Press release

Licence Conditions and how the Parole Board use them

A guide to what Licence Conditions are, which conditions Parole Board members can use in their decisions, and how conditions can be varied

50 years

What are licence conditions?

Licence conditions are the set of rules prisoners must follow if they are released with still a part of their sentence to serve in the community.

The aim of a period on licence is to protect the public, to prevent re-offending, and to secure the successful reintegration of the individual into the community. They are not a form of punishment and must be proportionate, reasonable and necessary.

If a prisoner is released by the Parole Board, the licence conditions will be suggested by the Offender Manager but will be agreed by the board.

Victims and Licence Conditions

In cases where the victim does not qualify for statutory contact, but where the National Probation Service has used discretion to provide them with the Scheme, the victim receives the same level of service as those with a statutory entitlement, and will be able to make representations about licence conditions.

Where a Parole Board panel has not made the licence conditions requested by a victim, or issued an adapted version of the request, the Panel will explain why it has not done so in its decision. This should include reference to the principles of the request being necessary and proportionate.

This information will be passed on to the victim by their VLO. This is a requirement as set out in the Code of Practice.

Application to vary a licence condition

Offender managers (National Probation Service) can apply to vary or add conditions to the licence of a prisoner once a release decision has been made.

Victims can request to vary/add licence conditions and this will be through the Victim Contact Service who will then pass it on to the Offender Manager to make the request.

These variation requests are sent to the Public Protection Casework Section to submit to the Parole Board on behalf of the secretary of state.

Prisoners are also allowed to request for their licence to be varied or for conditions to be removed.

What will be considered in a licence variation request:

The Parole Board member who chaired the Oral Hearing, or a Parole Board duty member, will make the decision on a licence variation request .

To make this decision they will look at:

  • The full dossier for the offender;
  • the Parole Board’s decision to release;
  • a report from the Offender Manager setting out in detail why the request to vary or revoke conditions has been submitted.

The basic rule is to ensure that the requested changes are necessary and proportionate. They should also be realistic.

There will need to be sufficient evidence that risk can be effectively managed if the licence condition is varied or removed and the Parole Board member can ask for more information if necessary.

A decision on the licence variation request will then be sent to all parties.

Where a licence conditions have not been added that were requested by a victim, the Parole Board member will explain why it has not done so in its decision. This should include reference to the principles of the request being necessary and proportionate.

This information will be passed on to the victim by their VLO. This is a requirement as set out in the Code of Practice.

Standard Licence Conditions

Every release decision will contain a standard set of licence conditions, which are as follows:

A prisoner must:

(a) be of good behaviour and not behave in a way which undermines the purpose of the licence period;
(b) not commit any offence;
(c) keep in touch with the supervising officer in accordance with instructions given by the supervising officer;
(d) receive visits from the supervising officer in accordance with instructions given by the supervising officer;
(e) reside permanently at an address approved by the supervising officer and obtain the prior permission of the supervising officer for any stay of one or more nights at a different address;
(f) not undertake work, or a particular type of work, unless it is approved by the supervising officer and notify the supervising officer in advance of any proposal to undertake work or a particular type of work;
(g) not travel outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man except with the prior permission of your supervising officer or for the purposes of immigration deportation or removal.

Additional Licence Conditions

Licences may also include additional conditions, for example, exclusion zones or non-contact restrictions.

These categories are:

  1. residence at a specified place;
  2. restriction of residency;
  3. making or maintaining contact with a person;
  4. participation in, or co-operation with, a programme or set of activities;
  5. possession, ownership, control or inspection of specified items or documents;
  6. disclosure of information;
  7. curfew arrangement;
  8. freedom of movement;
  9. supervision in the community by the supervising officer, or other responsible officer, or organisation.

These additional licence conditions need to be specifically asked for by the supervising officer and the Parole Board will judge whether they are necessary and proportionate.

Recall of Prisoners on Licence

Offenders can have their licence revoked and be recalled to custody at any time during their licence period. Where the National Probation Service considers that an offender on licence presents a danger to the public it should request that the offender be recalled.

More detailed information

For more detailed information on licence conditions and licences, here are some useful links:

Prisoner service Instructions 22/2016: Generic Parole Process for Indeterminate and Determinate sentenced prisoners

Prison Service Instructions 12/2015: LICENCE CONDITIONS, LICENCES AND LICENCE AND SUPERVISION NOTICES

Published 22 January 2018