Inquiry: allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality

27 October 2011

The Justice Select Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith, is launching a call for written evidence on the draft sentencing guidelines on allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality

Allocation is the process by which magistrates decide whether to send a case up to the crown court for trial or hear it themselves.

Offences taken into consideration concerns crime which an offender who is being sentenced for another offence confesses to, thereby allowing the judge to hand down a sentence covering them all.

Totality requires judges, sentencing an offender for multiple offences, to assess whether the final sentence is proportionate to the crimes committed.

The Sentencing Council produced the draft guidelines for consultation on 15 September 2011. The Sentencing Council has a statutory duty to consult the Justice Committee and the Committee therefore invites written evidence on the issues set out below (although respondents are welcome to address additional issues):


  • Do the guidelines need clarification? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What does the guideline need to contain? Why?
  • What will be the impact of the proposed guideline on:

           The court?
           The defendant or his/her representation?

Offences taken into consideration

  • Can the TIC system be abused? If so, how?
  • What does the guideline need to contain in order to prevent such abuse?
  • Will the proposed clarification on the guideline prevent any abuses of the TIC system from taking place?


  • Does the guideline on totality need to be clarified? If so why? If not, why not?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current practice when passing concurrent and consecutive sentences?

As the Committee wishes to report back to the Council in line with its timetable for consultation submissions should be received by 30 November 2011.

Call for evidence: 

Written evidence should be in MS Word (no later than 2007) or rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible, and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. Deadline for submissions is 30 November 2011.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum and should be no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. View guidance on the evidence submission to Select Committees.

Further information 

Image: iStockphoto

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