PRE-SENTENCE REPORTS AND OASYS

PURPOSE
To inform probation areas of developments in court report formats and OASys intended to: • Ensure consistency of coverage in same day reports in all areas • Drive the provision of same day reports in appropriate cases without compromising the need for effective assessment • Ensure engagement with sentencers on the issue of report provision in all areas.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 53/2004 ISSUE DATE: 22 September 2004 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: September 2009 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers Regional What Works Managers AUTHORISED BY: David Perry, Director of Service Delivery ATTACHED: Annex A: Same Day Report form

ACTION
Chief Officers should ensure that: • Where there is already a locally agreed format for same day reports the subjects contained in the attached model are covered • Where a locally agreed format is not yet in place immediate action is taken to progress discussion with sentencers to secure local ownership of a model similar to the attached. A review of the position in all areas will be undertaken in January 2005.

SUMMARY
The developments announced in this circular have the potential to reduce the time taken to prepare reports. Attached to this circular is a new report format for use on the day. In addition, two formats populated from within e-OASys will be released next month with further technical guidance. Areas are expected to use one or more of these formats, subject to discussion with sentencers, where it is clear that doing so would represent an improvement on current practice. As well as discussing these new formats this circular clarifies policy on the completion of OASys at pre-sentence stage.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS
PC 85/1999; PC 38/2004

CONTACTS FOR ENQUIRIES
Reports: Oliver Dean, 020 7217 0762, oliver.dean@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk OASys: John Bourton, 020 7217 0700, john.bourton@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

Background. The preparation and presentation of Pre-Sentence Reports (PSRs) is a key statutory duty for the National Probation Service. There is a range of different reports used across the Service but they are all PSRs within the meaning of the legislation. Irrespective of the format, the NPD’s expectation is that when a report is requested by the court it will be delivered on time. Following steady improvement until 2001-02, national performance on the 15 day national standard for PSR timeliness has fallen over the last two years. However, from next month the NPD will publish data on the proportion of reports submitted in the time set by the court, which is a more meaningful measure of performance, and the 15 day standard is under review. The NPD recognises that Chief Officers in some areas face difficult resourcing issues in covering all the activities required of the Service in their area but they should ensure that the service they provide to the courts receives due priority. It is also crucial that areas continue to engage with sentencers locally to agree the circumstances in which it is appropriate to request a written report. The importance of sentencers having confidence in the Probation Service cannot be overstated. An additional (and topical), point to bear in mind is that unless we get the right advice to the courts, on time, we will not succeed in diverting from our caseload many thousands of low risk offenders that Carter rightly identified should not be there. The introduction of the Specific Sentence Report (SSR) was an attempt to address the balance between the needs of the court and the other pressures on the NPS by developing a short report format which could be delivered on the day. Some areas have been very successful in driving up the numbers of such reports. However overall the evidence suggests that the objective of SSRs substituting for PSRs has not been achieved. There has not been a significant reduction in the number of full PSRs, and numbers of court reports as a whole have risen markedly. We need also to bear in mind that in many cases, because of the risks that an offender poses and the need to assess for targeted interventions, a report on the day without a full OASys assessment is not appropriate. Against this background and with, in addition, the desire that e-OASys should be able to populate one or more court report formats, the NPD has been reviewing existing formats and the use of OASys at pre-sentence stage. OASys Use at Pre-Sentence Stage OASys should be completed at pre-sentence stage in the majority of cases where a report is requested by the court, but the NPD recognises that this may not be possible because of time pressure, or it is inappropriate because there is a low likelihood of reconviction and low risk of harm. The following guidance clarifies the position. In all cases in which a report is requested: • • an OGRS score, giving an assessment of likelihood of reconviction, must be obtained, and; the OASys Risk of Harm screening tool must be completed.

In those cases in which likelihood of reconviction is low and the risk of harm screening shows that a full risk analysis is not required, and the court has ruled out a custodial sentence, a same day report is likely to be suitable and a full OASys assessment will probably not be done. If offenders have an OGRS score of 31 or over or require a full risk of harm analysis, a report should normally be produced for the court based on a full OASys assessment. This will usually require an adjournment unless a recent OASys assessment exists that can readily be updated (this will be much easier with e-OASys, and will become more common as more assessments go onto the system). MAPPA cases and prolific offender cases will all need a full assessment. In cases in which the court has adjourned for a full assessment because of the seriousness of the offence, an OASys assessment should normally be completed. This includes cases where the likelihood of reconviction and risk of harm screening would otherwise point to a same day report. (Remember that the OASys1 form is shorter and potentially more suitable than OASys2 in such cases). In all cases, when considering a proposal to the court the report writer should consider the seriousness of the offence alongside the assessment of likelihood of reconviction and risk of harm; a custodial sentence should be proposed if it is considered to be the most suitable disposal.

PC53/2004 – Pre-Sentence Reports and OASys

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In cases of low likelihood of reconviction and low risk of harm, proposals in reports should generally be for fines and conditional discharges except in those cases where the level of seriousness suggests that a community or custodial sentence is more suitable. (Many offenders for whom the Drink Impaired Drivers’ programme is appropriate are low/low, for example, and there is no reason why a proposal for this programme should not be made in a same day report provided the eligibility and suitability criteria are met). See also the targeting strategy in PC 38/2004. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 Further developments in relation to the implementation next year of the new Community Order (the generic Community Sentence) and Custody Minus will be communicated at a later date. The OASys Data Evaluation and Analysis Team (ODEAT) are looking at the development of a purpose-built low risk screening tool where this would offer an improvement on the current OGRS/OASys RoH Screen arrangement. Guidance will be issued on working with the courts under the new sentencing provisions including revised advice on targeting to interventions which will take proper account of seriousness. It is clear that given the complexity of the Community Order (with its 12 possible requirements) and Custody Minus the need for good quality offender assessment at pre-sentence stage will not diminish. We shall however be reviewing whether the present requirement to do OASys in all cases from commencement makes operational sense. Same Day Report – Annex A A copy of a new form for manual completion is at annex A. It balances the demands on staff for speed of completion versus detail, significantly reducing the requirement for free text by the introduction of tick boxes. It represents an improvement on the old SSR template, which it is intended to replace. Some areas will find it preferable to existing locally developed short formats. The form has been designed to enable easy completion in long-hand since many areas do not have PCs at court. It has also been designed to gather information that can be entered into OASys if the outcome is a community sentence, and will speed up that process. It is a pre-sentence report for the purposes of Section 162 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and Section 158 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (when commenced). With regard to the requirements of staff using assistive technology (AT), work is continuing to ensure that when a final version is issued to the Service next April to take account of CJA issues it is fully AT compatible. In this connection the form at Annex A is best regarded not as a template but as a content model. If areas are minded to adapt it to a Word template they should consider AT compliance before requiring staff to use it. Templates populated from within e-OASys Last year a PSR template was issued with release 2 of e-OASys but suffered from a number of technical limitations and areas were unable to make satisfactory use of it. A revised version has now been developed which removes these shortcomings and also provides areas with the option of selecting a shorter format report based on one developed by the South East Region. This should be ready for deployment on training systems by the end of the month and for live use by mid October. Both formats will allow information from OASys to be automatically pulled through into a Word document which can then be edited as necessary. This will avoid double keying of data and significantly reduce the overall time needed to complete assessments and prepare reports. Both are intended for use after an adjournment although the shorter of the two may be useful on the day where a recent OASys assessment is already on the system and can therefore be updated. It is envisaged that further modifications to the templates will be made in due course in light of experience over the next several months and based upon the needs of users and the requirements of the courts. Changes will also reflect new requirements for the CJA. Locally Developed Report Formats Some probation areas are already using shorter reports of their own design, which they have brokered with the local courts. There is no objection to these locally developed reports continuing to be used for the time being although if areas can see clear benefits from using the new same day and/or e-OASys formats they should not delay starting discussion PC53/2004 – Pre-Sentence Reports and OASys 3

with sentencers about making changes. Note however that there is no possibility in the foreseeable future of providing electronic links to e-OASys for locally developed formats to avoid the double keying of data. Where areas have already developed their own templates in Word they should check AT compliance. Where a template is not compliant but is routinely used it should either be rendered compliant or appropriate reasonable adjustments should be discussed and agreed with staff and local trades unions (particularly in respect of time adjustments and the use of support or administrative staff). Next Steps Chief officers must take the action indicated on the front page of this Circular and a review of the position across the Service will be conducted next January. Further guidance on court reports and on the CJA will be issued in due course. Guidance on the OASys-populated formats will be issued when they go live.

David Perry Director of Service Delivery

PC53/2004 – Pre-Sentence Reports and OASys

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SAME DAY REPORT

NATIONAL PROBATION SERVICE
for England and Wales

This is a Pre-Sentence Report as defined in Section 162(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Standard for Pre-Sentence Reports

XXX Area

THIS REPORT IS A CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENT
OFFENDER’S DETAILS: Name:(First name then family
name)

Date of Birth: Address:

Age:

Post Code: COURT DETAILS: Sentencing Court: Date of Hearing: Petty Sessional Area: Date Report Requested: OFFENCE DETAILS: Offence(s) (dealt with in this PSR): Date of Offence(s):

PSR WRITER’S DETAILS: Name: Official Title: Office Location: Date report completed and signed:

Tel No:

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1. Sources of Information
Interview CPS Summary Previous convictions Service records Other (please specify)
…………………………………………….

2. Offence Analysis
Please provide a (very) brief outline of the offence(s):
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Why did the offence(s) occur?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Offender accepts responsibility for offending? Yes No Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Offender recognises the impact and consequences of offence(s) on victim(s)? Yes No In part Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Offender recognises the impact and consequences of offence(s) on the community? No In part Yes Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Anti-social/discriminatory attitudes/behaviour associated with offending? Yes No N/A Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Current offence(s) part of an established pattern of offending? Yes No Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Current offence(s) indicate escalation in seriousness of offending behaviour? Yes No Please provide details:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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3. Offender Assessment
Accommodation Is accommodation a relevant issue? If “yes”, please provide details: Yes No

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Education, training and employment Are education, training, employment and/or basic skills relevant issues? If “yes” please provide details:

Yes

No

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Financial management and income Are finances a relevant issue? If “yes” please provide details:

Yes

No

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Drug/Alcohol Misuse Is drug/alcohol misuse a relevant issue? Is drug/alcohol misuse linked to offending behaviour? Is there lack of motivation to tackle drug/alcohol misuse? Is drug misuse and obtaining drugs a major activity? Is past drug/alcohol misuse history a relevant issue? If “yes” to any of above please provide details:

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

No No No No No

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mental Health: Is mental health an issue? Is this linked to offending behaviour? Does the offender have a history of mental health issues? Is a specialist report required? If “yes” to any of above please provide details:

Yes Yes Yes Yes

No No No No

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Additional Information about the Offender relevant to the offence(s) and the management of the offender:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

4. Risk of Harm and Likelihood of Reconviction
The Risk of Harm Screening assessment indicates a Low Risk Yes No

If No, state why an adjournment for a full assessment is NOT required:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Likelihood of Re-Conviction is assessed as Low

Yes

No

If No, state why an adjournment for a full assessment is NOT required:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Court assessment of Seriousness: High Medium Low Not Known

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the Risk of Harm, Risk of Reconviction and Court assessment of Seriousness are all LOW, then a Probation Service intervention should not normally be recommended as suitable. Consider an alternative proposal (e.g. Fine, Conditional Discharge, Adult Attendance Centre, etc.).

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5. Sentencing Options and Proposal
Proposal and reasons:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

If a community sentence is proposed which includes Supervision, the outline Sentence Plan is as follows: i) Focus of work:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

ii)

Timescale:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

iii)

Methods:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Offender’s Attitude to proposed community sentence:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Wording of the Order:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Signature:………………………. Name:………………………….

Date:………………

Outcome Sentence of the court: ……………………………………………………………………………….. Comments:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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