Business Plan 2023/24: Mid-year update

The Sentencing Council’s Business Plan includes a commitment to review the indicative timeline for preparation and publication of guidelines on a bi-annual basis and to publish updates as appropriate. While there are no major changes to the work plan, the timing of publication for some projects in this reporting year has changed.

Due to staffing resource pressures, some of the planned start dates for consultations later in the year have been pushed back by a few months and are expected now in early 2024. These are:

  • new guidelines for blackmail, kidnap and false imprisonment
  • revised guidelines on aggravated vehicle-taking and other motoring related matters
  • new guidelines for immigration offences

Further projects have been added to the business plan since its original publication:

  • a new guideline on non-fatal strangulation
  • new guidelines for protest offences

The provisional timetable for other projects remains subject to change dependent on factors such as the available resources, unforeseen complexities, consequential delays from other projects and legislative changes. The revised indicative dates are included in the table below.

The Business Plan provided target dates for publication of research and evaluation findings. Some of these publications have been delayed due to reprioritising resource coupled with the addition of new projects which are i) reviewing the 2018 overarching domestic abuse guideline, and ii) commissioning a follow-up to the review of evidence on effectiveness of sentencing published by the Council in 2022. The Council is also in the process of finalising for publication the reports on the user experience of online guidelines.

Sentencing Council Guideline Work Plan (at 1 November 2023)


Consultation period


Publish definitive guideline

Definitive guideline in force

Blackmail, threats to disclose, kidnap and false imprisonment

January 2024 – April 2024

Winter 2024

1January 2025

Aggravated vehicle taking etc 

February 2024 – April 2024

Autumn 2024

1 January 2025


November 2023 – February 2024

Summer 2024

1 October 2024


March 2024 – May 2024



Non fatal strangulation

February 2024 – April 2024

Summer 2024

1 October 2024

Protest offences

Summer 2024



Annual miscellaneous amendments

September 2023 – November 2023

March 2024 – publication of response to consultation

Amendments will come into force annually on 1 April

In most instances we aim to bring definitive guidelines into force quarterly, on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October

Miscellaneous amendments is an annual rolling programme of updates and corrections to guidelines the content of which will vary from year to year

Dates are subject to change