Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
Whenever a court refuses bail to a child/young person (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child.
Where a child aged 10-11 is refused bail, they must be remanded to local authority accommodation.
If the child is aged 12-17, and where certain conditions are met, 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 be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.
See also the following chapters:
AMENDMENTIn July 2023, this chapter was amended to include information from Annex to MOJ Circular 2022/03: Additional Information on Remand to Local Authority Accommodation (RLAA).
1. Youth Remand Framework
Under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 as amended by the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, all children who are charged with an offence and refused bail must be remanded into local authority accommodation, or (where certain criteria are met) Youth Detention Accommodation. In both situations, the cost of this accommodation must be met by the designated local authority, and the child will attain Looked After status.
The 2012 Act gave local authorities greater financial responsibility for remands to Youth Detention Accommodation. Youth Offending Teams therefore have a financial interest in ensuring that they are adequately prepared for the remand hearing. For example Youth Offending Teams should, where appropriate, assist the court with information relating to:
- Available bail packages (e.g. Bail Support Programmes);
- Available local authority accommodation (e.g. Remand Foster Care);
- Relevant conditions available that may be attached to a remand to local authority accommodation or bail;
- Which local authority should be designated by the court where a child has been remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation.
When a Looked After Child appears in court charged with an offence, the local authority, working with the child's solicitor and the responsible Youth Justice Service, should ordinarily work towards securing bail for the child.
One of the objectives of the 2022 Act is to ensure that custodial remand is always used as a last resort. That Act also introduced a statutory duty for the courts to consider the best interests and welfare of the child when making their decision.
Where a child presents a level of risk (be it of harm or offending), it should not follow that the child should be remanded to custody if that risk can be managed safely in the community. The court must weigh each case against the strict conditions for remands to youth detention accommodation set out in s98 and 99 of LASPO 2012 (see Section 2, Youth Detention Accommodation). Even for charges related to the most serious offences, the Crown Court will follow the same tests and has the option of granting bail, remand to local authority accommodation or remand to youth detention accommodation.
Care Planning should consider the young person's needs both during the period of remand and following the court hearing. The Care Plan will also need to consider arrangements for the young person's support should they be convicted and receive a custodial sentence. Furthermore, local authority support to the child and their family during this time is important, and efforts should be made to ensure that time on remand does not disrupt existing ties between the child and their community.
2. Youth Detention Accommodation
When a child or young person under 18 is remanded or sentenced to custody, the Youth Custody Service decides where they should be placed.
This comprises the following kinds of accommodation:
- A secure children's home;
- A secure training centre;
- A Young Offender Institution.
Before deciding whether to remand a child to youth detention accommodation, the court must consider the interests and welfare of the child.
A court can only order a Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation where the following conditions are met:
- The age condition, i.e. that they are aged at least 12 (but under 18 years of age);
- The offence condition, i.e. the offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate is a violent offence, sexual offence or one that if committed by an adult is punishable with a term of imprisonment of 14 years or more; and
- The sentencing condition, i.e. it is very likely that the child will be sentenced to a custodial sentence;
- The necessity condition, i.e. that the court is of the opinion that after considering all the options for remanding the child, including remand in local authority (non-secure) accommodation, only remanding the child in Youth Detention Accommodation would be adequate for the protection of the public from death or serious personal injury (physical or psychological) occasioned by further offences committed by that child or to prevent the commission by the child of further imprisonable offences, and that the risks posed by the child cannot be managed safely in the community; and
- The legal representation condition, i.e. the child must be legally represented or not represented for specified reasons that are set out in Section 98 LASPO 2012.
The child must also meet one of the two “history conditions” set out below.
The first “history condition” under which a child may be remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation is if:
- The child has a recent and significant history of absconding while remanded to local authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation, and it appears to the court that the history is relevant in all the circumstances of the case; and
- The offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate is alleged to be, or has been found to have been, committed whilst the child was remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation.
Alternatively, the second “history condition” is:
The offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate, together with any other imprisonable offences of which the child has been convicted in any proceedings, amount to a recent and significant history of committing imprisonable offences while on bail or remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation and it appears to the court that the history is relevant in all the circumstances of the case.
Where a court remands a child to youth detention accommodation, the court must state in open court and in ordinary language to the child the reasons for the custodial remand and that it has considered remanding the child to local authority accommodation and the interests and welfare of the child. The reasons for the custodial remand must be given in writing to the child, the child's legal representative and the child's Youth Offending Team.
The court will ask the Youth Justice Service officers in court which is the designated local authority for the child or young person. If a remand to Youth Detention Accommodation is being considered, it is important that this designation is correctly made. For Looked After children and young people, the designation must be to the 'home' authority, regardless of where they are living or where the offence took place.
Children and young people in custody can be particularly vulnerable. When a child or young person is remanded, the social worker should request a copy of the complaints procedure for the establishment. Social workers should then familiarise themselves with the complaints process and check that the child has been provided with information about, and understands, the complaints process and also about their entitlement to advocacy.
Young people who are remanded should also be provided with information which is routinely given to all children who become looked after. This could include for example:
- Contact details for their Social Worker, Independent Reviewing Officer and sources of support (including out of hours);
- Contact details for the Children's Commissioner Advice Line (0800 528 0731 / firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Information on the local Children's Rights / Advocacy Service / Independent Visitors for Looked After Children.
If a remanded child complains to their social worker about any aspect of their care while remanded, this should be recorded on the child's electronic record and reported to a manager and the child's IRO. The most appropriate response will vary depending on the nature of the complaint, and the type of accommodation the young person is remanded to, but could include a referral to Youth Custody Service, governor, Children's Social Care and possible Section 47 Enquiry if the complaint concerns actual or likely Significant Harm.
If the complaint concerns an allegation against staff, the LSCP allegations procedure should be followed. Complaints in relation to services provided by a local authority should be dealt with under the Complaints and Representations Procedure.
Where there are concerns that the young person is not being safeguarded or their welfare promoted (for example, there are concerns relating to the quality of care the young person is receiving, the suitability of the type of placement or issues around bullying, self harm, violence or intimidation), in the first instance it may be possible to resolve the concerns by agreement with the establishment itself.
Where issues cannot be resolved at establishment level, and if the responsible authority is of the view that the young person needs to be moved to another establishment, the YJB has a transfer protocol. Transfer requests can be formally initiated by the Youth Justice Service, establishment see Section 2.3, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review. The Local Authority should inform the establishment and His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service Young People's Team that they have decided to take this course of action.
The Youth Custody Service (YCS) carries out placement reviews to decide whether a transfer is required for a child or young person.
Youth Justice Service Teams can ask for one if they are responsible for a child or young person and:
- Their circumstances change;
- There is a risk or issue with their current placement.
To request a transfer, the Youth Justice Service should read the Placement Review Guidance and then:
- Convene a multi-disciplinary meeting to establish how risk can be managed or reduced;
- Complete the Placement Review Form (Refer to the Guidance and Tips document for support on completing this form);
- E-mail it to the Placement Review team at YCSTransfers@justice.gov.uk.
Other people can ask for a transfer but only the Youth Justice Service and/or staff at the establishment where the child is placed should contact the YCS Placement Team.
The YCS Placement Team makes the final decision in the best interests of the child or young person after carefully considering all of the information available and opinions stated.
3. Local Authority Accommodation
3.1 Meaning of Local Authority Accommodation
This means any accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority.
A court remanding a child to local authority accommodation may, after consultation with the designated authority, impose on the authority requirements for securing compliance with any conditions (see Section 3.3, Conditions/Electronic Monitoring) imposed on the child by the court, or requirements stipulating that the child must not be placed with a named person. In the absence of any such requirements, it is for the designated local authority to decide where the child resides.
Where a child is remanded to local authority accommodation, the designated local authority is responsible for identifying a suitable placement. The placement decision is made by Children’s Services of the designated local authority. The local authority can change the designated address without going back to the court. The court may also stipulate that the child must not be placed with a named person.
For as long as they remain looked after, these children are entitled to the same care planning and review processes as other looked after children. This includes ensuring that, while remanded, looked after children under the age of 16 are placed in a children's home, foster placement or in an 'other arrangements' placement if the child's needs are best met by the services provided in one of the exempted regulated settings. An 'other arrangements' placement can be a independent or semi-independent provision for looked after children aged 16 or 17 or an alternatively regulated setting. The responsible authority must be satisfied that the placement is in 'suitable accommodation'.
For further information see Placements in Other Arrangements Procedure.
Where a local authority is concerned that a child has a history of going missing and if the child when missing is likely to suffer significant harm, or, whilst on remand to local authority accommodation is likely to injure themself or other persons, the local authority may apply to the court for a child to be remanded in secure accommodation. This will enable the local authority to place the child in a secure children’s home. See Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds Procedure.
3.2 Designated Local Authority
The court will ask the Youth Justice Service officers in court which is the designated local authority for the child or young person. The final decision about which local authority has responsibility must be stated in open court. The paperwork for remand to local authority accommodation should be completed in full by the courts.
The designated local authority will be responsible for identifying a suitable placement.
Any person acting on behalf of the designated local authority can lawfully detain the child. The youth justice service, i.e Youth Offending Team has a statutory duty to support children on remand to local authority accommodation.
A court remanding a child to local authority accommodation may impose conditions (e.g. to ensure that (s)he does not interfere with witnesses, or makes him/herself available for the preparation of court reports). The court must consult with the local authority (via the Youth Justice Service) before imposing any conditions onto the remand to local authority accommodation. The designated local authority may apply to the court for such conditions to be imposed.
The court may impose electronic monitoring on children aged 12 and over to secure compliance with such conditions provided that:
- The child or young person has been charged with or convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment for a term of 14 years or more; or
- Is charged with or has been convicted of one or more imprisonable offences which, together with any other imprisonable offences of which s/he has been convicted in any proceedings, amount, or would amount if convicted of the offences with which s/he is charged, to a recent history of repeatedly committing imprisonable offences while remanded on bail or to local authority accommodation; and
- The court has been notified by the Secretary of State that electronic monitoring arrangements are available in the area and is satisfied that the necessary provision can be made under those arrangements; and
- The Youth Justice Service has informed the court that the electronic monitoring requirement is suitable for that child or young person.
Legislation does not permit standalone GPS ‘tagging’ (i.e. location or trail monitoring) on remand to local authority accommodation; electronic monitoring can only be used when attached to a condition to monitor compliance with conditions and not for standalone monitoring.
The court may impose requirements on the local authority for securing the child’s compliance with any conditions.
A court may, on the application of the designated authority or the child, vary or revoke any such conditions or requirements.
Breach of Conditions
The child may be arrested without an arrest warrant if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the child has broken any such conditions. The child must be brought before the court as soon as practicable and within 24 hours of the child’s arrest. Where that 24-hour period includes the time appointed for the child’s original court appearance, then the child should appear before that same court.
If the court is of the opinion that a child has broken any of the conditions of a remand to local authority accommodation, the court will consider a range of options in response, including warning the child, varying the conditions/attaching new conditions to the remand to local authority accommodation or, if the conditions (set out above) are met, remanding the child to youth detention accommodation. The local authority should take all actions possible to engage the child and support compliance.
If the court is not of the opinion that the child has broken any of the conditions of their remand to local authority accommodation, the court must remand the child subject to the original conditions imposed.
4. Escort Arrangements
Children remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation will be transported by the contracted escort provider.
Transport arrangements for children remanded to local authority accommodation are the responsibility of the local authority.
5. Children who Turn 18 Years of Age During their Remand
Where possible, young people who turn 18 while on remand should remain in the under-18 estate. This will be until the court case has concluded and their sentence given by the court.
When considering whether there is a real prospect that a child will be sentenced to a custodial sentence for the offence to which the proceedings relate and the child is likely to turn 18 before conviction, a custodial sentence can include an adult custodial sentence.
Where a child turns 18 during the course of their remand, they will remain in youth detention accommodation until they are released or returned to court. The YCS will not seek to recover costs from local authorities in respect of a child remanded to youth detention accommodation once the child has turned 18 years of age.
6. Care Planning for Young People on Remand
The decision to remand a child will be made by a Court. This decision may be made at short, or no, notice for the local authority concerned.
If a child who is already Looked After is brought to the court, Children’s Services should attend court with the Youth Justice Service. Children who are Looked After can be additionally remanded to the care of the local authority, possibly with a condition as to where they will live.
If a child acquires Looked After status by virtue of being remanded, the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote their welfare includes providing advice and support, including financial assistance, to ensure measures are in place to minimise the likelihood of the child (re)offending and working with other agencies including Youth Justice Service and CAMHS, etc. Support for a child on remand to local authority accommodation might include access to local diversionary programmes, therapy, counselling, mentoring and any other support required to meet a child’s assessed needs.
6.1 Remands to Local Authority Accommodation
Where a child is Looked After only by reason of being remanded to local authority accommodation, the Care Plan must be prepared within 5 working days of the child being remanded;
The Care Plan does not need to include the plan for permanence/long-term plan for the child's upbringing, unless it is considered that the child needs to remain looked after once the period of remand has ceased. However, consideration must be given to what longer term support or accommodation the child will need following the remand episode.
Otherwise, the Care Planning arrangements are the same as for all other Looked After children – see Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure.
6.2 Remands to Youth Detention Accommodation
6.2.1 Where the child was Looked After immediately before being remanded:
- A Detention Placement Plan must be prepared based upon the assessment that has informed the current Care / Pathway Plan (see Section 6.2.3, Detention Placement Plans);
- A copy of the Care / Pathway Plan must also be given to the Governor, Director or Registered Manager of the Youth Detention Accommodation;
- The provisions as to Health Assessments (see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure) do not apply.
6.2.2 Where the child was not Looked After immediately before being remanded:
- A Detention Placement Plan must be prepared instead of a Care Plan / Placement Plan, within 10 working days of the remand. This will require an assessment of 'sufficient quality' to ensure identification of the child's needs and how the YDA Establishment will respond to them on a day-day basis;
- The provisions as to Health Assessments (see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure) do not apply, but the responsible authority must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the child is provided with appropriate health care services, in accordance with the Detention Placement Plan including medical and dental care and treatment, and advice and guidance on health, personal care and health promotion issues;
- Visits should take place in accordance with the Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Procedure. It is also good practice for the Social Worker to attend the child's remand planning meetings. In addition, where the child is serving their sentence in a SCH or STC, a visit should also take place if there has been a notification by the Ofsted Chief Inspector of the underperformance of a placement provider (under Section 30A of the Care Standards Act 2000 or under Section 47 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) or, where the child is placed in a YOI, concerns about the welfare or safety of children are raised by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons;
- In relation to Child in Care Reviews Procedure, the responsible authority does not have to consider whether they should seek any change in the child's legal status, whether there is a plan for permanence for the child, or whether the placement continues to be the most appropriate available and whether any change to the placement agreement is likely to become necessary before the next review (see also Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with the Youth Justice Service Procedure);
- The provisions as to avoidance of disruption in education, placements out of area and termination of placements do not apply.
See Matters to be dealt with in a Detention Placement Plan of the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review.