To provide advice on the management of compliance and enforcement.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 43/2004 ISSUE DATE: 22 July 2004 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediately EXPIRY DATE: July 2009 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Regional Managers Board Treasurers AUTHORISED BY: Roger McGarva, Head of Regions and Performance Unit ATTACHED: 1 PC 24/2000 2 Guidance for acceptable/unacceptable absences 3 Community penalty timetable 4 Diagram for 100 offenders

Chief Officers should review the contents and ensure that case managers follow the good practice outlined.

Since 2001 the NPS has made good progress in improving performance on enforcement. In 2001/02 53% of relevant offenders had enforcement action initiated within 10 working days as required by National Standards. For the whole year of 2003/04 this had risen to 77% with the trend in the last few months showing even greater improvement with 85% achieved in May 2004. Approximately 45% of offenders on community penalties have two or more unacceptable absences. Ministers want a rapid improvement in compliance levels. The NPD has an overall compliance target of 70% for 2004/05 and an interim target of 65% by December 2004 has been agreed with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. Enforcement of unacceptable absences must still be pursued robustly but attention also needs to be given to reducing the number of offenders who need enforcement action. The current enforcement process can be very protracted and Ministers want to see the process expedited. The NPD has been working closely with the Dept for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) to improve the current system. A fast track enforcement system for Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) offenders will be piloted in the next few months in Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire.

PC24/2000: Guidance on enforcement of orders under national standards 2000

Pauline McLoughlin, Quality Systems Manager, Room 332 Horseferry House Email:

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

Introduction There has been a marked improvement in performance in relation to enforcement. The first ACOP enforcement audit in 1999 showed that 44% of offenders were breached in accordance with the national standard after three unacceptable absences. By 2001/02 this had improved to 53% against the new standard for community penalties of two unacceptable absences. In March and April 2004 84% were breached in accordance with the national standard – it rose to 85% in May. The Home Office Audit and Assurance Unit examined enforcement practice in 2003. It concluded that Areas with clearly defined policies, clear lines of communication and definition of responsibility were more likely to have good performance results for enforcement and compliance. Management of absences All absences should be regarded as unacceptable unless proved otherwise. All unacceptable failures to comply should be enforced as per National Standards requirements. The NPD believe that regular managerial oversight is valuable in promoting good practice. It recommends that managers review all cases with two or more unacceptable absences before action with the court is initiated. Case managers should try and ensure that offenders subject to enforcement action continue to report. Appropriate information should be provided to the court for the first breach hearing so that the use of custody is restricted to those whose behaviour demonstrates a persistent and wilful determination not to comply with the requirements of supervision. The compliance measure is calculated on the basis of the percentage of offenders who complete their orders/licences without two (three in the case of licences) or more unacceptable failures. The weighted scorecard sets this measure in a wider context by including data on the number of appointments offered/the number kept and the number of orders that the court allow to continue. Key Business Stages 1. Pre – Court Assessment Work completed at this stage is critical in setting out compliance expectations with the offender and the consequences for them personally of a failure to comply. It is important to demonstrate that noncompliance will result in efficient and effective enforcement action being taken. The specific expectations, opportunities and requirements of the proposed community sentence and programme of work should be made clear to the offender to reduce anxiety and clarify expectations. The offender should be informed that good behaviour under supervision could lead to an application being made to the court for the early discharge of the order. It must be made explicit that the court will make this decision and not the probation service. If a community penalty is being proposed a first appointment with the Probation Area should be provided in the report in order to ensure that the case manager is able to engage quickly with the offender. 2. Court If an order is made the Court Officer has an important role to play in setting out the compliance expectations to the offender. It is important to reinforce the information given at the assessment stage and the point of sentence. The Court Officer should also take opportunity to support some of the motivational work undertaken at assessment stage, for example, highlighting the potential benefits an offender could gain from participating in treatment for substance misuse or accredited programmes. It is essential that a first appointment be made with the relevant office. This should be with a named staff member where possible and the appointment should be communicated both verbally and in writing. The offender should sign to confirm receipt of this information. Appointments should be scheduled in accordance with the timescales set out in National Standards but if possible should be responsive to the needs of an offender, for example - an employed offender should be given an appointment before/after working commitments.

PC43/2004 - Managing Compliance and Enforcement of Community Penalties


3. Supervision The first appointment should be with the named Case Manager, scheduled as per National Standards requirements. The Case Manager should provide the offender with a detailed and structured induction to the order (as outlined in section D9: National Standards 2000 revised). Areas should ensure that they have implemented PC17/2004; by checking that essential offender information such as last known addresses, National Insurance number, a mobile phone number etc. is recorded. It should be made clear to the offender that contact levels as detailed in National Standards are minimum requirements. They will be exceeded for offenders who pose risks of serious harm to the public, or a higher likelihood of reoffending, or for those who are subject to an additional order or licence requirements. Areas should have clear contingency arrangements in place to maintain effective contact in the event of staff sickness and leave. Established good practice and innovative approaches to supporting compliance include: • use of appointment cards, • working to reduce the barriers to attendance as part of the management of the order, • scheduling appointments to occur at a set time each week or to fit in with other essential commitments such as work, Community Drug Team appointments etc, • providing bus fares or transporting offenders, • using technology such as e-mail/texting appointment reminders, use of alarm system on mobile phones, reminder phone calls, • reminder letters, home visiting, issuing diaries/weekly diary sheets, • in appropriate cases officers/compliance officers visiting on day of failure to attend, • ensuring the offender is engaged in the supervision plan - establishing what he/she needs to do to reduce their reoffending to achieve their goals • use of volunteers and mentors to support attendance During supervision it is important that the Case Manager uses a variety of motivational techniques and uses pro-social modelling to ensure that the offender is engaged and to maintain momentum. Enforcement Areas should make arrangements to ensure that all enforcement action is taken promptly. The explanation given by an offender must be clearly recorded by the Case Manager. The professional judgement of the Case Manager as to whether this is an acceptable or unacceptable reason must also be recorded. Case Managers should ensure that sufficient information is available to the court to enable sentencing on the breach to take place at the first hearing if at all possible. NPD is exploring with DCA the potential to ensure that all Petty Sessional Divisions (PSDs) have specific breach courts and whether the Probation Service can have control of the listings for these. Fast track enforcement system for offenders who pose a significant risk to the public Whilst still in the early stages of development, work is in progress to establish a fast track enforcement system with DCA to ensure that offenders who are classified as high risk of reoffending are breached in a shorter timescale. NPD wanted to communicate this initiative to Areas at the earliest opportunity. The initial proposal is to have a joint performance standard with a view to reducing the process time by 50%. The proposal has received strong endorsement from ministers and will be piloted in Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire in the early Autumn.

PC43/2004 - Managing Compliance and Enforcement of Community Penalties



Probation Unit
Sentencing and Correctional Policy Directorate Home Office 50 Queen Anne's Gate London SW1H 9AT Direct line: 0171-273 3509 Switchboard: 0171-273 4000 Fax: 0171-273 3944
Chief Probation Officers Secretaries to Probation Committees

Date: 30 March 2000

This circular sets out guidance to accompany the new National Standards. It has been

prepared jointly with HMIP and ACOP. Copies of the PC should be made available to all staff who have sets of the Standards so that they can be inserted in the binder. Guidance is provided on a number of enforcement-related issues on which managers and practitioners have been seeking advice. It forms the basis on which HMIP will make judgements about the enforcement process. 2. The new National Standards come into force on 1 April 2000 (see PC53/1999) and it

is essential that services are ready to implement the Standards fully, and in particular to ensure that the new requirements for earlier breach of community penalties are implemented. Services are aware of Ministers’ expectations of improved performance in the

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area of enforcement (Standard D2 refers). The National Standards set out the minimum requirements. Professional Discretion and Accountability 3. In supervising offenders, probation staff will need to continue to use their

professional discretion and judgement taking into account all the circumstances of the case. The Standards should be applied using the service’s knowledge of an offender, the risks posed and the offender’s response to supervision to date. Staff are accountable for the use of their judgement (Standard A2 refers) and in departing from the Standards (for example by reducing the frequency of contact or not taking breach action as required) discretion can be exercised only with the authority of a manager. 4. Discretion must be exercised on an individual, case by case, basis. It is crucial that

staff and managers record on the case file where such discretion is used and that the reasons are fully documented. In the recent HMIP PIP inspections there were 1,416 cases in which 3 unacceptable absences occurred and 890 of those cases were not breached as required. In over 420 of those cases no reason for the lack of breach action was recorded on the case file. This is very poor practice. HMIP will continue to inspect rigorously the way all grades of staff exercise their judgement and discretion, and the recording of any decisions to depart from the Standards. Case Recording 5. Recording is itself a requirement of the National Standards (Standard A2 refers). It

is essential that everything relating to the offender's completion of the order, including reasons for absences, evidence produced in support of acceptable absences, unacceptable behaviour and appointments with partnership agencies, is fully recorded. All action taken by staff in connection with failures to comply must be clearly documented. evidence is necessary to enable effective prosecution. This will be particularly important where breach cases are returned to court and clear and substantial

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Induction 6. The supervising officer must ensure that the offender clearly understands the It is especially important that the enforcement procedures are

requirements of the order and the standards of behaviour expected whilst on the order (Standard D8 refers). clearly explained and the consequences of missing appointments made clear. A national leaflet, setting out the levels of behaviour expected from offenders and the consequences of failing to comply with the terms of their order, will be produced by the Probation Unit in conjunction with the Inspectorate and ACOP later this year. Appointments 7. A major requirement on an offender subject to a community penalty or licence

period is to report as instructed. It is important that staff and offenders are clear about what constitutes such an instruction and that, in the event of breach action, there is evidence that the offender was so instructed. The case record needs to indicate the dates of appointments arranged for the offender and needs to be amended if dates are altered by prior agreement (Standard D19 refers). 8. PC 3/99 suggested various ways of helping to ensure offenders attended their Evidence from the ACOP

appointments, such as the use of appointment cards.

Enforcement Audit suggests that attendance rates and compliance increase with the number of appointments offered, i.e. the more appointments arranged the better the turn up rate. 9. Services need to have in place arrangements which do not rely on individual staff If appointments need to be

alone so that offenders are seen both quickly after court and frequently, particularly during the first three months (Standard D7 refers). rearranged or are missed and need to be made up, it is important that services offer new appointments within the same week. It is essential that supervision of offenders is not interrupted for reasons of staff absence. Managers must ensure that staff absences, whether through sick leave or annual leave, are always covered. 10. The Standards are based on working days. This is to avoid penalising services

for inaction on public holidays. Services can, however, assume a five-day working week,
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even for those operations, such as community service and hostels, which may in fact operate on six or seven days a week. Acceptable absences 11. All absences should be regarded as unacceptable unless proved otherwise.

Acceptable absences would include: • • • • medical appointments notified in advance with appointment cards shown for verification; unscheduled work commitments that can be verified; job interviews that can be verified; proven appointments with other agencies such as DSS.

Unacceptable absences include: • • absence where no verification of reason is produced; turning up too late for programmed activity without verified reason.

The verification produced, such as a dentist’s appointment card, must be recorded in the case record. 12. There may be exceptional circumstances where it is acceptable for an appointment

to be rearranged after it had been due to take place and where advance notification of inability to keep an appointment was not given. It is expected that such instances will be rare, and most likely to occur in cases such as medical, childcare or other emergencies. Full details of why such an occurrence was deemed acceptable must be recorded on the offender's file. Medical Absences 13. Probation Unit are currently liasing with the Department of Health on the problems Services will be informed of the results of this work as soon as it is

that can be experienced by offenders in obtaining medical certificates for sickness of less than seven days. available.
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It is however the expectation that medical certificates will be provided for all sick

absences and they should be provided within seven working days of the absence occurring. Self certification is acceptable if its use is very carefully monitored to ensure that there is no abuse of the system. Areas will want to develop their own systems and guidelines for the monitoring of self certification. Carers’ responsibilities 15. Staff will need to ensure that they are aware of any dependant relative/childcare

obligations that the offender has. Where possible appointments should be made with these obligations in mind, so that they are not given subsequently as reasons for failure to comply. Yellow/Red Letter Warning System 16. Evidence from the ACOP audits suggests that offenders whose first unacceptable

absence is dealt with promptly by a formal warning letter go on to comply with their order. Probation staff involved in enforcement work indicate that the use of coloured paper or labels does help to emphasise the importance of the message to offenders. Red letters are associated with final demands for payment and appear to have a useful effect. Our original intention was that yellow warning letters should be issued to offenders on community sentences. On further thought, however, it may be confusing for yellow letters to be issued for the first (of a possible two) warnings for offenders on licence and for the only warning for those on community sentences. It is more logical for a red letter to be sent for the final warning in each case – i.e. on the first unacceptable failure for community sentences and on the second for licences. This circular amends Standard D21. Services should note that the use of coloured warning letters is a requirement of National Standards 2000. Services have the discretion as to whether this means letters printed in red ink, on red paper or with a red sticker or other red marking device. 17. The standard warning letters issued with PC3/1999 have been revised with the

assistance of the Basic Skills Agency. A revised set of letters is attached at Annex A. It includes for the first time standard letters for dealing with licencees.

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Agreement for offender not to be breached after second unacceptable failure 18. The National Standards make clear that offenders who are serving a community

sentence must be breached no later than the second unacceptable failure to comply. This Standard can be deviated from only with the authorisation of the line manager. All such deviations from the Standards must be fully recorded on the offender's file, with full reasons for the decision clearly stated. 19. The Standards require that offenders on licence should be breached no later than

the third unacceptable failure. Where it is decided that an offender on licence should not be breached on the second unacceptable failure, this must be authorised by an officer of at least ACPO level, or equivalent (Standard D23 refers). 20. It is of course possible to breach any offender (whether on licence or serving a

community sentence) after one unacceptable absence or other unacceptable failure to comply where the circumstances of that failure are serious enough to warrant such action (Standard D20 refers). 21. Where a community order lasts more than 12 months and an unacceptable absence

occurs more than 12 months after a warning has been given, it is permissible to warn again. Breach Action on Community Sentences 22. Breach action is regarded as having been “instituted” when an application has been

made for summons or warrant to return an offender to court for breach. This may involve actually going to the court and taking out a summons or a warrant, or it may mean notifying a court by telephone or letter that breach action has been decided on and asking that arrangements be made for the officer to take out a summons or warrant. Breach action is only considered to have taken place where there is clear evidence of contact with the court that is recorded on the case file. 23. Breach action can be used for failure other than missing appointments. It may be

necessary because the offender’s behaviour poses a risk to probation staff and/or the public (Standard D8 refers).
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Standard D19 requires that any unacceptable failure to comply be followed up

within two days, recorded fully within a further five days and, where appropriate, breach proceedings to be instituted within 10 days of the failure occurring. Questions have been raised as to when the 10 days clock starts: it is with the failure, not the decision that the failure is unacceptable. 25. Officers appearing in court in breach cases need to be clear about the outcome

being sought, i.e. whether the order should be revoked and the offender resentenced, or, for example, a fine imposed and the order continue as before. 26. Clear evidence of the failure needs to be presented in court to ensure that there is A suggested list of evidence and

sufficient evidence with which to prosecute the breach. breach wording is at Annex B. 27.

Some services have suggested that section 127 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980

prevents reference to unacceptable failures occurring more than six months ago as it sets a limit of six months in which to bring proceedings for an offence. However, breach of a community sentence is not in itself an offence so the restriction does not apply. We have legal advice to this effect. Breach proceedings for post-release licences 28. When breach action is not being pursued through the courts the Sentence The

Enforcement Unit (SEU) at Prison Service Headquarters should be contacted.

arrangements for contacting the Sentence Enforcement Unit can be found in Probation Circular 83/1999 which includes a standard format for submitting recall recommendations which should be used in every case. This form is reproduced as Annex C to this circular. A list of caseworkers in SEU and their contact numbers is attached at Annex D.


The Sentence Enforcement Unit will consider all requests for recall and – depending

on the urgency of the case – either authorise immediate recall or refer the case to the Parole Board for initial consideration before a decision is made. The Sentence Enforcement Unit will
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only issue a warning letter in those cases where the Probation Service has requested recall but, following consultation with the Parole Board, SEU decides that recall is not appropriate. 30. The National Standards make clear that breach action must be taken on a third

unacceptable failure, but may be taken after one or two unacceptable failures. Following a first or second unacceptable failure, the decision as to whether to request recall is one for the supervising Probation Service, and any request should be accompanied by a recommendation. The Sentence Enforcement Unit will consider all recommendations for

recall. If the supervising Probation Service decides that an ACPO warning letter should be issued following a second unacceptable failure, this must be copied to SEU (Standard D23 refers). Transitional Arrangements for Breach Proceedings 31. The new National Standards will apply to all offenders from 1 April 2000 irrespective

of the date of their sentence. Care should be taken to ensure that offenders are aware of the new requirements, particularly in respect of enforcement. Services would be well advised to bring the tightening of the enforcement Standard to all offenders’ attention during the course of normal supervision. A standard letter for the purpose is attached at Annex E. 32. It may be that some offenders who have already had one or more failure(s) will

have been advised of their position under the 1995 Standards. In order not to run the risk of claims by offenders that the goalposts have been moved, Services should apply the following transitional arrangements to offenders serving community sentences: • offenders who were sentenced before 1 April 2000 and have no unacceptable failures extant at that date should receive a maximum of one warning before breach action as per the 2000 Standards; • offenders who were sentenced before 1 April 2000 and have one unacceptable failure extant at that date should have a maximum of one further warning before breach action, as per the 1995 Standards;

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offenders who were sentenced before 1 April 2000 and have two warnings extant at that date should be breached on their next failure, as per both sets of Standards; and, for completion;

offenders sentenced after 1 April 2000 will be allowed a maximum of one failure before breach.


These issues do not arise in relation to post-release supervision cases, where the

maximum number of failures before recall/breach action is unchanged. Transitional Arrangements for Young Offender Standards 34. Since the publication of National Standards 2000, we have been thinking further

with the Youth Justice Board about sensible arrangements for the supervision of offenders around the adult/young offender cusp. Current thinking is that all offenders on “adult” community sentences supervised by the probation service as opposed to youth offending teams should be supervised according to National Standards 2000, irrespective of age. This amends the second bullet of Standard A1. Enforcement of Partnership Appointments 35. National Standards 2000 require that appointments with partner organisations be

fully recorded and enforced (Standard D9 refers). Several services have questioned this, pointing to the Cullen v Rogers judgment in which the court held that a requirement placed on an offender by the probation service to attend a day centre was unlawful as it amounted to detention and deprivation of liberty. 36. That judgment, however, was in an extreme case: the requirement declared to

be unlawful was one to attend for several hours a day, several days a week. Clearly, if that sort of attendance is envisaged, the court should be invited to make an additional requirement. The Standard was written in the context of, for example, appointments with drugs worker or employment counsellors that would be of broadly the same frequency and length as appointments with the supervising officer. Where such appointments form part of the supervision plan they should be recorded and enforced as for appointments with probation officers. Contracts with partner agencies need to make clear that, where
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offenders’ appointments with them form part of the supervision plan, they will be required to provide evidence as to whether or not the appointments have been kept. Monitoring 37. Further work is being done on monitoring National Standards and advice will be

issued soon. Contact for enquiries 38. Any queries about this circular should be addressed to either Christine Micallef (020

7273 3068) or Alison Foulds (020 7273 3187) at the above address.

Probation Unit

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An Offender 12 High Street NEWTON NW6 7AE Our Ref: Letter an Offender/AM 3 March 2000-03-28 Dear An FINAL WARNING I am writing to you because you did not keep your appointment on Monday March 1st and you did not give a good reason for not attending. The court order states that • • • you must attend the [probation/community service office/partnership agency] you must give a good reason if you cannot attend you will be given a formal warning if you do not give a good reason for not attending.

Date of court order: Length of order: Court: Date of non-attendance: Details: As you did not attend on March 1st, this letter is a final warning. If this happens again you will be summoned to court for breach of order. Yours sincerely,

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An Offender 12 High Street NEWTON NW6 7AE

Our Ref: Letter an Offender/AM

Date ……….. 2000


I am writing to you because you have failed to comply with the following condition(s) of your licence: [CITE NUMBER OF CONDITION AND FULL TEXT] [PROVIDE DETAILS OF ANY FURTHER INFORMATION WHICH SUPPORTS YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE OFFENDER HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE LICENCE CONDITION] This letter is a formal warning. If you fail again to comply with a licence

condition, your case will be referred to a senior manager. You may be issued with a final warning, or you may be recalled to prison.

Yours sincerely

[Name of Supervising Officer]
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An Offender 12 High Street NEWTON NW6 7AE Our Ref: Letter an Offender/AM Date ……….. 2000

Dear An, FINAL WARNING I am writing to you because you have failed to comply with the following condition(s) of your licence: [CITE NUMBER OF CONDITION AND FULL TEXT] [PROVIDE DETAILS OF ANY FURTHER INFORMATION WHICH SUPPORTS YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE OFFENDER HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE LICENCE CONDITION] You have already received one formal warning, and I have therefore considered carefully whether it would be appropriate to recommend your recall to prison. Having looked at all the circumstances, I have decided to issue this final warning. You should understand that if you fail again to comply with a licence condition, we will submit to the Prison Service a recommendation that you be recalled to prison. I am copying this final warning to the Sentence Enforcement Unit of the Prison Service for their information. Yours sincerely [Name of Assistant Chief Probation Officer or Chief Probation Officer]

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Sentence Enforcement Unit, Room 125 - 127 Abell House, John Islip Street, London SW1P 4LH

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ANNEX B Information required for presentation of cases at court relating to breach or revocation of community sentences
1. It is recommended that, in all cases, the officer presenting the case should have available in court as a minimum: • • • • • copy summons/information for warrant, containing the exact wording of the allegation; original order/licence; any order transferring PSD; statement of facts; a clear understanding of the case.

2. In cases where there is the prospect that the court will pass sentence, or else remand in custody pending pre-sentence reports, the presenting officer should have, in addition to the above: • • advance disclosure relating to original offence(s); up to date previous convictions.

3. For a trial, the officer conducting the trial should have, in addition to the items listed at 1 and 2 above: • • • the original, plus a suitable number of copies, of any document to be referred to e.g. work instructions, appointment letters etc; any Section 9 witness statements that have been served on the defence; medical report, letters from employers, or other documentary evidence which may have been submitted by the defendant at any material point in the proceedings.

4. At all stages, the presenting officer should have all documents which are likely to be relevant, and no list can be exhaustive, since no two cases are identical. Suggested Wording of Breach "[Name of offender] did fail to report as instructed on [dates]” or “[Name of offender] failed to comply with the terms of his sentence in that he [acted in an aggressive manner towards his supervising officer]”

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ANNEX C LICENCE REVOCATION – REQUEST Probation Officer’s Report Please reply to: ……………………….. (Name) on ………………………….(Tel.)
[where an immediate recall is requested please ensure that the person named is available to be contacted for 30 minutes after the request is made]

THE SHADED AREAS NEED ONLY BE COMPLETED FOR ACR PRISONERS Name: Date of Birth Prison No. Address: Index Offence(s): Date committed: (if more that one index offence, please give the date of the earliest in the series of offences) Licence expiry date: Date of release: Releasing Institution:

HDC: Yes/No HDC expiry date:

Sentence length:


RECOMMENDATION: Signed: ……………………………………………………… COMMENTS OF SENIOR PROBATION OFFICER: Signed: ……………………………………………………… Contact no. ………………………………………… COMMENTS OF ASSISTANT CHIEF PROBATION OFFICER: Signed: ……………………………………………………… Contact no. ………………………………………… Date: ………………… Date: ………………… Date: …………………


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A, B C, D, E F, G, H I, J, K, L M,P Q, R, S N, O, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z OFFENDER SURNAME

A,B C, D, E, F, G H, I, J, K, L M, N, U, V, W, X, Y, Z O, P, Q, R, S, T

* Shirley Hamilton can also be contacted at weekends regarding urgent ACR, parole or NPD recall recommendations, where immediate action is required.

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Dear I am writing to tell you that from April 1 the Probation Service will be working to a new set of national standards. This will affect the way that you are supervised by your probation officer. Let me remind you that: • • • • • • you must keep all appointments arranged by your probation officer; if you cannot attend an appointment for any reason you must contact the Probation Officer before your appointment so you can get a new time; if you do not turn up without a good reason you will be given a written warning – a red letter; you will receive only one warning before being breached and taken back to court; if you are breached it will be up to the court to decide if you will be allowed to continue your community order the court may decide to re-sentence you for the original offence and could send you to prison.

These rules are important and you should discuss them with your probation officer. Yours sincerely,


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What is acceptable/unacceptable in terms of failure to attend?
NPD has decided to issue guidance on the underlying principles that should inform professional judgement when an offender misses an appointment. The guidance is not an exhaustive list covering all possible situations but is intended to address some frequently raised issues. In deciding if an excuse is acceptable, the supervising officer should assess the intent of the offender to attend as instructed and take into account progress on the order as a whole. For example, an offender that has an unacceptable failure early in their order but then reports as required for ten months before failing another appointment. The explanation given for the failure to report at the ten month point could perhaps be judged to be acceptable even if a similar explanation would have been considered unacceptable earlier in the order. WORKING if the offender advises the supervisor of an employment commitment this ideally ought to be in advance of the appointment. It must always be backed up by evidence, e.g. contract of employment, wage slip, letter from employer etc. All reasons offered by the offender must be recorded together with the case manager's reason for accepting them or not. Evidence provided by the offender must be retained on file. Hours of work should be discussed in advance and reporting arrangements made to take this into account. Repeated failures to keep appointments or to change them because of work commitments should be discussed by the case manager with their line manager with a view to assessing whether or not it is viable for the order to continue. All such discussions and decisions must be recorded. SICKNESS Sickness can only be regarded as acceptable when it is supported by a self-certification form received within 7 working days of the absence and where the case manager is satisfied that the reason given was sufficient to prevent the offender attending. If the offender appears to have an underlying medical problem which results in repeated missed appointments, the case manager should seek the offender's permission to write to the GP requesting the GP's views on whether the condition is such that it will prevent the offender from fulfilling their responsibilities to the order. If the offender refuses permission to contact their GP a joint case manager/line manager discussion needs to take place and decisions recorded. IN CUSTODY Case managers are required to confirm dates of periods spent in custody. PRE-NOTIFIED FAITH AND RELIGION COMMITMENTS It is the expectation that case managers will acquire the information about the faith and religion commitments relevant to an offender to ensure that they can effectively supervise them during the order. This information should be gathered at the start of the order to enable the case manager to make an informed professional judgement should an absence occur on one of these dates. It is accepted that there will always be a range of other circumstances that may arise that will cause offenders not to be able to report when instructed. The vast majority of these are possible to notify in advance and this would be the expectation. Case managers need to be alert to patterns of attendance and absence and should raise the matter with their line manager as soon as they begin to suspect that reporting in accordance with standards may be problematic for an offender. To test whether an absence is acceptable or not a case manager should assess the intent of the offender to attend as instructed. For example:• • • • The reason for the absence would normally be described as leisure or recreational activity. The reason arises from an activity that could have been undertaken at some other time. The reason is otherwise acceptable, but the offender did not take reasonable steps to notify the case manager. The offender arrives too late for a planned appointment.

National Standards for Community Orders and Licences (England/Wales) Process
Serving Order 1st appt within 1st work session Supervision Plan First three months 1st month 2nd month 4. - 6. month 6th month to end of order Home Visits Reviews Final review

5 working days of receipt 5 working days

5 working days of receipt 5 working days

5 working days 5 working days 10 working days

1 working day

10 working days Weekly - 12 appts

10 working days Weekly – 12 appts weekly Weekly – 4 appts Fortnightly – 4 appts Monthly Monthly within five working days every 4 months parole: yes non parole: not required, but good practice FTA follow up 2 working days 1 written warning 10 working days following decision FTA follow up 2 working days 1 written warning Recall in conjunction with ACO

Fortnightly – 6 appt Monthly 1 during order within first 3 mths every 4 months yes

fortnightly Monthly 1 during order within first 3 mths every 4 months yes

Enforcement Breach application

FTA follow up 2 working days 1 written warning 10 working days following decision

55 comply with order

45 have two unacceptable absences

4 not breached (reconvicted, missing or poor practice) 3 given management authorisation to not breach

38 breached by Probation Service
22 respond to summons 16 warrants issued

5+ executed within month target

5+ executed

5+ not executed