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4.6 Persons who Pose a Risk to Children


  1. Introduction
  2. Collaborative Working
  3. Definition of a PPR
  4. Indicators of PPR's
  5. Response to Information about a PPR
  6. Offences Targeted at those who Abuse Children and Young People by Sexual Exploitation
  7. Interface between Child Protection and Public Protection
  8. Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
  9. Emergency Reception Centres

    Appendix 1: Legislation and other Processes

    Appendix 2: Release of Prisoners Convicted of Offences against Children

1. Introduction

This section provides practice guidance and information about the range of mechanisms that are available when managing people who have been identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children and young people. Areas covered in this guidance are:

  • Collaborative working between organisations and agencies to identify and manage people who present a risk of harm to children;
  • The Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) which enable agencies to work together when dealing with people who require a greater degree of resources to manage the risk of harm they present to the public; and
  • Other processes and mechanisms for working with people who present a risk to children and young people.

This section should be read in conjunction with:

2. Collaborative Working

The Children Act 1989 recognised that the identification and investigation of child abuse together with the protection and support of victims and their families, requires multi-agency collaboration. As part of that protection action is taken, usually by the Police and Children’s Social Care to prosecute known offenders or to control their access to vulnerable children / young people. An extension of this work is that of identifying and assessing the on-going risk of harm an individual perpetrator may present to other children / young people in the future.

Agencies have a duty to cooperate to provide services to children under Section 10 of the Children Act 2004. Under Section 11 of the same Act, agencies also have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

3. Definition of a PPR

The term ‘Schedule One Offender’ (used to denote someone who has committed serious offences against a child or young person - Children and Young People’s Act 1933) has now been discontinued. It has been replaced with ‘Person Posing a Risk to Children’ (Local Authority Social Services Letter (LASSL 2005).

The term ‘Risk to Children’ applies once an individual has been identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children / young people. This term incorporates those individuals who have been convicted for an offence under Schedule One and is assessed as posing a future risk of harm to children / young people.

Some individuals who have been convicted of an offence under Schedule One may be assessed as no longer posing a future risk of harm to children and some individuals convicted of violent or sexual offences not detailed or within Schedule One, may be assessed as posing a future risk of harm to children / young people. Additionally there will be cases where a person without a conviction or caution may pose a risk to children / young people. For example, a finding of fact in a Civil Court that an individual poses a risk to children, an individual subject to a Sexual Risk Order (Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014) or other non-offence related information, indicates that an offender presents a risk to children.

Once an individual has been sentenced and/or identified as presenting a risk to children / young people, agencies have a responsibility to work collaboratively to monitor and manage the risk of harm to others. Where the offender is given a community sentence, Probation Service Offender Managers (or Youth Offending Team workers) will monitor the individual’s risk to others and behaviour and liaise with partner agencies as appropriate.

In cases where the offender has been sentenced to a period of custody, prison establishments will undertake a similar responsibility, and in addition, notify other agencies prior to any period of release.

4. Indicators of PPR's

The following are some of the people who may pose a risk to children and young people. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Those found guilty of an offence - Person Posing a Risk to Children;
  • Individuals known to have been cautioned / warned / reprimanded in relation to an offence against children / young people;
  • Individuals against whom there is a previous finding in civil proceedings, e.g. Sexual Harm Prevention Order or Care Proceedings;
  • Those about whom there has been a previous Section 47 Enquiry which came to the conclusion that there had been abuse;
  • An individual who has admitted past abuse of a child;
  • Others whose past or present behaviour gives rise to a reason to suspect that a child may be at risk of significant harm, e.g. a history of domestic abuse and other serious assaults;
  • Offenders against adults who are notified to the Local Authority, because the Prison or Probation Service are concerned about the possible risk to children / young people;
  • Offenders who come to the attention of the MAPPA.

Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP)

A PDP is a person who is not currently managed under one of the three MAPPA categories (see Section 8, Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)), 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.

5. Response to Information about a PPR

Notification or discovery of someone who poses a risk to children / young people in the community must be treated as a Child in Need of Protection referral to Children’s Social Care.

A Section 47 Enquiry must be initiated if the offender / person who poses a threat, is living in a household with children / young people, has contact with children / young people or poses a risk to children / young people in the area.

Checks (including the Prison Service that may hold important information) must be undertaken to establish:

  • Any children / young people believed to have been abused by the individual in the past;
  • Other children / young people who are believed to have been in contact with the individual in the past and may therefore have been at risk;
  • Children / young people with whom the individual is currently in contact in a family or work/voluntary setting;
  • Children / young people (who may be in groups) with whom the individual may seek contact, such as children / young people attending a school located near the home of an offender known to target such children / young people.

All assessments of risk must consider the:

  • Needs of the children / young people affected;
  • Level and pattern of abusing or offending behaviour, including behaviour thought to have occurred but which has not led to a criminal conviction;
  • Ability of the young person and their parents / carers to protect them.

A Child Protection Conference must be convened if the threshold criteria are met) and if any child/ren requires continuing protection, therapeutic intervention or family support services.

6. Offences Targeted at those who Abuse Children and Young People by Sexual Exploitation

Those who abuse or exploit children / young people through sexual exploitation are liable to prosecution. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a number of new offences to deal with those who abuse and exploit children / young people in this way. They protect children / young people up to the age of 18 and can attract tough penalties. These offences include:

  • Sexually exploiting a child by paying them for sex;
  • Causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child;
  • Arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child;
  • Controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation.

These are not the only charges that may be brought against those who sexually exploit or abuse children / young people. Abusers and coercers often physically, sexually and emotionally abuse these children / young people and may effectively imprison them. If a child is victim of serious offences, the most serious charge that the evidence will support should always be used.

7. Interface between Child Protection and Public Protection

Child Protection arrangements exist to manage risks to all identified children / young people. Public Protection arrangements exist to manage the risks from high/very high-risk individuals whether or not they pose a risk to an identified child. It is essential that Child Protection procedures and Public Protection arrangements remain independent of each other whilst at the same time they operate in a complimentary manner to allow for timely assessment of risk and decision-making.

8. Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

See also: MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) Guidance.

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements provide a framework in England and Wales for the assessment and management of risk posed by serious and violent offenders. This includes offenders who are considered to a risk, or potential risk of harm to children / young people. Police, Probation and Prison Services (the ‘Responsible Authorities’) have statutory responsibilities (under Sections 67 & 68 Criminal Justice Act 2000), to establish in consultation with partner agencies, ‘Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements’ (MAPPA).

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 strengthened these arrangements by imposing a duty to co-operate (with the Responsible Authorities) on a number of partner agencies providing services to offenders including health, housing, Social Care, education, youth offending teams, job centres and electronic monitoring providers.

While MAPPA will not address the concerns of further serious harm posed by all perpetrators of child abuse, its purpose is to focus on convicted sexual and violent offenders returning to and in the community. The development of national databases (in particular ViSOR) has significantly enhanced the capability to track offenders who move between communities and across organisational boundaries.   

Exchange of information is essential for effective public protection. The MAPPA guidance clarifies how MAPPA agencies may exchange information amongst themselves, and to other persons or organisations outside the MAPPA. MAPPA panels can recommend that agencies disclose information about offenders to a number of organisations including schools and voluntary groups.

Identification of MAPPA Offenders

Offenders falling within the remit of MAPPA in each area are categorised as follows:

  • Category 1: Registered Sex Offenders who are required to notify the police of their name, address and other personal details, under the terms of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The length of the registration period is set by the courts when the offender is sentenced. It might be for anything from 12 months to life, depending on the age of the offender, the age of the victim and the nature of the offence;
  • Category 2: Violent offenders and some sex offenders who are not required to register:
    1. 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;
    2. 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 requires multi-agency management at level 2 or 3. The offence might not be one specified in Sch.15 of the CJA 2003.

Offenders are placed into one of three MAPPA categories according to their offence and sentence.

Levels of MAPPA Management

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.

Level 1

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.

Level 2

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.

Level 3

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.

Managing Risk

Through MAPPA the Responsible Authority seeks to ensure that strategies to address risk are identified and plans developed, implemented and reviewed on a regular basis. Those plans include action to monitor the behaviour and attitudes of the offender and to intervene in their life in order to control and minimise the risk of serious harm to others. High and Very High Risk Offenders without a stable address, who have been subject to MAPPA, will be offered one suitable housing offer through the Council’s Allocation Policy. However before an offer of accommodation is made, approval of suitability to the property type and location must be received from the Public Protection Unit in Rotherham.

Referrals to MAPPA

Agencies wishing to refer an individual to be considered under MAPPA must obtain agreement from a Senior Manager and follow their agency guidelines with regard to attendance and gathering information. The South Yorkshire MAPPA unit can be contacted on 0114 252 3377.

Participation and Attendance of MAPPA

Statutory requirements to participate in MAPPA are imposed upon police, probation and the prison service and a duty to co-operate is required of other agencies: health, housing, Social Care, education, Youth Offending Service, Jobcentre Plus and electronic monitoring providers. Two lay advisors are also appointed to monitor and review local arrangements.

Collation of Information for MAPPA

Information in open cases will be collated by the social worker for presentation to the meeting as agreed with the MAPPA chair.

Information on closed cases will be gathered by the appropriate team and will be the responsibility of the Team Manager. The collated information will be sent to the MAPPA Chair who will present it at the MAPPA meeting.

Information Sharing on Individuals Subject to MAPPA

Each MAPPA representative will ensure names and addresses of individuals subject to MAPPA consideration are recorded on their agency database (in Children’s Social Care this is called SWIFT). Every MAPPA meeting should take into account that information held is proportionate and meets data protection requirements.

Duty of Care to Staff

Managers will inform staff that they must check both names and addresses and MAPPA red flag status before they carry out home visits or office appointments. Internal agency procedures should be adhered to at all times by staff undertaking home visits and office appointments.

Termination of MAPPA offender status

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 Sex 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.

9. Emergency Reception Centres (ERC)

There are times when it is necessary for members of the public to be together in a Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBS) Emergency Reception Centre when it is not known who individuals present are, or what level of risk they may pose to children or young people. Examples of such times are when people have to leave their homes due to flooding, or if there is a major accident.

In such circumstances, staff in the ERCs have a duty to identify clients who may pose a risk, particularly if the evacuation is long term, that is two or three days, or more.

Workers in the ERCs record everyone’s name, address and date of birth when they arrive at the centre. At the earliest opportunity this should be reviewed by the manager or assistant managers at Rotherham Operational Safeguarding Unit (01709 823 906), to identify any person on the list who poses a risk. However it should be noted that the Unit does not keep a definitive list. When the Unit is closed, Children’s Social Care Out of Hours team should be contacted. PPR's recorded on SWIFT may have an alert but no details, so the OOH's Team will not be able to give specific information about the risk that they pose. Until it is possible to obtain further information, staff should treat people with caution.

It is also possible that people who pose a risk to children and young people may not provide their true identities to staff at the ERCs. Workers should remain vigilant at all times about the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who are residing at the centres, for the duration of their stay particularly those who are not accompanied by an adult or are on their own.

Staff at ERCs should contact Rotherham Police (0114 220 2020) if they have any suspicions about an individual they think may pose.

Appendix 1: Legislation and other Processes

Register of Sex Offenders

The Sex Offenders Act 1997 requires those (of any age) who are cautioned or convicted of specified sexual offences against a child (or certain very serious sexual offences against adults) to inform the Police of changes of name and address for a given period of time.

All agencies must inform the Police if they are aware of a sex offender who has changed their address, or is planning to move, without informing the Police.

The above also applies to offenders under the age of 18 if they have been reprimanded, given a final warning or convicted.

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 (the Sex offenders Register) in the UK if they receive convictions or cautions for sexual offences overseas. Anyone identifying an offender who has received convictions or cautions for sexual offences overseas should refer to SY Police for consideration of an application to the Magistrates Court. Once a Notification Order is in force the offender is subject to the requirements of Sex Offender Registration.

Disqualification from Working with Children / Young People

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, provides for people to be disqualified from working with children / young people via:

  • A Disqualification Order, made by the Crown Court when a person is convicted for an offence against a child (Schedule 4) including sexual offences, violence offences and offences of selling Class A drugs to a child;
  • Being included in a permanent capacity on the lists of people who are unsuitable to work with children / young people kept by the Department of Children, Schools and Families / Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). From October 2009 the Vetting and Barring Scheme, run by the DBS, increases the safeguards in place to protect children and Adults at Risk, from abuse by staff, volunteers or carers;
  • Disqualification Orders are made as part of the sentence and, therefore cannot be made on application. The Criminal Justice Act 2003, however, allows the Crown Prosecution Service to refer back where it appears that the court should have considered the making of a Disqualification Order but failed to do so.

If it is considered that an offender should have been made the subject of a Disqualification Order the case should be discussed under the MAPPA arrangements and with the Crown prosecution Service to agree a course of action. 

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) and Sexual Risk Orders

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders were introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. They replace the previous Sexual Offences Prevention Orders, Risk of Sexual Harm Orders and Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders can be applied to anyone convicted or cautioned of a sexual or violent offence, including where offences are committed overseas.

The court needs to be satisfied that the order is necessary for protecting the public, or any particular members of the public, from sexual harm, or protecting children from sexual harm from the defendant outside the United Kingdom.

The Orders prohibit the defendant from doing anything described in the order, and can include a prohibition on foreign travel (replacing Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

A prohibition contained in a Sexual Harm Prevention Order has effect for a fixed period, specified in the order, of at least 5 years, or until further order. The Order may specify different periods for different prohibitions.

Failure to comply with a requirement imposed under an Order is an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

Appendix 2: Release of Prisoners Convicted of Offences against Children

When a prisoner convicted of offences against a child is being considered for parole or is due to be released from custody (including temporary release) the Prison Probation Officer must seek an assessment in writing from Children's Social Care and community based Probation staff with regard to the effects which release could have upon any children / young people having contact with the address at which the prisoner is expected to reside.

Children's Social Care and community based Probation staff must respond in a timely manner in order for all available information to be considered as part of the process for deciding upon parole or other arrangements for release on licence of the prisoner. The assessment should include:

Probation Staff

  • A home visit: depending on the risk involved, Probation staff may conduct a home visit jointly with the Police;
  • An interview of those living at the address to assess home circumstances.

Children’s Social Care

  • An assessment of potential risk of harm in relation to any child who has been identified as having contact with the address;
  • An assessment of potential risk of harm in relation to any child who may have contact with the prisoner if released;
  • A report identifying all potential risks to children / young people and any protective action that will be needed if the prisoner is to be released to the address.

If following assessment by community Probation staff and Children’s Social Care a decision is made to release a prisoner to an address where a child is likely to have contact with the prisoner a referral for a Child in Need of Protection must be made followed by a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and Section 47 Enquiry prior to the prisoner’s release.

Assessment by Children’s Social Care

See the Rotherham Safeguarding Children and Families Procedures, Assessment of Risk to Children in Respect of Contact or Cohabitation with a Person Posing Risk.