Aims and method: To evaluate the practical utility and face validity of a new risk assessment guideline, the Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START), within a forensic mental health service. Staff attended training and subsequently used the START to assess and formulate risk. Staff then completed an evaluation questionnaire about their experiences of using the START. Results: The study proved useful in evaluating the practical utility and face validity of the START. The START demonstrated both good practical utility and face validity. Areas of difficulty in completing the START were identified and areas for developing the START were highlighted. Clinical implications: The service subsequently implemented a revised version of the START into routine practice. The results of the pilot study suggest that the START can usefully assist in structuring risk judgements in practice.