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Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

I have great pleasure in announcing the publication of the fifth annual MAPPA reports today. Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements, or MAPPA, are now well established across England and Wales and making an increasing contribution to protecting the public, preventing re-victimisation, and reducing re-offending.

The arrangements focus upon those violent and sexual offenders who are assessed as presenting the greatest risk of harm and whose safe management requires a high level of inter-agency co-operation. They are led locally by the probation, police and prison services working together with other agencies who contribute to the management of these individuals, including social care, health, housing and education services.

This year has seen significant challenges to those operating MAPPA, in the form of general and specific case reviews that have underlined significant progress made through MAPPA, but have also highlighted certain areas for improvement. It must be remembered that effective management of high-risk offenders, as a discipline, is still relatively in its infancy. There is continuous development and the standards and good practice of tomorrow are likely to be different from today’s, achieved through experience and research. The challenge therefore is not only to match current practice with what we know, but also to respond rapidly to new learning.

The individual agencies have responded with major national initiatives to improve the assessment and management of MAPPA offenders and these, together with local actions, are reflected in the MAPPA business plans which appear with the annual reports for the first time this year.

The offences committed by those offenders qualifying for management within MAPPA make an enormous impact; principally upon the victims but also upon the wider public consciousness. They raise questions about how the risks presented by such offenders are assessed and then how is it possible to manage those risks once the offender returns to the community. While we can never eliminate risk entirely, we are all entitled to expect that everything that can be done is being done to prevent these offenders from re-offending.

I would like first to say that even amongst those qualifying for MAPPA; the majority are managed within ordinary agency arrangements. While no incidence of further offending can ever be acceptable, it is a tribute to the effectiveness of the arrangements that very few of those who require active MAPPA management are charged with a further serious offence while so managed. I commend these annual reports because they detail the work that goes on day in, day out in cases which generally don’t make the headlines, because of the skill and commitment of the agencies involved in protecting the public, including the key work to prevent offending against previous victims.

Copies of every area report are being placed in the Library of the House.