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National Probation Service

Issue 41 October – November 2006

080/06 Suspended Sentence Orders (SSOs): Urgent
Guidance for PSR Writers
The Bulletin has been improved for easier on-screen 081/06 Offender Management Phase 2
082/06 Offender Management Phase 2: Arrangements
for locating prisoners in custody
Articles can now be read by either scrolling down the
page or by clicking the article titles below: 083/06 OASys manual – revised chapter on risk of
serious harm (chapter 8)
Suspended Sentence Orders (SSOs): Urgent Guidance 084/06 Intermittent Custody: Withdrawal of Authority to
for PSR Writers Supervise Offenders
085/06 Closure of Intermittent Custody centres for the
Offender Management Phase 2 period 25-26 December 2006
Offender Management Phase 2: Arrangements for 086/06 Evaluation Measures Feedback Reports:
locating prisoners in custody Psychometric Assessments
087/06 Inspection Reform News Update
OASys manual – revised chapter on risk of serious harm
(chapter 8) 088/06 Operational Guidance for Managing High Risk
of Serious Harm Offenders - Version 1.0
Intermittent Custody: Withdrawal of Authority to
089/06 Guidance on Langley House Trust (LHT)
Supervise Offenders
090/06 Appointments
Closure of Intermittent Custody centres for the period
091/06 NPD Diary
25-26 December 2006
092/06 Issued Recently
Evaluation Measures Feedback Reports: Psychometric

Inspection Reform News Update

Operational Guidance for Managing High Risk of

Serious Harm Offenders - Version 1.0

Guidance on Langley House Trust (LHT)


NPD Diary

Issued Recently

National Probation Directorate

Abell House, John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4LH



The National Implementation Guide for the community sentence provisions in the 2003 Act is being updated with a
view to publication in the New Year. However, there are issues around the courts’ use of SSOs that necessitate the
issue of new guidance now, in advance of publication of the revised Guide.

SSOs account for some 25% of Community Orders and SSOs combined, with about 3,000 new SSOs being imposed
every month. This is a far higher rate of use than was anticipated when the CJA went live last year. Of particular
concern is that there is evidence of a significant proportion of SSOs being used as an alternative to a Community
Order instead of as an alternative to a short term of imprisonment. The Act is clear that an SSO can only be given
when the offence has passed the custodial threshold. The SGC guideline goes further to say that, even if the offence
is so serious as to pass the custodial threshold, custody can still be avoided. A suspended sentence should only be
considered at the point at which a custodial sentence has been deemed unavoidable.
PSR practice appears to be contributing to this trend. The purpose of this letter is to provide a revised approach to the
way in which SSOs are referred to in PSRs.

The Revised Guidance

The approach adopted in the PSR needs to be informed by the court’s initial indication of seriousness, or lack of such
an indication. There are basically three scenarios:

First, those cases in which the court indicates that the seriousness of the offending is within the community
sentence band

In these cases the PSR writer should make no reference to a Suspended Sentence Order in his/her report.

The proposal should be either for a Community Order containing the number and type of requirements considered
appropriate by the PSR writer in light of the current NPS guidance or, if the PSR writer considers it appropriate, a fine
or discharge. The PSR writer may refer to any particular negative effects of custody on the offender if such a reference
would strengthen the proposal.

Second, those cases in which the court either:

• gives no initial indication of seriousness, or

• indicates that it is considering “all options” (or “all options including custody”).
• In these cases the PSR writer should make no reference to an SSO in his/her report unless he/she has come
to a view that:
• the offence is sufficiently serious to justify custody, and
• a custodial sentence cannot be avoided, and
• under the circumstances of the case an SSO is the appropriate alternative to an immediate short custodial

Normally, as in the first scenario, the proposal should be either for a Community Order containing the number and type
of requirements considered appropriate by the PSR writer or, if the PSR writer considers it appropriate, a fine or


discharge. The PSR writer may again refer to any particular negative effects of custody on the offender if such a
reference would strengthen the proposal.

Third, those cases in which the court indicates that the offending is so serious that only custody is justified

In these cases the PSR writer should first consider whether the interests of public safety necessitate that an immediate
custodial sentence is essential. If it is not, the report should propose an SSO containing, normally, a maximum of two
requirements. The report may then usefully refer to the SGC’s guidance which seeks to restrict the number of
requirements which the court should include in an SSO. It may then suggest that the court might wish to consider
imposing a Community Order with more, or more onerous, requirements (than would be imposed with an SSO), which
could be seen to provide a degree of restriction on the offender’s liberty commensurate with the seriousness of the

Further Information:
Tel: 020 7217 0678
Or the CJA helpline at


Phase 2 of the roll-out of the Offender Management Model (Phase 1 applied to community cases from April 2005)
covers high priority cases with a custodial element – those determinate sentence prisoners sentenced to 12 months or
more who are PPOs or who are assessed as posing a high or very high risk of serious harm.

By 1st September 2006 prisons and probation areas had been expected to put in place an infrastructure for
implementing Offender Management for sentences which include an element of custody.

The Target Group for offender Management Phase is offenders sentenced to a custodial sentence of 12 months or
more on or after 6th November 2006, and those offenders in custody on 6th November 2006 serving a sentence of 12
months or more who, on the 6th November 2006, have a current release date scheduled on or after 1st May 2007 who
are assessed as being:

• PPOs (identified by local crime and disorder reduction partnerships)

• And/or posing a high or very high risk of serious harm (using OASys).

Details of the assessment, sentence planning and review activities required by offender management implementation
have been set out in the revised specification for offender management phase 2 implementation issued in October

The full documentation is available on Epic; navigate from Home>Service Delivery>Offender Management

For clarification or queries about this specification contact:
Tel: 0207 217 8985


or OM Helpline
Email: or
Tel: 0207 217 5951
For information about the changes to OASys processes contact:
Tel: 0207 217 0690 or
Tel: 0207 2170697
For assistance and clarification regarding the completion of the monitoring templates contact:
Tel: 0207 217 2240



To support the fast and effective communication between Probation Areas and prison establishments the following
arrangement has been reached with the Prisoner Location Service. At present routine enquiries to this service take on
average 10 days for the information about the prisoner’s location to be returned to probation offices. The Prisoner
Location Service have agreed to treat enquiries regarding tracing the location of prisoners who fall in scope for Phase
II of offender management as urgent, and therefore the information will be provided within 24 hours.

Where an offender has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment which brings him/her in scope for phase II of
offender management and it is unknown which prison he/she has been taken to, or an offender in scope for phase II is
transferred during their sentence and it cannot be established from the transferring prison where the prisoner has gone
to, probation staff can make enquiries of the Prisoner Location Service. To fast track the enquiry the faxed form needs
to be marked ‘urgent’ and the reason given marked ‘Phase II of the offender management model.’ This can be
actioned with immediate effect.

Further Information:
The telephone number for the Prisoner Location Service is
Tel: 0121 626 2742


Work has been underway since June 2005 - when the risk of harm improvement plan (PC49/2005) was published - to
revise Chapter 8 of the OASys Manual. The revised version is consistent with the NOMS Risk of Harm Guidance and
Training Resource Pack produced by De Montfort University. The principal changes are set out in this Circular. The
revised Chapter makes clear that all four harm levels (Low, Medium, High and Very High) deal with risk of serious
harm. The revised Chapter 8 will shortly be made available on eOASys. Limited numbers have been printed and are
being sent to areas.

Key Changes to Chapter 8 of the OASys Manual

The principal changes are:


• Risk of Serious Harm definitions: Reference is now made only to ‘risk of serious harm’ and not to both ‘risk of
harm’ and ‘risk of serious harm’.
• The definition for Low Risk of Serious Harm now reads: ‘Low – current evidence does not indicate likelihood of
causing serious harm’. There is no such thing as NO RISK.
• The definition for Medium Risk of Serious Harm now begins: ‘Medium – there are identifiable indicators of risk
of serious harm’
• If the offender is in custody the assessment of risk of serious harm must be undertaken on the basis that
release could be imminent.
• If the offender is in the community the assessment of risk of serious harm must consider the risk posed in the
community but take into account any evidence that might indicate the offender could pose a risk of serious
harm to anyone in prison.
• The need to ensure that countersigning is undertaken in all appropriate cases is reinforced. This is particularly
important when staff seek exemption from completing the Full Risk of Serious Harm Analysis.
• Terrorism and Serious Organised Crime has been added to the list of key offence type indicators (R1.2).
• Detailed information is provided on the six headings to be used in the completion of the Risk Management
Plan (R11.12). PC10/05 refers.
• The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has been added to the list of ‘Other Agencies Involved’

Publication of the revised Chapter 8:

The revised Chapter 8 will be deployed in e-OASys shortly. Areas will be alerted to its deployment through Epic.

Chapter 8 has been printed in both English and Welsh and is being distributed to areas in the week beginning 9
October. However, since the revised version will be available on screen - and it is believed that this is the medium in
which it is most likely to be used by staff - only a limited number of paper copies are being sent to each area. (Areas
can, of course, make further copies if they wish to update all their hard copy manuals. Any manuals which remain in
circulation without the amended chapter should have the earlier version removed and a note inserted directing the
reader to the on-screen version).

OASys Team:
Tel: 020 7217 0690

Public Protection Team:

Tel: 020 7217 0935



With effect from 20 November 2006, the sentence of Intermittent Custody (IC) will be withdrawn. From that date courts
will no longer be authorised to impose sentences of IC. Probation areas will continue to be authorised - and are
required - to supervise offenders on whom an IC sentence was imposed before 20 November 2006 until the offender
has completed the final day of their overall sentence.


The pilots of IC originally went live in January 2004 based at Kirkham Prison for male offenders and Morton Hall for
females. By September 2005, following extensions to the two pilots, the IC catchment areas comprised the following
probation areas:

Adult Male Offenders

Greater Manchester
Merseyside (for North Liverpool Community Justice Centre cases only)

Adult Female Offenders

Bedfordshire Lincolnshire
Cambridgeshire Nottinghamshire
Derbyshire Staffordshire
Greater Manchester South Yorkshire
Hertfordshire West Midlands
Humberside West Yorkshire

Intermittent custody was intended to mitigate the sometimes disproportionate impact of even short sentences of full-
time custody by allowing offenders to maintain various community responsibilities such as work, education or
childcare, while serving a custodial sentence.

Throughout the pilot the National Probation Service has been represented on the Project Board by Ian Phillips and
Sally Lewis, ACOs in Lancashire and Lincolnshire respectively.

By 15 October 2006 a total of 445 IC orders had been imposed of which 322 were on male offenders and 123 on
females. The level of compliance among offenders has been exceptionally high: to date only 25 offenders have failed
to complete the custodial element of their sentence. More detailed information on the learning from the pilots will be
available in an evaluation report by the Institute of Criminal Policy Research.

The decision not now to roll out IC across England and Wales and to end the two pilots was taken in light of the
decision in July to defer the introduction of Custody Plus. Intermittent custody is effectively a Custody Plus sentence
served intermittently, and special arrangements had to be made to enable the pilots to run within the existing
framework for short sentences. The pilots have demonstrated the difficulty of running a Custody Plus-type sentence
within the existing under-12 months sentencing framework and it has been decided that IC should not go forward in
isolation from Custody Plus.

As and when a decision is taken on the introduction of Custody Plus we will consider whether it would be worthwhile to
introduce intermittent custody on a national basis in England and Wales. Meanwhile, the sections of the Criminal
Justice Act 2003 covering IC remain in place but will be held in abeyance for the time being.

Tel: 020 7035 4090




The decision has been taken to close the two Intermittent Custody centres at Kirkham and Morton Hall because of the
absence of public transport on 25 and 26 December, when some IC offenders would otherwise be travelling to the IC
centres for the start of a Weekday custody period.

The IC centres will remain open until late afternoon on Sunday 24 December to enable offenders on a pattern of
Weekend IC to complete a regular custody period and will re-open Wednesday 27 December for offenders on
Weekday IC.

Offenders on a pattern of Monday – Thursday custody will be expected to report to the IC centres on Wednesday 27
December at their usual start time. They will be discharged at their regular release time on Thursday 28 December.
This period will count as two custody days. Offenders on a pattern of Tuesday – Friday custody will be expected to
report to the IC centres on Wednesday 27 December at their usual start time. They will be discharged at their regular
release time on Friday 29 December. This period will count as three custody days.

The period of Weekend IC scheduled to run from Friday 29 December 2006 to Sunday 31 December 2006 will take
place as usual, as will the periods of Weekday IC scheduled to start on Monday 1 January and Tuesday 2 January

Under the existing legislative arrangements, it will not be possible for the IC centres simply to add weekday custody
time to a sentence to take account of any days missed as a result of the planned closure. It will be necessary for the
sentencing court to address this matter when the terms of the IC order are set. Where an order for Weekday IC is
imposed, in which the custodial period would ordinarily incorporate Monday 25 and/or Tuesday 26 December, the
court will need to stipulate that none of these days will count for custodial purposes. One option might be for the
Intermittent Custody Order to state that the licence periods scheduled to begin on the afternoons of either Thursday 21
or Friday 22 December will expire at midday (or whatever is the offender’s normal reporting time) on Wednesday 27

This process will ensure that IC offenders scheduled to be in custody on 25 and/or on 26 December will still serve in
full the number of custody days imposed by the court.

The two IC centres will bring this matter to the attention of the court immediately before sentence when the latter
checks the availability of IC places. However, if a court does not incorporate this revised arrangement in the IC order,
it will be necessary for the IC centres to seek a variation of sentence to ensure that an offender serves the full number
of custody days originally imposed.

Should you require further information, please contact the IC centres at:

Tel: 01772-675720
Morton Hall
Tel: 01522-666840

Alternatively, please contact Stella Francoise on

Tel: 020 7035 4090




The national information presented in these reports provide management and programme staff with a prompt to
explore how programmes are being implemented, how well evaluation and monitoring systems are operating and for
general further investigation if they are going in an undesired direction.

Tel: 020 7217 8999


The Government has removed the provisions in the Police and Justice Bill which would have created a new
inspectorate for justice, community safety and custody. Work which has already begun to reshape inspection strategy
from April 2008 will continue. Chief Inspectors have agreed to develop a joint business planning process to provide a
framework for joint inspection work to be developed from priorities indicated by Ministers. The first joint plan will be for

Further Information:



This guidance was published on the HMPS and National Probation Service intranets on 6 November. It is a practice
document for the attention of Offender Managers and Offender Supervisors, Prison Offender Management Units,
Public Protection coordinators and all staff involved in risk management.

The Guidance documents the processes required in sequential order from pre sentence, through custody into the
community, to deliver good practice with the assessment and management of high risk of serious harm offenders. The
attached guidance has the following components:

• An introduction outlining the scope, aims and objectives of the guidance

• A pathway detailing key actions for operational staff in diagram form;
• The guidance itself which has three separate annexes on young people, mental health and risk, and
prioritising interventions of accredited programmes for high risk offenders
• Three appendices covering contact details and a glossary of abbreviations.

The guidance itself which has three separate annexes on young people, mental health and risk, and prioritising
interventions of accredited programmes for high risk offenders. The three appendices cover contact details and a
glossary of abbreviations.

Further Information:
The guidance is available on Epic navigate from Home>Service Delivery>Public Protection.


The document references Probation Circulars which can be accessed via the Circulars/Policies link at the top of the

To access the PSI's/PSO's referenced, visit the HM Prison Service website, and go to the Resource
Center>Publications and Documents section.


Since 2003 the National Probation Service has had in place a Service Level Agreement with Langley House Trust
(LHT). Under the terms of the SLA, the Trust is funded to provide bed spaces for offenders subject to NPS supervision
and for other non-statutory cases where appropriate (e.g. offenders whose period of supervision has ended, short
sentence prisoners not subject to licence, or mentally disordered offenders released from secure hospitals). Details of
the SLA were set out in Probation Circular 9/2003.

The vast majority of LHT beds are provided in what might be called ‘mainstream’ projects; a small number – the
Enhanced Supervision Beds – are held in just 3 projects and are reserved for the placement of very high risk offenders
registered as Critical Public Protection Cases. This guidance note is relevant to the mainstream LHT provision only; it
does not apply to the Enhanced Supervision Beds.

In the time that has elapsed since the SLA was established, a number of significant improvements have been made to
the Approved Premises Estate in order to strengthen its ability to manage and supervise high risk of harm offenders.
These include the introduction of double waking night cover, the delivery of a risk of harm training package specifically
geared to the needs of Approved Premises staff and the installation of CCTV and various other security measures in a
great many premises.

In light of these developments, it is timely to review the provision on offer in the mainstream LHT projects and to
consider how that provision as it stands should be utilised. To that end, we are in the early stages of discussion with
LHT, with a view to developing a new SLA. This note offers interim guidance until such time as the new SLA is

LHT has a variety of projects, many of them offering valuable specialised rehabilitation. However, with regard to high
risk of harm offenders released from custody, the end to which we are working is that any LHT project that takes such
offenders on release should provide the same public protection measures as are provided in an Approved Premises.
Until those measures are in place, Areas should place high risk of harm offenders in LHT projects on release from
custody only after a careful individual assessment of the offender’s risk and criminogenic needs, taking account of
what public protection measures the project under consideration can provide. The information that Areas will need to
take into account includes staffing levels, security measures and staff competence.

Typically, mainstream LHT beds are used as a move-on option for offenders who have completed a period of
residence in an Approved Premises. This is a more appropriate usage of the LHT provision as presently configured.
Even here, of course, the need for individual assessments that match risk and need to provision remains, but it is
reasonable to expect that mainstream LHT projects will often provide suitable move-on facilities.

Tel: 020 7217 8514



Tessa Webb has been appointed as Acting Chief Officer for Hertfordshire Probation Area. Tessa will take up her
appointment on 4 December 2006.

New NOMS director posts have been announced. Jonathan Slater will be the NOMS Director of Performance and
Improvement and Julie Taylor will be NOMS Director of Commissioning and Partnerships.

Jane Furniss (ex-deputy chief inspector of probation and most recently working on CJS performance) has been
appointed CEO of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

091/06 NPD DIARY


2nd Unpaid Work Conference, Hilton, Docklands, London

6th – 10th Diversity Week
6th – 7th Annual BME Board Members Annual Conference, The MacDonald St Paul’s Hotel, Sheffield
7th Middle Manager Risk of Harm Improvement workshop, East of England
16th Regional Training Consortium Annual Conference
18th – 25th Inside Justice Week 2006
28th – 29th NPS Staff Conference, Cardiff venue tbc
28th – 29th Leaders in Transition Course, Wyboston Lakes, Cambridge


6th – 7th National Consortia Directors’ Forum, venue tbc

6th – 7th Corporate Governance Conference, Hilton Hotel Northampton
7th – 8th NPD OBP – Programme Managers Conference, York
12th – 13th Leaders in Transition Course, Wyboston Lakes, Cambridge


Probation Circulars 2006:

PC36 OASys Manual - Revised Chapter on Risk of Serious Harm (Chapter 8)

PC37 Information Exchange between the IND, Prison Service and the NPS Regarding Licences and Bail Hearings
PC38 Access to Prison Establishments for Offender Managers

Other Publications:

NPS Performance Report 21

HMI Probation Plan 2006 – 2007
Working with Alcohol Misusing Offenders – a strategy for delivery


A Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Reoffending
CJS in Brief Issue 9

To submit items for the NPS Bulletin, or to be added to the distribution list contact:

Bulletins are posted on the Epic Intranet and the NPS Website at:, navigate from
Home>News & Updates>Bulletins

Issued by NPD Communications Unit