Formulation in Risk Practice

Murphy, Carole (2018) Formulation in Risk Practice. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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The Framework for Risk Assessment Management and Evaluation (FRAME) for children and young people under 18 aims to bring consistency to the ways in which agencies assess, manage and evaluate the risks presented by offending behaviour. The five Practice Standards within FRAME set a benchmark for effective practice. ‘Risk Assessment’ is the first Practice Standard, and FRAME states that such assessments are best undertaken within the context of structured professional judgment (SPJ) and underpinned by holistic formulation. The SPJ approach guides decisions about what type of harm the individual is likely to engage in, the seriousness of the harm, the likely victim(s), in what circumstances the harm is likely to occur, and then makes recommendations as to how to prevent the harm from occurring. There are six key stages to the SPJ approach – gathering background information, identification of risk factors, formulation, scenario planning, risk management, and communication and review (Logan, 2016). This information sheet will focus on the formulation stage, as formulation or analysis of risk is included in various professional standards and guidance documents, but is often the stage that practitioners report is most complex (HCPC Standards of proficiency for Practitioner Psychologists, 2015; Care Inspectorate Inspection Handbook 2016/17: Joint inspection of service for children and young people).