Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland: national overview report 2018 to 2019

Operation of multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland 2018 to 2019.

MAPPA - Annual report

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) in Scotland: National Overview Report 2018 / 2019

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 individuals subject to MAPPA. It improves the capacity to share intelligence and supports the immediate transfer of key information when these individuals 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 2018 to 31 March 2019.

This report covers the twelfth 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, as summarised in this report.

3.0 National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO)

A planned review of how the NASSO's key principles were being applied in practice involving NASSO and MAPPA practitioners, was carried out in 2018/19.

This included a targeted survey of the Responsible Authorities and "duty to co-operate agencies", and discussions with MAPPA Co-ordinators, Sex Offender Liaison Officers, Registered Social Landlord Link Officer Forums, Police Scotland and Health. The MAPPA National Strategic Group also provided feedback.

The majority of those who provided a view considered that NASSO was operating well at a local level. Respondents made a wide range of comments and suggestions for updating and including in the strategy. These formed a number of themes including updates and references, information sharing, roles and responsibilities, the assessment and management of risk, and the identification, allocation and management of housing.

The revised strategy was published on 20 September 2019.

4.0 Risk Management Authority

Risk Practice Course

Throughout 2018/19, the Risk Management Authority (RMA) has continued to deliver "Fundamentals of Risk Practice" training to Justice Social Work staff and Police Offender Management Officers. Three courses were delivered to 65 Justice Social Workers bringing the total of staff trained to 568. Two courses were delivered to 42 Police Offender Management Officers bringing the total of staff trained to 275. The course is intended to support risk assessment and management practice for individuals who present a risk of serious harm. Ongoing evaluation of the training indicates significant increases in confidence and knowledge across the training.

The Justice Social Worker version of the training has been further developed and there is now a requirement for attendees to submit a Risk Management Plan for post-training feedback and evaluation. This is aimed at further enhancing the transfer of learning from training to practice.

The RMA have also worked with SPS to design and deliver training on the case management of individuals subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction. Two courses were delivered to 33 SPS staff consisting predominantly of SPS Psychologists. Data collection for the evaluation of this training is on-going, however initial indications are of significant gains in confidence and knowledge across the training based on the sample available.

MAPPA Extension Paper

During 2018/19 work was undertaken to report on the LS/CMI risk assessment profiles of those subject to MAPPA extension. Following the first year of implementation, the MAPPA Development Group agreed that a review of the profile information of those referrals made to MAPPA as part of the extension would be useful in relation to how the new arrangements where operating. As a result MAPPA co-ordinators provided referral information from March 2016 to March 2017 to the RMA. This information was matched with data provided to the RMA by all Local Authorities in Scotland and the SPS. A report was produced that provided an initial brief overview of those with LS/CMI assessments who were referred to MAPPA as part of the extension. This work continues to inform the ongoing considerations of the MAPPA Development Group and National Strategic Group.

Internet Practice Model

In response to the Joint Thematic Review of MAPPA in Scotland, the RMA completed a literature review on the risk posed by internet offenders. This has been used to draft a practice model to support decision-making with regard to the assessment of internet offenders. This was presented to the MAPPA National Strategic Group and further development was agreed. The next phase of this project is to further develop the model through links to the Risk Assessment work stream of the Moving Forward: Making Changes National Advisory Board, with a view to piloting and evaluating the model. This is aimed at fulfilling the Joint Thematic Review's recommendation for practice guidance to be developed on the assessment of risk posed by internet offenders.

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. It is an important intelligence and secure information sharing tool in relation to these individuals and is the agreed system used by Scotland's MAPPA Responsible Authorities in accordance with the MAPPA National Guidance 2016 and under the duty to cooperate, both of which are underpinned by the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005 - Section 10.

The Scottish Government has continued to work with the Responsible Authorities to consider and develop solutions to issues which impact on the effective and efficient use of this multi-agency information sharing system. This has included establishing a Short Life Working Group with national partners to explore where further support is required.

Police Scotland National Systems Support

Police Scotland National Systems Support (NSS) also provides support to every Local Authority, Scottish Government Mental Health Division and SPS in their access to, and use of ViSOR. Within NSS, this support is provided by a Police Sergeant and a National System Supervisor. In addition to these dedicated Scottish Government funded roles, NSS provides further ViSOR support by way of the Head of NSS, a Police Inspector and 2 administrators. Police Scotland ICT also provides additional technical support in deploying, maintaining and updating ViSOR terminals across Scotland.

The support provided by NSS is primarily focussed on promoting and facilitating ViSOR usage across the Responsible Authorities and includes, but is not limited to:

  • the provision and delivery of accredited bespoke ViSOR training for all Scottish users;
  • regularly meeting with Local Authority ViSOR users to discuss current issues in relation to ViSOR and provide advice and support at a local level in an effort to increase ViSOR usage;
  • manage and coordinate all Scottish ViSOR change requests from initiation to implementation providing appropriate support and advice as required throughout, including facilitation of Home Office User Acceptance Testing; and
  • facilitate and support the setting of nationally agreed Standards for Scottish individuals managed under MAPPA to be read and adhered to in conjunction with the ViSOR National Standards.

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

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

SPS establishments work in partnership with MAPPA coordinators, prison and community based 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. Prison Governors also contribute to and attend local Strategic Oversight Groups.

A summary of SPS activity in 2018-19 includes:

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

  • Revised Risk Management, Progression & Temporary Release Guidance (August 2018);
  • Revised Risk Management Team (RMT) referral process (August 2018) including:
    • a new Community Access Risk Assessment which provides detailed risk factors;
    • early warning signs;
    • risk scenarios;
    • protective factors; and
    • a robust management plan.
  • Training of RMT Chairs in relation to updated Guidance, Risk Assessment and Risk Management Planning was carried out by Strategy & Stakeholder Leads in partnership with the RMA and Social Work Scotland. (September 2018);
  • Applied Risk training relating to updated Guidance and Process, provided to all Senior Psychologists across 2018-19; and
  • Strategy & Stakeholder Engagement Directorate have introduced additional assurance processes relating to First Grant of Temporary Release applications. These improvements ensure decision making rationale underpinning the First Grant of Temporary Release application is reviewed, taking into account all relevant information, and is clearly articulated prior to submission to the Minister for Community Safety.

Programme Delivery

The SPS delivered 321 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 46
Self-Change Instrumental Violence 33
Discovery Violence 35
Constructs Problem solving & consequential thinking 90
Pathways Drug & Alcohol Misuse 101
Youth Justice Youth Offending 16
Total 321

The Moving Forward: Making Changes (MF:MC) programme was developed to reduce the offending of men (aged 18 and above) convicted of sexual offences who are assessed as moderate - high risk of serious harm, and to increase their capacity to meet their needs by non-offending means.

SPS are represented on the Scottish Government MF: MC National Advisory Board, along with a number of other national partners with expertise in this area. This Board considered the findings of the 2018 MF:MC evaluation and the current trends on sexual offending and concluded that the existing programme should be redesigned to reflect these changes.

This work will be overseen by the Board, supported by a number of work streams. Regular updates on progress are provided to partners. The SPS, and community partners, will continue to deliver the MF:MC programme to accredited standards during this transition period.

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

NHS Boards and the Scottish Government continue to ensure that restricted patients are referred to MAPPA in line with the MAPPA National Guidance. In addition the Scottish Government continues to provide funding to the Forensic Mental Health Services Network (the Forensic Network) to support engagement by the NHS with MAPPA.

The Forensic Network supports the NHS' work in a number of ways through the role of the Lead for Serious and Violent Offenders. These include chairing regular meetings with MAPPA Health Liaison colleagues and supporting the Clinical Forum. These have four objectives: Networking, Education, Operations and Policy. Both routes provide 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. The Forensic Network Lead, along with other health colleagues, also supports MAPPA partners through the delivery of training and contributing to specific pieces of MAPPA related work.

8.0 Police Scotland

Police Scotland works in partnership with other Responsible Authorities and duty to cooperate agencies to provide effective and efficient management of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) and Other Risk of Serious Harm Offenders. This is achieved through consistent practice, enhancing and developing new and existing partnerships to manage the inherent risks and challenges posed by these individuals, and exploiting all intelligence and new technologies to manage and mitigate risk.

In the reporting year, Police Scotland in conjunction with the RMA implemented a new Police Risk Practice process which provided a structured process and framework for the assessment of risk and formulation of Risk Management Plans. This has produced a more focused and consistent approach to risk management.

Working in collaboration with Home Office Immigration and Enforcement, information sharing processes in respect of Foreign National individuals were reviewed and new processes implemented.

To assist Responsible Authorities and better inform the strategic direction of MAPPA, Police Scotland carried out an analytical assessment of the index offences committed by the Scottish RSO population.

Given the ongoing changes and advances in technology, Police Scotland held a Continuous Professional Development Day on Cyber Capability and Investigations to assist Offender Management officers in the management and monitoring of individuals with convictions.

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.

A review was carried out in 2017 following which an online application form was developed to make the process more accessible.

In 2018 / 19 the total number of applications received by Police Scotland was 279 of which 191 were online. Each application is carefully reviewed by specialist officers within Police Scotland.

Over 2018 / 19 from the 279 applications there were 13 disclosures made to parents, carers or guardians. 69 of these 279 applications related to RSOs.

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:

DJUST : Community Justice


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



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