Your Guide to Managing Overrides

The Northpointe Suite   •   An equivant product

If you’re using trusted, validated risk/needs assessment tools, then you may ask, why override the recommendations it makes? It’s a good question. Statistically, it’s more effective to trust the tool than to override it.

The most effective practitioners do both: They trust the tool, and they leverage their professional expertise to consider adjusting supervision recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

Here’s an example: You’ve used the COMPAS assessment to determine a recommended supervision level for John, and the recommendation is Medium. Based on John’s case data, you also chose to administer a sex offender screener, and it’s clear from this additional dataset that he will require additional treatment and supervision attention. You make the professional decision to override the original recommendation and input High instead, where it will undergo a final supervisor review and approval.

This override scenario is based on your review of all relevant data. Essentially, the original assessment results don’t change, but your discretionary override modifies the supervision recommendation after completing additional assessments that provide you with more insight.

Not every case is this clear-cut of course, which is why it’s recommended to monitor overrides at the agency level to ensure they’re being used appropriately and effectively overall and all staff understand the criteria to use.

How Do I Manage Overrides at My Agency?

Because overrides potentially affect supervision plans and resource allocation, it’s important to know how, when and why overrides are being used at your agency. Research based analysis of the data is used to review the override frequency and levels used.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Track your override rate. Agencies should understand their discretionary override rates at all levels (individual, office, regional, statewide, agency-wide, etc.). On average, the industry can expect to see override rates of 10%.
  • Measure by type. Prevalence of each type of override should be measured, and the rationale, or reason, for every override should be well-documented.
  • Look for patterns. If your override rate is above or below average levels, you find you’re using one particular type of override more than others, or your team’s rationales are unbalanced or different than expected, it’s worth further investigation.

If you’ve identified some patterns or need a deeper view into your override rates and you’re not sure what to do next, give us a call. We work with agencies across the country and can share benchmarking and best practices to help you determine your next steps.