Sentencing guidelines for knife possession, child cruelty, stalking and domestic abuse will come under review as part of plans to provide updated guidance for magistrates.

The Sentencing Council says it will publish nine consultations and three definitive guidelines in the hope that, by 2020, it will have issued guidelines covering all of the most frequently sentenced either-way offences and replaced all guidance by its predecessor bodies. 

Publishing its business plan for the 2016/17 financial year, the council said it will expand its evaluation work, publishing assessments of its environmental offences, drugs and burglary guidelines. It will also begin evaluating its robbery and sexual offences guidance.

Council chair Sir Colman Treacy (pictured) says the council will decide whether or not to revise guidelines in light of the findings, ‘which may result in amendment of the long-term work plan’.

A timeline of upcoming activity shows that definitive guidelines on dangerous dogs will come into force in July and on the imposition of community and custodial sentences in September.

A definitive guideline on the reduction in sentence for a guilty plea, which has been the subject of widespread concern, will be published in November.

A consultation on sentencing for child cruelty and assaults on a child will open in December.

Consultations on stalking, harassment and domestic abuse will be published in February next year. These will be followed by a consultation on manslaughter the following month.

The latest business plan comes after what Treacy said was a 'particularly productive' year for the council.

In the past year, the non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice has published definitive guidelines on allocation, theft offences, dangerous dog offences, health and safety, corporate manslaughter, food safety, hygiene and robbery offences.

It ran consultations on allocation, guilty pleas and the imposition of custodial sentences and community orders. The impact and assessment of the assault guidance, and preliminary findings for the burglary guideline were published.

The council also unveiled a digital version of the magistrates’ courts sentencing guidelines.