Joint arrangements to protect public from dangerous offenders improving, say inspectors

Work by probation staff, police and prisons to protect the public from high-risk offenders was getting better, but there was still more to do, according to independent inspectors. Today they published a report of a joint inspection into Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, known as MAPPA.

The report, A follow-up inspection of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. The quality of work with this group of offenders, informed by good assessments and robust planning, should be of the highest standard and inspectors expect to find that everything is being done that could reasonably be done to manage the risk of serious harm posed by offenders managed within MAPPA. This second inspection sought to establish how far the recommendations in the 2011 report had been implemented and whether improvements to practice had resulted.

Overall, there had been measurable improvement in the quality of work undertaken with MAPPA offenders managed at level 2 and 3 compared with 2011. However, there was still room for improvement in risk management plans.


Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • Lead agency – guidance requires a lead agency to be identified for each MAPPA eligible offender but despite the guidance, the 2011 inspection found a clearer focus around the specified lead agency was required. The follow-up inspection found that the concept of lead agency was now better understood and the lead agency was almost always identified in the MAPPA minutes.
  • Active Management – the 2011 inspection found an emphasis within MAPPA meetings of exchanging information rather than focusing on the risk of harm posed by the offender and plans to manage that harm. The follow-up inspection found progress, as meetings were now focusing more on active management of the offender and seeking to hold agencies to account.
  • Documentation – the 2011 inspection found that minutes of MAPPA meetings were often not fit for purpose. This re-inspection found that minutes had improved, albeit there were marked differences across the areas visited.


However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • Risk management planning – .the 2011 inspection found MAPPA rarely produced a comprehensive risk management plan. The follow-up inspection found that while risk management actions were more relevant and appropriate than in 2011, there remained room for improvement.
  • ViSOR – findings on the use of ViSOR in 2011 were disappointing, as police, prisons and probation staff did not use ViSOR as a shared working tool. Four years later, findings are not very different, and insufficient progress had been made.

The chief inspectors made recommendations for improvement, which included: the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Public Protection Group should ensure that guidance relating to ViSOR is reviewed and all NPS offender managers have convenient access to ViSOR terminals; Strategic Management Board chairs should ensure that probation and prisons use ViSOR as an active risk management tool, with staff appropriately trained and Police Forces should ensure that neighbourhood policing teams are made fully aware of registered sex offenders living within their policing areas.

Chief Inspector of Probation Paul Wilson said on behalf of both inspectorates:

“It is encouraging to report that recommendations from the last inspection had been substantially implemented and overall the quality of work was improved. However, risk management planning is still confused and inconsistent, active engagement of some Duty to Cooperate agencies remains work in progress, and there needs to be a strategic commitment from both the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Strategic Management Boards to harness the benefits of ViSOR.

“MAPPA is now well established, but reporting measures remain mainly focused on processes. This report encourages NOMS to develop outcome-focused Key Performance Indicators that will better evidence the effectiveness of MAPPA.”



For further information, please contact Jane Parsons, HM Inspectorate of Probation press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452.

Notes to Editors:

  1. A copy of the full report can be found on the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection website from 22 October 2015 at:
  2. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation is an independent inspectorate, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and reporting directly to the Secretary of State on the effectiveness of work with individual adults, children and young people who offend, aimed at reducing reoffending and protecting the public.
  3. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects and regulates all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
  4. MAPPA levels – Level 1 is ordinary agency management where the risks posed by the offender can be managed by the agency responsible for the supervision or case management of the offender. Level 2 is active multi-agency management that adds value to the lead agency’s management of the risk of serious harm posed. Level 3 is active enhanced multi-agency management where the management issues require senior representation from the Responsible Authority and Duty to Cooperate Agencies.
  5. ViSOR is a national confidential database that supports MAPPA. It facilitates the effective sharing of information and intelligence on violent and sexual offenders between the three MAPPA Responsible Authority agencies (police, probation and prisons).

Six MAPPA areas were selected for the inspection. Two were areas where intelligence indicated performance was likely to be good. The other four areas provided a mixture of urban and rural, shire and metropolitan. Fieldwork took place in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland, Greater Manchester, Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, London, Dyfed Powys and Kent.