There are five key stages to the MAPPA process
Stage 1: Identification of the offender
An offender falling within one of the MAPPA categories is identified by the relevant responsible authority.
A stage 1 notification form is then sent to the MAPPA co-ordinator who is the single point of contact (SPOC) for all stage 1 notifications.
The co-ordinator will then look at the referral and if appropriately level 1, no further action will be taken, other than recording the notification.
The responsible authority may still get involved and share relevant information with other agencies involved in the assessment and management of risk.
Where the notification indicates a higher required level of management, a stage 2 referral is started.
For Registered Sex Offenders, referrals are made to the co-ordinator by the Scottish Prisons Service (SPS), the social work case manager or the police.
For category 3 offenders, any agency (responsible authority and duty to co-operate agency) can make a referral, although contact should be made with the police and/or the social work contact for the person in the first instance.
Once the referral is agreed and made, the co-ordinator will take a professional decision on behalf of the responsible authorities as to the appropriateness of the referral.
When the MAPPA co-ordinator receives the referral, they will decide if the offender meets the criteria for inclusion in level 2 or level 3 multi-agency meetings.
As the co-ordinator relies on the information contained in the referral to make this initial decision, it is important that the referral form is fully completed with supporting documentation attached where relevant.
If there is insufficient information provided, the co-ordinator will make contact with the referring agency, which may delay the co-ordination of a required meeting.
A referral to level 3 must identify those aspects of the Risk Management Plan which cannot be effectively delivered through level 2 meetings.
Both notifications and referrals are made through the use of secure email to email@example.com or - if the referring agency does not have a secure email link - hard copy to:
9 High Patrick Street
Stage 2: MAPPA referral
Referral to MAPPA Levels 2 or 3 must be informed by the current risk assessment and the proposed risk management plan.
Multi-agency risk management can require a significant amount of resources and should only be used where this level of collaboration and coordination is necessary and should be proportionate to the management of the specific risk of serious harm posed.
Any decision to refer an offender into Level 2 or Level 3 must be on the basis that a coordinated multi-agency response by senior staff is required, and is proportionate to protect the public.
As before, the lead responsible authority must submit a notification form to the MAPPA co-ordinator within three workings days of being notified of a community sentence disposal.
The form must contain sufficient information to support the rationale for management at the recommended MAPPA Level. Should a decision be made to manage the offender at MAPPA Level 2 or 3 then a referral must be submitted to the MAPPA Coordinator within five working days of submission of the notification form.
For those offenders subject to a community disposal, or under supervision or notification requirements in the community, a referral may be made either by the police or justice social work services at one of the two following points:
- at the time of the first risk assessment and development of the management plan
- at any point where the level of risk appears to have significantly increased
Referrals from custody
The decision to refer to the MAPPA process at Level 2 or 3 will be discussed and agreed at the pre-release ICM case conference as part of the risk assessment and risk management process.
The police and other agencies can be invited to attend ICM meetings where appropriate.
The SPS must send the MAPPA co-ordinator a notification or referral as soon as possible and not less than ten weeks prior to release, unless there are extenuating circumstances, following the pre-release ICM case conference.
Practical considerations for MAPPA referrals
The responsible authority will complete the referral form providing all relevant information and submit it, within the timescales laid out above, to the co-ordinator to allow them to make an informed decision.
If the referral is accepted, the co-ordinator will confirm this to the responsible authority and arrangements will be made by the co-ordinator to progress the case to the initial Level 2 meeting/Level 3 (MAPPP).
If the co-ordinator does not accept the referral then this should be notified to the referring responsible authority as soon as possible, outlining the reasons.
In the absence of the co-ordinator (for example, on annual leave), the responsible authorities will make sure that alternative mechanisms are in place for such decisions to be made.
Those offenders who are subject to both the SONR and statutory supervision do not necessarily require management at MAPPA Level 2 or 3, although good Level 1 practice would require the police and justice social work services to coordinate their respective activities through an agreed risk management plan.
Stage 3: Pre-meeting information sharing
Level 2 / Level 3 (MAPPP) meetings
Before Level 2 or 3 meetings, the agencies will share information held about the offender and complete the risk assessment and risk management planning documents.
The information sharing process is managed by the co-ordinator.
The information contained in the referral will be passed to identified contacts in each of the responsible authorities and other agencies directly by the MAPPA co-ordinator.
This requires the receiving agencies to have a single point through which this information can be securely passed.
The receiving agency will search their agency records for all relevant information about the offender, or victim, or potential victims. The search should be undertaken and the response completed as a priority task, and in any case, both will be recorded and completed within five working days to the MAPPA co-ordinator.
Those people operationally responsible for the management of the offender should liaise with the Local Authority Sex Offender Liaison Officer (SOLO) in relation to accommodation and environmental scanning arrangements as laid out in the National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO).
Stage 4: MAPPA meetings
Initial Level 2 and 3 meetings
For those offenders in the community, an initial Level 2 meeting must be held within 20 working days of receipt of referral by the co-ordinator or their administrator.
An initial Level 3 meeting must be held within five working days of receipt of the referral.
For those offenders within custody or being managed within the Care Programme Approach (CPA) the initial Level 2 or Level 3 meeting must take place prior to their release/discharge into the community.
The product of pre-meeting information exchanges should be compiled and provided in advance of the meeting to all agencies attending a Level 2 or Level 3 meeting to allow for suitable preparation.
The risk management plan will be agreed by the meeting, this will include who is responsible for undertaking each specific action including the timeframe in which it is expected the action will be completed.
The purpose of the meeting is to:
- bring additional information or assist agencies to assess the relevance of existing information
- review and establish agreement regarding the development and implementation of a risk management plan (RMP)including ensuring:
- the analysis of the risk of serious harm has identified the risks
- that the identified risk management strategies and activities are implemented in line with professional role and competency
- that decisions are taken to address any obstacles to the delivery of the RMP and uninterrupted service provision
- consider whether the MAPPA level should increase or decrease
- set a formal review date for the risk management plan
Organising appropriate attendance at Level 2 or 3 meetings
The MAPPA co-ordinator will identify which agencies are central to the delivery of the risk management plan and arrange for their attendance.
As well as senior representatives from the responsible authorities, supervising social workers and police officers can be invited to attend, where this is appropriate.
The MAPPA co-ordinator can make the most of agency involvement by careful scheduling of meetings and, where necessary, by the use of video conferencing or virtual meetings.
All agencies should be represented by senior personnel who understand the strategies for minimising or reducing risk of serious harm, and who have the authority to implement appropriate strategies agreed at the meeting on behalf of their agency.
The chair of the meeting should make sure that the meeting is focused on systematic assessment based on identified risk factors. They should summarise the risk factors and provide direction on the actions and resources required to appropriately manage the case.
A review meeting should be scheduled to assess progress against the risk management plan. The timing of this review will reflect the individual circumstances of the risk management plan and should be agreed at the initial meeting.
There are minimum standards in respect of review periods:
- level 2 cases will be reviewed no less than once every 12 weeks
- level 3 cases will be reviewed no less than once every 6 weeks
All agencies have a responsibility to report to the MAPPA co-ordinator as soon as possible with any information that indicates a change in risk, whenever that occurs.
MAPPA does not impinge on the statutory responsibilities already held by the responsible authorities.
For all Level 2 / Level 3 cases, review meetings will be set mainly to scrutinise the risk management plan and its delivery. The levels of management may be changed based on information from the review meetings,
The chair of these meetings ensures that:
- all reasonable steps have been taken
- information has been collected and thoroughly evaluated
- reliable assessment methods have been used
- decisions are recorded and subsequently carried out
- policies and procedures have been followed
All agencies have a responsibility to report any changes in risk at whatever stage to the MAPPA co-ordinator. In these circumstances ,an extra review meeting may be called or the offender may be escalated to a higher level of MAPPA management.
Stage 5: Exit from MAPPA
We know that the notification period has no bearing on the risk presented and the need to manage that risk, however the exit of an offender from MAPPA is determined by the length of the SONR, or alternatively under the provisions of The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Remedial)(Scotland) Order 2011.
The lead agency must notify the MAPPA co-ordinator when an offender is nearing the end of their SONR and about to exit the arrangements. This notice should be provided with sufficient time to allow for a review of the circumstances. This will confirm whether continued management through MAPPA is justified and necessary.
In a small number of cases, the offender may be assessed as still posing a significant risk of serious harm at the point where they would normally leave the MAPPA. In these cases, we will consider an application for a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) under the terms of Section 104 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which carries an automatic SONR provision.
An offender managed within the other risk of serious harm offender category will exit the MAPPA arrangements when a change in circumstances results in the relevant offender no longer meeting the criteria detailed earlier.
Record of MAPPA meetings
All Level 2 and 3 meetings are fully minuted with the minutes being circulated within five working days.
Minutes are only accessed by those involved in the meeting and are held securely by the MAPPA co-ordinator and detailed on ViSOR (Violent and Sex Offender Register).
All MAPPA minutes are subject to strict confidentiality, and at each meeting the confidentiality statement is signed and agreed by all those present at the meeting.
The minutes detail the risk assessment, the critical aspects for risk management and a detailed risk management and contingency plan specifying actions, responsibility and timescales. A timescale for review will also be set at the meeting and minuted.