Probation Circular

CASE TRANSFER PROTOCOL BETWEEN YOUTH OFFENDING TEAMS (YOTS) AND PROBATION AREAS
PURPOSE
• • • To provide areas with guidance on transfer of cases between YOTs and probation areas To provide a sample protocol for areas to adapt for local use if needed (attached as Annex A) To provide clarification on the sentencing provisions for 16 and 17-year olds REFERENCE NO: 91/2005 ISSUE DATE: 19 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: Claire Wiggins, Head of Intensive Interventions ATTACHED: Annex A: Sample Protocol (part of PC Word file)

ACTION
Chief Officers should review the contents of this Circular and ensure an appropriate protocol with local YOTs is in place.

SUMMARY
The NPD and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) have agreed a protocol regarding the transfer of offenders between YOTs and probation areas. Existing protocols need not be amended if they are already consistent with the sample protocol.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS
PC30/2003, PC52/2004

CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
Robin Brennan robin.brennan@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk Tel: 020 7217 0916

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

1. Introduction 1.1 Youth offending teams (YOTs) were established as a result of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and became operational from 1999-2000. They currently have responsibility for young offenders under the age of 18 and provide preventative interventions as well as management of community and custodial sentences for this age group. In some circumstances YOTs will supervise offenders over the age of 18 and these cases should be clarified in local protocols. YOTs are locally based, funded and staffed by a variety of statutory partner agencies including the Probation Service. 1.2 The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The National Probation Service (NPS) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) provides a framework for managing the partnership between NPS and the youth justice system.1 The MOU suggests a number of areas that would benefit from joint collaboration, one of which is ‘managing the interface between the youth justice and adult systems so as to ensure an offender’s experience remains coherent and is one which contributes to reducing the risk of re-offending’. 1.3 This Circular provides a sample protocol for the transfer of cases between YOTs and probation areas. It is based on a review of existing protocols across selected areas and has been agreed with the Youth Justice Board. It can be used as a basis to review current protocols or to develop new ones where required. It is likely that there will be some cases that the sample protocol does not cover. Arrangements for these will need to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis between the local YOT and the probation area. 2. Objectives of the protocol 2.1 • • • • • The objectives of the protocol are to: Ensure that the new sentencing provisions are taken into account Ensure that the respective services are appropriately accountable for their work Improve consistency of practice across the country Ensure that high-risk cases are appropriately managed Increase the effectiveness of orders

3. Clarification of sentencing provisions for 16- and 17-year olds 3.1 16- and 17-year olds can currently be sentenced to all juvenile and some adult disposals. In particular, areas should note that the community punishment order, community rehabilitation order, community punishment and rehabilitation order and drug treatment and testing order, while no longer available to those aged 18 or over under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, continue to be available to 16- and 17-year olds. This will change if and when proposed legislation to establish a youth rehabilitation order (YRO) is introduced, as this would create a generic community sentence for young offenders. The YRO would also provide for an element of intensive supervision and surveillance, effectively replacing the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme. This would be managed by local YOTs. 4. Key principles of the transfer protocol 4.1 These are: 1. YOTs and probation areas should have an agreed case transfer protocol for both community and custodial cases. This should be signed by senior managers from the respective agencies 2. YOTs and areas will exchange information subject to the requirements of Section 115 of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998 3. Protection of the public, continuity of supervision, and reducing the risk of re-offending are paramount 4. There should be clarity at all times about who is responsible for an offender’s supervision 5. The length of time remaining on the order should be a factor in considering transfer 6. Any enforcement action should have been completed when transfer is effected 7. Cases should be transferred within a specific time frame 8. There should be agreement on the types of cases that will not be transferred and will remain with the YOT regardless of the offender’s age

1

In the interests of brevity this is not attached. Email copies are available from Robin Brennan on request. 2

PC91/2005 – Case Transfer Protocol between Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and Probation Areas

9. Case transfers should only be accepted by probation areas if they have a completed and up-to-date ASSET assessment and a clear risk assessment addressing risk of harm (including self-harm) and the risk of reoffending. 5. Prolific and other priority offenders (PPOs) 5.1 If the offender is a PPO, or is being targeted under the ‘Prevent and Deter’ strand of the PPO programme, the probation area will be informed of this. Other agencies will be informed of the transfer as required. The transfer itself does not mean that the offender should be removed from the PPO or Prevent and Deter list. Home Office guidance issued in June 2005 on removing offenders from PPO schemes remains valid. A copy of the guidance can be found on the PPO website.2 6. Offenders transferring out of the area 6.1 Some offenders may be moving to a new geographical area at the same time as their supervision is transferring from the juvenile to adult systems. In these circumstances, the guidance in PC 52/2004 should be followed.

2

www.crimereduction.gov.uk/pporemoving.doc 3

PC91/2005 – Case Transfer Protocol between Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and Probation Areas

Annex A SAMPLE PROTOCOL: TRANSFER OF CASES BETWEEN YOUTH OFFENDING TEAMS (YOTs) AND PROBATION AREAS

1.

Purpose The purpose of this protocol is to clarify the transfer arrangements between (name of YOT) and (name of probation area).

2.

Principles • • • • • • • • Where an order is made in the youth court it should be supervised by the YOT Where an offender is being supervised by the YOT and is close to completion of the order, consideration will be given to the YOT retaining responsibility for the case even if the offender passes his /her18th birthday 3 The protection of the public and the prevention of re-offending are paramount Transfer must have regard to the needs, maturity and vulnerability of the young person (with reference to relevant children’s legislation) Case transfer will take place in a timely manner. A three-way handover meeting is best practice. This should always take place for high risk of harm cases All cases to be transferred will have a current risk assessment The transfer of any offender who is being managed within multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) at level 2 or 3 should be considered by the relevant MAPPA meeting If the offender is a prolific or other priority offender (PPO), or is being targeted under the ‘Prevent and Deter’ strand of the PPO programme, the probation area will be informed of this and other agencies will be informed of the transfer as required. Home Office guidance issued in June 2005 on removing offenders from PPO schemes must be applied

3.

Role of the youth offending team As established under S.38(4) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, YOTs will either directly provide or co-ordinate the provision by others of the full range of services to children and young people (up to 17 years) who offend. These include the following: • • • Pre-court services, including appropriate adult services under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, bail provision, reprimands and final warnings Court services including the provision of pre-sentence reports (PSRs) and court duty The supervision of offenders aged 10-17.

4.

Role of the probation service The National Probation Service has responsibility for managing all work related to offenders aged 18 and over; including pre-sentence reports, supervision in the community, and throughcare/resettlement of prisoners. It also seconds probation staff to local YOTs, makes cash contributions to YOTs and participates in the strategic management and operational arrangements for the YOT.

3

Specific timings should be agreed between the parties. 4

PC91/2005 – Case Transfer Protocol between Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and Probation Areas

5.

Pre-sentence reports and court work Where a person under the age of 18 appears in an adult magistrates’ court: • • • • • probation staff will provide relevant details to the local YOT within agreed timescales. This includes notification of requests or adjournments for pre-sentence reports Where there is a risk of a remand in custody or a bail supervision proposal, probation staff will telephone the YOT bail supervision officer Where a YOT staff member is unable to attend, probation staff may be asked to provide information on behalf of the YOT. In such cases the YOT will supply as much information as is required in order to ensure that the case is dealt with effectively YOT staff will write all pre-sentence reports on offenders aged under 18 at the point of conviction unless different arrangements are agreed with the local probation area Where an offender aged 18 re-offends, enters a guilty plea but is subject to supervision by the YOT, the PSR will be written by the YOT, but consultation will take place between the PSR author and the probation service. If the report results in an community sentence, reporting instructions will be given to the young person before they leave court to ensure compliance with National Standards for adult offenders Where an offender aged under 18 is due for sentence as a young person, but there are also further convictions due for sentence in the adult court, the YOT and probation area will negotiate which agency will have responsibility for preparing the report.

6. (a)

Community orders Supervision orders, community rehabilitation orders (CROs), community punishment orders (CPOs), community punishment and rehabilitation orders (CPROs), and drug treatment & testing orders (DTTOs)

The YOT will retain responsibility for the supervision of all the above orders made in the youth court or the Crown Court where they will be completed by the time the young person is (insert age). In other cases, the probation area will assume responsibility when the offender reaches 18 years except where enforcement action is pending. (b) Supervision of detention and training orders (DTOs)

Where a DTO is made on an under-18, the YOT will retain supervision. Where supervision on release goes beyond the 18th birthday, these cases may continue to be supervised by the YOT. (Areas and YOTs may wish to add more detail about local agreements regarding transfer of DTOs on 18- or 19-year olds.)

7.

Custodial sentences

The YOT will retain responsibility for all custodial cases up until the 18th birthday. Where supervision on release expires (insert time period) or less following the 18th birthday, the case will normally remain with the YOT.4 (a) Detention during Her Majesty’s Pleasure Where an under-18 is sentenced to a Section 90 custodial sentence,5 the case will remain the responsibility of the YOT. Where the case is likely to end after the offender’s 18th birthday, decisions regarding who is responsible for supervision will be made on a case-by-case basis. Negotiations between YOTs and probation areas will take place well in advance of the release date to ensure effective offender management and a consistent approach to risk.

Subject to discussions about the offender’s needs and the advantages of retaining the same offender manager pre- and post-release. 5 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 PC91/2005 – Case Transfer Protocol between Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and Probation Areas 5

4

8.

Concurrent juvenile and adult orders Where a young person is subject to concurrent adult and juvenile sentences, e.g. a CPO and a supervision order, there will be regular communication between the two agencies to ensure continuity of recording and enforcement.

9.

Provision of information At or before the point of transfer, the YOT will provide the following information: • • • • • • • • • • A copy of the relevant order or licence/notice of supervision The most recent PSR An up-to-date ASSET assessment, including a risk assessment and transfer summary Previous convictions CPS information regarding current/previous offences List of key people/contacts Relevant 3rd party information MAPPA minutes (where applicable) PPO status and relevant information (where applicable) Date of next/first appointment with probation offender manager

10.

Risk management The transfer of any offender who is being managed within MAPPA at level 2 or 3 will be considered at the relevant MAPPA meeting before the offender’s 18th birthday Where an offender is assessed by ASSET as being a high risk of harm, an OASys assessment should be completed and the case referred to MAPPA (if this has not happened already) to be managed at the appropriate level. Where an offender is subject to MAPPA, or is considered to be a high risk of harm, a three-way meeting will always be convened prior to transfer.

11.

National Standards and enforcement The supervision of an offender in both the YOT and probation area will be managed in accordance with the relevant National Standards. Any departure from National Standards will be agreed and recorded on the case file. Enforcement action should be complete on transfer. Where enforcement action should have been taken by the YOT but has not, responsibility for the case will remain with the YOT until such action has been completed regardless of whether the offender has reached 18. It is particularly important that responsibility for supervision is clear where a case is assessed as high risk of harm.

Signed on behalf of (name of local probation area) board ………………………………………………………………………. Date………………………………………………………………….

Signed of behalf of (name of Youth Offending Team) ………………………………………………………………………. Date…………………………………………………………………..

PC91/2005 – Case Transfer Protocol between Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and Probation Areas

6