Since reporting on the government’s changes to IPP licenses, some members have wondered what this could actually mean for their current workload. National Officer, Ben Cockburn, explains.
The reduction of an ‘IPP licence’ to five years from 10 will, if nothing else, mean a practitioner ‘saves’ at least five year’s worth of workload in relation to appointments offered, IPP Panels attended and risk assessments (or other written work completed, such as referrals to other agencies).
It also means that the further five years where an IPP prisoner could be subject to recall, or repeated recalls, for breaches of licence conditions (including behaviour short of that which could result in a further custodial sentence) and the amount of work – and stress – that recalls and reviews of re-release entail.
Finally on this point, it also at the least halves the time period by which a practitioner could be subject to a Serious Further Offence Review.
For some time there has been an expectation that an IPP licence will be terminated on application, these changes move this initial opportunity for that review forward from the 10 year to the three year point. There is simply no additional workload required of a practitioner under this specific process as it is currently designed, and so there will not need to be any additional workload weighting attached to supervising someone serving such a sentence.
Based on what we’ve been provided with so far, here’s our current understanding of how this will operate in practice for those currently on licence as part of an IPP sentence:
- If it has been less than three years since their first release then nothing will change straight away. Around the point the licence has been in force for three years the practitioner will submit the paperwork for the Parole Board to consider the termination of the licence. (See from “If the Parole Board decide not to terminate the licence…” in point 2 below for what the process will look like for this group after that.)
2. If they have…
- more than three years since their first release; and
- have not previously had a Parole Board review specifically for licence termination; and
- have not yet spent two or more years continuously in the community on licence (that is, without having been recalled)
…the person will be referred to the Parole Board to consider having their licence terminated.
If the Parole Board decide not to terminate the licence at that point then the person will have their licence automatically terminated when they have two continuous years in the community on licence from the date of the Parole Board’s decision not to terminate the licence – we understand HMPPS is referring to this two year period as the “Sunset Period”. If a person is recalled during these two years then this period will be reset, meaning they would still have to spend two continuous years in the community for the IPP licence to be terminated.
3. At the point the new legislation commences, if you are five or more years since your first release and have spent the last two years continuously in the community, then you will have your IPP licence terminated without the need for a review.