GUIDANCE FOR PROMOTING PROGRAMME COMPLETIONS THROUGH RESTARTS AND CATCHUP SESSIONS

PURPOSE
To announce the introduction of revisions to the policy on re-starting offenders on accredited programmes and the use of catch-up sessions.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 25/2004 ISSUE DATE: 5 May 2004 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: April 2009 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers RWWMs EPTMs AUTHORISED BY: Meg Blumsom: Head Of Offending Behaviour Programmes Team ATTACHED: Guidance for promoting programme completions through restarts and catch-up sessions

ACTION
Chief Officers should: • Note the introduction of the revised policy • Support the Regional What Works Managers and other staff in introducing the policy • Ensure the revised policy is applied as intended

SUMMARY
This paper aims to support areas in achieving completions of accredited offending behaviour programmes. The guidance is intended to maintain programme integrity, yet provide a move towards creating ‘modules’ within sequential programmes. The guidance applies to the general offending groupwork programmes, the violence programmes and the substance misuse programmes. Programmes currently in development will specify their restart points and catchup guidance in the supplement to the National Management Manual.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS
PC92/2001 (Appendix 7) PC57/2002 (Appendix A)

CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
Regional What Works Manager or Sandra Fieldhouse, National Implementation Manager, Offending Behaviour Programmes Team (sandra.fieldhouse@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk)

National Probation Directorate
Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW General Enquiries: 020 7217 0659 Fax: 020 7217 0660

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection

Offending Behaviour Programmes Team

Guidance for promoting programme completions through restarts and catch-up sessions

Revised March 04

Contents:

Introduction

Catch-up and restart guidance 2002

The revised restart policy

The benefits and risks of multiple restart points

Guidance on restarting an offender

Guidance on conducting catch-up sessions

Monitoring the revised arrangements

Appendices Programme Specific Guidance Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Appendix 3 General Offending Programmes Substance Misuse Programmes Violence Programmes

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Introduction This paper aims to support areas in achieving completions of accredited offending behaviour programmes. It changes the policy on restart points in order to increase flexibility as to where an offender, having exceeded the permitted number of missed sessions in a programme, should restart it. The guidance is intended to maintain programme integrity, yet provide a move towards creating ‘modules’ within sequential programmes. The new policy is not intended to be a cure for programme attrition, nor is it meant to introduce additional barriers to effective offender management. The key to the effectiveness of the programmes is the learning by the offender and the application of this to changing behaviour. Therefore, It is important to keep the guidance in context, and not over-rigidly apply it in a ‘blanket’ fashion. The decision to restart an offender at session one or at another prescribed session; to provide an additional catch-up session; or to suspend him/her from the programme with a view to revoking the requirement, should all be based on an assessment of progress, risk and need. A decision to restart, suspend or provide an additional catch-up must be defensible and transparent. It is essential that each decision be clearly recorded. This is vital when making a decision to override the specified requirements for a programme and/or the information about attendance and participation given to the offender at the start of the order or programme. The guidance applies to the general offending groupwork programmes, the violence programmes and the substance misuse programmes. Programmes currently in development will specify their restart points and catch-up guidance in the supplement to the National Management Manual. Catch-up and restart guidance 2002 The first version of the National Management Manual was introduced in 2000. This provided management requirements for programmes. Where a programme has specific requirements, for example intensity of delivery, these are stipulated in a supplement to the NMM. Originally, the policy on restart stated that if an offender missed more than two sessions s/he had to be restarted on another group at session 1. This was reviewed in 2001. PC92/2001 (Appendix 7) specified a number of permissible absences for each programme available at that time. This is copied below for information. Think First If an offender misses up to two sessions for acceptable reasons between sessions 1 and 14, catch-up sessions should be completed. If an offender misses two sessions between sessions 1 and 14, attends and completes catch-up sessions then misses a further session between session 15 and 21 for an acceptable reason, a third catch-up session can be given. These sessions are primarily concerned with reinforcing learning from earlier in the programme. A suitably trained case manger can carry out session 22 if necessary. Offenders who miss more than this number of sessions should be withdrawn from the programme.
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Reasoning and Rehabilitation No more than 4 catch-up sessions should be provided. On the fifth missed session, the offender should be restarted at session 1 of the next available group. The tutors must assess individual offenders learning before making a decision about whether to offer a catch-up or to restart the offender on the next available group. This will involve consideration of the stage in the programme and the learning progress of the offender. Some sessions are difficult to catch-up and the tutors must decide if the learning outcome is achievable in a catch-up session. If this is considered not possible, the offender should restart the programme. If an offender misses three sessions in a row, it is unlikely that the learning outcomes of that section or the whole programme can be achieved. Enhanced Thinking Skills If session one is missed the offender should be considered as not having started the course and should be placed on the next group. If an offender misses up to two sessions between sessions two and sixteen, they should attend catch-up sessions. If an offender misses two sessions between sessions two and sixteen (and attends catch-up sessions) and then misses one session between sessions 17 and sessions 20 for an acceptable reason, one additional catch-up session can be undertaken. This is because these sessions are primarily concerned with reinforcing learning from earlier in the programme.

The revised restart policy Policy Point 1: Once in treatment, every effort should be made to ensure that the offenders complete the programme. Whilst evidence is still limited, recent findings support those of Canadian research (Robinson 1995), suggesting that offenders who fail to complete programmes have a higher rate of reconviction than those who complete and, worryingly, a higher rate than those offenders not starting programmes.1 Many areas are taking steps to support completion, for example, compliance officers and transporting offenders to venues. Policy Point 2: Some offenders are unable to complete a programme due to ‘positive’ reasons, for example, gaining employment. In these cases ordering a restart at session 1 can be counterproductive in terms of the offender’s motivation or compliance, and is not a good use of limited resources. Policy point 3: Areas should make a professional assessment of an individual’s progress and have the flexibility to order a restart at a predefined stage, other than session 1. For example, an offender reaches session 16 of TF, exceeds the stated number of absences/catch-ups or experiences a change in circumstances that precludes him/her from continuing to attend, yet all the evidence suggests positive progress to date.
The Prison Service Cognitive Skills Programmes Research (McCann 2003) and more recently the TF research (Ong et al 2004) both found this effect. 4
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Restart points are specified for each programme. These are dependent on the programme design and therefore vary from programme to programme. They aim to maintain programme integrity and support offender learning. Policy Point 4: When restarting an offender at a point other than session 1, previous catch-up sessions beyond that restart point do not count towards the total permissible overall. Catch-up sessions undertaken before the restart session remain applicable.

The benefits and risks of multiple restart points Benefits • Having multiple restart points enables offenders to complete programmes without having to repeat all sessions already successfully undertaken, which can be seen as punitive. It will support areas in meeting targets and promote the efficient use of resources. It could enable groups to survive by ensuring numbers are sustained, again improving efficiency. It may enable group balance and profile to be addressed more easily, therefore contributing to managing diversity.

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Risks • An offender restarting during a programme will join a group that has been working together for some time. There may be problems in assimilating new members. • • This policy could present challenges to tutors and the quality of programme delivery may suffer. There is a risk that a more relaxed approach will lead to areas being less consistent in maintaining programme integrity and this will require close monitoring. The research suggests that each successive restart reduces the probability that an offender will complete the programme, so multiple restarts by the same offender must be avoided. Offenders might learn that they can be given more opportunities to complete, and might use this to their own advantage. Therefore careful consideration must be given to the likelihood of completion based on past and present behaviour. Where judged to be unlikely to complete a return to court for revocation should be sought. Recording the reasons and the decision is paramount.

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Guidance on restarting an offender a) Where the offender misses too many sessions to be able to benefit from the programme: 1. Setting requirements that fit all cases is not possible, as the key to making the decision to restart an offender at a point during the programme has to be based on the assessment of that individual and the likely impact on the existing group. 2. The assessment of this must include: the reason for the drop out/noncompliance; the number of sessions completed; how much the offender recalls the key learning points; the profile of the group s/he will join; and the guidance relating to that programme. Assessing the best option: 1. Whilst there is no longer a requirement to always restart at session 1 of a programme, for some offenders this may be the best option. Those who have had a long gap between the last session and restart, those who are unable to recall the key learning points from the sessions, and those who are likely to find it difficult to join an existing group should start at session 1. 2. The length of time since the last session attended should be a major consideration alongside the offender’s recall of the key learning points, his/her motivational state and the likely impact of this on the group. The case manager and tutor should assess the level of recall of the key learning points by asking about what the offender remembers of the sessions, and should consider any evidence that s/he has begun to put these into practice. In order to play a part in this process, the case manager needs to be very familiar with the programme and understand the anticipated learning points. 3. In order to help facilitate the introduction of the new member(s) to an existing group, tutors should recap on the ground rules agreed at the start of the programme and ensure the new member(s) is/are willing to work to these. Time taken to do this should not detract from achieving the learning outcomes of the session; it can be minimised by having the case manager (or a tutor) check out the offender’s agreement in advance. 4. In considering the possibility of an offender restarting a group an assessment should be undertaken by the programme tutors of the likely impact that a new member(s) may have upon the existing group. New members may only join an existing group where programme tutors consider that it would not have a highly negative impact. The number of ‘new’ members who may join a group should not exceed 50% of the number of existing members e.g. if the existing group consisted of 6 offenders then no more than 3 offenders could restart the programme at that point. 5. The profile of the existing group should be a consideration and singleton placements of women and black and Asian offenders avoided, if this is what the offender wishes.
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6. The number of restarts offered to an individual is not prescribed. Although the purpose of this policy is to maximise completions, the availability of increased options for restart should not prevent the use of enforcement proceedings in appropriate cases. Research suggests that offenders are very unlikely to complete after a second or subsequent restart. 7. Restart points have been determined and must be adhered to. For most programmes, allowing restarts at any session would be too disruptive to an existing group and less manageable by the tutors. Any exceptions to this rule are detailed under the specific programme guidance. b) Where offenders’ changed circumstances prevent their continued attendance 1 On occasions an offender may be unable to continue attending a group due to a change in circumstances or the closure of the existing group, in these instances, the offender could be transferred to another group at the next session, preventing any need to repeat sessions. However this must be based on the assessment of that individual and consideration given to the impact on the receiving group. 2 Where joining another group at the next session is not possible and the recommendation is to restart or to return to court, the decision must be clearly recorded and authorised by a manager. Additional guidance 1 Occasionally an offender may be unable to attend the last few sessions of a programme or misses a further session, for example session 19 of TF and no other group is available or suitable to join. Where this is the case consideration should be given to completing the remaining sessions on an individual basis. It is mandatory to use a trained tutor in that programme to deliver these sessions. For all programmes the final session can be delivered on an individual basis if circumstances demand this.

2 Where an offender restarts at a point other than session 1, the number of catch-ups provided before the agreed restart session count towards the total to avoid an excessive amount of the material being delivered as catch-up sessions. For example: when restarting at session 7 on TF, if an offender had a catch-up session for sessions 3 and 9, only the catch-up for session 3 remains, as s/he will repeat session 9. This then allows one more catch-up (with the possibility of an additional one after session 15 and of delivering the last session individually). 3 Sometimes group numbers drop below 4, making it difficult to sustain the group. This is a difficulty when the group is still in the early or middle stage of the programme. Using one tutor instead of 2 is one option encouraged in the revised NMM. One other possibility is to place the group members into another group at the next session. This has been known as the ‘bus stop’ approach.

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4 The length of time between an offender attending one group and starting the next should be kept to a minimum. It is impossible to stipulate a maximum period that would be operationally effective in every case; the TM should decide this in each individual case on the basis of the needs of the offender and the length of time since they last attended a session. In determining the restart point the tutor and case manager should consider the offender’s needs and the length of time since the last session attended, and should implement the necessary steps to refresh the offender’s knowledge. Guidance on conducting catch-up sessions A catch-up session cannot entirely replicate the original session experience or learning opportunity due to; time restrictions; delivered to individuals or small numbers; the nature of the programme materials or exercises; and finally, it may be delivered out of sequence to the programme schedule. 1 The catch-up session aims to enable the offender to know enough about the missed session in order to continue the learning from the remaining sessions. The time needed to deliver a catch-up depends partly on practicalities and partly on the ability of the offender(s). 2 The emphasis of the programmes is on skill practice, not purely on comprehension of the learning points. The programmes evaluation literature (e.g. Harland, 1996; Hollin, 1999; McGuire, 1995a; Nuttall, Goldblatt and Lewis, 1998; Ross, Antonowicz, and Dhaliwal, 1995; Sherman, Gottfredson, Mackenzie, Eck, Reuter and Bushway 1997; Vennard, Sugg and Hedderman, 1997) clearly highlights the need for the maintenance of a high degree of treatment integrity. In other words, the elements of the programme need to be carefully delivered as planned. It emphasises the importance of a structured, clear, directive, skills-oriented treatment approach. Thus, catch-up sessions that consist of purely discussion-based coverage of session content cannot achieve the aims of the original session. 3 When delivering a catch-up session:Concentrate on the main learning points for that session • It is important that tutors establish that after the catch-up the offender understands the main points of the missed session. • Tutors should aim to deliver one exercise per learning point. • Where the exercise is suitable for delivery on an individual basis or to very small numbers, aim to deliver it as intended. Where the exercise is clearly not conducive to the situation consider an alternative way of passing on the information and achieving the learning point (for example instead of running a role reversal exercise the offender might be asked what would be the different points of view of the characters involved). • Sometimes a didactic approach might be appropriate in catch-up sessions in order to get the learning points across succinctly. • Catch-ups should pay attention to assignment work that should have been completed between sessions. In some cases such as diary keeping this may be needed later in the programme.
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Where two sessions have been missed it is permissible to deliver material from both sessions as part of a single catch-up, but this may take longer. Every effort should be made to ensure that offenders who have missed a session attend a catch-up prior to the next session. However, on some occasions it may be necessary for the catch-up to take place afterwards. In these circumstances tutors need to set the material in the context of the later sessions.

Monitoring the revised arrangements Version 3.3 of the Interim Accredited Programmes Software (IAPS) is currently being implemented. This will be reviewed and amendments made to ensure that evidence on attrition, completion rates and effectiveness can be reported on by number of restarts. The session review forms, treatment manager video monitoring and the change control process are all in place and these will identify issues related to the revisions of this policy.

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Appendices

Programme Specific guidance

Guidance on programmes in development will be issued in the supplement to the NMM for that programme. The supplement for the Cognitive Skills Booster programme will be issued within the next few weeks as will the guidance for the Women’s Programme that is operating in 3 areas Appendix 1 General Offending Behaviour Programmes

ETS Up to two missed sessions between session 1 to 15 can be covered by catch-up sessions. Where a third absence occurs between session 1 and session 15, the offender should restart at session 1 or 7. Where a third absence occurs after session 15, a third catch-up session is allowed. Where a fourth absence occurs after session 15, the offender should restart; in addition to sessions 1 and 7, a further restart point of session 16 can be used. This is because sessions 16 to 20 are primarily concerned with rehearsal and practice rather than teaching new skills. Session 20 can be delivered individually or in small groups. TF Up to two missed sessions between session 1 to 14 can be covered by catch-up sessions. Where a third absence occurs between session 1 and session 14, the offender should restart at either session 1 or session 7. Where a third absence occurs after session 14, a third catch-up session is allowed. If a fourth absence occurs after session 14 an additional restart point of session 14 can be used. This is because sessions 15 to 21 are primarily concerned with applying the learning from earlier in the programme rather than teaching new concepts. Session 22 can be delivered individually or in small groups. R&R R&R is the longest of the general offending behaviour programmes. Where an offender misses a fifth session or a third consecutive session, restart should be agreed at the most appropriate point depending on the level of learning. Restart can be undertaken at sessions 1, 10, 18, and 30. The final session can be delivered individually or in small groups.

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Appendix 2

Substance Misuse Programmes

ASRO ASRO is modular, and therefore is flexible, in that an offender can restart at the beginning of any module. The current guidance of 2 catch-ups across the 20 sessions will continue with the additional option of a third catch-up session after session 16. This is because these sessions are primarily concerned with rehearsal and planning rather than teaching new skills. Session 20 can be delivered individually or in small groups, given the focus on simply reviewing the programme. DID The Drink Impaired Drivers programme consists of 14 sessions. Where an offender fails to attend session one they must restart another group. Session one cannot be covered by a catch-up session as it explains the theoretical model used throughout the programme. Up to two sessions can be covered by catch-ups. After a third missed session the offender must be suspended and can restart at session 1 or 8. The final session can be delivered individually or in small groups.

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Appendix 3

Violence Programmes

ART The ART programme consists of 18 sessions. Where an offender fails to attend session one they must restart another group. Session one cannot be covered by a catch-up session. The first four sessions cover the main concepts of the programme. In the remaining sessions the three components of ART develop alongside each other and the programme does not fall into defined sections. Up to two missed sessions can be covered by catch-ups. After a third missed session the offender must be suspended from the group. The offender can be restarted at any session other than sessions 2, 3 or 4 and the appropriate point should be agreed by the tutors and case manager on the basis of where the offender needs to go back to in order to benefit from the programme. The restart point must overlap previous attendance by at least two sessions. The final session can be delivered individually or in small groups. CALM The CALM programme consists of 24 sessions. The programme is divided into six modules. Session one cannot be covered by a catch-up session; offenders who miss it must restart the programme. Offenders may not miss more than two sessions in any one module of the programme. They may not miss more than two consecutive sessions. They may miss no more than four sessions in total. Missed sessions must be covered by catch-ups. An offender who exceeds these limits should be assessed and consideration given to restarting at session 1, 3, 7, 11, 16 or 20. The final session can be delivered individually or in small groups. IDAP Modules can be undertaken in any order but the entry point for each module has to be session 1. Offenders can join the programme at any module except module 6 (unless in exceptional circumstances) with the exception of restarts. Attendance is required at the 3 sessions of the initial module undertaken. Failure to attend any of these should result in suspension and restart at the next available module. No more than one catch-up session is allowed per module and it should be completed prior to the next scheduled session. A maximum of 3 catch-up sessions per offender across the programme is allowed. The catch-up session for session 1 of any module will require the full time allowance, for other sessions the time may be reduced. An offender should not miss the first sessions of two consecutive modules. If he does this will mean restarting the latter module.

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