencies who need NHS advice or information to manage cases.

The Forensic Mental Health Services Managed Care Network, through the Lead for Serious and Violent Offenders, supports the Clinical Forum. The Forum has four objectives of Networking, Education, Operations and Policy. It provides a vehicle for services to consider areas within MAPPA practice that might require guidance and a shared approach, as well as providing the opportunity to network and share good practice.

8.0 Police Scotland

Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe. Its focus is on the protection of those at risk of harm through prevention, early intervention and the robust investigation of those who pose such a risk. The force continues to fulfil its key role as a Responsible Authority in the delivery of MAPPA providing effective and efficient management of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) and Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders.

In the reporting year training was reviewed and a new Offender Management course introduced, focusing on frontline operational delivery. This was supported by the introduction of a web based Toolkit which provides clear, concise instruction and guidance in an accessible format. This will reinforce standards and ensure consistency of approach and delivery of Offender Management processes.

At the request of the Scottish Government and in support of Recommendation 9 of the HMICS & Care Inspectorate Joint Thematic Review of MAPPA 2015 (Scottish Government in partnership with Responsible Authorities should establish a robust national governance structure to develop and utilise trend data relating to sex offending to better inform strategic planning for the continued effective and efficient delivery of MAPPA), Police Scotland carried out an analytical assessment of the RSO population. This initial analysis concentrated on the RSO demographic including age, gender, nationality etc. This will assist the Responsible Authorities and inform the strategic direction of MAPPA.

9.0 Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme (Keeping Children Safe)

The Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme (Keeping Children Safe) scheme was introduced across Scotland in 2011 and is managed by Police Scotland.

The scheme enables parents, carers or guardians to make a formal request for information about a named person who may have contact with their child if they are concerned that he or she may be a risk to their child's safety and wellbeing. The scheme was reviewed in 2017 and following this review an online application form was developed to make the process more accessible.

The online form went live on 3rd May 2017. This was publicised both internally and externally throughout Police Scotland to ensure its existence was known across the general public. Since this online capability was introduced the number of applications has increased.

In 2017/18 the total number of applications received by Police Scotland was 269 of which 179 were online. This compares to the previous year where only 77 applications were received. This increase demonstrates that the online capability has made the scheme more accessible. Each application is carefully reviewed by specialists within Police Scotland.

Over 2017/18 the number of those 269 applications which related to RSOs was 37. As a consequence, a total of 22 disclosures were made to parents, carers, or guardians.

In cases where the police believe that an individual poses a risk to the child concerned, discussions will take place with partner agencies and steps agreed and progressed to ensure the child's safety. Where applicable, relevant information is provided to the child's parent, carer, or guardian.

Police Scotland provides governance and coordination for the scheme to ensure it is publicised widely and embedded in national police training.

Should you have any query in relation to this report please contact:

Community Justice Division
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road


Email: Kevin Fulton

Back to top