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To inform Chief Officers and Probation Boards of the change to existing 03 February 2006
policy on temporary travel abroad policy whilst on licence.
ACTION 10 working days, although Areas
Chief Officers to ensure that all relevant staff are made aware of the may wish to implement the new
guidance within this Probation Circular. guidance immediately, if they
have applications for temporary
travel abroad which require an
SUMMARY immediate decision
This guidance replaces previous guidance, in PC 16/2005, on temporary
travel abroad; the policy, that offenders on licence should not generally be
permitted to leave the UK or Islands without the permission of an appropriate
January 2011
Assistant Chief Officer or equivalent, remains largely unchanged. However,
in addition to temporary travel abroad being permissible where exceptional
compassionate circumstances exist, for example, to visit a dying relative or to
attend a family funeral, Areas may now permit temporary travel outside of the Chairs of Probation Boards
UK or Islands on the grounds of business, recreation or holiday where they Chief Officers of Probation
are satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist so as to justify permission Secretaries of Probation Boards
to travel abroad being granted.
PC 16/2005, PC 54/2004, PC52/1997 Regional Managers


NPD Pre and Post Release Policy: John Scott 020 7217 8823 Head of Public Protection Unit
NOMS Parole and Public Protection Policy Section: 020 7035 4130 ATTACHED:

National Probation Directorate

Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW

The period of post-release supervision on licence forms an integral part of the sentence imposed by the court. To ensure
that offenders remain subject to such supervision, temporary travel outside the UK and Islands should only be permitted
in exceptional circumstances. It is a standard condition of a post-release licence that an offender shall “not travel
outside the United Kingdom without obtaining the prior permission of your supervising officer, which will be given in
exceptional circumstances only”. It is this licence condition which provides the legal authority for the general prohibition.
This circular provides guidance only on the policy which should be maintained by probation Areas when considering
requests to travel abroad.

Although requests for temporary travel abroad in exceptional circumstances for the purposes of business, recreation or
holiday may now be considered, these must be considered on their individual merits, not interfere with the sentence plan
or increase any risk of re-offending or risk of serious harm, and should contribute positively to the
rehabilitation/resettlement of the offender. As a general rule, unless an offender can demonstrate that his/her need to
travel is so pressing that the Area must give this need priority over the other statutory aims of supervision, then the
“exceptional circumstances” will not have been satisfied. Given the importance of the aims of supervision this test will be
difficult to satisfy where the reason for travel is for business, recreation or holiday purposes. In short, it is reasonable to
consider that temporary travel on the sole grounds of business, recreation or holiday would constitute exceptional
circumstances in only a small number of cases. It is inherent in the phrase “exceptional circumstances” that this will be
the case.

Although there is no minimum period of supervision required following release before such an application could be
entertained and each case must be considered on its individual merits as part of the risk management/sentence plan, any
travel outside the UK and Islands should be limited to a length of time which would not interfere with the process of
supervision. It should not be authorised if the offender’s response to supervision is causing concern on grounds of risk of
serious harm to the public. Specifically, the likelihood of the offender returning to the UK once permitted to travel abroad
will be a highly relevant factor. Any doubts whatever should give rise to a refusal and, if necessary, liaison with the Parole
and Public Protection Policy Section for further advice.

Issues to take into account when considering requests for temporary travel abroad

As a determinate sentence prisoner, release from the custodial element of the sentence must occur at the appropriate
point of the sentence, regardless of the risk the offender is deemed to present at that time. It is therefore crucial that each
case is carefully considered and that the aims of the licence period are borne in mind, namely to i) protect the public ii)
prevent re-offending; and iii) help the offender re-integrate successfully into the community, before reaching a decision.
Other factors must also be considered, for example whether or not: a) there has been a good history of compliance with
statutory supervision; b) the index offence or previous offending is or has been connected to serious organised crime, or
to activities carried out offshore e.g. importation of drugs; fraud involving companies set up outside of the United
Kingdom; c) temporary travel would interfere with reporting requests or the attendance at offending behaviour
programmes/interventions; d) there is an absolute genuine need to travel.

If there are compelling reasons to consider a request to travel abroad, Areas should not support such requests without
obtaining confirmation of the circumstances and of the address at which the offender will stay (where possible, such
confirmation should be sought from a source independent to that of the offender). Areas must also obtain the dates on
which the offender is due to depart from and return to the United Kingdom, which must also be independently verified
wherever possible.

Who may authorise requests

Temporary travel outside the UK and Islands should be authorised in line with this guidance by an officer of at least ACO
grade. In cases where the ACO believes the criteria for temporary travel have been met, it is no longer necessary to refer
the case to the Parole Board to seek approval.

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These instructions relating to temporary travel outside the UK and Islands do not apply to Lifers or prisoners serving an
Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) under sections 225 or 226 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Officers
should consult the Lifer Manual in cases where an offender on life, IPP or DPP licence wishes to travel abroad, seeking
advice as necessary from the Lifer Review and Recall Section. Any additional local/national probation guidance should
also be consulted.

Temporary travel within the UK and Islands

There is no prohibition on temporary travel within the UK and Islands provided that supervision arrangements continue to
meet the requirements set out in National Standards and that the offender complies with the requirements of his licence,
including: 'permanently to reside at an address approved by your supervising officer and notify him or her in advance of
any proposed stay (even for one night) away from that approved address'. The duration of any visit will, therefore, be
governed in part by the frequency of contact but the supervising officer is responsible for determining the duration of any
visit. Supervising officers need to make it clear to offenders that they should seek the supervising officer's authorisation
for proposals to travel away from home overnight. Supervising officers should, as a matter of good practice, notify the
relevant agencies in the jurisdiction to which the offender proposes to travel, ensuring that there are no issues of risk of
harm that will be increased as a result of the offender’s temporary travel arrangements.

The National Probation Service’s guidance on the transfer of cases, public protection processes and frameworks, and
other legislation requiring offenders to notify their change of details all apply in any circumstances where an offender
wishes to travel and stay outside their home probation area within the United Kingdom and Islands. This guidance should
be applied within this wider context.

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