A nation-wide review into how well the Scottish public is protected by arrangements for assessing and managing sex offenders is set to begin fieldwork.

The review, carried out by the Care Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, will be looking at the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements, or MAPPA, which allow police, local authorities, the prison service and health boards to jointly assess and manage the way risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed whilst in custody, after release from a custodial sentence or on a community-based court disposal. 

This is the first national review of MAPPA, and was announced in October last year.

Now inspectors from both bodies are set to begin the fieldwork stage of the work which will see them visit all nine Strategic Oversight Group areas across Scotland. 

The fieldwork stage, which is due to start in April and run until the end of June, follows several months of foundation and preparatory work. This included collating information from published Significant Case Reviews, an audit of ViSOR and the submission of position statements from each Strategic Oversight Group area. 

Annette Bruton, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said,

“We are chairing this review with HMICS to look at how well the public is protected by arrangements for assessing and managing sex offenders; that MAPPA procedures are fully operational and that lessons are being learned. 

“The fieldwork stage, which will take about 10 weeks to complete, will be proportionate, risk-based and intelligence led.” 

Andy Cowie, Assistant Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, added: “Fieldwork will include observations at a number of MAPPA meetings across Scotland, interviews with key staff including focus groups and a qualitative examination of a number of selected case records.”  

It is anticipated that a joint report of the review findings, along with any recommendations, will be published in the Autumn.

ViSOR is a UK-wide system used to store and share information and intelligence on those individuals who have been identified as posing a risk of serious harm to the public. ViSOR facilitates the work of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) by facilitating co-operative working between the four responsible Authorities” (police, local authorities, Scottish Prison Service and Health Boards) in their joint management of individuals posing a risk. 

The Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) were introduced in Scotland in 2007, by virtue of the Management of Offenders etc.(Scotland) Act 2005, placing a statutory duty on Scottish local authorities, the police, prison service and health boards to establish joint arrangements for the assessment and management of risk posed by registered sex offenders. 

Since then a range of local and national governance arrangements have been introduced including MAPPA National Guidance produced by Scottish Government and partners. Local governance arrangements are administered by Strategic Oversight Groups established in each Community Justice Authority. They are responsible for performance monitoring and the quality assurance of MAPPA. A key role is the MAPPA coordinator, a dedicated function undertaken on behalf of the ‘responsible authorities’, accountable to the MAPPA Strategic Oversight Group. 

The 2005 Act sets out three broad categories of offender who can be subject to MAPPA:

  • Category 1 Offenders subject to the Sex Offender Notification Requirements
  • Category 2 Violent offenders
  • Category 3 Other offenders

The last review of high risk offenders was carried out in 2009, when the then Social Work Inspection Agency (now part of the Care Inspectorate), HMICS and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) published a joint report on the management of high risk of harm offenders with a background of serious violent or sex offending. Since publication of this report there have been a small number of high profile significant case reviews.  

For more information contact the Care Inspectorate, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 01382 207171  

For HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland please contact: Susan Lumsden, 0131 244 5698 / 0777 359 1168 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.