4.2 Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)


This chapter provides a summary of the guidance. It should be read in conjunction with the full national MAPPA Guidance (see link below).


MAPPA Guidance (Ministry of Justice)


Persons, Volunteers / Carers Identified as Posing a Risk to Children Procedure

Domestic Abuse Procedure

Underlying Values and Principles, Information Sharing and Confidentiality

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) Procedure


This chapter was reviewed and updated in May 2018. The link to the national MAPPA Guidance was updated. A new Section 6, Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP) was added.

1. Introduction

The MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) is a national framework to assess and manage the risk posed by serious and violent offenders. The MAPPA cannot address the risks posed by all potential perpetrators of abuse, its focus is convicted violent and sexual offenders living in, or returning to the community.

The Police, the Prison Service and probation service providers ('the Responsible Authority') have statutory responsibilities under Sections 325 – 327B Criminal Justice Act 2003 to establish in consultation with partner agencies, 'Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements' (MAPPA).

Section 325 requires the Responsible Authority to:

  • Establish arrangements for the assessment and management of risks posed by relevant sexual and violent offenders and other persons who, by reasons of offences committed by them are considered to be persons who may cause serious harm to the public;
  • Monitor and review the arrangements made and make any necessary or expedient changes;
  • Publish an annual report.

Other bodies have a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority in this task. These duty to co-operate agencies ('DTC agencies') will need to work with the Responsible Authority on particular aspects of an offender's life (e.g. education, employment, housing, social care).

The Strategic Management Board (SMB) is the means by which the Responsible Authority fulfils its duties to keep the MAPPA arrangements under review with a view to monitoring their effectiveness and making any changes to them that appear necessary or expedient. The SMB is therefore responsible for managing MAPPA activity in its area. This will include reviewing its operations for quality and effectiveness and planning how to accommodate any changes as a result of legislative changes, national guidance or wider criminal justice changes. The SMB are responsible for the implementation of the MAPPA Guidance in their area, in line with local initiatives and priorities.

2. Criteria for Referral into MAPPA

Every MAPPA offender must be identified in one of the three categories outlined below:

  • Category 1 - Registered sexual offenders as specified under Sexual Offences Act 2003, Part 2: Notification and Orders (on the Sexual Offenders' Register);
  • Category 2 - Violent offenders and other sexual offenders who are not required to register:
    • An offender convicted (or found not guilty by reason of insanity or to be unfit to stand trial and to have done the act charged) of murder or an offence specified under Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) Schedule 15 Criminal Justice Act 2003 who received a sentence of 12 months or more or a hospital order;
    • An offender barred from working with children under the DBS Vetting and Barring Scheme (or subject to a Disqualification Order for an offence listed under Schedule 4 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, which preceded this Scheme).
  • Category 3 - Other dangerous offenders: a person who has been cautioned, reprimanded, warned  or convicted of an offence which indicates that he or she is capable of causing serious harm and which requires multi-agency management at Level 2 or 3 (This might not be for an offence under Sch.15 of the CJA 2003 – see above).

Offenders entering MAPPA as new cases will be:

  • Offenders who receive one of the relevant sentences as set out above;
  • 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 or by the public;
  • Persons referred into the arrangements under mental health legislation.

All MAPPA offenders must be managed by an identified MAPPA Lead Agency.

3. Criteria for Referral out of MAPPA

The period an offender remains a MAPPA offender varies significantly. Some will be MAPPA offenders for life and some for less than 6 months. The period will be dependent upon the offence committed and the sentence imposed.

Offenders will cease to be MAPPA offenders in the following circumstances:

Category 1 offenders – (Registered Sexual Offenders) - when their period of registration expires. In the most serious cases, registration is for life (those subject to life registration will soon be able to apply for a review of their registration requirement);

Category 2 offenders – violent and other sexual offenders – when the licence expires, the offender is discharged from the hospital order or guardianship order, or the disqualification order is revoked.

Category 3 offenders – other dangerous offenders – when a level 2 or 3 MAPP meeting decides that the risk of harm has reduced sufficiently or the case no longer requires active multi-agency management.

All Category 1 and 2 offenders managed at MAPPA levels 2 or 3 who are coming to the end of their notification requirements or period of statutory supervision must be reviewed and should be considered for registration as a Category 3 offender. However, registration as a Category 3 offender should only occur if they meet the criteria and continue to require active multi-agency management. All except Category 2 level 1 offenders will have an active ViSOR record. When they cease to be MAPPA offenders, the record will be archived. The record will remain in ViSOR until the offender's 100th birthday. At this point, the case will be reviewed with the expectation that the record will be deleted.

4. Assessment of the Risk of Serious Harm

All MAPPA offenders must be assessed using the approved risk assessment tools where appropriate. Risk assessment must draw on the widest information available from all agencies involved.

For example, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) assess risk of harm using the Offender Assessment System (OASys). The Youth Justice Board use ASSET for under eighteen year olds. The following describe each level of risk.

  • Low: current evidence does not indicate a likelihood of causing serious harm;
  • Medium: there are identifiable indicators 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;
  • High: there are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious;
  • 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.

Risk is categorised by reference to who may be the subject of that harm. This includes children who may be vulnerable to harm of various kinds, including violent or sexual behaviour, emotional harm or neglect. In this context, MAPPA will work closely with the SCSP to ensure the best, local joint arrangements can be made for any individual child being considered by either setting.

5. Risk Management

5.1 Levels of Management

MAPPA offenders are managed at one of three levels according to the extent of agency involvement needed and the number of different agencies involved.

The three levels of MAPPA management are:

  • Level 1: ordinary agency management;
  • Level 2: active multi-agency management; and
  • Level 3: active enhanced multi-agency management.

The great majority are managed at level 1 (ordinary agency management). This involves the sharing of information but does not require multi-agency meetings. The others are managed at level 2 if an active multi-agency approach is required (MAPP meetings), and at level 3 if senior representatives of the relevant agencies with the authority to commit resources are also needed.

5.1.1 Level 1: Ordinary Agency Management

Ordinary agency management Level 1 is where the risks posed by the offender can be managed by the agency responsible for the supervision or case management of the offender. This does not mean that other agencies will not be involved, only that it is not considered necessary to refer the case to a level 2 or 3 MAPP meeting.

It is essential that information-sharing takes place, disclosure is considered, and there are discussions between agencies as necessary.

5.1.2 Level 2: Active Multi-Agency Management

Cases should be managed at level 2 where the offender:

  • Is assessed as posing a high or very high risk of serious harm; or
  • The risk level is lower but the case requires the active involvement and co-ordination of interventions from other agencies to manage the presenting risks of serious harm; or
  • The case has been previously managed at level 3 but no longer meets the criteria for level 3; or
  • Multi-agency management adds value to the lead agency's management of the risk of serious harm posed.

5.1.3 Level 3: Active Enhanced Multi-Agency Management

Level 3 management should be used for cases that meet the criteria for level 2 but where it is determined that the management issues require senior representation from the Responsible Authority and Duty-to-Co-operate agencies. This may be when there is a perceived need to commit significant resources at short notice or where, although not assessed as high or very high risk of serious harm, there is a high likelihood of media scrutiny or public interest in the management of the case and there is a need to ensure that public confidence in the criminal justice system is maintained.

Offenders can only be identified in one of the three Categories at a time. Offenders can only be considered for Category 3 if they do not meet the criteria for Category 1 or Category 2. Offenders only fall into Category 2 if they do not meet the criteria for Category 1. However, an offender who ceases to meet the criteria of one Category can be identified in a different category if they meet the relevant criteria.

5.2 Risk Management Plan

All MAPPA offenders must have an effective Risk Management Plan ('RMP'). All MAPP meetings at Levels 2 and 3 must outline a risk assessment summary to inform the Risk Management Plan.

Level 1 MAPPA offenders must have an RMP completed by the lead agency to its own required standards.

Every Level 2 or 3 MAPPA offender must have both an agency RMP and a MAPPA RMP. The MAPPA RMP should enhance the agency RMP.

The MAPPA Chair should summarise the issues and agree the required level of management.

5.3 Multi-Agency Public Protection Meetings

The purpose of Level 2 and Level 3 Multi-Agency Public Protection meetings is to share information to support multi-agency risk assessments, and formulate effective MAPPA Risk Management Plans (MAPPA RMPs), in order to manage the risk of serious harm posed.

An effective level 2 or level 3 meeting requires representatives from agencies to be able to make decisions which commit their agencies' resources. Therefore, at level 2 and level 3 MAPP meetings, all agencies must either be represented by the SMB-agreed level of personnel, or have delegated their authority to a representative.

6. Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP)

A PDP is a person who is not currently managed  under one of the three MAPPA categories, but whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for believing that there is a present likelihood of them committing an offence or offences that will cause serious harm.

Examples of PDPs include:

  • A person charged with domestic abuse offences on a number of occasions against different partners but never convicted of offences that would make them a MAPPA-eligible offender;
  • An individual who is continually investigated for allegations of child sexual abuse but is never charged or never receives a civil order, but whom agencies still believe poses a serious risk of sexual harm to children;
  • A terrorist suspected but not convicted of an offence;
  • Where a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) shares information with the police that a patient with mental ill health has disclosed fantasies about committing serious violent offences. The patient is not cooperating with the current treatment plan, and the CPN believes serious violent behaviour is imminent;
  • A person who has committed offences abroad that had they been committed here would result in the offender being managed under MAPPA.

These types of individuals could still benefit from active risk management but would not be managed under MAPPA. This management would usually involve two or more agencies, although there may be cases where only the police are involved. There must be a present likelihood of the subject causing serious harm in order for their case to be managed.

See College of Policing  Introduction to Managing Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders.