Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies to children placed in secure accommodation.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was reviewed and updated in January 2020. The requirement for clear separation of reviews (for clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met, and the child's Child in Care review) has been emphasised. Clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met must come before a Child In Care review so the decision can inform the Child in Care review and they must be chaired by different individuals.
1. Purpose of Secure Accommodation Reviews
The Purpose of a Secure Accommodation Review is to consider the following:
- Whether the criteria for keeping a child/young person in secure accommodation continue to apply, on the day of the review (see 'Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds Procedure, Secure Accommodation Criteria');
- Whether such a placement continues to be necessary; and
- Whether or not any other form of accommodation would be appropriate.
There are separate and different processes for reviewing a child/young person's case if they are remanded to secure accommodation by the courts or detained under the Mental Health Act.
2. Timing of Secure Accommodation Reviews
Secure Accommodation Reviews must be convened within 28 days of a child being placed in secure accommodation and then held at intervals not exceeding 3 months.Where it is determined by the social worker and his or her manager that a further application should be made to the Court to keep the child/young person in secure accommodation beyond the expiry of the current Secure Accommodation Order, then the social worker must request that the Secure Accommodation Review Panel meets to consider the application.
3. Chairing of Secure Accommodation Reviews
The Secure Accommodation Panel should be chaired by a person independent of the care planning for the child/young person, including line managers and the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). Given the need to focus on the Section 25, Children Act 1989 criteria issues, the chair should also be independent of any resource allocation, etc. but have sufficient experience and knowledge to carry out the task.
4. Secure Accommodation Review Panel
The Secure Accommodation Panel is responsible for listening to the views of those who attend/contribute and coming to a decision about whether they believe the criteria for secure accommodation are still met. The Panel cannot come to a decision about whether the child/young person should remain or leave secure accommodation; it can only make a recommendation on this to the Designated Manager.
The Panel consists of the Chairperson and two other people, one of whom will be independent both of the local authority and the authority managing the secure unit.
An IRO may sit as one of the other two Panel members (not as part of the IRO function). 4.14 IRO Handbook.
The composition of the Panel should seek to be sensitive to issues that may be relevant to the child/young person, e.g. ethnic background and gender.
5. Arranging a Secure Accommodation Review Panel
Secure Accommodation Reviews will be convened in the same way as Child in Care Reviews but is a separate meeting from a Child in Care review. Notification will be sent to the child/young person's social worker, the young person, their parent(s)/carer(s), panel members and the relevant secure unit. An agenda and criteria to be considered at the review will be sent.
The Secure Accommodation Review Panel will meet at the relevant secure unit.The Secure Accommodation Review is separate to a Child in Care Review and is not a substitute for it. It must be held first, so the recommendations and subsequent decisions made can inform the Child in Care Review.
6. Preparation for Secure Accommodation Reviews
Prior to the Secure Accommodation Review, the social worker will ensure the following are undertaken:
- A report for the Review is prepared, which has been endorsed by their manager and incorporates the views of all those consulted about the placement (see Section 2.1, Consultation, in the Secure Accommodation Procedure), the Children's Guardian and the provider of the secure accommodation;
- Written invitations are sent to the child/young person, parent(s)/carer(s) and/or those with Parental Responsibility, and any other persons whose attendance is agreed;
- The child/young person and parent(s)/carer(s) are clear about the purpose of the Secure Accommodation Review. The social worker should go through the contents of the Report and proposed Care Plan with them;
- The parents/carer(s) and child/young person are given adequate support to prepare for the Secure Accommodation Review, which may include arranging for an interpreter and/or advocate to assist them;
- The secure unit is aware of the Secure Accommodation Review date and arrangements have been made for the staff in the secure placement to prepare a report, taking account of the progress made with the child/young person and stating their view as to whether the criteria for secure accommodation (see Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds Procedure) still apply and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate rather than remaining in secure accommodation.
The social worker should ensure that their Report is circulated to the secure unit and to the Panel Chairperson and other Panel Members at least 3 days before the Review date.
7. Conducting the Secure Accommodation Review
The Secure Accommodation Review, and the Panel members, must focus on the questions and issues around the criteria for secure accommodation (see Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds Procedure, Secure Accommodation Criteria') within the context of the child/young person's specific circumstances. In considering these matters, the Panel must have regard to the child/young person's welfare.Nevertheless, the Secure Accommodation Review does not take the place of a Child in Care Review; it is distinctly different.
In all cases, the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review must be reported to the Child in Care Review.
The independent Panel member should see the child/young person before the Secure Accommodation Review.
The Secure Accommodation Review must be formally minuted.
The Secure Accommodation Review Panel will consider the social worker's report, the notes and decisions of the most recent Child in Care Review and the views of the following:
- The child/young person, the parent(s)carer(s) and those with Parental Responsibility;
- The child/young person's social worker and manager;
- Those who previously have had or may have care of the child/young person upon discharge;
- The Children's Guardian;
- The child/young person's Independent Visitor and/or advocate if one is appointed;
- The Link/Keyworker for the child/young person from the Secure Unit, together with other services provided by the Secure Accommodation, e.g. Education and Health and feedback with regards to the child/young person's mobility plan;
- Any specialist assessments that may have been commissioned e.g. psychological;
- The local authority managing the secure accommodation in which the child/young person is placed if different to the Placing Authority.
The Secure Accommodation Review Panel is responsible for listening to the views of those who contribute, and coming to a recommendation about whether they believe the criteria for secure accommodation (see Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds Procedure) are met.
It is not sufficient, simply, to retain a child/young person in secure accommodation to complete an assessment or treatment programme or whilst other accommodation is sought. Regard must be given to the fact that it is unlawful for the liberty of a child/young person to be restricted unless the criteria are met, no matter how short the period of security.
Once the Panel has made a recommendation as to the child/young persons continued placement in secure accommodation, it should be communicated to the child/young person and other participants at the Secure Accommodation. The recommendation may be accompanied by other recommendations on related issues, for example as to mobility and visiting arrangements.
Where relevant, a date for the next Secure Accommodation Panel should also be fixed.
Minutes will be prepared and sent to all those in attendance.
8. After the Secure Accommodation Review
The recommendation of the Panel will be submitted immediately to the Designated Manager for consideration and decision as to the future placement of the child/young person.
The IRO should be advised of the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review.
The social worker will also inform all those whose views have been taken into account of the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review, what action, if any, the local authority proposes to take in relation to the child/young person in the light of the Review, and their reasons for taking or not taking such action.
The minutes of the Secure Accommodation Review should be completed as soon as possible and within 1 month of the Secure Accommodation Review. They should detail the reasoning behind the decision.
It should be borne in mind that the Agency Decision Maker, the Children's Guardian and/or the court may need to have the minutes as evidence for decision - making.
If the Panel concludes that the criteria for restricted liberty no longer apply, the placement is no longer necessary or another type of placement would be more appropriate, the local authority must immediately review the child's placement. (4.14 IRO Handbook) and effect the 'exit' or contingent plan.