News story

Fair for the Future update - December 2014

The Parole Board has implemented a new case management model, known as Member Case Assessment (MCA).

Implementation of new Case Management Model

As you may be aware the Parole Board is in the process of implementing its new case management model known as Member Case Assessment (MCA). MCA will result in an early and thorough analysis of the relevant issues in each case. This will enable the Parole Board to take a more flexible and proportionate approach to concluding the case in a fair and timely manner, which should help us to make better use of resources and reduce avoidable deferrals and delays.

MCA is replacing all existing paper panel processes, including Intensive Case Management (ICM) and Single Member Recall Panels. MCA is being phased in gradually and so we will be running the old and new systems concurrently until March 2015.

Draft guidance has been developed for Parole Board members, and this is a working document. It will be amended and improved as we progress through the implementation phase. The final version of the guidance will be formally published in March 2015. The guidance can be accessed here: Member Case Assessment - Guidance (MS Word Document, 955KB)

As part of the new process, we are introducing two new templates that will be used exclusively for MCA panel work in the first instance:

1. Paper Decision Form

This is used for positive and negative paper decisions and is the same for any type of case.

This form is used for immediate release and release at a future date decisions, where applicable, as well as all paper decisions which result in the offender remaining where they are.

At the moment we are not changing the system for issuing these decisions – therefore all determinate recall decisions will continue to be sent exclusively to PPCS for onward distribution and all other decision types will be sent to all parties directly by the Parole Board. However, we intend to implement a uniform system for issuing all MCA decisions regardless of case type, from the start of the next financial year, which will mean that the Board issues all decisions to all parties.

2. Directions Form

This is used for all directions issued at the paper stage where a case is proceeding to oral hearing, as well as those cases which are adjourned or deferred later in the process. Preliminary directions will no longer be issued, and where additional information is required before the assessment can be concluded, the case will be adjourned.

The directions form now highlights more details relating to the panel logistics for oral hearings, including the number of members required to hear the case and also whether the prisoner or witnesses can attend via video link. It is hoped that this will assist us in a more proportionate use of resources across the system to deliver outcomes more efficiently and effectively.

Accompanying all directions will be an MCA response form. This is an initiative suggested as part of the End-to-End review project and will provide the prisoner/legal representatives and representatives of the SofS via PPCS to comment on the issues to be addressed at the oral hearing, the directions made and to request additional directions or vary or revoke existing directions. NOMS colleagues must submit such requests via PPCS who will then process as needed.

The form is intended to flag up any issues well in advance of the hearing date, in order to minimise avoidable deferrals by early identification of relevant risk related issues or panel logistics.

Next Steps

MCA panels have now commenced and so these new forms will already be in use. These templates can be viewed here:

MCA Decision form (for positive and negative decisions on the papers): MCA - Paper Decision form (MS Word Document, 224KB)

MCA Directions form (for directing cases to oral hearing, adjourning or deferring): MCA - Directions form (MS Word Document, 335KB)

MCA Response form (for the parties to submit comments or requests in relation to an oral hearing): MCA - Response form (MS Word Document, 223KB)

Once MCA is fully implemented, these forms will be used for all Parole Board assessments and decisions from the MCA assessment stage through to oral hearings.

We anticipate that these changes will require some getting used to and we welcome your support in making these work as well as your feedback on how to make improvements to this implementation process.

If you have comments or views on this process please send an email to the following address: info@paroleboard.gsi.gov.uk