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Probation

Circular

MONITORING OF RISK OF HARM REFERENCE NO:


PURPOSE 82/2005
To introduce revised arrangements for the monitoring of risk of harm in all
cases and additional monitoring of the quality of reviews of risk assessments ISSUE DATE:
in high or very high risk of harm cases. 4 November 2005

ACTION IMPLEMENTATION DATE:


Areas are to note and prepare for the monitoring arrangements outlined in Immediate
this circular.
EXPIRY DATE:
SUMMARY November 2010
The recent PC 77/05 indicated that the Director of Probation and the Head of
Public Protection in NPD were concerned about the quality of sentence plan TO:
and risk management plan reviews on high/very high risk of harm cases and Chairs of Probation Boards
that advice would follow. This circular provides further details on how this Chief Officers of Probation
issue and risk of harm across the piece is to be monitored and reported.
Secretaries of Probation Boards

BACKGROUND CC:
There are two agendas to take forward:
Board Treasurers
1. The need to demonstrate sufficient quality of assessment and
Regional Managers
management of the risk of harm of all cases, bearing in mind that
around 75-80% of Serious Further Offences are committed by offenders
who are of medium or low risk of harm; and AUTHORISED BY:
2. Improving both the timing and the quality of assessments and reviews of Roger McGarva, Head of Regions
High/Very High risk of harm offenders in accordance with the need to & Performance
give priority to them.
ATTACHED:
RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS Annexe A: Sufficiency of Risk
PC 10/2005: Public Protection Framework, Risk of Harm and MAPPA Assessments and Timeliness of
Reviews, April-September 2005
Thresholds
PC 48/2005: OASys Quality Management Plan (part of PC file)
PC 49/2005: Assessment and Management of Risk of Harm Action Plan
PC 77/2005: Monitoring of PPO and High/Very High Risk of Harm Cases Annexe B: Serious Further
Offence Screening Document
CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
Ed.Stradling@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or telephone: (020) 7217 0758

National Probation Directorate


Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW
New Arrangements – The Next Steps

Quality of Sentence Plans, Risk of Harm Assessments and Risk Management Plans

The current version of NSMART (v. 4.1.1) is capable of generating the data to provide assurances of the quality of
sentence plans, risk of harm assessments and risk management plans across the caseload and separately for high/very
high risk of harm cases. The data will come from the following monitoring questions (numbered 62-64 in the Community
Orders questionnaire and 51-53 in the Resettlement one):

• Is there sufficient assessment and planning in the sentence plan (SP) and risk management plan to address the
risk of the offender’s causing serious harm to the victim(s) of the offence?
• Is there sufficient assessment and planning in the sentence plan (SP) and risk management plan to address the
risk of the offender’s causing serious harm to the public?
• Is there sufficient assessment and planning in the sentence plan (SP) and risk management plan to address the
risk of the offender causing serious harm to staff?

Attached at Annexe A is an analysis by area of the data obtained from the equivalent questions as part of NS monitoring
between April and September this year. Also presented is the proportion of cases where the risk assessment was
reviewed within 16 weeks. It should be noted the data are incomplete because these questions were optional during that
period and in many instances the figures are based on very small samples. From the available data, there is evidence of
a high degree of variation in area performance. From this month (October 2005) onwards these questions have been
made mandatory and the results will be published on a quarterly basis in future.

A further question will be added to this section, as follows:

• Overall, is there sufficient evidence in the case file that throughout the period of supervision the risks of harm
have been identified and assessed to the required standard and all reasonable actions have been taken to keep
the offender’s risk of harm to a minimum (i.e. the case would pass a Serious Further Offence management
review)?

The above question is designed to lead the assessor to form an overall judgement about the management of the case.
NPD intends to issue revised guidance for Serious Further Offence reports by the end of 2005, however in the interim
areas are advised to make reference to the core questions included in Stage 2 of the SFO screening document, as an
indicator of the quality of offender management (Annexe B).

The NPD is concerned that these assessments are done in a robust and rigorous way. This needs to be seen in the
context of the critical remarks made by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation and the high number of ESI reports
that have been critical of risk of harm assessments. We recognise the need to develop a clear framework for helping
managers judge whether or not the assessment and management of the risk of harm of a particular case is ‘sufficient’.
NPD will be working with HMI Probation to develop such a definition during the coming months, alongside the
development of the training manual.

Quality of Reviews in High/Very High Risk of Harm Cases

In order to capture the data on the quality of reviews we will introduce an additional form into the monthly monitoring of
National Standards from 1st December 2005. (The new form and the accompanying version 4.2 of NSMART will be sent
to areas in the week commencing 7 November 2005). The form will resemble a cut-down version of the current forms for
community orders and resettlement cases, but will relate only to High/Very High risk of harm cases. From a list of all
community order commencements and releases on licence in the month six months previously, areas should select all
cases that were assessed as posing a risk of causing serious harm to the public, staff or victims (equivalent to High or
Very High risk of harm) at the point of commencement or release on licence and were still assessed as posing such a risk
at the point of monitoring (i.e. six months on from commencement or release, or when terminated if supervision ended
before six months was reached) and were therefore managed as High/Very High risk of harm under the entirety of the
period under review. It will ask the following questions:

1. Does the most recent risk management plan use the headings as per PC 10/2005? (Yes/No)

2. Have the risk of harm assessment, the risk management plan and sentence plan been reviewed within National
Standards time-scales (no later than 16 weeks after the date of commencement of either a community sentence
or licence, at the conclusion of each planned requirement within the sentence, or more frequently if required to
monitor risk or record significant change)? (Yes/No)

PC82/2005 – Monitoring Risk of Harm 2


3. What is your assessment of the extent to which (as evidenced in the most recent review) both the risk
management plan and the objectives in the sentence plan have been implemented appropriately in the period
under review? (Excellent/Good/Unsatisfactory/Poor)

4. What is your assessment of the way in which any changes in risk of harm were identified and managed, taking
account of victim issues where relevant in the period under review?
(Excellent/Good/Unsatisfactory/Poor/Not Applicable)

5. Did a home visit take place? (as in Q.16 of the Community Orders form, version 6)

6. Including any requirement contacts, record the average weekly number of appointments arranged to take place
with the offender manager in the first 16 weeks

7. Including any requirement contacts, record the average weekly number of appointments that took place with the
offender manager in the first 16 weeks

8. Enforcement – the questions from the standard NS monitoring forms on action taken on first, second and third
(licences only) failure to comply.

9. Outcome of breach – as per questions from the NS monitoring forms for orders and resettlement

This is alongside the work being undertaken at an area, regional and national level as part of the OASys quality
management process outlined in PC 48/05.

PC82/2005 – Monitoring Risk of Harm 3


Annexe A

SUFFICIENCY OF RISK ASSESSMENTS AND TIMELINESS OF REVIEWS

TABLE 1: Community Orders April - September 2005

Region Probation Area % Sufficient Risk Assessments in Relation to: Risk assessment
Victims Public Staff reviewed within 16
weeks
East of England Bedfordshire 100% 95% 95% 43%
Cambridgeshire 99% 99% 99% 27%
Essex 95% 92% 96% 27%
Hertfordshire 90% 86% 87% 17%
Norfolk 100% 100% 100% 19%
Suffolk 96% 98% 98% 54%
East Total 95% 93% 94% 30%
East Midlands Derbyshire 98% 100% 98% 67%
Leicestershire & Rutland 90% 91% 91% 46%
Lincolnshire 95% 97% 98% 62%
Northamptonshire 91% 95% 95% 31%
Nottinghamshire 93% 94% 95% 28%
East Midlands Total 93% 94% 95% 46%
London London East 33% 40% 100% 38%
London North 73% 50% -- 24%
London South 100% 100% 100% 13%
London West -- -- -- 20%
London Total 56% 56% 80% 24%
North East County Durham 98% 97% 97% 83%
Northumbria 94% 100% 100% 53%
Teesside 100% 100% -- 68%
North East Total 97% 98% 97% 65%
North West Cheshire 89% 90% 90% 53%
Cumbria 100% 100% 100% 37%
Greater Manchester 100% -- -- 46%
Lancashire 100% 100% 100% 58%
Merseyside 67% -- -- 44%
North West Total 92% 90% 90% 47%
South East Hampshire 96% 98% 97% 57%
Kent 98% 98% 98% 54%
Sussex 89% 92% 94% 36%
Thames Valley 50% 25% 25% 33%
Surrey -- -- -- --
South East Total 91% 93% 94% 43%
South West Avon & Somerset 93% 94% 95% 33%
Devon/Cornwall 92% 94% 94% 50%
Dorset 77% 88% 89% 49%
Gloucestershire 91% 92% 87% 61%
Wiltshire 90% 92% 92% 43%
South West Total 87% 91% 91% 43%
Wales Dyfed/Powys 95% 92% 94% 51%
Gwent 85% 89% 89% 65%
North Wales 100% 100% 100% 32%
South Wales 94% 94% 94% 57%
Wales Total 93% 93% 93% 52%
West Midlands Staffordshire 97% 97% 97% 34%
Warwickshire 95% 95% 95% 32%
West Mercia 94% 100% 99% 49%
West Midlands -- -- -- 33%
West Midlands Total 96% 97% 97% 38%
Yorkshire & Humberside 98% 97% 99% 48%
Humberside North Yorkshire 91% 92% 94% 52%
West Yorkshire 96% 97% 97% 36%
South Yorkshire 96% 96% 96% 48%
Yorkshire & Humberside Total 95% 96% 97% 43%

England and Wales 93% 94% 95% 43%

Source: National Standards monitoring


PC82/2005 – Monitoring Risk of Harm 4
TABLE 2: Licences April - September 2005

Region Probation Area % Sufficient Risk Assessments in Relation to: Risk assessment
Victims Public Staff reviewed within 16
weeks
East of England Bedfordshire 78% 86% 100% 33%
Cambridgeshire 89% 91% 91% 33%
Essex 93% 95% 93% 48%
Hertfordshire 79% 85% 84% 40%
Norfolk 100% 100% 100% 40%
Suffolk 100% 100% 100% 90%
East of England Total 90% 93% 93% 51%
East Midlands Derbyshire 74% 84% 83% 33%
Leicestershire & Rutland 84% 88% 93% 75%
Lincolnshire 97% 97% 97% 88%
Northamptonshire 91% 93% 93% 29%
Nottinghamshire 90% 95% 98% 54%
East Midlands Total 88% 92% 95% 53%
London London East -- -- -- 30%
London North 100% -- -- 60%
London South -- -- -- 44%
London West 100% 100% 100% 50%
London Total 100% 100% 100% 43%
North East County Durham 95% 100% 100% 100%
Northumbria 100% 100% 100% 83%
Teesside 100% -- -- 78%
North East Total 96% 100% 100% 82%
North West Cheshire 86% 86% 93% 56%
Cumbria 100% 100% 100% 67%
Greater Manchester -- -- -- 65%
Lancashire 96% 100% 88% 50%
Merseyside 100% 100% 100% 75%
North West Total 92% 92% 92% 66%
South East Hampshire 93% 94% 94% 71%
Kent 93% 92% 100% 69%
Sussex 89% 94% 94% 57%
Thames Valley 83% 83% 83% 44%
Surrey 100% 100% 100% --
South East Total 92% 93% 94% 60%
South West Avon & Somerset 92% 92% 94% 67%
Devon/Cornwall 94% 90% 94% 75%
Dorset 95% 95% 93% 53%
Gloucestershire 74% 100% 96% 60%
Wiltshire 90% 92% 88% 65%
South West Total 90% 94% 93% 64%
Wales Dyfed/Powys 98% 94% 94% 77%
Gwent 71% 72% 61% 60%
North Wales 83% 86% 86% 100%
South Wales 92% 94% 92% 69%
Wales Total 91% 91% 89% 73%
West Midlands Staffordshire 100% 100% 100% 79%
Warwickshire 89% 91% 89% 20%
West Mercia 100% 100% 100% 61%
West Midlands -- -- -- 42%
West Midlands Total 97% 97% 97% 50%
Yorkshire & Humberside 94% 95% 95% 43%
Humberside North Yorkshire 89% 91% 94% 50%
West Yorkshire 97% 96% 96% 47%
South Yorkshire 93% 93% 93% 50%
Yorkshire & Humberside Total 94% 95% 95% 48%

England and Wales 92% 94% 94% 58%

Source: National Standards monitoring

PC82/2005 – Monitoring Risk of Harm 5


Annexe B
Taken from Stage 2 SFO Screening Document PC 54/2003. Please note that the latter circular will be updated by 1/1/06.

SERIOUS FURTHER OFFENCE:


SCREENING DOCUMENT (Stage two)
Questions 1 to 17 MUST be answered in full. Where your answer requires supporting evidence, place a cross in the “flag”
box, write SFO number in the top left corner of the additional evidence document and attach it, using a treasury tag, to the
back of this document. If you answer “NO” or “NA” to any question, you MUST give reasons in the spaces provided.

Core Questions Yes No NA Flag

1. Was the risk assessment carried out according to Area policy?


(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

1.1. Date of latest Risk Assessment:

2. Has the OASys documentation been completed to a


sufficiently good standard given the facts of the case?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

3. Is the risk of harm assessment congruent with the facts known


at the time and was it sufficient?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

3.1. Was all of the information necessary for the Risk of Harm
assessment taken into account?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

4. Does the supervision plan, & risk management plan if separate,


address issues identified in the risk of harm assessment
sufficiently?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

5. Is the work with the offender based on the supervision plan and
on any additional requirements of the licence?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

6. If new facts germane to the risk of harm assessment have


emerged since its completion, has there been a review of OASys
(or similar)?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

7. If an incident or deterioration in behaviour occurred during the


course of supervision in relation to the risk of harm the offender
presented, was the action taken by the supervisor sufficient?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

CONFIDENTIAL Version 1.0 Page 1 of 3


Annexe B
Taken from Stage 2 SFO Screening Document PC 54/2003. Please note that the latter circular will be updated by 1/1/06.

Yes No NA Flag

8. Have contact requirements been at least in line with National


Standards?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

9. Has enforcement been in line with National Standards?


(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

10. Were risk assessment/management requirements communicated


between case manager and others involved with the
implementation of the plan?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

11. In relevant cases under Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and


Courts Services Act 2000, did the documentation demonstrate that
the rights and the needs of victims had been taken into account?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

12. Where appropriate, was there good communication with the


Victim Liaison Staff?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

13. Was appropriate referral made to other agencies?


(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

14. Is there evidence of consistently good communication with other


agencies including, but not exclusively, fulfillment of obligations
to inform others of key risk information?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

15. If the risk assessment indicated a referral to level 2 or level 3


management under the MAPPA, was this referral made?
(If NO or NA, please describe here.)

16. If this case has been transferred in, was the transfer timely and
appropriately handled in accordance with the most recent and
relevant PC?
(If NO please describe here.)

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Annexe B
Taken from Stage 2 SFO Screening Document PC 54/2003. Please note that the latter circular will be updated by 1/1/06.

17. If this case was temporarily handled by another Area, did they
receive and communicate appropriately with full information?
(If NO please describe here.)

If any answer to the following questions is “YES”, a full review (stage three) must be
undertaken.

Final Questions Yes No

1. The risk assessment current at the time of the offence was clearly
unjustifiable or indefensible:
(i.e., the answer to question 3or 3.1 above is “NO”.

2. The case was under the consideration of a Multi-Agency Public


Protection Panel (MAPPP) at the time of the alleged offence:

3. The case had been assessed as presenting a high risk of harm and
at least one screening document (stage two) question(s) 1-17 has
been answered in the negative:

4. The case had not been assessed as presenting a high risk of harm,
but where negatives in the screening document (stage two)
question(s) 1-17 outweigh the positives:

This case requires a full review?

Please identify any learning/action points that have emerged from this screening document,
irrespective of whether this case will move to a full review. (Attach these findings on a separate
sheet.)

Signed: ______________________________

Date: ______________________________

(If this form is being emailed, the signature field may be left blank. However, both your retained and sent hard copies MUST be
signed.)

END OF SCREENING DOCUMENT (STAGE TWO)

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