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6.4 Placements in Secure Accommodation


Contents

1. Policy
2. Application
3. Legislation - Welfare
4. Legislation - Justice
5. Process for Accessing Use of Secure Care (Welfare)
  5.1 Planned Intervention
  5.2 Unplanned Intervention
  5.3 Consultation
  5.4 Minimum Age
6. Notification
7. Legal Representation for the Young Person (Welfare & Justice)
8. The Department’s Duties & the Review Process (Welfare & Justice)
9. The Criteria Review Panel (Welfare)
10. Mobility (Welfare)
11. Mobility (Justice)
12. Secure Care Placement Request, Secure Admission Panel and Authorisation
  Appendix 1: Placement Authorisation Form
  Appendix 2: Court Documentation and Process (Welfare) for secure accommodation


1. Policy

1.1 It is the Division’s policy that secure care only be used in line with the relevant legislative framework, specifically the Children and Young Persons Act 2001, Section 27 and 76, the Police Powers and Procedures Act 1998, Section 41(6), the Secure Accommodation Regulations 2002, the Secure Care Home Custody Rules 2002 and the Custody Act 1995.
1.2 The following information, procedures and practice guidance are designed to support this policy statement from a fieldwork perspective.


2. Application

2.1

There are two general categories of use for the secure care home. These are:

  • Welfare: young people who are Looked After and in need of protection – generally referred to as the welfare cases or the welfare route.
  • Justice: young people remanded or sentenced for reasons connected with youth justice.


3. Legislation - Welfare

3.1

Section 27 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2001 gives the grounds for the use of secure accommodation via the welfare route as follows. Secure accommodation on welfare grounds is for Looked After young people only.

A Looked After young person may not be kept in secure accommodation unless it appears:

  1. That:
    1. The young person has a history of absconding and is likely to abscond from any other type of accommodation; and
    2. If they abscond they will suffer or be likely to suffer significant harm; or
  2. If the young person was in any other kind of accommodation they would be likely to injure themselves or others.
3.2 Without the authority of the Juvenile Court the maximum period a child may be kept in secure accommodation is an aggregate of 72 hours (consecutive or not) in any 28 days (consecutive). Periods used prior to a Court’s authorisation can be disregarded for any subsequent us of secure after the period authorised by the Court.
3.3 The maximum periods Secure Accommodation Orders can be granted for are: - 3 months where no previous Secure Accommodation Order is in force in relation to the young person at the time the Order is made; and 6 months in any other case.
3.4 Once the criteria are no longer met, the young person must be released immediately, even if the Order is ongoing. They may also be released for other factors such as ‘best interests’.
3.5 Accommodated young people can be removed from secure accommodation (even if there is a Secure Accommodation Order in place) by their parent/s (or those with Parental Responsibility), in the same way as from other accommodation. Therefore if parental consent is not likely to be achieved or maintained, consideration needs to be given to an application for a Care Order or Interim Care Order
3.6 A young person Accommodated under Section 25 aged between 16 and 18 cannot be made the subject of an application for a Secure Accommodation Order.  If such an application is felt necessary parental authority must be sought by way of a Care Order/Interim Care Order or an Emergency Protection Order.


4. Legislation - Justice

4.1

Section 76 (2) gives the Court power to remand a young person to custody (the Secure Care Home is designated a custodial institution for those under 18) if:

  1. He/she is charged with homicide; or
  2. It is of the opinion that only his/her detention in custody would be adequate to protect members of the public from death or serious personal injury occasioned by offences committed by him.
4.2

Section 76 (6)(7) gives the Court power to remand a young person to accommodation provided by the Department and to impose on the Department a requirement that the young person be placed and kept in secure accommodation (known as a “security requirement”) only if:

  1. He or she is charged with or has been found guilty of a violent or sexual offence, or of an offence punishable in the case of an adult with custody for a term of 10 years or more; or
  2. He or she has a recent history of absconding while being looked after by the Department and is charged with or has been found guilty of an offence alleged or found to have been committed while he/she was being looked after by the Department; and
  3. In either case the Court is of the opinion that only such a requirement would be adequate to protect the public from harm from him/her.
4.3

If a looked after young person is detained under Section 41(6) of the Police Powers and Procedures Act 1998 (the young person must have been charged with an offence not for breach of bail) the criteria for the use of secure accommodation under Section 27 of the Children & Young Persons Act 2001 is modified from that stated above, to:

  1. The young person is likely to abscond from such other accommodation; or
  2. The young person is likely to injure himself or other people if he is kept in any such other accommodation.
4.4 If a non-Looked After young person (under 18) is detained under Section 41(6) of the Police Powers and Procedures Act 1998 and handed over to the care of the Department, they have to decide whether to use the Secure Care Home prior to them being brought before the first available juvenile criminal court. There are no statutory criteria to base this decision upon but acting reasonably the same criteria applied to Looked After children is used i.e. that described in a) and b) above.
4.5 A young person can be sentenced to custody and, if under 18 their sentence will be served at the Secure Care Home.


5. Process for Accessing Use of Secure Care (Welfare)

See also Appendix 1: Placement Authorisation Form.

5.1

Planned Intervention

  5.1.1 Where there are concerns for the safety of a young person who is Looked After and the risk assessment is such that secure accommodation may be appropriate: the matter must be fully discussed with the Team Manager and the Head of Statutory Social Work Services. Consideration must be given to whether the legal criteria for statutory intervention exist and the potential benefits from any Secure Accommodation Order.
  5.1.2 If this discussion confirms the view that secure care is required, the matter must then be brought to the immediate attention of the Chief Social Worker who will convene a Secure Admission Panel (see Section 12, Secure Care Placement Request, Secure Admission Panel and Authorisation). The Panel, after hearing the full details, will make a recommendation as to whether or not an application to court must be made.
  5.1.3 If the recommendation is to pursue a legal course of action the process then follows from Section 6, Notification below. The Secure Admission Panel minutes must be circulated in the normal way The Head of Statutory Social Work Services will be copied in.
  5.1.4 The Panel will make recommendations as to how to handle the situation if they decide not to recommend progression of an application for a Secure Care Order. If this is the case but subsequently the situation deteriorates it must be brought back to the Panel Chair at the earliest opportunity.

5.2

Unplanned Intervention

  5.2.1 Where it is considered that there is an immediate requirement to protect the young person by the use of secure accommodation the Team Manager or Manager on duty with whom you have discussed the situation can contact the Chief Social Worker or her delegated officer to request that she authorise the detention of the young person for a period not exceeding 72 hours if the criteria are met (see paragraph 3.1). Following this decision the process above must be followed i.e. a Panel requested and convened to determine if a Secure Accommodation Order must be applied for.

5.3

Consultation

  5.3.1 For planned or unplanned intervention consultation must take place in accordance with Section 24(3), i.e. so far as reasonably practicable consultation with the young person, parents, those with Parental Responsibility and other relevant people must take place and due consideration to the wishes and feelings of those consulted given in the decision making.

5.4

Minimum Age

  5.4.1 In law there is no minimum age, however, good practice would suggest that a child under the age of 13 years being placed in secure accommodation must be the exception rather than the rule. If in exceptional circumstances this is required, approval must be sought from the Minister of the Department of Health and Social Security via the Chief Social Worker. Such authorisation must be presented with the documentation to Court.

  For further guidance on completing the documentation, please see to Appendix 2: Court Documentation and Process (Welfare) for secure accommodation.


6. Notification

6.1 When a young person is placed in the Secure Care Home (whether on an Order or using the 72 hours) a Placement Instruction Form must be completed and handed to the appropriate administrative section, who will update the system and arrange for the change to be reflected on the Looked After Children List.
6.2 The Head of Statutory Social Work Services must also be informed.


7. Legal Representation for the Young Person (Welfare & Justice)

7.1 In welfare cases the young person ought to be represented and must be informed of their right to representation and Legal Aid. We will often in practice assist in finding legal representation.
7.2 In justice cases the court is not allowed to make an order authorising the placement of a young person in secure accommodation unless the young person is legally represented, or if, having been given the opportunity to apply for Legal Aid, the young person has refused to apply for it.
7.3 The welfare principle does not apply in applications for secure accommodation. However, the court is expected to consider whether placement in secure accommodation is in accordance with the Department’s duty to promote and safeguard the young person/young person’s welfare.


8. The Department’s Duties & the Review Process (Welfare & Justice)

See also Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews Procedure.

8.1

Where a young person is placed in secure accommodation, they become Looked After by the Department (except for those remanded to or sentenced custody). In common with all placements, the Department is required to fulfil their duties with regard to all aspects of their care as laid out in the guidance for residential care, this includes the following:

  • The planning of placements, including the making of written immediate and long-term plans, which must be agreed with any person with Parental Responsibility for the young person if the young person is not in care;
  • Promoting and safeguarding the young person’s welfare and allowing the young person access to services designed for young person living with their families;
  • Consulting the young person, their parents and significant others before making any decision;
  • Taking into account the young person’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
  • In the case of a young person with a disability, ensuring the accommodation is suitable to the young person’s needs;
  • Promoting contact between the young person and their parents and other significant persons;
  • Considering whether to appoint an Independent Visitor.
8.2

For Secure Care Placements carrying out regular reviews of the young person’s case must be as follows:

  • A planning meeting where the Placement Information Record will be completed, chaired by a Team Manager must be convened within one working day of a Secure Accommodation Order being made;
  • The planning meeting will involve the young person, those involved with his or her care, representatives from Health, Children and Families, Education and the Secure Care Home;
  • The meeting will also confirm a revised CLA Plan and Placement Plan;
  • A review chaired by a Team Manager (Children and Families) of the arrangements will then take place at minimum monthly intervals.


9. The Criteria Review Panel (Welfare)

9.1 Once a Secure Accommodation Order is made it will be reviewed by the Criteria Review Panel. This Panel has at least one Children and Families representative on it and will sit with at least 2 other members.

For the detailed procedure, see also Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews Procedure.


10. Mobility (Welfare)

10.1 For young people on welfare the issue of returning to the community will need to be considered from the outset with mobility likely to be planned at some point, probably towards the end of the Order. Plans for young people on Secure Accommodation Orders to be allowed time outside the Secure Care Home need to be carefully drawn up and agreed within the care planning process.
10.2 Before any time out of the Secure Care Home is agreed the young person must have complied with the rules such that they have been on Level 3 for the 2 weeks prior to the anticipated mobility.
10.3 A risk assessment of the proposed mobility must be completed and signed by the Head of Statutory Social Work Services, Children and Families.


11. Mobility (Justice)

11.1 The decision on mobility for a young person on a sentence rests with the Secure Care Home Manager, Youth Justice Team Manager and the Department of Home Affairs.


12. Secure Care Placement Request, Secure Admission Panel and Authorisation

See Appendix 2: Court Documentation and Process (Welfare) for secure accommodation.

12.1 The form for use when seeking to place a young person in secure accommodation is a 4 page document. This can be used for both the process leading up to an application to court or to evidence a request for a 72 hour placement in emergency situations, usually out of hours. During office hours requests must go to the Chief Social Worker in the first instance to convene a panel.
12.2 Out of hours - a copy of the form will be available in the Duty Bag. The Duty Social Worker and the duty manager will need to discuss with the senior manager on duty in order to seek agreement. The Duty Social Worker must complete pages 1, 2, and 4. Page 4 in effect signs for the fact that a discussion has taken place with the designated senior manager and details of these conversations must be recorded.
12.3 Having done this a copy of the form must be left at the Secure Care Home with any other papers e.g. CLA Plan and Placement Plan and then circulated upon return to the office on the next working day.
12.4

The Secure Admission Panel must, where practicable, consist of the following:

  • Chief Social Worker (or Head of Social Work Statutory Services to deputise);
  • At least one other Social Services Manager at Team Manager level or above (not the line manager for the case);
  • The Youth Justice Team Manager.
12.5

The meeting must involve the following where appropriate:

  • The young person’s Social Worker;
  • Their Team Manager;
  • Carers or representatives of the care providers;
  • The Secure Care Home Manager or Deputy Manager;
  • A representative of the Police or Youth Justice Team;
  • Any relevant Education or Health (including Mental Health) staff.
12.6 The Department’s Legal Adviser will attend each Panel to advise on whether the grounds are met and to assist in preparing any subsequent application.


Appendix 1: Placement Authorisation Form

Click here to view Appendix 1: Placement Authorisation Form.


Appendix 2: Court Documentation and Process (Welfare) for secure accommodation

Click here to view Appendix 2: Court Documentation and Process (Welfare) for secure accommodation.

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