Offender management and sentence planning

What is Offender Management?

‘Offender Management’ is about how your time in prison and under supervision in the community is managed.

The aim of offender management is to try to rehabilitate people so they are less likely to offend in the future.

This could mean setting different goals for you to complete during your sentence. These goals are known as your sentence plan.

What is the difference between my offender supervisor and my offender manager?

Your offender supervisor will work with you whilst you are in prison. They are part of the team called the Offender Management Unit (OMU). They will work with your offender manager to help you complete goals on your sentence plan.

Your offender manager, also known as your probation officer, is someone based in the probation service in the community. They will work with you to help you not to re-offend after you leave prison. Depending on what type and length of sentence you have, they may also visit you in prison before you are released and make decisions about what you should be doing in prison (see below).

What should I do if I want to see my offender supervisor or offender manager?

If you would like to see your Offender Supervisor, you should put in an application to OMU.

If you would like to see or speak to your Offender Manager, you can ask your Offender Supervisor to find out when this can happen. You could also write to your Offender Manager at their address in the community.

If you are finding it difficult to get a response about either of these, you may wish to make an internal complaint. There is more information about this in our information sheet Making a Complaint.

Offender Assessment System (OASys)

Prison and probation services use a tool called the Offender Assessment System. This is often called OASys.

Staff use OASys to complete a risk and needs assessment. This means working out why you offend and what you can do to help you stop offending. It is also means working out if you are likely to harm yourself or other people, and what can be done to make this less likely.

The assessment includes an interview and a self-assessment questionnaire for you to complete.

Who should have an OASys assessment?

You should have a full OASys assessment and sentence plan if you have a sentence of 12 months or more.

Everyone who arrives in custody should get a basic screening, even if they are on remand. If you have a sentence of under 12 months, this will form the basis of a resettlement plan towards the end of your sentence.

When should my OASys assessment be completed?

You should be assessed as part of your induction or within 8 weeks of being sentenced.

When should my OASys assessment be reviewed?

Your assessment should be reviewed at least every 12 months or whenever a significant milestone has been completed.

What is my OASys assessment used for?

Your OASys assessment will be used to create your sentence plan. There is more about sentence plans on page 6.

Information on OASys will also be considered for decisions such as HDC, ROTL and re-categorisation.

There is more information about OASys in Prison Service Order 2205.

Do I have a right to know what is in my OASys assessment?

You should be shown what is written in your assessment and sentence plan. The prison should give you a copy of your completed assessment if you ask for one.

However, there may be a list of ‘sensitive information’ which the prison does not have to disclose to you.

Risk assessments and indicators

Your OASys report includes different assessments of risk based on different types of information.

Some of these assessments are based on static risk factors – this means things that can’t change like age at first offence, nature and frequency of offending, number of custodial sentences that you have had.

Some are based on dynamic factors – this means things that can change over time such as substance misuse, employment, accommodation, thinking and behaviour and attitudes.

Some risk assessment also use acute risk factors – this means things that can change quickly which would mean that serious offending becomes very likely.

Offender Group Reconviction Scale (OGRS)

OGRS is a risk assessment tool used to estimate likelihood of re-offending.

OGRS using static factors such as age, gender and criminal history. It gives a score, which shows the likelihood of someone re-offending within a 12 and 24 month period.

OGRS scores range from 0 to 1. A lower score means a lower likelihood of re-offending. The score can also be shown as a percentage.

OASys General reoffending Predictor (OGP)

The OASys General reoffending Predictor (OGP) estimates the likelihood of non-violent offending using both static and dynamic risk factors. The static risk information is provided by the OGRS, as mentioned above.

OGP covers all offences, except violence, sexual offending and rare, harmful offences such as arson, child neglect or terrorist offences.

OASys Violence Predictor (OVP)

The OASys Violence Predictor (OVP) is similar to OGP, above, but it estimates the likelihood of nonsexual violent offending including homicide and assault, threats and harassment, violent acquisitive offences (e.g., robbery and aggravated burglary), public order, non-arson criminal damage and weapon possession offences.

OVP uses both static and dynamic risk factors. The static risk information is provided by the OGRS, as mentioned above.

Risk of Serious Harm (RoSH)

The Risk of Serious Harm (RoSH) assessment estimates the risk of serious harm to others.

PSO 2205 defines risk of serious harm to be ‘a risk which is life-threatening and/or traumatic, and from which recovery, whether physical or psychological, can be expected to be difficult or impossible’.

The RoSH assessment includes looking at the following:

  • risk of serious harm to others
  • risks to children
  • risks to the individual – including risks of suicide or self harm, ability to cope in custody or hostel settings and general vulnerability.
  • other risks – including escape or abscond risks, control issues or other risks around breach of trust.

The assessment is divided into a screening and a full risk assessment. The screening process is used to decide if a full assessment is needed.

The RoSH assessment will give a rating of Very High, High, Medium or Low risk of serious harm. These are described in PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual as follows:

  • low: current evidence does not indicate a likelihood of causing serious harm;
  • medium: there are identifiable indicators of serious harm. The offender has the potential to cause such harm, but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances - for example, failure to take medication, loss of accommodation, relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol misuse;
  • high: there are identifiable indicators of serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious;
  • very high: there is an imminent risk of serious harm. The potential event is more likely than not to happen as soon as the opportunity arises and the impact would be serious. “Opportunity” can include the removal or overcoming of controls, and changes in circumstances.

If you receive a rating of very high, high, or medium risk of serious harm, a risk management plan must be completed.

Other risk tools and indicators you may come across

Risk Matrix 2000

The Risk Matrix 2000 (RM2000) is a risk assessment tool which uses static risk factors to predict the likelihood of reconviction for a sexual or violent offence. It is used by prisons, police and probation for men aged 18 and over with at least one conviction for a sexual offence.

Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA)

Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) looks at risk factors relating to spousal or family-related assault. It uses both static and dynamic risk factors. It is used cases where offending is linked to domestic abuse.


The Active Risk Management System is a dynamic risk management framework for male sex offenders aged 18+. The information feeds into the OASys RoSH and Sentence Management Plan.


Asset is an assessment tool for young offenders which looks at the offence and factors that may have contributed to the offending behaviour.

Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR)

The Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR) indicator was introduced in 2014 and is used by National Probation service to help make decisions about allocation of cases. It is used to assess how likely offenders are to commit a seriously harmful reoffence within the next 2 years. RSR is mostly based on static factors but can include dynamic factors too.

There is more information in PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual

What is a sentence plan?

Your OASys assessment will be used to create an action plan to address the identified needs and risks. This plan is called your sentence plan.

Your sentence plan will include things you need to do to reduce the risk of reoffending in the community. If you have been assessed as having a risk of serious harm which is medium, high or very high it will also include things you need to do to reduce the risk of harm

It could include things you are going to do to change the way you behave sometimes, or how you are going to tackle problems to do with drugs and alcohol.

It could include completion of offender behaviour courses which are relevant to your offence.

It could include things to help your resettlement after release, such improving education and employability.

Do I get to say what I think?

You should be involved in your sentence planning, and considering what actions will help you not to reoffend.


PSI 19/2014 Sentence planning says that:


‘It is essential that the development of the plan involves the offender, so that the offender is engaged in the process and therefore involved in considering what actions might be needed to reduce the risk the offender poses, both in terms of causing serious harm and further offending’

What can be included on my sentence plan?

You sentence plan should clearly include:

  • the overall outcomes to be achieved through the plan
  • what you need to do to achieve the outcomes, and by when
  • how your offender supervisor, offender manager and the prison will help you to achieve the outcomes
  • who will review and update your sentence plan when needed

PSI 19/2014 Sentence Planning contains further guidance. It says your sentence plan must be ‘realistic and attainable’.

Objectives should be SMART. This means:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Actions should be set in order of priority.

How often will my sentence plan reviewed?

Your assessment and sentence plan should be reviewed through your sentence, and particularly if there is a significant change which might mean a change in risk. For example, the prison might review your plan if:

  • you have been transferred
  • one of the objectives in the plan has been achieved
  •  you are approaching a parole review
  • you are due for release
  • progress is not being made and alternative options need to be considered

When your sentence plan is reviewed, the actions could be changed. For example, you could have extra actions added if something has become available or because there has been a change in risk. However, the overall outcomes in your sentence plan are likely to remain the same.

Offending Behaviour Programmes

Offending Behaviour Programmes may be part of your sentence plan. They are designed to give people the skills to avoid reoffending after release.


Most programmes are accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel (CSAAP). The content and design of programmes is informed by the latest research about predictors of reoffending and what works to reduce reoffending.

Different programmes are available to address a wide range of needs and offences:

  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • General Offending
  • Sexual Offending
  • Substance Misuse
  • General Violence
  • Extremism and Gang Affiliated Offending

There are also adapted programmes for those with learning disabilities and Personality Disorder (PD).

Programmes added to your sentence plan should be relevant to the overall objectives of the plan.


Your eligibility for a programme should be considered before it is added to your sentence plan.


There is more information in PSI 19/2014 Sentence Planning and HMPPS booklet – Interventions: Reducing Reoffending and Promoting Desistance.


There is also a List of CSAAP accredited programmes on with descriptions of each programme.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)


Some people fall under management of MAPPA.


This is when police, probation and prison services work together with other professionals to manage people convicted of violent and sexual offences. The aim is to protect the public from harm.


You will be told if this applies to you.


There are three MAPPA ‘categories’:


Category One: All Registered Sexual Offenders

Category Two: Violent or other sex offenders not subject to notification requirements

Category Three: Other dangerous offenders


There are also three ‘risk levels’:


Level 1 - Ordinary agency management is for people who can be managed by one or two agencies (e.g. police and/or probation). It will involve sharing information about the offender with other agencies if necessary and appropriate.


Level 2 - Active multi-agency management is for people who are assessed as needing the ongoing involvement of several agencies to manage them. This involves discussion about their case in regular multi-agency public protection meetings.


Level 3 – This involves the same arrangements as level 2 but is for cases that are likely to require more resources and involvement of senior people from the agencies. For example, surveillance on an offender or emergency accommodation.


If you have a MAPPA assessment it will be used to make a risk management plan. It will also help staff decide if you are a risk to other people, such as children.


The types of things that might be on your risk management plan could be:

  • Making sure you have suitable accommodation on release, such as Approved Premises.
  • Strict licence conditions such as not having contact with a named individual or not to enter a defined exclusion zone.
  • Intensive supervision by probation or community public protection police.
  • Ensure you attend accredited programmes and other interventions aimed at reducing further offending.

Further information

Useful PSIs and PSOs (these should be available in the library):

PSO 2205 Offender Assessment and Sentence Management -  OASys

PSI 19/2014 Sentence planning

PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual



The Prison Rules (1999)

HMPPS booklet – Interventions: Reducing Reoffending and Promoting Desistance

List of CSAAP accredited programmes from

MAPPA Website / Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (

For a print-ready version of this information, click here.