Court Services staff work in the three Crown Courts and six Magistrates’ Courts in
The purpose of Court Reports is to provide the sentencing court with information about the offender and to assist the court in deciding on a suitable sentence. Unless it is deemed unnecessary by the court, a pre-sentence report is required. A report would not usually be requested in cases where a fine or discharge would be an appropriate sentence.
There are three types of pre-sentence report that can be requested by the court:
- Oral Report
- Fast-delivery (Expedited) Report
- Standard Delivery (Adjourned) Report
An oral report is where the court requires only a limited amount of information. Court staff will verbally assist the court to move to sentence, helping to avoid delays.
Fast-delivery (Expedited) Report
A 'fast-delivery' (expedited) report can be completed on the day of sentence by Probation Court Officers. This type of report will only be suitable where the cases are of 'low seriousness' or even 'medium seriousness' and where the court indicates that a community sentence is being considered.
This report may also be suitable where the Court is considering custody. These reports will be prepared by a Probation Officer and may include a full assessment of the offender using the Offender Assessment System (OASys), an electronic risk assessment system used by both the Prison and Probation Services.
Standard Delivery (Adjourned) Report
A 'standard delivery' (adjourned) PSR is based on a full OASys assessment and is suitable for 'medium' and 'high' seriousness cases when the court has indicated that a possible community sentence or where a custodial sentence is being considered.
The Sentencing Process
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 put into place measures to streamline the system of preparation of Pre-Sentence Reports.
Under the Act the court must assess, in a structured way, the 'seriousness' of the offence (high, medium or low) and pass the assessment and the reasons for the assessment on to the Probation Service. An indication of the purpose of the proposed sentence (e.g. punishment, rehabilitation, reparation etc.) should also be given. This will assist the report writer in the preparation of the report and the report will focus on specific sentencing options, which should be clearly stated at the time the report is requested.