CP10. Risk Management of Known Offenders

For a record of all amendments and updates, see the Amendments & Archives.

Specific definitions of key concepts used by safeguarding practitioners are available through the Glossary.


This chapter was revised in March 2017 when minor amendments to the text were made as some agencies and legal orders were updated. Similarly, links were updated.

1. Individuals who pose a risk of harm to children

Caption: Individuals who pose a risk of harm to children


This section relates to children and adults who have been accused, finally warned about or convicted of sexual offences, or other serious offences, identify them as posing a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children (replacing the term 'Schedule 1 offender).

Recognition and response


The Home Office Guidance on offences against children (Home Office Circular 16/2005), provides a list of offences which identify an offender who poses a risk of harm to children.


The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a number of new offences to deal with individuals who sexually exploit children, including:

  • Paying for the sexual services of a child;
  • Causing or inciting child prostitution;
  • Arranging or facilitating child prostitution; and
  • Controlling a child prostitute.


Where an offender is given a community sentence, the National Probation Service (NOMS London) or Youth Offending Team (YOT) should monitor the individual's risk of harm to others and their behaviour, and alert other agencies if the individual poses a risk to children. Similarly, when an offender who has spent time in custody is released, in some cases on licence, the professionals working with him or her must alert relevant partner agencies if he or she is assessed as posing a risk of harm to children.


In some circumstances, an individual might reasonably be regarded as posing a risk to children without a conviction. Where there have been a number of allegations from unconnected victims, or repeated acquittals, particularly for reasons of legal procedure or where the vulnerability of the victim might reduce their credibility as a witness would be examples. In these circumstances considerable care needs to be exercised but reasonable actions can be taken to protect children. Clear guidance is not possible given the complexity of this area. Workers should consult their line manager and record the assessment made the evidence on which it is based and any actions agreed.


Professional in direct contact with such an individual, or a child where such an individual has a significant level of contact, needs to gain an understanding of how much risk, if any, they pose. Professionals in all agencies should use the Guidance on offences against children list as a 'trigger' to a further assessment, including consideration of previous offences and behaviours, to determine if an offender should be regarded as presenting a continuing risk, or potential risk, of harm to children.


Specialist agencies such as the Probation and Prison Service will assess this risk using their assessment tools, e.g. Offender Assessment System (OASys) or Asset. See Section 4.7 and Section 2.25 below.


Professionals from other agencies should contact the Probation Service or YOT to see if a relevant risk assessment has been undertaken. If not, they will need to form a judgement as to the risk posed on the basis of all information that can be reasonably obtained. This judgement will include evidence of a pattern of behaviour, similarity between the current context and the context of the offence/s, and the presence of any contextual factor such as isolation, stress, or substance misuse. Any evidence of grooming behaviour would immediately increase the assessed level of risk

2. Child offenders who pose a risk of harm to children (and adults)

Caption: Child offenders who pose a risk of harm to children (and adults)


There is a need to distinguish between those children who present a risk of harm to other children and adults, who:

  • Have entered the criminal justice system: and those who;
  • Have not been accused, finally warned / reprimanded about or convicted of sexual or other serious offences.


In the latter case, and in all cases where the harming child is under 10 years of age and is therefore under the age of criminal responsibility, Harmful Behaviour, rather than this section, applies.


Children ten years and over who are alleged to have committed one of these offences should be known to the local Youth Offending Team (YOT). All YOTs provide a service to children who are ten years and over, and some YOTs provide a service to children who are eight years and over.


If the YOT prevention team is involved in a joint assessment, with local authority children's social care, for one of these children, then the Onset and Asset YOT assessment tools should be used.


The police, a YOT professional and / or a professional from another agency must make a referral to local authority children's social care, in line with Referral and Assessment Procedure, whenever a child is accused or convicted of an offence which indicates that the child may present a risk of harm to other children or adults.


For information on how to respond to children who are not involved with YOTs, but who harm others and/or set fires see Harmful Behaviour Procedure and Fire Setting Procedure.

Children and the criminal justice system


Children can enter the criminal justice system as:

  • A child whose behaviour is deemed so serious at the outset that the police, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), make an immediate decision to charge them;
  • A child who has previous offences and is therefore not eligible for the final warning and reprimand scheme, and is immediately charged;
  • A child who is likely to receive a reprimand or a final warning.

Assessing risk to a child needing protection from harm


In all cases where a child harms or is alleged to have seriously / sexually harmed another child or an adult, referrals should be made, verbally and in writing, in line with Referral and Assessment Procedure, to local authority children's social care for both:

  • The child who is identified as the victim (if the victim is a child); and
  • The child who is known / alleged to have caused the harm.


This process is described in Harmful Behaviour Procedure. A first line local authority children's social care manager must consider for each child, whether a child protection enquiry or assessment should be commenced, in line with Child Protection Enquiries Procedure.


The interests of the identified victim must always be the paramount consideration.


The local authority children's social care response to the referral for either child should include consideration of:

  • Any child/ren in the household or community having already been harmed;
  • Any child/ren in the household or community at immediate risk of being harmed.


The local authority children's social care first line manager must decide whether there is any immediate action necessary to protect the child/ren.


Any decision about proceeding with a child protection enquiry or assessment for the child who is known / alleged to have caused the harm, should take into account the fact that evidence suggests that children who display harmful behaviour to others may have:

  • Been exposed to violence within the family;
  • Witnessed physical or sexual assault;
  • Been subject to physical or sexual assault;
  • Suffered considerable disruption in their lives;
  • Have problems with their educational development.

Such children are likely to be children in need and some may have suffered, or be likely to suffer, significant harm and be in need of protection.


Any decision not to proceed with a child protection enquiry or assessment for either the child who is identified as the victim or the child who is alleged to have caused the harm, should take into account available information from the police and the YOT, and health, and, if possible education and other services involved with the children.


The decision should be made by a local authority children's social care service manager. The decision must be recorded on the child's record in both local authority children's social care and YOT.


Whether or not local authority children's social care instigates an assessment or child protection enquiry, in all cases where YOT professionals must undertake an assessment, local authority children's social care must contribute substantively to the assessment.


Where there are convictions for sexual offences, there may be a requirement for registration on the Sex Offenders' Register. In these circumstances, the YOT report and any local authority children's social care assessment and recommendations should be considered at the MAPP meeting. See Section 12.3, Sex Offenders' Register.

Criminal justice assessment of a child


For those children who have admitted the offence, have a clear admission of guilt on interview and fit the criteria for a reprimand or a final warning, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service should bail the child to allow YOT professionals to undertake an assessment and prepare a pre-sentence report.


For a child who is immediately charged, the assessment will be triggered by their admission of guilt in court or them having been found guilty in court. At this point a request for an adjournment should be made to undertake the assessment, which will inform the pre-sentence report.


All young people involved with the formal youth justice system must be referred to a YOT at the earliest stage and will have a named YOT caseworker. The YOT caseworker should take lead responsibility for the assessment process. In order to effectively manage the risk posed by young people in the youth justice system, it is important that managers and practitioners distinguish clearly between risk (likelihood) of reoffending, risk of serious harm to others and risk to the young person either from themselves or others. They should contact local authority children's social care to identify a contact person / co-worker for the case.


A joint assessment between YOT and local authority children's social care should be conducted whenever a child:

  • Has committed a sex offence;
  • Has committed a serious violent offence against a child (or adult).


The YOT professional is responsible for requesting local authority children's social care to arrange a multi-disciplinary strategy meeting / discussion when the assessment report is completed.


The report will make a recommendation to the police and CPS regarding disposal for the child. The police and CPS must make the final decision after considering the assessment team's recommendations fully and together with any other relevant information which has been collated regarding mitigating and aggravating factors.


An assessment must be undertaken even in cases where the child and / or their parent/s refuse to participate in the assessment. If consent is not given an assessment should be based on existing information.

Asset - YOT assessment tool


Completion of Asset should be the basis for all assessments of potential risk. In particular, this should include:

  • Asset - Core Profile;
  • 'What do you think?' Form;
  • Asset - Risk of Serious Harm.

Asset documents are available for download from the GOV.UK website.


A key part of this process is using the evidence boxes in both the Asset - Core Profile and Asset - Risk of Serious Harm to explain the significance of the risk and protective factors identified.


Effective use of Asset - Risk of Serious Harm is essential in making assessments of risk of harm and assisting the court in assessing dangerousness. Asset - Risk of Serious Harm should draw together information and assessments from all the agencies with significant past or current involvement with the child, and should lead to a more detailed analysis of the possible risks of serious harm to others than is possible within Asset - Core Profile.


The 'indicators of serious harm' section of the Asset - Core Profile is being revised to specify that Asset - Risk of Serious Harm should normally be completed where:

  • A child has been convicted of a serious specified offence;
  • A child is being sentenced in the crown court for a specified offence;
  • A youth court specifically requests that the risk assessment in a pre-sentence report should contribute to its assessment of dangerousness in order to determine whether to remit the case to the Crown Court for sentencing.

Risk factors


Section 1 of Asset - Risk of Serious Harm asks for evidence of previous "harm-related behaviour". This includes behaviour that has actually resulted in serious harm to others, but also behaviour that might very likely have led to serious harm. With an adult offender, there may be a long record of violent or sexual offending, which gives a strong indication of the possibility of further harmful behaviour. A child is less likely to have such an extensive record, however; and a risk assessment that only focused on their previous convictions would be very limited. This element of the assessment, therefore, also needs to consider any evidence regarding violence or sexual aggression within the home, school or peer group that may not have resulted in a conviction.


Section 2 of Asset - Risk of Serious Harm looks at a child's current circumstances. This enables the practitioner to do one of the following:

  • Highlight factors about a current situation that might increase the risk of a child causing serious harm to others discuss factors which suggest that, although a child may previously have committed a violent or sexual offence, their circumstances may have changed such that the likelihood of further such behaviour is reduced.

Protective factors


In addition to identifying factors that indicate a risk of serious harm to others, an assessment also needs to consider the positive or protective factors which indicate how the risk can be reduced. These can include ability to impose internal self-control factors (e.g. in relation to anger) or external factors (e.g. increased boundary setting by parents).


Protective factors should be identified in as much detail as possible (e.g. explaining how support from a family member will affect the child's behaviour, or specifying why a child is motivated to avoid further offending).

Future behaviour


Whilst knowledge of past behaviour is critical in making assessments about the likelihood of future behaviour, children can change. This is particularly relevant for children who may be experiencing a complex process of development. This has been highlighted in a recent judgment of the Court of Appeal stating that:

'It is still necessary, when sentencing young offenders, to bear in mind that, within a shorter time than adults, they may change and develop. This and their level of maturity may be highly pertinent when assessing what their future conduct may be and whether it may give rise to significant risk of serious harm'. (R v Lang, 2005)

3. Sex Offenders Register

Caption: Sex Offenders Register

Notification to the register


Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the notification requirements are an automatic requirement for child and adult offenders who receive a conviction or caution for certain sexual offences. The requirements also apply to those found not guilty by reason of insanity or to have been under a disability but to have done the acts charged in respect of those offences.


A person who is subject to the notification requirements is known as a 'relevant offender'. The notification requirements extend to the whole of the UK. The notification periods for child offenders (i.e. under 18 when convicted, cautioned etc.) are half the notification periods for adults.

Initial notification


The offender must make an initial notification to the police within three days of their:

  • Release from custody;
  • Release from imprisonment or service detention;
  • Release from hospital; or
  • Return to the UK.


The details they must give are their:

  • Date of birth;
  • National insurance number;
  • Name and any other names used on the date of conviction etc. and on the date of notification;
  • Home address on the date of conviction etc. and on the date of notification (this means the offender's sole or main residence in the UK, or where the offender has no such residence, the location of a place in the UK where they can regularly be found and if there is more than one such place, such one of those places as the person may select);
  • The address on any other premises in the UK which, at the time of notification, they regularly reside or stay;
  • Passport details;
  • Bank account and credit card details;
  • Where they live/stay with a child under 18 for a period of 12 hours or more.

Foreign Travel notification


The offender must make a foreign travel notification to the police not less than 7 days prior to departure. They must provide:

  • The date of departure from the UK;
  • The destination country;
  • The point of arrival in that country;
  • The point of arrival in any countries they will be visiting in addition;
  • Dates of intended stay in any country being visited;
  • The date of re-entry to the UK;
  • The point of arrival on return to the UK.

The regulations only require the offender on return to the UK to provide the date of return to the UK and point of arrival in the UK within 3 days, if they did not provide it before they travelled.

Changes to notified details


Should the notified details change, the offender must notify the police of new details within three days.


A person who is subject to the notification requirements commits a criminal offence if they fail, without reasonable excuse (decided by the court), to make an initial notification or to notify a change of details.


Professionals in all agencies must inform the police if they are aware of a child or adult sex offender who has changed their address, or is planning to move, without informing the police.

Annual Notification


A person who is subject to the notification requirements commits a criminal offence if they fail without reasonable excuse to complete an annual notification, a confirmation of details remaining the same as at initial notification.

Child Sex Offender Review Disclosure Process


In June 2007, the Government published the Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders. Action 4 of the Review created a process which allows members of the public to register a child protection interest in an identified individual who has access to, or a connection with, a particular child or children.


If an individual is found to have convictions for sexual offences against children and poses a risk of causing serious harm, there is a presumption that this information will be disclosed to the person who is best placed to protect the child or children, where it is necessary to do so for this purpose.


It should be noted that, under the scope of the Disclosure Process, the presumption for disclosure will only exist in cases where the individual has convictions for child sexual offences. However, it is felt that to restrict access to information regarding convicted child sexual offenders would severely limit the effectiveness of the process and ignore significant issues regarding offences committed against children.


The Disclosure Process will therefore include routes for managed access to information regarding individuals who are not convicted child sexual offenders but who pose a risk of harm to children. This may include persons who are:

  • Convicted of other offences for example, serious domestic abuse; and
  • Un-convicted but about whom the police, or any other agency, holds intelligence indicating that they pose a risk of harm to children.

There would not however be a presumption to disclose such information.


It is important that the disclosure of information about previous convictions, for offences which are not child sex offences, is able to continue as it is not the intention of the Disclosure Process to make access to information concerning safeguarding children more restricted.


It should be stressed that the Disclosure Process will build on existing procedures such as MAPPA and will provide a clear access route for the public to raise child protection concerns and be confident that action will follow.


It is of paramount importance to all involved in delivering this process that we ensure that children are being protected from harm. By making a request for disclosure, a parent, guardian or carer will often also be registering their concerns about possible risks to the safety of their child or children. For that reason, it is essential to this process that police forces, local authority children's social care and LSCPs work closely together to ensure that any possible risks of harm to the child or children are fully assessed and managed.


Full details of progress and national and local contact details can be found on the Home Office website.


For full guidance on this process please see NPIA Guidance on Protecting the Public: Managing Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders 2010.

4. Adult Offenders

Caption: Adult offenders

Risk of harm from an un-convicted individual


The arrangements prescribed by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 relate only to convicted offenders or offenders receiving cautions where criteria laid out above are met. Where the risk to children in a local area is perceived to emanate from an un-convicted individual, the lead agency is the Metropolitan Police Service and other services will need to refer such concerns to the police in the first instance and then co-operate with efforts to make further enquiries.


Where there is a perceived risk of harm to children in general, rather than to name individual children, the police and local authority children's services must ensure that discussions are held with all agencies and that a multi-agency planning meeting is held in order to determine a plan to manage the risk of harm. Attention will need to be paid to the need to consider in each case what if any information about this process would need to be shared with the person whose actions have bought about the concern.


In identifying such concerns, it is possible to empower professionals to take proper action to protect children where this is possible.


Whenever an adult is placed in temporary accommodation (e.g. bed and breakfast) and there are concerns about their potential to harm children, the placing authority must inform the local authority children's social care in whose area the adult is placed.

Developing intelligence about organised or persistent offenders


The Metropolitan Police have a duty to develop local intelligence about organised or persistent offenders who pose a risk to children.


Each local police team has a dedicated 'intelligence officer' responsible for the:

  • Collation and dissemination of relevant intelligence to local, area and central police databases regarding persons likely to be committing offences against children;
  • Initiation of proactive assessment and action plans regarding identified suspects and controlling or assisting with the implementation of these plans within the police;
  • Submission of intelligence reports through the appropriate channels for action in cases where suspects are committing offences outside the Metropolitan Police Service boundary;
  • Preparation of information to be shared within MAPPA.

Assessment of an adult


For sexual and violent offenders, the approved assessment tools used by the prison and probation services are OASys (Offender Assessment System) and Risk Matrix 2000 (see Risk Matrix 2000). OASys is a comprehensive assessment tool that applies to all offenders under Probation supervision but is particularly valuable for sexual and violent offenders as it incorporates both static and dynamic aspects of risk posed by offenders. ARMS and OASys places offenders into levels of risk - very high risk, high, medium and low risk. They provide the assessment necessary for effective case management, targeting of intervention treatment programmes, referrals to partnerships, resource allocation and risk management.

Offender Assessment System (OASys)


OASys is designed to:

  • Assess how likely an offender is to be re-convicted;
  • Identify and classify offending related needs, including basic personality characteristics and cognitive behavioural problems;
  • Assess risk of serious harm, risks to the individual and other risks;
  • Assist with the management of the risk of harm;
  • Link the assessment to the sentence plan;
  • Indicate the need for further specialist assessments;
  • Measure change during the period of supervision / sentence.


OASys assesses an offender's risk of re-offending by systematically examining up to 13 offending-related factors which include offending history; accommodation, education / training and employment possibilities; relationships; drug and alcohol misuse; and emotional well-being, thinking and behaviour.


The offender's self-assessment, which is also a part of OASys, is a useful for two reasons:

  • It reflects the accuracy of the offender's self perception;
  • It indicates the offender's likelihood of re-offending because re-offending is linked to the offender's ability to recognise their own problems.


OASys can only be used on offenders aged 18 years or over. Youth Offending Teams use Asset assessments for children, see Section 2.22 for Asset - YOT Assessment Tool. There are common elements between Asset and OASys so that when an offender reaches 18 years, information from Asset can be drawn across to complete OASys.

Levels of risk of harm


The levels of risk of harm used by OASys are as follows:

  • Very high: there is an imminent risk of serious harm. The potential event is more likely than not to happen imminently and the impact would be serious;
  • High: there are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious;
  • Medium: there are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The offender has the potential to cause harm but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances (e.g. failure to take medication, loss of accommodation, relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol misuse);
  • Low: no significant, current indicators of risk of serious harm.


The categorisation includes risks to:

  • The public: either generally or a specific group such as the elderly, women or a minority ethnic group;
  • Prisoners: within a custodial setting;
  • A known adult: such as a previous victim or partner;
  • Children: who may be vulnerable to harm of various kinds, including violent or sexual behaviour, emotional harm or neglect;
  • Staff: anyone working with the offender whether from probation, prison, police or other agency. This relates to all forms of abuse, threats and assaults that arise out of their employment;
  • Self: the possibility that the offender will commit suicide or self-harm.


OASys cannot provide in-depth assessment of all aspects, especially the specialist aspects of risk. It is designed to trigger further assessments in some areas relating, e.g. to sex offenders; violent offenders; basic skills, drugs and alcohol; mental health and dangerous and severe personality disorder; racially motivated offending and domestic abuse.


Professionals must seek expert professional opinion when assessing the risk of sexual harm a child or adult poses to children.

Risk Matrix 2000


Risk Matrix 2000 is an evidence-based actuarial risk assessment, used by probation and the police to measure risk of reconviction (rather than risk of serious harm to others) for sex offenders. It is triggered by and uses the same classifications of risk of reconviction as OASys, and where there is any disparity between the two assessment tools in respect of the likelihood of re-conviction, the Risk Matrix 2000 risk level should be applied.

Active Risk Management System (ARMS)


ARMS is Dynamic Risk Assessment framework that draws together assessment outcomes into a risk management plan. It is intended for the assessment of males over the age of 18. Rather than relying upon historical factors to guide risk assessment, ARMS focuses on the 'here and now' and a range of dynamic factors found to be predictive of recidivism or desistance from offending.

Rather than replacing existing core arrangements for the risk assessment of sexual offenders ARMS was developed to be integrated with Risk Matrix 2000 and OASys.

ARMS consists of 5 key stages, the assessment of a range of risk factors, assessment of a range of protective factors, an overall priority assessment of the case, a Risk Matrix 2000 assessment, a combination assessment of RM2000 and ARMS Priority assessment to arrive at a General Level of Risk Management and finally a Risk Management Plan.

The ARMS Assessment is the starting point of effective rehabilitation and risk management. In this regard the assessment is typically concerned with:

  1. Determining an offender's likelihood of future sexual offending;
  2. Determining the offender's rehabilitation needs, amenability for treatment and other issues related to risk management;
  3. Monitoring and evaluating the rehabilitation and management progress.

Other sources of risk assessment


The responsible authority (see Responsible authority) may use other assessments or assessment tools to complement and critically inform the OASys assessment. The development and maintenance of close working relationships with other agencies in the MAPPA (see MAPPA) is essential to facilitate access to these assessments (e.g. from health, mental health or learning difficulties services, adults or local authority children's social care, education, and housing services).


Multi-agency professional judgement must inform the assessment of risk of harm.

5. Multi-agency risk Assessment Conferencing

Caption: Multi-agency risk assessment conferencing


Multi-agency risk assessment conferencing (MARAC) is a local multi-agency meeting with a primary focus on the safety of high risk adult victims of domestic abuse (the top 10% of local cases). A MARAC should be part of a co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse.


The key objective of a MARAC is to reduce the risk of serious harm or death of the victims and increase the health, safety and wellbeing of both adult victims and children. This is achieved by:

  • Sharing information to increase the safety, health and well-being of adult victims and their children;
  • Determining whether the alleged perpetrator poses a significant risk to particular individuals and to the general community;
  • Constructing jointly and implementing a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm;
  • Reducing repeat victimisation;
  • Improving agency accountability; and
  • Improving support for staff involved in high-risk domestic abuse cases.

For general information on MARACs, including toolkits for different agencies, go to www.safelives.org.uk.

How a MARAC operates


Where a MARAC is operating it is likely to meet monthly, be chaired by a senior member of the local Police Community Safety Unit (CSU) and be co-ordinated by the local Community Safety Partnership.


To hold a MARAC requires, at a minimum, that:

  • Police identify or confirm the identity of very high-risk victims;
  • Police circulate the details of these victims and their children to participating agencies (the MARAC 'list');
  • Police bring the files for these victims to the meeting;
  • MARAC meetings are minuted; and
  • The minutes are circulated to participating agencies.


Additionally, it is expected that:

  • All participating agencies check the MARAC list against their own agency's records, in order to collate all the evidence available for the mother, abuser and child/ren;
  • Some agencies, such as the Women's Safety Unit, should also bring relevant files to the meeting;
  • Representatives should take notes at the MARAC, in order to delegate actions to workers;
  • Actions agreed at the MARAC should be progressed in a timely way;
  • Individual records held at agencies should be contemporaneously updated.


The following agencies should always be invited to a MARAC: police, local authority children's social care, probation, health, local authority education (where relevant). Other statutory or third sector agencies may also be invited depending on whether they have any specific involvement with any of the victims (e.g. Youth Offending Teams, community psychiatric nurse, NSPCC, Women's Safety Unit).


A MARAC should have an Independent domestic violence advisor (IDVA) who can provide specialist domestic abuse input. The IDVA is a caseworker with specialist accredited domestic abuse advocate training to work with high risk domestic abuse from the point of crisis and whose focus is on the MARAC.


A MARAC should have a minimum of two operating protocols which participating agencies sign up to. The two are, an information sharing protocol governing how information is shared and how decisions are made; and a process protocol setting out the process of MARAC meetings. Any agency invited to attend the MARAC on a case-by-case basis is required to sign up to these protocols.

Referral and assessment


Any agency can refer an adult victim who they believe to be at very high risk of harm to a MARAC. Professionals should use the CAADA risk identification checklist (RIC) to identify the current risk level to the adult and the domestic violence risk identification matrix (DVRIM) in the London procedure Domestic Abuse to assess the level of risk to each child.


Referrals to the MARAC usually come through one of three routes:

  • As a result of a domestic crime/incident recorded by the police and identified as being at high risk;
  • As a referral to the local IDVA who completes a risk assessment and refers the case if it is identified as being a high risk case; or
  • As a direct referral to the MARAC co-ordinator by a participating agency upon completion of an approved risk assessment which concludes there is a very high risk.


Referrals to MARACs should be made on local MARAC referral forms obtained from the MARAC co-ordinator. If the children are also identified to be at a high risk of harm a referral should be made in line with Referral and Assessment Procedure before the MARAC meeting or as a result of the meeting.

Case planning


At a typical MARAC meeting 15 to 20 cases are discussed in half a day with a very brief and focused information sharing process followed by a simple multi-agency action plan being put into place to support the victim and to make links with other public protection procedures, particularly safeguarding children, vulnerable adults and the management of perpetrators.


Where an offender is being managed at MAPPA Level 2 or Level 3, to avoid duplication of effort and resources, the MAPP meeting should take the lead over the MARAC. The reason for this is that the MAPPA is a statutory set of arrangements and therefore it takes precedence over the MARAC.

6. Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements

Caption: Multi-agency public protection arrangements


Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) provide a national framework in England and Wales for the assessment and management of the risk of serious harm posed by specified sexual and violent offenders, as well as offenders (including young people) who are considered to pose a risk, or potential risk, of serious harm to children. MAPPA arrangements are statutory under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.


MAPPA's aims are to:

  • Ensure more comprehensive risk assessments are completed, taking advantage of co-ordinated information sharing across the agencies; and
  • Share information, assess and manage risk and direct the available resources to best protect the public from serious harm.


Offenders eligible for MAPPA are identified and information is gathered/shared about them across relevant agencies. The extent to which they pose a risk of serious harm is assessed and a risk management plan is implemented to protect the public.

Responsible authority


The Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires police and probation services (the 'Responsible Authority') in each area to consult with partner agencies and to:

  • Establish local arrangements to assess and manage risks posed by child and adult sexual and violent offenders;
  • Review and monitor arrangements;
  • Prepare and publish an annual report on their operation.


The MAPPA Guidance further develops processes particularly with regard to young people who pose a risk and the role of YOTs.

Duty to co-operate


The duty to co-operate under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires the responsible authority to co-operate with each of the following agencies and requires them to co-operate with the responsible authority:

  • Councils with social services responsibilities;
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other NHS Trusts;
  • Jobcentres Plus;
  • Youth Offending Teams;
  • Social landlords which accommodate MAPPA offenders;
  • Local housing authorities;
  • Local education authorities;
  • Electronic monitoring providers;
  • Border Force Agency.


In practical terms the type of co-operation envisaged would involve representatives of the agencies:

  • Attending risk management meetings where they are already involved in the case or where they have a responsibility;
  • Providing advice (perhaps but not necessarily by attending risk management meetings) about cases in which they are not involved and have no direct responsibility so as to enable the responsible authority and the other agencies involved in the case to assess and manage risk more effectively. For example, this might involve explaining how specific housing, health or social services which are not currently required in the case may be accessed or involved later;
  • Advising on broader, non case-specific, issues which may affect the operation of the MAPPA more generally;
  • Sharing information about particular offenders and about broader issues so as to enable the responsible authority and the other agencies to work together effectively.

Strategic management board (SMB)

SMB role


Each of the 42 probation service areas in England and Wales must have a MAPPA Strategic Management Board (SMB) attended by senior representatives of each of the responsible authority and duty to co-operate agencies, plus two lay advisers. It is the SMB's role to ensure that the MAPPA are working effectively and to establish and maintain working relationships with the Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCPs).


While areas have some discretion in defining the role of the SMB, all SMBs must:

  • Establish connections which support effective operational work with other public protection arrangements (e.g. LSCPs, local crime and disorder partnerships and local criminal justice boards);
  • Identify and plan how to meet common training and developmental needs of those working in the MAPPA;
  • Monitor (on at least a quarterly basis) and evaluate the operation of the MAPPA;
  • Prepare and publish the annual report and promote the work of the MAPPA in the relevant probation area;
  • Plan the longer-term development of the MAPPA in the light of regular (at least annual) reviews of the arrangements, and with respect to legislative and wider criminal justice changes.


The SMB must be chaired by the responsible authority, either police (e.g. the Chief Superintendent) or probation (e.g. the Assistant Chief Officer) representing those services.


Full SMB should meet at least quarterly and are expected to actively manage the full remit of the SMB during the course of the year.


In addition to organising the arrangements within their own area, the responsible authority may develop regional or sub-regional networking arrangements, including through the probation service and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), for sharing good practice, reciprocal resourcing etc.

SMB membership


Government guidance recommends that SMB membership includes representatives from the key agencies that have a duty to co-operate, although their participation in the SMB is distinct from their specific duty to co-operate.


The responsible authority should make appropriate arrangements to involve others in the work of the SMB as needed. This may involve co-opting or even full membership where there is a significant and sustained engagement with MAPPA, although in most instances it will be sufficient for the responsible authority to ensure there is effective dialogue and the agency is aware of MAPPA and pertinent public protection issues. Those with a relevant interest may include:

  • Victim liaison;
  • Treatment providers;
  • Local authority education department;
  • Employment services;
  • Crown Prosecution Service;
  • Housing associations;
  • Electronic monitoring providers;
  • The court service;
  • Other relevant third sector organisations (e.g. NSPCC).


Each SMB must have two members of the public appointed by the Secretary of State, to act as lay advisers in the review and monitoring of the arrangements and to help improve links with local communities.

7. MAPPA Core Functions

Caption: MAPPA core functions


The four core functions of MAPPA are to:

  • Identify relevant adult and child offenders;
  • Assess the risk of serious harm to the public posed by individual adults and children;
  • Manage that risk of harm;
  • Share appropriate information with those agencies involved in assessment of risk of harm from an offender.


See the national MAPPA Guidance for a description of the framework in full.

Identifying MAPPA eligible offenders


There are three categories of offender eligible for MAPPA:

  • Category 1: registered sexual offenders - sexual offenders who are required to notify the police of their name, address and other personal details and notify any changes subsequently;
  • Category 2: violent offenders - offenders sentenced to imprisonment/detention for 12 months or more, or detained under hospital orders (in relation to murder or offences specified in schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003);

    This category also includes a small number of sexual offenders who do not qualify for registration, and offenders disqualified from working with children; and
  • Category 3: other dangerous offenders - offenders who do not qualify under categories 1 or 2 but who currently pose a risk of serious harm, there is a link between the offending and the risk posed, and they require active multi-agency management.


Offenders who can be referred to MAPPA and are likely to be categorised in one of the above categories include:

  • Those cautioned / warned / reprimanded for, or found guilty of, one of the major offences against children;
  • Individual's against whom there is a previous finding in civil proceedings (e.g. sexual offences prevention order or care proceedings);
  • Those who had a relevant conviction or civil order and about whom there have been previous s47 enquiries that came to the conclusion that abuse had occurred;
  • Offenders already subject to MAPPA elsewhere who transfer into the area;
  • Relevant offenders arriving in England and Wales from overseas;
  • Persons who may be referred into the arrangements at any time by one of the local agencies.


YOTs have a duty to identify cases that meet MAPPA criteria and make appropriate referrals. However, the guidance emphasises that young people should be assessed and managed differently from adults, using age-appropriate assessment tools and always bearing in mind the need to safeguard the welfare of the young offender as well as to protect others from harm. local authority children's social care services should always be represented at MAPP meetings when a young person is being discussed.

Assessing the risk of serious harm

Dangerous offenders


The Criminal Justice Act 2003 defines a 'dangerous offender' as a child or adult who is:

  • Convicted of an offence specified in schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (see Appendix 1: Links to relevant legislation), all of which are sexual or violent offences carrying a penalty of two years or more;
  • Assessed by the court as posing a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm by the commission of further specified offences.


Probation and YOT professionals have a significant role to play in contributing to the assessment of dangerousness by providing the court with detailed information and assessment regarding the child or adult and their level of risk of harm to others. This should be based on a comprehensive assessment made using the assessment tools OASys for adults (see Assessment of an adult: Offender Assessment System (OASys)) and Asset for children (see section 2.22).


The term 'dangerous offender' should only be used in relation to cases where a court has made an assessment of dangerousness in accordance with the definitions given in the Act. It should not, for instance, be used to refer to a child or adult who may be assessed by YOT or probation professionals as presenting a risk of serious harm to others but who have not committed specified offences listed in schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Managing the risk


To enable strategies based upon these features to be drawn up, the MAPPA framework identifies four separate but connected levels at which risk of perpetrating serious harm is assessed and managed:

  • Low risk - current evidence does not indicate likelihood of perpetrating serious harm;
  • Medium risk - identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The offender has the potential to cause serious harm, but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances e.g. failure to take medication, loss of accommodation, relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol misuse;
  • High risk - identifiable indicators of risk of perpetrating serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time, and the impact would be serious; and
  • Very High risk - an imminent risk of perpetrating serious harm. The potential event is more likely than not to happen imminently, and the impact to be serious.


There are 3 levels of management within the MAPPA framework, which are based upon the level of multi-agency co-operation required to implement the risk management plan effectively.


The levels of risk management do not necessarily equate directly to levels of risk identified by Asset, for children (see section 2.22) and OASys, for adults (see Assessment of an adult: Offender Assessment System (OASys)). However, generally the higher the assessed level of risk, the higher the level of management required. The level at which a case is managed is dependent upon the nature of the risk and how it can be managed. The levels of risk posed by an offender and the level at which an offender is managed can change.


In most cases, a MAPPA eligible offender will be managed without recourse to MAPPA meetings under the ordinary arrangements applied by the agency or agencies with supervisory responsibility. This will generally be the police for registered sexual offenders who are not on a licence to probation, and probation for violent offenders and those on a licence, but YOTs will lead with young offenders and Mental Health Services with those on hospital orders.


A number of offenders, though, require active multi-agency management and their risk management plans will be formulated and monitored via multi-agency public protection (MAPP) meetings (see Level 3: Multi-agency public protection (MAPP) meetings).

Levels of risk management

Level 1: ordinary risk management


Level 1 risk management is the level used in cases in which the risks posed by the child or adult offender can be managed by one agency without actively or significantly involving other agencies. Level 1 can only be used for category 1 (registered sex offenders) or category 2 (violent and other sexual offenders who receive a sentence of 12 months imprisonment or more).


Level 1 management will primarily involve probation, police, youth offending teams or the prison service as the lead agency. Generally, offenders managed at level 1 will be assessed as presenting a low or medium risk; and the large proportion of all MAPPA offenders are likely to be managed at this level.

Level 2: active multi-agency management


Level 2 risk management should be used where the active involvement of more than one agency is required but where either the level of risk or the complexity of managing the risk is not so great as to require referral to a Level 3 MAPP meeting. Cases may be referred to Level 2 after having been managed by referral to a MAPP meeting (e.g. when the seriousness of risk has diminished or where the multi-agency management of the risks is firmly established and functioning). Category 3, potentially dangerous offenders presenting a risk of serious harm which requires active, inter-agency management can only be managed at Level 2 or 3.


Level 2 arrangements are more than ad hoc groups which change with each case. A permanent representation from the MAPPA agencies, supplemented by representatives from others as needed, will help ensure robust risk management.


The responsible authority, through MAPPA co-ordination, must convene and support the level 2 arrangements. The composition of these arrangements must include, as permanent members, the local agencies which have an active role in risk management. The arrangements need to take into account the configuration of agency boundaries within the area (e.g. police operational units and local authority and CCG boundaries).


Depending upon the needs of the case, the following agencies can routinely play an active role in level 2 management:

  • Local authority children's social care services departments;
  • Housing authorities / housing providers;
  • Youth Offending Teams;
  • The relevant health authority, including the Mental Health Trusts; and
  • Probation victim contact teams or other appropriate victim agencies.


Local inter-agency risk management has a significant caseload of offenders who require active management and review by the responsible authority. To achieve this, the responsible authority must ensure that the meetings are effectively managed and supported and either chaired independently or by a representative of either police or probation.


The Chair should have sufficient standing and expertise to command the respect and support of partner agencies, and must have a firm grasp of local offender management operational issues and multi-agency working.


The frequency of level 2 meetings should be decided by the responsible authority in conjunction with partner agencies and will reflect the number of cases being managed and their complexity. Setting regular monthly or fortnightly meetings will allow the opportunity for the systematic review of risk management plans.

Level 3: Multi-agency public protection (MAPP) meetings


Enchanced MAPP meetings are convened for the management of the 'critical few'. The criteria for referring a case to a Level 3 meeting are defined as those in which the offender:

  • Is assessed under OASys, ARMS (Active Risk Management System) and Asset as being a high or very high risk of causing serious harm;
  • Presents risks that can only be managed by a plan which requires close co-operation at a senior level due to the complexity of the case and/or because of the unusual resource commitments it requires;
  • Although not assessed as a high or very high risk, the case is exceptional because the likelihood of media scrutiny and/or public interest in the management of the case is very high and there is a need to ensure that public confidence in the criminal justice system is sustained.


Thus although the 'critical few' are not exclusively those assessed as high or very high risks, in almost all cases they will be. Also, while most will be adult or child offenders being released from prison, they may also include:

  • An offender on discharge from detention under a hospital order;
  • An offender returning from overseas (whether immediately following their release from custody or not); and, conceivably;
  • An offender who has to date been managed as a medium or even a low risk in the community, but who comes to present a high or very high risk as the result of a significant change of circumstances, and accordingly, is referred to level 3.

Multi-agency involvement


Multi-agency representation and involvement is key to the effectiveness of level 2 and level 3 arrangements. In determining the level of the representation and the nature of that involvement three factors must be considered:

  • The representatives must have the authority to make decisions committing their agency's involvement. If decisions are deferred then the effectiveness of the multi-agency operation is weakened;
  • They require relevant experience of risk/needs assessment and management and the analytical and team-playing skills to inform deliberations. This experience and these skills can usefully contribute both to specific case management and more broadly in providing advice on case management;
  • The effectiveness of level 2 and level 3 arrangements depend in large part upon establishing continuity. Multi-agency work is often complex and benefits greatly from the continuity of personnel and their professional engagement.


The management of the 'critical few' at level 3 requires the commitment of senior representatives from the agencies involved. Agencies must be represented by senior personnel who:

  • Understand the strategies for minimising or reducing the risk of serious harm;
  • Have the authority to implement appropriate strategies agreed at level 3, on behalf of their agency;
  • Be able to make decisions about committing the specialist or high level resources which may be required to manage the risk of harm from offenders at this level.

Given the imminence of serious harm associated with many offenders in levels 2 and 3 the resource implications of strategies for them may be significant and occur at short-notice.


In addition, there is likely to be a considerably higher media profile to many of the offenders considered and the responsible authority may wish to address media handling issues as a regular part of the risk management / contingency plans.


The identification and involvement of actual or potential victims maybe particularly important in identifying those offenders at level 3. Liaising with victims, particularly those most vulnerable, will be a sensitive matter which requires careful handling. The expertise of probation victim contact officers can be complemented by agencies such as Victim Support and local third sector domestic abuse services.


The risks a child or adult offender may pose to children requires that the responsible authority develops and maintains close and effective links with the LSCP and other agencies, such as local authority children's social care, education, and local third sector child care agencies.


Where it is known that an offender attends a church / place of worship arrangements should be made to contact the ministers or faith leadership to discuss with them how to manage the individual. Where appropriate the church or place of worship should be involved in MAPP strategies for managing the individual.

MAPP meetings


In order for MAPPA to be effective in safeguarding children from harm, MAPP meetings must ensure that:

  • Decisions are defensible;
  • Risk of harm assessments are rigorous;
  • Risk of harm management plans match the identified need for public protection;
  • Performance is evaluated and delivery improved.


MAPP meetings should be well organised and minuted, reflecting defensible decision making.


See the national MAPPA Guidance for a description of the framework in full.

Civil orders

Notification Orders


Notification Orders are intended to ensure that British citizens or residents, as well as foreign nationals, can be made subject to the notification requirements in the UK if they receive convictions or cautions for sexual offences overseas. The provisions also apply to young people who have offended.


Notification Orders are made on application from the police to a magistrates' court. Therefore, if an offender is identified who has received a conviction or caution for a sexual offence overseas, the case should be referred to the local police for action.


If a Notification Order is in force, the offender becomes subject to notification requirements as outlined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.


For example, a Notification Order could ensure that the notification requirements apply to a British man who, while on holiday in Southeast Asia, received a caution for a sexual offence on a child.


Any information that an individual has received a conviction or caution for a sexual offence overseas should, where appropriate, be shared with the police.

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs)


Introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, SHPOs replaced Sexual Offences Prevention Orders and Foreign Travel Orders. It is a civil preventative order designed to protect the public from sexual harm by placing restrictions on their behaviour. A court may make a SHPO when it deals with an offender, including a young person who has offended, who has received a conviction for an offence listed at Schedule 3 (sexual offences) or Schedule 5 (violent and other offences) in the Sexual Offences Act and is assessed as posing a risk of sexual harm. The police can also apply for a SHPO to a Magistrates' court in respect of an offender who has a previous conviction or caution for a Schedule 3 or 5 offence and who poses a continuing risk of sexual harm.


SHPOs include such prohibitions as the court considers appropriate. For example, a sex offender who poses a risk of serious sexual harm to children could be prohibited from loitering near schools or playgrounds. The offender will also, if s/he is not already, become subject to the notification requirements for the duration of the order.


SHPOs can be made on application from the police, so any violent or sex offender who poses a risk of serious sexual harm should be referred to MAPPA agencies, and the police in particular. In an application for an order, the police can set out the prohibitions they would like the court to consider.


Breach of any of the prohibitions in a SHPO is a criminal offence, with a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment. Therefore the police should be contacted whenever a SOPO is breached.


SHPOs can be particularly helpful in the management of sex offenders who are assessed as continuing to pose a high risk of harm, but are no longer subject to statutory supervision.

Sexual Risk Orders (SROs)


Introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, SROs replaced Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RoSHO's). They are civil preventative orders. They can be applied to young people under the age of 18. They are used to protect the public within the UK or children or vulnerable adults abroad from the risks of harm posed by individuals who do not necessarily have a previous conviction for a sexual or violent offence but who have engaged in a 'sexual act' and who pose a risk of further such harm. For a SRO to be made, it is not necessary for there to be a risk that the defendant will commit a sexual offence against a child - the risk may be that s/he intends to communicate with children in a sexually explicit way or persuade them to do things, or attend areas that may attract sexual exploitation. The SRO can contain such prohibitions as the court considers necessary. For example, in the case of an adult found regularly communicating with young children in a sexual way in internet chat rooms, a SRO could be used to prohibit the person from using the internet in order to stop him/her from continuing this activity.


SROs are made on application from the police, so any person who is thought to pose a sexual risk of harm to children should be referred to the police. In an application for an order, the police can set out the prohibitions they would like the court to consider. An Order must last for at least two years, it can contain a prohibition that prevents foreign travel and while an SRO does not attract full registration requirements, it does require the individual to register their name and address to police.


Breach of any of the prohibitions in a SRO is a criminal offence, with a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment. It is also an offence that makes the offender subject to the full notification requirements. The police should be contacted whenever there is evidence or concern that a SRO is or may have been breached.

Violent Offender Orders (VOOs)


Violent Offender Orders (VOOs) are civil preventative orders that came into effect on 3 August 2009 (contained in Part 7 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008). VOOs were developed as a tool to help the Police Service to manage those offenders who continue to pose a risk of serious violent harm to the public even after their release from prison or when their licence has ceased. Although not specifically designed as a tool to protect children, there may be circumstances where VOOs would be an appropriate mechanism to manage an individual who poses a serious risk of harm to children.


VOOs are available on application by a chief officer of police to a Magistrates' Court and, if granted, will contain such restrictions, prohibitions or conditions authorised by section 102 of the Act as the court considers necessary to protect the public from the risk of serious violent harm caused by the offender. This may include prohibiting their access to certain places, premises, events or people to whom they pose the highest risk. Breach of any of the prohibitions, restrictions or conditions contained in a VOO without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence, with a maximum punishment of five years' imprisonment. VOO's attract registration requirements with police, similar to sexual offenders and are subject to MAPP arrangements as above.

Sharing relevant information



MAPP plans provide a framework which supports and enables lawful, necessary, proportionate, secure and accountable information sharing. MAPPA protocols should provide answers to the questions of to whom, when, how and where information should be shared.

Information sharing principles


Information sharing must:

  • Have lawful authority;
  • Be necessary;
  • Be proportionate;
  • Ensure the safety and security of the information shared;
  • Be accountable.

The meaning of each of these principles is explained below.

Lawful authority requirement (vires)


Each MAPP agency sharing information must have either a prima facie statutory or common law power to do so. The police and probation services, in respect of their wider criminal justice responsibilities as well as they specific, joint duties under the MAPP, have clearly recognised statutory duties which will necessarily involve sharing information. Further, section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 confers on any person a power to pass information to certain relevant authorities (including police, probation, health and local authorities) if necessary to help implement the provisions of that Act. The new Criminal Justice Bill will also confer a statutory power to exchange information with the Responsible Authority on all MAPP agencies subject to the duty of co-operation.


Therefore all MAPP agencies will have the prima facie legal power to exchange information with the responsible authority.



Information should only be exchanged where necessary for the purpose of properly assessing and managing the risks posed by those offenders who are subject to the MAPP provisions. The specific purposes of sharing information within the MAPP are to:

  • Identify those offenders who present a serious risk of harm to the public;
  • Ensure that the assessment of the risks they present are accurate;
  • Enable the most appropriate risk management plans to be drawn up and implemented;
  • Implement those plans and thereby protect the public.

Proportionality in information sharing


In order to satisfy this criterion, it must be shown that the managing and assessing of the risk posed by the offender could not effectively be achieved other than by the sharing of the information in question. Clearly, in almost all cases of identifying, assessing and managing risk within MAPP, this criterion will easily be met.

Sharing information safely and securely


Good practice should ensure that all information about offenders is kept securely and is shared with and available only to those who have a legitimate interest in knowing it - that is, agencies and individuals involved in the MAPPA processes. Essentially, arrangements must be in place which ensure that information is only shared with those with a legitimate interest and cannot by accident or design be accessed by others.

Accountable information sharing


So that information is shared accountably the responsible authority must ensure that the administrative procedures underpinning the operation of MAPP meetings and case conferences have the confidence of participants. The importance of accurate, clear and timely record keeping is stressed; as is safe and secure information storage and retrieval systems.


More broadly, issues arising from the sharing of information in the MAPP process should be referred to the area Strategic Management Board, the role and function of which is described in Strategic management board (SMB).

Disclosures by responsible authority to third parties


There may, exceptionally, be some cases where the management of an offender's risk in the community cannot be carried out without the disclosure by the responsible authority of some information to a third party outside the MAPP agencies. For example, where an employer, voluntary group organiser or church leader has a position of responsibility / control over the offender and other persons who may be at serious risk from the offender, the disclosure to them of certain information about the offender may be the only way to manage that risk.


The principles underpinning disclosure to third parties are the same as for information sharing, but inevitably involve greater sensitivities given that disclosure may be to individual members of the public as opposed to central or local government or law enforcement bodies. Because of this, great caution should be exercised before making any such disclosure: it should be seen as an exceptional measure. If such a course of action is required, it must be part of a risk management plan which either of the two higher levels of risk management have formally agreed.


The lawful authority and necessity requirements described previously will be met in cases where the responsible authority is making a disclosure for the purposes of managing the risk of offenders subject to the MAPPA provisions.


The critical ground, determining whether such a disclosure will be lawful, is therefore likely to be the proportionality requirement. In this respect, the following criteria should be met before disclosing information about an offender to a third party:

  • The offender presents a risk of serious harm to the person, or to those for whom the recipient of the information has responsibility (children, for example);
  • There is no other practicable, less intrusive means of protecting the individual(s), and failure to disclose would put them in danger. Also, only that information which is necessary to prevent the harm may be disclosed, which will rarely be all the information available;
  • The risk to the offender should be considered, although it should not outweigh the potential risk to others were disclosure not to be made. The offender retains their rights (most importantly their article 2 - right to life) and consideration must be given to whether those rights are endangered as a consequence of the disclosure. It is partly in respect of such consideration that widespread disclosure of the identify and whereabouts of an offender is very, very rarely justified;
  • The disclosure is to the right person and that they understand the confidential and sensitive nature of the information they have received. The right person will be the person who needs to know in order to avoid or prevent the risks;
  • Consider consulting the offender about the proposed disclosure. This should be done in all cases unless to do so would not be safe or appropriate. Where consultation can be done, it can help strengthen the risk management plan. If it is possible and appropriate to obtain the offender's consent then a number of potential objections to the disclosure are overcome. Equally, the offender may wish to leave for example their placement rather than have any disclosure made, and if this is appropriate, this would also avoid the need for any disclosure;
  • Ensure that whoever has been given the information knows what to do with it. Again, where this is a specific person, this may be less problematic but in the case of an employer, for example, you may need to provide advice and support; and
  • Before actually disclosing the information, particularly to an employer or someone in a similar position, first ask them whether they have any information about the offender. If they have the information then no disclosure is necessary. If they have some but possibly incorrect information your disclosure can helpfully correct it.


This procedure applies when disclosure to third parties of an offender / suspected offender's previous history is being considered.


Subject to the conditions set out in Information Sharing Guidance, the general presumption is that information should not normally be disclosed, except if one of the following applies:

  • Consent has been obtained from the offender / suspected offender / alleged offender;
  • Statutory requirements or other duty, including a genuine instance of a duty to make enquiries to safeguard a child or children at s47 of the Children Act 1989;
  • Duty to the public.


Legal advice should be sought where doubt exists as to the lawfulness of disclosure.


The absence of a conviction of child abuse in a criminal court does not prevent a local authority from informing parents or carers of the potential risk posed by someone who is honestly believed on reasonable grounds to have abused other children.


Generally the risk assessment for disclosure of information on convicted abusers will be led by the police and probation service, but local authority children's social care may need to consider the risk of those alleged abusers who:

  • Have been charged with an offence and outcome pending;
  • Were not prosecuted because the required standard of proof did not allow for a criminal case to be pursued;
  • Were not prosecuted but the case 'left on file';
  • Were acquitted.


In view of the possibility of legal challenge, by an offender, potential / suspected offender or future victim, all agencies must, in addition to seeking any legal advice required maintain in respect of disclosure a record of events, actions, discussions, decisions and the reason for them.