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How details of your criminal record may be disclosed to third parties under MAPPA and the Common Law Police Disclosure scheme

Aim of this information

It will sometimes be necessary for the police, probation or prison to disclose details of your conviction to a third party (for example an employer, housing provider, family member etc). This maybe because of the job you do (in the case of common law police disclosure) or because you are managed through the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA).

This information aims to set out how these disclosure schemes work and how they may affect you and forms part of our information on sharing of criminal records.

Why  is this important?

Whenever you are applying for a job or membership of a registered body you need to be clear about what you need to disclose about your criminal record and, more importantly, what others may feel it appropriate to disclose.

Where the police/probation feel that it’s in the public’s interest for them to disclose, you will generally be told that this is the case. If you’re aware that the police/probation will be disclosing, then you can be prepared to answer any questions that a third party may have about your criminal record.

MAPPA

Introduction to MAPPA

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Act 2003, imposed duties on the police, probation and prison services to make arrangements for the identification, risk assessment and management of people with convictions for violent or sexual offences in the community. These arrangements are known as MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements). The Violent and Sexual Offenders Register (VISOR) was developed to support it.

The aim of MAPPA

The aim of MAPPA is to identify relevant offenders, share information about them, assess the risks that they may pose to manage those risks. MAPPA is intended to promote the sharing of information between all the agencies, resulting in more effective supervision and better public protection.

Categories and levels

The three formal MAPPA categories are:

  • Category One: All Registered Sexual Offenders
  • Category Two: Violent or other sex offenders not subject to notification requirements
  • Category Three: Other dangerous offenders

Whilst the majority of individuals under MAPPA do not, under its own risk assessment, present a risk of serious harm to the public, the arrangements are designed to enable the agencies involved to target resources and attention on those who present the highest risks. As a result, those under MAPPA are managed at one of three ‘risk levels’.

  1. Level One: Involves normal agency management (cases with a low-medium risk of serious harm to others). This will be either the probation service (for people on community orders or on licence following release from prison) or the police (for registered sex offenders).
  2. Level Two: Often called local inter-risk agency management (cases with a high or very high risk of harm to others). MAPPA meetings take place to develop a coordinated plan between the police, the probation service and other agencies.
  3. Level Three: Known as Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels (or MAPPPs, reserved for those deemed to pose the highest risk of causing serious harm or whose management is so problematic that multi-agency co-operation and oversight at a senior level is required with the authority to commit exceptional resources). Only a relatively small number are categorised at this level – normally because they are either considered particularly dangerous or their case has received a lot of media coverage.

How do I know if I’m subject to MAPPA?

If you are subject to MAPPA you should be notified. For Categories 1 and 2, qualification for MAPPA is based solely on offence and disposal and for Category 3, on previous offending and current risk assessment. It is important to note that MAPPA does not give the supervising agencies any additional powers – it is merely a system for assessing and managing risk.

If you want information about discussions that have taken place about you at MAPPA meetings, you can request this formally from the local MAPPA Co-ordinator. The Co-ordinator will supply an executive summary of the minutes of the meeting. This is not a full version – some information relating to managing risk (such as the address of victims) will be removed.

If you feel you have been wrongly made subject to MAPPA, you (or your solicitor) should contact the Chair of the Strategic Management Board for MAPPA in your local area. You should be able to get details from your probation officer or from the head office in your local probation area. Contact details can be found here.

How will I be managed?

Approximately 95% of ‘registered sexual offenders’ in England and Wales are managed at level one of MAPPA and will usually be managed by either a single police or probation officer. The police are ultimately responsible for managing those under MAPPA. They often work in specially trained Public Protection Units (PPU’s) and are typically ‘plain-clothes’ officers.

As part of maintaining a risk management plan for each of the registered sexual offenders they manage, they will usually conduct home visits whilst an individual is subject to the Notification Requirements. The frequency of these visits will be related to the MAPPA risk level. As a minimum requirement, MAPPA level one cases will be visited once every twelve months, level two cases every six months and level three cases every three months. Any information or incident that indicates that an individual under MAPPA has increased risk may prompt more frequent visits.

Individuals can move between MAPPA levels if assessed to be more or less dangerous over time. Violent offenders are no longer subject to MAPPA proceedings once their period of supervision by the probation service has ended.

Can details of my MAPPA status be disclosed to my family?

Family members are not automatically informed of somebody’s MAPPA status. However, in some cases a MAPPA meeting may decide that it is in the family’s interest to know. When living with a family member, typically the family will be visited by the probation service or the police, who will ensure that they are aware of any risks. Often, family members may have to agree to certain conditions, such as, where a conviction relates to offences against children, no unsupervised access to children by the individual.

Can details of my MAPPA status be disclosed to a third party?

Police or probation officers will always consider whether it is necessary to disclose information about an individual to protect the public and safeguard children. This applies to all categories and levels of MAPPA. Examples could be:

  • Where the public may be at risk through the offender’s employment, training or education
  • Where others may be at risk, i.e. in supported accommodation. This may include other service users but usually it will be staff and manager who are told
  • Where there is a need to protect past or potential victims, in particular where an individual strikes up a new relationship with partners who have children or grandchildren. In some cases  this may include friends or neighbours who have children.

Any disclosure must comply with the law, must be necessary for public protection and must be proportionate.

Before a decision to disclose is made, consideration must be given to seeking representation from the individual concerned so that all the information necessary to make a properly informed decision is available. Seeking representation should be considered the norm.

If, having regard to individual circumstances, it is deemed necessary to disclose, it may be possible for an individual to make the disclosure to a third party himself/herself. This could either be in the presence of a police or probation officer or by allowing the police or probation officer to confirm and verify at a later date, the contents of the disclosure with the third party.

Other MAPPA information

Find further official guidance on MAPPA and also some useful leaflets for anybody that is being managed through MAPPA.

Common Law Police Disclosure (CLPD)

Introduction to Common Law Police Disclosure

Common Law Police Disclosure arrangements replaced the Notification Occupations Scheme (NOS) in March 2015. The NOS was a police procedure whereby anybody arrested or charged who was employed in a specified occupation would have their employers notified of their arrest or charge by the police.

The idea of the scheme was to ensure, for example, that a man or woman arrested for a suspected sexual offence against a child who turned out to be a teacher had that information conveyed to the school as soon as possible; it was felt that in these circumstances it was unnecessary to wait for a court decision.

How is the CLPD scheme different to the NOS?

The new scheme is not limited in scope and addresses the risk of harm regardless of the employer or regulatory body that the individual is working for or a member of. There are no longer lists of specific occupations, regulatory bodies or licensing authorities.

Common Law Police Disclosure focuses on the need to disclose where there is a public protection risk, rather than a blanket approach of passing on all information whether relevant or not. The threshold for disclosure is now based on ‘pressing social need’.

When are the police likely to disclose?

The ‘pressing social need’ threshold for making a disclosure under common law powers are considered to be the same as that required for the disclosure of ‘non-conviction information’ by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The principle was established by the Supreme Court ruling in R v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (2009) which ruled that equal weight should be given to the human rights of the person on whom the information was being disclosed as to the need to protect children and vulnerable adults. The adverse and damaging impact on the person needed to be ‘reasonable and proportionate’ in terms of Article 8 of the European Convention and the right to privacy.

The police will use the ACPO/DBS ‘Quality Assurance Framework’ in determining what, if any, information will be disclosed.

When will my employers be notified and what will they do with the information?

The police will generally notify your employer when you’re charged. However, if the Chief Police Officer believes that there is a public protection risk, then notification may be upon arrest.

Once an employer is notified they should only use the information to assess any potential risk that you pose. The information they are provided with should not be copied, discussed or shown to any other party not directly involved in the risk assessment.

If your job involves regulated activity there may be a statutory requirement for your employer to refer the matter to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The police will not inform your employer of the outcome of your case.

Further information on Common Law Police Disclosure can be found here.

Personal experiences

The personal stories below have been posted on theRecord, our online magazine

Discuss this with others

Read ad share your experiences on our online forum

Key sections include:

Useful links

Below you will find links to useful websites relating to this page. More specific details (including addresses and telephone numbers) of some of the organisations listed below can be found here.

  • ACRO Criminal Record Office – ACRO operate the criminal records office which is responsible for producing subject access requests and police certificates
  • MAPPA – MAPPA have responsibility for managing sexual and violent offenders in the community

More information

  1. For practical information – More information can be found in our sharing of criminal record section
  2. To read personal stories – You can read stories about this posted on theRecord, our online magazine
  3. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum
  4. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline

Get involved

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  1. Comment on this page (below)
  2. Send your feedback directly to us
  3. Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online forum
  4. Share your personal story by contributing to our online magazine 

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Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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