Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) pan-London extension

Reference code: 
PCD 358
Date signed: 
29 March 2018
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

Provisions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012, provides courts with a power to impose an Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR). The Court can impose the requirement for offenders who are not dependent upon alcohol but where alcohol is a factor in their offending behaviour.  The requirement means that an offender is required to abstain from alcohol for a fixed time of up to 120 days; and be regularly tested to ensure compliance; as part of a Community Order or a Suspended Sentence Order.

The MOPAC led AAMR pilot commenced in July 2014 in South London. After a pan-London rollout beginning in April 2016, the sentence requirement has been available in all nine Local Justice Areas (LJAs) since January 2017. The decision to continue the AAMR programme throughout 2017/18 was made on 17th February 2017, DMPCD 2017 143.

Up until the end of this financial year the AAMR pilot has been funded through a combination of central government (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) and MOPAC resource. Following a business case that was submitted in December, MOPAC received written confirmation from the Ministry of Justice on 28th February 2018, that although the necessary Statutory Instruments have been laid in 2018/19 to enable the AAMR to carry on beyond March 2018, they are not willing to fund the AAMR pilot in London post March 2018. 

As all other sentencing requirements are funded by central government and there has been no budget devolution on this area to London as yet, MOPAC is not in a position to carry this funding responsibility.

On the basis that central government are not willing to allocate investment at this time, the DMPC is asked to approve a short-term contract extension with Alcohol Monitoring Systems Limited (AMS Ltd).  AMS currently provides the transdermal monitoring equipment required to deliver the AAMR; the contract value will be no greater than £150,000.

MOPAC’s Evidence and Insight Team will continue to evaluate the programme (to date 3 evaluation reports have been completed). The evaluations will inform MOPAC’s future engagement with the MoJ around electronic monitoring and future delivery of sentencing requirements.
 

Recommendation

The DMPC is asked to:
•    Approve the expenditure of up to £150,000 of MOPAC funding to support continuation of the use of the AAMR across London in the first quarter of 2018/19 in order to assist partners in closing down 
•    the project in a measured and managed way;
•    Approve the extension of the contract with Alcohol Monitoring Systems Limited for a further term of 3 months;
•    Delegate authority for all future decisions on the AAMR pilot, and authority to sign any individual grant or contract agreements relating to the work, to the Chief Executive, providing there are no substantial changes.
 

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1    MOPAC have successfully delivered AAMR through the South London sobriety proof of concept pilot from July 2014 in four boroughs (Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Sutton) and scaled up to all nine of London’s Local Justice Areas by January 2017. The pilot tested how widely magistrates use the AAMR; the effectiveness of electronic monitoring and compliance with and breaches of the order.

1.2    To date, nearly 1,200 AAMRs have been imposed, with a compliance rate of over 90%. An Early Impact Evaluation found that reoffending rates of those subject to an AAMR order are comparable to those subject to other community penalties. Stakeholder feedback on the programme has been positive. The AAMR has been largely welcomed by the Judiciary as ‘another tool in the sentencing arsenal’ of community sentences, offering an innovative and tailored response to alcohol related offending, filling a gap in sentencing for alcohol related offences committed by non-alcohol dependent offenders.

1.3    As part of the Police Innovation Fund grant, MOPAC has been testing innovation in the use of AAMR in cases of domestic abuse, this pilot concluded in September 2017. A “Tagging at Source” delivery model is also being tested at Bromley and Westminster Magistrates’ Court, identifying potential for long-term efficiency savings. Learning from these schemes is currently being gathered.

1.4    As a result of the success of the pilot, in 2015 Central Government had a manifesto commitment to roll out the AAMR and use of sobriety tags nationally. As it currently stands this looks unlikely to take place as AAMR is not included in the national electronic monitoring contracts that are due to go live in early 2019. The MoJ is running its own AAMR pilot in the Humberside area. 

2.    The extension April -June 2018

2.1.    The DMPC is asked to approve the decision that the AAMR continues to be made available to courts across London throughout the first quarter of 2018/19. The formal plans for this will need to be agreed with the MoJ, ensuring necessary measures are put in place to enable this to commence from the 1 April 2018. 

2.2.    During the above timeframe, MOPAC estimate that 12 AAMRs will be imposed on average per week. This is based in the weekly average from 2017/18. It is therefore estimated that 130 additional requirements could be imposed between April and June 2018.

2.3     A further 3 months of AAMR delivery would allow for the continued evaluation of the programme.  Importantly, this will include further impact analysis, consideration of broader benefits of the AAMR, and cost-benefit analysis.  A further interim process and performance report is due to be completed in May 2018.  The evaluation will inform MOPAC’s decision making and future engagement with the MoJ around the funding of AAMR.   The evaluation will also inform MOPACs future position on the sentencing requirement and technology.

2.4     During this three-month period, a final decision will be required in relation to the continuation or close-down of the AAMR pilot; this decision will be influenced by MoJ’s funding position. 

3.    Issues for consideration

3.1.    Ensuring robust and effective stakeholder engagement throughout the continued delivery of this pilot will be a key priority. A key success factor for the pilot to date has been a strong central AAMR delivery team, and an operational Project Manager who is dedicated to leading on the delivery of the AAMR at an operational level. These functions have provided continued engagement, training and support across probation services, the Judiciary and delivery partners including AMS Ltd, and Electric Monitoring Services (EMS Ltd), who provide the delivery element of the tagging and monitoring of offenders on the AAMR. 

3.2.    In accordance with clause F8, the existing contract with AMS Ltd can be extended for a period up to 12-months. MOPAC are currently in discussion with AMS Ltd to extend the contract for a period of 3 months

3.3.    The MoJ have laid the Statutory Instrument (SI) which allows the pilot to continue to March 2019. 

4.    Financial Comments

4.1.    MOPAC has been unable to source funding from central government for the continuation of the AAMR programme post March 2018. To continue the programme for a 3-month period between April 2018 and June 2019, MOPAC will need to commit £150,000 of its own budget. 

4.2.    Tagging up to 130 offenders for an average of 62 days between April and June 2018 is expected to cost £150,000 (based on existing pricing agreements). 

4.3.    MOPAC does not envisage any required project management spend as the Delivery Team has the capacity to continue running the AAMR programme through its existing operational model. Neither is it expected that MOPAC will need to fund any further administrative or evaluation costs. 

    £150,000 tagging and monitoring up to 130 offenders for an average of 62days;
    £0 additional project management, ongoing evaluation and administrative costs;

4.4.    This PCD therefore requests the approval of up to £150,000 additional MOPAC funding to support continuation of the use of the AAMR across London between the period 1st April 2018 to 30th June 2018.

5.    Legal Comments

5.1.    Decision form DMPCD-2013-194 approved the running of the AAMR pilot.  Following that decision, AMS Ltd was procured to provide the alcohol monitoring services to deliver the pilot.  

5.2.    Under clause F8 of MOPAC’s contract with AMS Ltd, MOPAC has the option to extend for a period of up to 12-months. MOPAC will therefore be extending the contract for a period of 3 months. MOPAC will liaise with MPS procurement throughout this process. Officers must ensure that appropriate contract documentation is put in place and executed by the AMS Ltd and the MOPAC before the agreement is extended.

5.3.    Under MOPAC’s Scheme of Consent and Delegation (the “Scheme”), the deputy mayor for policing and crime has delegated authority to approve expenditure, requirement, procurements and other matters for a value for £500,000 and above.  This decision form requests a delegation to the chief executive of authority to make all future decisions in relation to AAMR pilot.  Such a delegation to the chief executive is in accordance with the general power of delegation in paragraph 1.7 of the Scheme.

5.4.    MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act).  Section 3(6) of the 2011 Act provides that MOPAC must “secure the maintenance of the metropolitan police service and secure that the metropolitan police service is efficient and effective.” This is a broad power and the commissioning of services which are part of a number of proposals aimed at reducing prolific offenders would enable the efficiency and effectiveness of the police service.  Under Schedule 3, paragraph 7 MOPAC has wide incidental powers to “do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of the Office.” Paragraph 7(2) (a) provides that this includes entering into contracts and other agreements.

5.5.    Section 143 (1) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides an express power for MOPAC, as a local policing body, to provide or arrange for the provision of (a) services that in the opinion of the local policing body will secure, or contribute to securing, crime and disorder reduction in the body's area and (b) services “intended by the local policing body to help victims or witnesses of, or other persons affected by, offences and anti-social behaviour.”  Section 143(3) specifically allows MOPAC to make grants in connection with such arrangements and any grant may be made subject to any conditions that MOPAC thinks appropriate.

5.6.    MOPAC must in exercising its functions have regard to the police and crime plan issued by MOPAC. 

5.7.    The power for the judiciary to impose an AAMR sits under sections 76 and 77 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LAPSO) Act 2012. The two relevant sections of the act can be found below:

76.Alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirement
77.Piloting of alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirements

5.8.    MOPAC Has the lawful basis to deliver the AAMR. Under article 6(1)(e) public task of the GDPR legislation: “the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law”. The AAMR programme will be GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018.

6.    Equality Comments

6.1.    MOPAC is required to comply with the public-sector equality duty set out in section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.  This requires MOPAC to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations by reference to people with protected characteristics.  The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

6.2.    AMS Ltd were asked to provide details of their Equalities processes as part of their tender; these were deemed to be acceptable by the evaluation panel.

6.3.    An EIA for the AAMR has been completed

7.    Background

1)    South London AAMR Pilot Full Evaluation
2)    DMPCD 2013194 (Initial South London Pilot)
3)    DMPCD 2015 142
4)    DMPCD 2017 143
5)    Equality Impact Assessment for AAMR

8.    Supporting Papers

1)    Annex 1 – AAMR Process and Performance Evaluation (2016/17)