Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review
Children (Secure Accommodation) Amendment Regulations 1992
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in July 2018 to acknowledge that in the absence of the appropriate Head of Service then an IRO/CP Chair can chair the meeting. (However, the IRO should not also be the chair of the Looked After Review) (see Section 2, The Composition of Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews).
1. The Purpose of Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews
In addition to Regulations governing the frequency of visits and statutory reviews, young people placed in secure accommodation must be the subject of separate Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews.
The purpose of the Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review is for the Panel to review the child's care in accordance with The Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991 and The Children (Secure Accommodation) Amendment Regulations 1992 and to satisfy themselves that:
- The criteria for keeping the child in secure accommodation continue to apply;
- Such a placement continues to be necessary and whether or not any other description of accommodation would be appropriate;
- The welfare needs of the young person are addressed by consulting with all of those who may be expected to take an interest;
- The circumstances under which the young person will be allowed greater freedom, including any transfer to a more "open" unit;
- The phased nature and timing of such increases in freedom, known as mobility training.
The social worker report must provide a report including these views to the chair five days before the date of the review. This report must include details of what other accommodation has been considered with reasons as to why it is not appropriate. The report must include a contingency plan that can be put into operation immediately should the Panel consider that the criteria for secure accommodation are no longer met.
The overall purpose of the review is to ensure that the young person's welfare is being promoted and safeguarded.
2. The Composition of Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews
Each review will include at least three people to review the secure placement within one month of its start.
The meeting will be chaired by a Head of Service. Note: The case responsible Head of Service must never act as Chair. In the absence of Head of Service then an IRO/CP Chair can chair the meeting. (However, similarly, the IRO should not be the chair of the Looked After Review).
The Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review will be convened by the Child Care Review convener and will include:
- The case responsible social worker;
- The case responsible team manager and/or Head of Service (The social worker must never attend without the support of a manager);
- A senior representative from the secure unit;
- The key worker from the secure unit;
- The child's parents or carer;
- As far as is practicable, any person who is not a parent but holds, or shares, Parental Responsibility for the child;
- As far as is practicable, the child;
- The child's Independent Visitor, if one has been appointed;
- The independent person, this person must not be a member of the placing local authority or of the local authority where the secure unit is based, or an employee of the placing authority, or of the authority where the secure unit is based;
- Any other person who has had care of the child, whose views panel members consider, should be taken into account.
Of the three panel members one must be independent, to the extent that they must not be a member or officer of Knowsley Borough Council, or an officer of the authority providing secure accommodation for the young person. The Panel will consist of:
- The Head of Service/IRO/CP Chair who is chairing the review;
- The independent person;
- The other panel member should not have had any direct involvement in placing the young person in secure accommodation.
As far as is practicable, the Panel must take into account the wishes and feelings of all review participants, except for interpreters, signers and observers.
It is usual to consider the following points when assessing whether the criteria for continuation of the secure accommodation order continues to be met:
- Since being placed in secure accommodation, has the young person shown any signs of understanding that his/her previous lifestyle was dangerous?
- Has the young person shown any signs that she/he would not revert to his/her previous lifestyle if the secure accommodation order was no longer in place?
- Have there been any signs to suggest that the child would now function safely in an open environment? If so, risk analysis must accompany any evidence put forward;
- Has the child acquired sufficient internal controls to function safely in an open environment? If so clear understanding and analysis must be provided.
3. The Frequency of Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews
The first Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review must be held within 28 days of the child being placed in secure accommodation. If the 72-hour provision is used and the Court subsequently grants a Secure Accommodation Order, the 28 days starts at the point of entry into secure accommodation, i.e. at the beginning of the 72 hours, not from the point of the Secure Accommodation Order being made by the court.
The second Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review must take place within 3 months of the initial review.
Thereafter Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews must take place at no less than 3 monthly intervals.
Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews can take place more often than prescribed, but certainly not less often.
4. Written Reports for Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews
The allocated social worker will be expected to provide an up to date written report to the meeting; this should include:
- A summary of why the Secure Accommodation Order was sought;
- A summary of the work undertaken and to be undertaken with the young person whilst in secure accommodation;
- A summary of the exit plan, or the proposed exit plan with the child's views. Consultation with the parents or carer's should also be reflected;
- The secure unit will also be expected to provide a written report.
5. Contingency Planning
Contingency planning is vital to ensure that the child's needs are met if the decision is made that the secure accommodation criteria are no longer met. Clear planning and analysis at each review is necessary to inform decision making immediately so that there is a minimum of delay in transferring the child out of the secure environment. A child must never remain in secure accommodation if the criteria are not met.
It should never be assumed that the panel will decide the criteria are met. The Regulations state that if the criteria are not met, the placing authority must immediately review the placement. If the criteria are no longer met, the young person will not remain in the placement, contingency planning is crucial in providing appropriate levels of care.
6. Conduct of the Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review
One of the independent panel members should see the young person before the review.
The chair should set out the purpose and structure of the review.
The social worker and the representative from the secure unit should then present evidence, There should also be a school report and if relevant a psychiatric or psychological report. Evidence given during the court process is appropriate for the panel to consider alongside more recent/current evidence of he young person's situation.
Professional's contributions should address the core issues of absconding, injury to self and/or injury to others. The Welfare Checklist (set out in Section 1, Children Act 1989) should also be kept in mind and be considered.
The young person and or her/his representative should be permitted to offer a different view or challenge the evidence presented. Notes should be made in the minutes of different points of view or interpretation of the facts.
Finally the social worker and/or representative of the secure unit should be asked to summarise the facts and the young person or their representative should also be asked to summarise their view of the facts.
The review Panel should then withdraw to discuss their findings before presenting them to the meeting. The chair must sum up and present the findings in a language that the young person understands. The chair is responsible for ensuring that the young person is fully informed of the decision.
The meeting should then agree the date for the next panel review (if required).
A record of the Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review must be made that details:
- The reasons why the criteria continue to be met for a Secure Accommodation Order; or
- The reasons why the placement is no longer necessary; and
- Actions to be taken, by whom and when.
This record must be placed in the relevant section of the young person's file.
Copies of the above must be circulated to all those attending the review within 5 days of the review taking place as well as to Legal Services.
Appendix 1: Agenda for Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Review
Chair explains the purpose of this meeting and the Criteria to be tested:
- Introductions for all present (Panel Members should identify themselves);
- Secure Unit Report(s);
- Social Worker Report;
- Any other reports;
- View of each person present, excluding Panel Members. (The young person's views must be included, either directly or via another person);
- Has the child acquired sufficient internal controls to function safely in an open environment? If so clear understanding and analysis must be provided since being placed in secure accommodation, i.e. has the young person shown any signs of understanding that his/her previous lifestyle was dangerous?
- Has the young person shown any signs that she/he would not revert to his/her previous lifestyle if the Secure Accommodation Order was no longer in place?
- Have there been any signs to suggest that the child would now function safely in an open environment? If so, risk analysis must accompany any evidence put forward.
- Panel retires to make their decision;
- Panel returns and Chair to give decision;
- Exit Plan;
- Set date for next Criteria Review.