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4.12 Safeguarding the Welfare of Children and Young People in the Secure Estate

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated throughout in January 2014, in line with the revised youth remand framework under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. With effect from 3 December 2012, whenever a court refuses bail to a child/young person (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child to local authority accommodation unless certain conditions are met, in which case the court may instead remand the child to Youth Detention Accommodation. Every such child (whether remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation or to local authority accommodation) will now be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Detention of Young People
  3. Placement into Custodial / Secure Estates
  4. Remands into Youth Detention Accommodation
  5. Sentenced
  6. Safeguarding in the Custodial Setting: Joint Assessment Responsibilities
  7. Assessment Process: the 'Asset' risk assessment profile tool
  8. Information sharing between the Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Services
  9. Accommodation (Section 20, Children Act 1989)
  10. Youth Justice Board (YJB) Placement Alert Form and the Post Court Report
  11. Electronic Yellow Envelope (EYE) process
  12. Sentence Planning
  13. Role of the Youth Offending Services Worker
  14. Role of the Children's Services Worker
  15. Role of Secure Estate Staff (Personal Officer, Keyworker or Case Worker)
  16. Sentence Plan Delivery
  17. Planning for Release


1. Introduction    

1.1 This guidance has been produced by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) to meet the requirement to improve arrangements to safeguard children and young people placed in custodial establishments, as set out in government guidance (LAC 26 (2004) 'Safeguarding and Promoting the welfare of children and young people in Custody').
1.2 This guidance supports the Solihull MBC Partnership and Communication Protocol between the Multi-Agency Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Service. Sections 4.6 and 4.7 of which are specific to arrangements for children and young people within the secure estate.


2. Detention of Young People   

2.1

Young people under the age of 18 who are given custodial sentences/remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation are detained in one of the following

  • A Young Offenders Institution (YOI);
  • Secure Training Centres;
  • Secure Children's Homes.
2.2 Detention of young people in venues outside of the above custodial venues are not covered by this guidance, e.g. young people detained in a secure forensic unit in virtue of a hospital, or young people detained by virtue of immigration enquiry.
2.3 Establishments of this nature are not located within the Solihull borough; however the duty to promote and safeguard the welfare of Solihull young people remains the responsibility of SMBC and partners irrespective of their placement location. In all likelihood, at the conclusion of any period of detention, they will return to Solihull for ongoing monitoring and care.
2.4

Whilst practitioners working with this group of young people will generally be employed within the Youth Offending Service, practitioners from partner agencies and directorates will sometimes be required to contribute to assessments to formulate interventions based upon individual need. All practitioners must be mindful that young people placed in secure estate face significant dangers and may be at risk of:

  • Suicide or attempted suicide;
  • Self harming;
  • Emotional and mental health problems/needs;
  • Bullying;
  • Involvement in further criminal activities or drug abuse;
  • Racist or homophobic attack.

This is not an exhaustive list of potential risks.

2.5 It should be noted that young people who are or have previously been Looked After by Children's Social Work Services may be at enhanced risk.


3. Placement into Custodial / Secure Estates

3.1 Young people under the age of 18 years are generally placed into secure environments via a Court order - on remand or sentence (Detention and Training Order; long term custodial orders under Section 90/91 of Powers of Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act 2000; Section 226/228 (Criminal Justice Act 2003; Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 )). The Youth Justice Board is the sole agency for facilitating the placement of young people into custody and directs the documentation required to complete this.
3.2 With effect from 3 December 2012, whenever a court refuses bail to a child/young person (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child to local authority accommodation unless certain conditions are met, in which case the court may instead remand the child to Youth Detention Accommodation. Every such child (whether remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation or to local authority accommodation) will now be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.


4. Remands into Youth Detention Accommodation

4.1

Whenever a court refuses bail to a child/young person (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child to local authority accommodation unless certain conditions are met, in which case the court may instead remand the child to Youth Detention Accommodation. Every such child (whether remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation or to local authority accommodation) will now be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.

A court can only order a Remand to Youth Detention where certain specified criteria are met:

  • The child has reached the age of 12; and
  • Either the child is legally represented before the court or legal representation has been withdrawn/refused; and
  • Either the offence is a violent or sexual offence or an offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment of 14 years or more; or
  • The child has a recent history of absconding from remand/committing offences whilst on remand; and
  • It is necessary to protect the public/prevent further offences.
4.2 Where a court remands a child to Youth Detention Accommodation, the court must designate a local authority as the designated authority for the child. The child will be Looked After by that designated local authority.
4.3 The responsible local authority will be the authority already looking after a child or, in the case of a child not previously Looked After, the authority in whose area the child habitually resides or the offence/one of the offences was committed.
4.4 The following table sets out the changes to "care status" as a result of criminal justice decisions - shading indicates that the child has looked after child status.


Previous care status Criminal justice decision Effect on care status
Care Order (section 31,  Children Act 1989) PACE detention i.e. transferred from police detention to care of local authority pending appearance in court No change - child continues to be Looked After. Responsible authority continues to have a duty for care planning and review in the same way as for all other Looked After children
Remand to local authority accommodation i.e. remanded to placement provided by local authority
Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation
Community penalty i.e. convicted of offence but penalty served while resident in community
Custodial sentence i.e. convicted of offence and to period of detention in secure establishment

Voluntary Accommodation

(section 20, 1989 Act)

PACE detention No change - child continues to be looked after but under section 21 of 1989 Act responsible authority continues to have duty for care planning and review - as above
Remand to local authority accommodation
Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation
Remand to custody Child ceases to be looked after during period of remand BUT responsible authority has duty to visit
  Community sentence Child is looked after if in placement provided by local authority, including Intensive Fostering scheme
  Custodial sentence Child ceases to be looked after during period in custody
BUT
responsible authority has duty to visit
Not currently looked after PACE detention Becomes looked after under section 21 of 1989 Act and responsible authority acquires responsibility for care planning and review
  Remand to local authority accommodation Becomes looked after under Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
  Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation Becomes looked after under Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
  Remand to custody Not looked after
  Community sentence: Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) with Intensive Fostering or local authority residence requirement Looked after while in placement
  Other community sentence Not looked after
  Custodial sentence Not looked after


5. Sentenced Young People

5.1 A custodial sentence via a Detention and Training Order is subject to the sentencing framework laid out in the 'dangerous offenders' provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, Section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act 2000 and Section 226/228 (Criminal Justice Act 2003). This sanction is reserved for the most serious and exceptional offenders. The same principles regarding the placement of sentenced young people apply as with young people subject to remands, vulnerable boys between the ages of 15-17, all boys under the age of 15 and all girls under the age of 17 being placed in a Secure Training Centre or Secure Children's Home and the remainder of young people being placed in YOIs.
5.2 Detention and Training Orders have a maximum length of 2 years and a minimum period of 4 months; half the time is spent in the secure estate and the other half is spent in the community where the young person is subject to a licence supervised by the Youth Offending Team. Sentences are much longer for young people sentenced under the Dangerousness and Section 91 provisions.
5.3 Unless a young person is already subject to a Care Order, the young person who has been subject to a remand to Youth Detention Accommodation loses his/her 'Looked After' status on sentence. Children's Social Work Services should, in these circumstances, undertake assessment of needs to inform planning for how the child's needs will be met during, and following, release from custody. The Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Services should attend relevant custodial meetings prior to release. Children's Social Work Services will retain responsibility for providing support during and following release from custody where the young person has Care Leaver/Former Relevant Care Leaver status.


6. Safeguarding in the Custodial Setting: Joint Assessment responsibilities

6.1 Safeguarding decision-making applies at the earliest possible stage and its effectiveness is premised on a joint approach by the multi agency Youth Offending Service, Children's Social Work Services and the relevant secure establishment. The Youth Offending Service will ensure that level of risks and vulnerabilities are comprehensively assessed and formally documented whenever there is a likelihood of a custodial outcome for a young person. This is generally indicated by the Magistrate or Judge at the time when a 'guilty' verdict has be reached. These findings are documented in various forms required by the Youth Justice Board's Placement Service and subsequently forwarded to the secure estate venue via the Youth Offending Service's IT system.
6.2 The Children Act 2004 places responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people in custody, on the providers of those facilities. Their safeguarding processes are overseen by their respective Local Safeguarding Children Boards. The additional findings of Justice Mumby in 2002 also underline the young person's entitlements in this respect.
6.3 Each secure establishment must have written policies and procedures setting out how safeguarding requirements will be met during the duration of a young person's detention. These policies and procedures will cover the secure establishment's procedure regarding the initial reception of the young person, the investigation and resolution of bullying incidents and child protection concerns, the rewards and sanctions policy of the establishment, the management of challenging behaviour, healthcare and substance misuse procedures, complaints and advocacy processes and finally arrangements for allowing the young person to have contact with his/her family and friends.
6.4 The investigation of child protection incidents that take place within the secure institution is the responsibility of the relevant (host) local authority within whose boundary the secure institution is located. The home authority of the child/young person concerned is not the investigator in these circumstances, although the home authority's Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Service, if involved, must be consulted and must share information as required.


7. Assessment Process: the 'Asset' risk assessment profile tool

7.1 Many young people who become subject to a custodial remand and all young people who are sentenced to custody will already be known to the Youth Offending Service. In both situations the Youth Offending Service will complete an assessment (the Core Asset submitted alongside associated documents) with the young person and if appropriate their parents. If the young person is not known to the Youth Offending Service, the Service will complete a Bail Asset. An Asset offers a comprehensive assessment framework and requires the Youth Offending Service to identify all aspects of a young person's behaviour, thought processes, physical and mental health, family and social circumstances that are relevant to his or her offending. The Bail Asset though less comprehensive than the Core Asset is sufficient to record the most pertinent concerns and information required by the Court.
Definition of vulnerability
7.2 The young person's welfare and personal circumstances are critical strands in Asset assessment. In particular, the Youth Offending Service is required to identify any factors that are relevant to the vulnerability of the young person. Vulnerability broadly refers to the possibility of harm being caused to the young person. Vulnerability factors might include aspects related to the behaviour of others, other events or circumstances, his/her own behaviour and concerns with entering the secure estate.
7.3 The Youth Offending Service will check all relevant records, including those held by Children's Social Work Services, and will establish and note the care status of the young person. If the young person is open to Children's Social Work Services for social care reasons, on request the case manager responsible for the Children's Social Work Team will advise the Youth Offending Service if there is any known history or concern regarding vulnerability. The Youth Offending Service will be responsible for identifying the areas of vulnerability that are relevant to the remand episode.
7.4 If the young person is Looked After (see 4.4) or has 'leaving care' status, on request the Children's Social Work Service will share information from the Looked After Children documentation or Pathway Planning documentation with the Youth Offending Service.
7.5 Relevant information held about the young person by all agencies should be disclosed to the Youth Offending Service for the purposes of preparing ASSET on request. Where appropriate YOS staff will access partner agencies information or consult partner agencies to assist in the preparation of relevant documentation.


8. Information sharing between the Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Services

8.1 It is vital that if the young person is already open to Children's Social Work Services because s/he is subject to a Care Order, has Care Leaver status, is a child in need of protection or is accommodated at the time of the court proceedings that the allocated Children's Social Work Team and the Youth Offending Service share their assessment information as early as possible in the process, i.e. during the court proceedings prior to sentence.
8.2  If a custodial sentence is considered to be likely, the Children's Social Work Service and Youth Offending Service must work together to prepare the child/young person (and their family, if appropriate), explaining what may happen and how the child/young person will be supported during and after their time in custody. Where Children's Social Work Services is the lead agency, the young person's Social Worker should attend court with the young person on the day of sentence.
8.3  If a young person under the age of 17 is in Police custody and being interviewed under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984), the guidance contained in sections 4.1 to 4.3 of the SMBC 'Partnership and Communication Protocol between Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Service' must be applied. In summary, where Children's Social Work Services are the lead agency it should make arrangements to decide on the most appropriate person to attend the Police station. This may include family members or foster carer or social worker. This will ensure that the child / young person is well supported, and that the child/young person's best interests are being represented, for example by discussing the possibility of an appeal with the child/young person's representative.
8.4 The Children's Social Work Service and the Youth Offending Service must share information about the young person and begin to plan together to address the young person's safeguarding needs.


9. Accommodation (Section 20, Children Act 1989)

9.1 Where a child/young person is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 immediately prior to his/her placement in custody, the case will remain open to Children's Social Work Services to enable a timely assessment of the young person's accommodation needs upon release from custody. If the assessment indicates a need for accommodation after release, Children's Social Work Services will remain in close contact with the Youth Offending Service whilst the young person is in custody. Children's Social Work Services will attend sentence planning meetings as appropriate. If the Youth Offending Service establishes during the period that the young person is in custody that there may be a need for the young person to be accommodated after release and/or is at risk of significant harm on leaving the establishment, the Youth Offending Service will make a timely referral to Children's Social Work Services for an assessment to commence.


10.  Youth Justice Board (YJB) Placement Alert Form and the Post Court Report

10.1 The Youth Offending Service's assessment of a young person who is at risk of custody at a forthcoming sentence hearing will reflect not only the ongoing risks to the young person in the community, but will also determine the likely impact of a custodial sentence upon the young person. This assessment will refer to the risks to which s/he is likely to be exposed during custody, and contextualise the presenting level of vulnerability. This information will be presented in the Youth Offending Service's Pre-Sentence Report.
10.2 Whenever custody is an option at the pre-sentence or remand stage, the Youth Offending Service will complete a YJB Placement Alert Form. The form is used to identify the young person's presenting level of vulnerability and risk of harm to others and highlight the young person's placement needs. This document is sent to the Youth Justice Board Placements Service electronically via the Connectivity process or by using secure e-mail. On occasion the form will be faxed. The YJB Placements Service has the responsibility to find an appropriate placement within the juvenile secure estate. It should prioritise vulnerable children and young people for placement in Secure Training Centres or a Secure Children's Home. Guidance on age thresholds and associated vulnerability is stated on the form.
10.3 After the remand or custodial sentencing decision is made, the Youth Offending Service will complete a Post Court Report which will reflect in detail the risks to the young person as a result of the custodial placement. In particular, the report will record the assessed risk of self-harm and/or suicide at that time. If the young person is subject to a Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation, the Youth Offending Service will liaise with the Children's Social Work Service in order to commence the completion of the appropriate documentation as outlined in section 4.6 of the SMBC 'Partnership and Communication Protocol between Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Services'.


11. Electronic Yellow Envelope (EYE) process

11.1

Under the EYE process, it is the responsibility of the Youth Offending Service to ensure all necessary documentation is sent via Connectivity to the Youth Justice Board's Placement Service to enable them to evaluate the risks and vulnerabilities of any young person to be placed into the secure estate. This process allows for a full transfer, receipt and read capability which is built into the Service Case Management System. The documents required prior to and in any anticipated custodial outcome are:

  • A Placement Alert Form (24 hours in advance where possible);
  • An Asset Core Profile (less than one month old) or Bail Asset;
  • Where appropriate a Risk of Serious Harm Asset (ROSH).

Solihull Youth Offending Service has in place a robust quality assurance process implemented by managers, which audits this process.

11.2 At the conclusion of the Court hearing the Youth Offending Service will telephone the YJB Placement Service with the result of the case. The Placement Service will issue a Placement Confirmation Form via Connectivity to the Youth Offending Service identifying the secure venue for the detained young person.
11.3 It is the responsibility of the Youth Offending Service to notify the Youth Justice Board if there are any immediate risks of self harm / suicide. This information will be recorded on the Post Court Report and the Placement Confirmation Form. This form will accompany the young person from the Court to the identified secure venue. The Youth Offending Service has a responsibility to inform Court staff and the staff providing the secure escort of any risks associated with the young person's detention.


12. Sentence Planning

12.1 The National Standards for Youth Justice services (YJB, 2010) are statutory guidance set by Secretaries of State under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s41(5)(b)(iii). Standard 3 stipulates the obligations for Bail and Remand management and details, upon remand, service responsibilities for the Youth Offending service, the Secure Estate, the Police and the Local Authority. Application of Standard 9 (Planning and delivering intervention in custody and resettlement into the community) outlines responsibilities for delivery and review. It requires adherence to a rigorous sentence planning process and the timescales for review meetings.

The sentence planning process must address all relevant vulnerability and welfare matters. The Youth Offending Service, Secure Estate and Children's Social Work Service should be present at Review Meetings along with the young person. The young person's parent/carer(s) should be invited to attend and as far as reasonable receive support to facilitate their attendance.

Sentence length Initial planning meeting Case discussion 1st review meetings* Subsequent reviews*

Release preparation
meeting

Final release review meeting
4 months Within 10 working days of arrival Prior to review meeting None None After 4 weeks (alongside final review) After 4 weeks (alongside resettlement review)
6 months Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting None None 1 month before release date 10 working days before release
8 months Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting

If early release - none

If not early release then 4 weeks before release

None 1 month before release date 10 working days before release
10 months Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting Within 3 months of case discussion Every 3 months following 1st review 1 month before release date 10 working days before release
12 months Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting Within 3 months of case discussion Every 3 months following 1st review 1 month before release date 10 working days before release
18 months Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting Within 3 months of case discussion Every 3 months following 1st review 1 month before release date 10 working days before release`
24 months or more Within 10 working days of arrival 4 weeks after initial planning meeting Within 3 months of case discussion Every 3 months following 1st review 1 month before release date   10 working days before release


13. Role of the Youth Offending Services Worker

13.1 The Youth Offending Service's Case manager has overall responsibility and accountability for delivering the sentence plan and ensuring that it achieves its objectives. This is in liaison with the Case Supervisor, Keyworker or Personal Officer located within the Secure Estate. The YOS Case manager is responsible for organising initial Planning Meetings, review meetings and in Detention and Training Order (DTO) cases, the Final DTO Release meeting. Monthly visits are required for remanded young people. Meetings of this nature are governed by National Standards for Youth Justice. The YOS case manager is responsible for liaising with community based agencies that can contribute to the welfare needs of the young person and facilitate appropriate information exchanges that will assist the young person on their release. They will also maintain regular contact with parents and carers.


14. Role of the Children's Social Work Service's worker

14.1 A young person in custody who has 'looked after' status will retain the Local Authority allocated social worker. During the duration of a custodial period the Youth Offending Service will update the social worker of any developments pertaining to the welfare of the young person and their needs. The social worker should continue to meet statutory timescales in terms of frequency of visits to looked after children.


15. Role of Secure Estate staff (Personal Officer, Keyworker or Case Supervisor)

15.1 A young person detained within the secure estate will have an allocated Personal Officer or Keyworker or Case Supervisor. This role is primarily to address the detained young person's needs and wellbeing as well as being available to discuss any issues of concern. It is important that contact is maintained between the Youth Offending Service, Social Worker and the Personal Officer. The Youth Offending Service will provide the community based point of contact for secure estate staff.
15.2 In the event of an immediate safeguarding concern, e.g. an incident of self-harm or a child protection concern, the Personal Officer should alert the Youth Offending Service worker as soon as possible. The Secure Estate will have in place procedures which will be implemented to safeguard a vulnerable young person encountering such circumstances.


16. Sentence Plan Delivery

16.1 Youth Justice Board National Standards sets out the responsibilities for secure estate staff in relation to sentence plan delivery. This is achieved with the active support of all relevant agencies. The Standards requires the adoption of relevant procedures where self harm concerns exist or where a care plan / vulnerability management plan raises issues of risk of harm to themselves or from others. In appropriates cases, especially where a risk of serious harm is identified, a risk management meeting is held with the secure estate and the Youth Offending Service are invited to attend. All secure estate documentation pertaining to a young person's detention should be available to the Youth Offending Service and will form part of the ongoing review meetings held during the period of detention.


17. Planning for Release

17.1 From the young person's reception into the secure estate it is vital that proper arrangements for welfare, housing provision, education and ongoing safeguarding are well co-ordinated in time for the release of the young person from custody. The Youth Offending Service in liaison with the nominated Children's Services social worker will identify what needs are to be addressed and put in place a resettlement plan. This would also include any child protection or risk management safeguards. This will generally be known as the 'release preparation meeting'.
17.2 A 'final release review meeting' should be arranged to ensure that the appropriate resettlement arrangements are in place and where appropriate noted in the Notice of Supervision conditions ( issued on release). It is important that the Notice of Supervision issued by a YOI is authorised by the Governor, whereas in a Secure Children's Home or Secure Training Centre, its issue is authorised by the Youth Justice Board's Placement Service.
17.3 It is the responsibility of the Youth Offending Service to ensure that a young person can report to the nominated Youth Offending Service on the day of release. The purpose of this meeting will be to reinforce the requirements of the Notice of Supervision, familiarise the young person with the community based part of the sentence plan and outline expectations in respect of adherence. It is usual for arrangements to be made to conduct a home visit and to set the next appointment.

Useful links that inform this guidance.

Solihull MBC Children's Social Work Procedures - Protocol between Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Work Services (SMBC, 2009)

Standards for Children in the Youth Justice System

Delivering Every Child Matters in Secure Settings, (NCB, 2009)

End