Everything you need to know about MAPPA

Work with Offenders explains how our most serious offenders are managed in the community through a multi agency model

What is MAPPA?

First established in 2003, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) are a set of statutory arrangements to assess and manage the risk posed by certain sexual and violent offenders. MAPPA bring together the Police, Probation and Prison Services into what is known as the MAPPA Responsible Authority for each MAPPA Area (using police force boundaries) to manage serious (mainly sexual and violent) offenders to minimise the risk they pose to the public.

A number of other agencies are under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority. These include: Children’s Services, Adult Social Services, Health Trusts and Authorities, Youth Offending Teams, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, local housing authorities and certain registered social landlords, Jobcentre Plus, and electronic monitoring providers.

Offenders eligible for MAPPA are identified and information is gathered and shared about them across relevant agencies. The nature and level of the risk of harm they pose is assessed and a coordinated risk management plan is implemented to protect the public.

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.

Categories of offenders under MAPPA

There are 3 broad categories of offenders under MAPPA:

Category 1 - Registered sexual offenders (RSO). These are offenders who have been convicted of a specified sexual offence and/or to whom the notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 apply (and who are therefore required to notify the Police of their name, address and other personal details, and notify the Police of any subsequent changes). The latest statistics show that there were 60,294 Category 1 offenders on 31 March this year. This figure grows every year and rose 3% again in 2018/19.

Category 2 - Violent offenders. These are offenders who have been convicted of a specified violent offence and sentenced to imprisonment/detention for at least 12 months or detained under a hospital order. This category also includes a small number of sexual offenders who do not qualify for the notification requirements that apply to Category 1 offenders. The number of Category 2 offenders rose by 1% last year and is now 22,268.

Category 3 - Other Dangerous Offenders. These are offenders who do not qualify under Category 1 or 2 but have been assessed as currently posing a risk of serious harm. The link between the offence they have perpetrated and the risk that they pose means that they require active multi-agency management. The number of Category 3 offenders remains almost the same as last year and has actually dropped significantly since 2014; there are currently just 359 offenders in this category.

It’s important to distinguish these categories of offenders from the three management levels of MAPPA.

Management Levels

These levels reflect the level of multi-agency co-operation required to implement the individual offender’s risk management plan effectively. Offenders may be moved up or down the levels to reflect changes in the level of risk that they present or the action required to manage their risk. Every offender is assessed and management levels are set for each individual offender.

Level 1 – The agency that has the lead in supervising the offender applies the usual arrangements to manage the offender. In addition, all relevant agencies, especially the Police and Probation Services, will exchange information about offenders between them and this will inform the level of management and the risk management plan. However, the agencies do not hold formal multi-agency meetings to discuss an offender’s case. Offenders will be managed at Level 1 in most cases. The vast majority of offenders are managed at Level 1 – 81,450 (98.2%) on 31st of March this year.

Level 2 – The risk management plans for these offenders require the active involvement of several agencies via regular multi-agency public protection meetings which oversee the implementation of a coordinated risk management plan. There are 1,331 Level 2 offenders.

Level 3 – As with offenders managed at Level 2, the active involvement of several agencies is required; however, the risks presented by offenders managed at this level are such that senior staff from the agencies involved are required to authorise the use of additional resources, such as specialised accommodation. There are just 140 Level 3 offenders across England and Wales.


Interestingly, although the number of recalled prisoners has risen dramatically over the last four years, accounting for a large proportion of our prison population, the number of MAPPA offenders return to custody for breaching their licence has actually been going down averaging about 660 individuals over the last three years.

The number of offenders charged with a Serious Further Offence (SFO), while subject to probation supervision and MAPPA, has generally been increasing since 2010/11, partly because of the increasing MAPPA population. However, over the last year there was a 26% decrease and the latest 2018/19 figure (179) is the lowest since 2014/15.

Finally, is worth noting that there are almost as many offenders in the community subject to MAPPA management (82,921 on 31 March this year) as there are in the prison population (83,383 last Friday).