National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders in Scotland

The National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO) forms part of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and sets out how housing contributes to those arrangements.

4. Information sharing under MAPPA

4.1 Sharing information

When managing sex offenders in the community under MAPPA it is vital that all agencies involved, including social housing providers share appropriate information and that RSLs sign up to information sharing protocols. The overriding principle is the protection of the public, therefore information must be shared where it meets this objective.

Information held by Responsible Authorities about individuals is covered by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The Data Sharing Code of Practice issued by the Information Commissioner deals with a number of important issues such as Data Sharing and the Law; Fairness and Transparency; Security; Governance; and Individuals’ Rights, which will help Responsible Authorities comply with these legal obligations.

The risk assessment process will identify any risks the offender presents and the Responsible Authorities will provide information on potential risks to the SOLO or Link Officer where there is a need to know.

If the Responsible Authorities decide there is not a need to know then they should recognise that the landlord cannot contribute to the Responsible Authorities’ assessment and management of risk. The final decision on the sharing of information on sex offenders under MAPPA is a matter for the Responsible Authorities.

Local authorities and RSLs deal with confidential information on a day-to-day basis and will have processes in place to handle sensitive information.

4.2 Information Sharing Protocols

Information sharing protocols have been developed as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (see section 4.5). They set out in detail what types of information may be shared and with whom. Protocols provide a framework for managing processes such as applications, allocations, tenancy moves and managing community concerns. They give reassurance to both local authority and RSL staff around appropriate and legitimate information sharing.

in November 2015 the Joint Thematic Review of MAPPA in Scotland highlighted that it was essential that Strategic Oversight Groups review Information Sharing Protocols to ensure that Registered Social Landlords are clear on their responsibilities and have signed relevant agreements. These should be reviewed on a regular basis and discussions should take place with every RSL in the area when they are reviewed.

4.3 Disclosure

The MAPPA’s fundamental purpose is public safety and the reduction of serious harm. The Responsible Authorities will be monitoring and managing the risks sex offenders under MAPPA may pose, with the protection of children, adults at risk of harm and others paramount. The police have the principal discretion on disclosure, although local authority social work can make disclosures in cases of child protection. Concerns about disclosure should be discussed with the Responsible Authorities. In all circumstances social landlords must make sure that they do not tell other tenants about an individual’s offences.

4.4 Staff and Contractor welfare

The sharing of relevant information will allow the SOLO or RSL Link Officer, with advice from the Responsible Authorities, to make sure that any meetings or home visits involving staff and the registered sex offender are conducted in a way that minimises risk. In some cases this may mean ensuring staff do not visit the offender’s house alone or only meet with them in the office.

Where an offender is likely to pose a risk to people working for, or contracted by, the local authority or RSL, for example housing staff, community wardens, concierges, sheltered housing staff, housing support staff, repair and maintenance contractors arrangements should be put in place which minimise risk to staff who come in contact with the offender. In some cases access to the property or person may need to be arranged in conjunction with the local authority SOLO or RSL Link Officer.

4.5 Memorandum of Understanding 

Section 10(5) of the 2005 Act says that the Responsible Authorities and the duty to co-operate agencies in each local authority area must together draw up “a memorandum setting out the ways in which they are to co-operate with each other”.

The MAPPA guidance sets out what each memorandum should cover, including issues such as disclosure of information and media handling strategies. The MAPPA guidance also provides a model form of memorandum for use locally.

The Memorandum sets out the fundamental principles of co-operation and is therefore the basis on which the Responsible Authorities and RSLs will work together. Each local authority area should then make sure that they have fulfilled this legal requirement and have in place a Memoranda of Understanding.



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