How robust is the system for managing sex offender risk?
Since 2007, all Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) in Scotland have been subject to management through the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), which were introduced by Sections 10 & 11 of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.
Having been in place since 2007, these Arrangements are well established across the country, and through ongoing review and learning from Significant Case Reviews ensure practice remains current and effective.
MAPPA exists across the UK. Although subject to differing legislation and guidance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the underlying principles and intention are the same.
What are Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements?
MAPPA is neither a body nor an organisation. In fact the Arrangements are best thought of as an overarching set of principles and guidance which enable the agencies involved in predominantly the management of RSO’s to share information effectively, which in turn enables them to better assess and manage any risks considered to be posed by these offenders, on a case by case basis.
Do the MAPPA arrangements eliminate all risk?
It simply is not possible to eliminate risk entirely. However, the ultimate objective of MAPPA and of the agencies involved in the management of MAPPA offenders, is to protect the public by minimising the risk of harm presented by such offenders, so far as it is possible to do so.
Are all sex offenders subject to the MAPPA arrangements?
All Registered Sex Offenders are subject to the MAPPA arrangements.
What agencies are involved in MAPPA?
The key agencies involved in MAPPA are referred to as the ‘Responsible Authorities’ and include:
- Police Scotland
- Local Authority
- Scottish Prison Service, and
- Health Board (for Restricted Patients)
Police Scotland has dedicated Offender Management Units within each of its policing divisions. They have responsibility for the management of RSO’s in the community, with support from local policing colleagues and other specialist departments.
Local Authority involvement is primarily provided by Criminal Justice and Children and Families Social Work and Housing departments, however can extend to encompass a broad range of services depending on the individual circumstances of offenders.
Scottish Prison Service are responsible for the management of RSO’s while they are in custody, and contribute to inform risk assessment and risk management planning for offenders being released into the community following any period in custody.
Health Boards involvement as a Responsible Authority is specific to individuals who are defined as ‘Restricted Patients. These are predominantly individuals who are subject to detention in a hospital setting.
Health Boards are however also required to share information and assist in the Arrangements for any other offender, where Health information and expertise is relevant. For this purpose they are defined as a ‘Duty to Cooperate’ agency. A number of other ‘Duty to Co-operate’ agencies are identified through legislation and required to co-operate and share information with the Responsible Authorities in respect of the management of MAPPA offenders.
This is intended to ensure all available information is gathered, shared and used to build as complete a ‘picture’ as possible for each offender, allowing for better identification of any risks they may present and implementation of appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.
Where can I find further information about MAPPA in my area?
Further information about MAPPA can be found locally on each Local Authority website and nationally on the Scottish Government website. The Scottish Government and each MAPPA area produces an annual report which is published towards the end of October every year. These reports provide an overview of MAPPA nationally as well as detailing what has happened in your area and the plans for the forthcoming year.
Additional information in relation to MAPPA can be found on the Scottish Government website Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA): National guidance 2016 and the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005