Probation Circular

To remind Areas about – and promote – the use of the functionality already available in e-OASys and to provide information about recent and future developments. REFERENCE NO: 89/2005 ISSUE DATE: 14 December 2005 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: December 2010 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers AUTHORISED BY: Richard Mason, Head of Offender Management Unit, NPD ATTACHED: N/A

Chief Officers should note the contents of this Circular and disseminate to relevant staff. In Areas in which use is not already being made of one or other of the existing templates Chief Officers are strongly encouraged to start using one of them, with adjustments as set out in this Circular, as soon as possible.

In the autumn of 2004 two templates were deployed to the NPS, one of them jointly developed with South East Region for use there, the other offered for use nationally. Use of the templates helps improve OASys quality and saves time. A single template, replacing the existing ones, is planned to be delivered next year but its deployment has been delayed because of the OASys connectivity work. This circular explains what it will contain and also sets out changes that have recently been made to the existing templates. It makes sense for Areas to configure an existing template so that it is as close as possible to the content of the final version coming next year. When the final version is deployed its use will be mandatory but it will not be available before April 2006.

PC18/2005; PC53/2004

PSR Policy - Oliver Dean, 020 7035 1765, OASys team - Liz Holden, 020 7217 0697, or Pauline Hill, 020 7217 0696.

National Probation Directorate
Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW

1. 1.1 1.2

Background E-OASys is now being used in all 42 Probation Areas. Last year the South East Probation Court Network developed, in collaboration with NPD IT staff, a PSR template automatically populated from within e-OASys. This is known as the South East Template. Following this the NPD developed a slightly different template, the NPD Template, based on an earlier Lotus Notes design with a number of the South East Template’s features available as optional enhancements. In October 2004 the two templates based in MS-Word were installed in the e-OASys system and a comprehensive user guide was sent to all Areas (bar Cheshire who did not have access to the template - they do now). Following the installation of the two templates a significant number of Areas decided to make use of the new functionality. Currently, approximately 25% of Areas have made the decision to produce all of their Standard Delivery PSRs using the template and another 25% of Areas are trialling use of the template with a limited number of staff and courts. Other Areas made the decision to defer implementation until the design of the single national template, announced in earlier Circulars, had been finalised. Feedback from the Areas using the templates has been positive in terms of the response from sentencers, the improvement in the quality of OASys assessments that has resulted from using the templates, and time saved. The NPD and NOMS have now completed work on the specification of the single Standard Delivery PSR template for use in e-OASys, taking in the best features of the two formats currently available. This followed an extensive consultation in which two questionnaires (one for report writers, one for lead ACOs) were sent to all 24 Probation Areas using e-OASys PSR templates. An NPS Working Group, which included representation from a metropolitan area, was set up to work through the issues. In addition, a sentencer consultation event was held by the South East Court Network and presentations have been made nationally to the Magistrates’ Association, Chair of the Council of Circuit Judges and to the Chief Inspector of Probation. The NPS consultation responses have been shared with NAPO. We await completion of the e-OASys connectivity work before the single template can be introduced, at which point the existing formats on the system will be removed. We do not expect the new template to be in place before April 2006. Recent changes to the existing Templates Although the introduction of the single format has been delayed we have made several changes to the existing templates. These are: • The PSR header has been updated to state that "This is a Pre-Sentence Report as defined in Section 158 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Standard for Pre-Sentence Reports." This brings the template in line with the new Criminal Justice Act. Under ‘Court Details’ on the PSR Template Front sheet the term "Petty Sessional Area" has been replaced with “Local Justice Area” in line with the recent change in terminology. The bar chart currently entitled “Likelihood of Re-offending” has been relabelled “Likelihood of Reconviction” to more accurately describe the information presented in the chart.





2. 2.1

3. 3.1

Features of the forthcoming Single Template The single template will have the following features:

PC89/2005 – E-OASys PSR (SDR) Templates


It will include the criminogenic factors graph. Areas will have the option to automatically pull through the supporting text for all criminogenic factors but, as a minimum, standard text will be automatically pulled through supporting those criminogenic factors which are over the 50% threshold of concern. Personal and Global auto text will be available. Areas can use Global auto text for numerous purposes including standard recommendations for particular sentences. Personal auto text is set by individual users for regularly used phrases. The risk of harm and reoffending section will be separated into two sections entitled ‘Offender Assessment and the likelihood of Re-offending’ and ‘Assessment of the Risk of Harm’. The Risk of Harm table will no longer be available. Purpose of sentence and ‘Seriousness’ boxes will be added to the front sheet of the report. Sentence plans will be included in the template as standard.

• • • 3.2

When the single template is introduced its use will become mandatory in all Areas. A realistic deadline will be set for Areas to start using it, hopefully July 2006. However, Areas that are not already doing so are strongly encouraged to start using one of the existing e-OASys templates as soon as possible. It would obviously be sensible to use a template whose features are close to those of the single template outlined above. Fortunately it is possible, using the existing functionality, to achieve this. Configuring an existing template When configuring a template Areas are encouraged to refer to the e-OASys Court Reports System User Guide issued on 29 October 2004 (copies will be re-sent on request). Areas are advised to choose the NPD template, rather than the South East one, and to configure the system to “switch on” the “Factors Chart” and to “switch off “ the “Risk of harm table”. When introducing the template Areas should liaise with sentencers locally so the format does not come as a surprise. For further advise on sentencer liaison and how this might best be approached please contact Oliver Dean whose details are on the front of this Circular. For further advice and guidance on the e-OASys templates please contact Liz Holden or Pauline Hill (details also on the front). They are available to visit Areas to demonstrate or talk through the new template. Assistive Technology (AT) The current version of e-OASys is AT compliant. This compliance will be maintained in future releases of eOASys including the single PSR template.

4. 4.1



5. 5.1

PC89/2005 – E-OASys PSR (SDR) Templates