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5.3.4 Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews

AMENDMENT

In June 2016, Section 3, Convening and Chairing of Secure Accommodation Reviews was amended as follows:

The Secure Accommodation Panel should be chaired by a person independent of the care planning for the child, including Line Managers and the Independent Reviewing Officer. 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 should have sufficient experience and knowledge to carry out the task.

An Independent Reviewing Officer may sit as one of the other two Panel members (not as part of the IRO function).


Contents

  1. Purpose of Secure Accommodation Reviews  
  2. Timing of Secure Accommodation Reviews
  3. Convening and Chairing of Secure Accommodation Reviews
  4. Secure Accommodation Review Panel  
  5. Arranging a Secure Accommodation Panel 
  6. Invitations 
  7. Preparation for Secure Accommodation Reviews 
  8. Conducting the Secure Accommodation Review
  9. Following the Review


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 in Secure Accommodation continue to apply, on the day of the review (see Placements in Secure Accommodation Procedure, Legal Criteria);
  • Whether such a placement continues to be necessary; and
  • Whether or not any other form of accommodation would be appropriate.


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 at intervals not exceeding three months.

These are maximum timescales.


3. Convening and Chairing of Secure Accommodation Reviews

Secure Accommodation Reviews are convened by a member of Committee Services; via the Committee Support Officer.

The Secure Accommodation Panel should be chaired by a person independent of the care planning for the child, including Line Managers and the Independent Reviewing Officer. 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 should remain or leave secure accommodation; it can only make a recommendation on this to Service Manager/Head of Service.

The make up of the Panel should seek to be sensitive to issues that may be relevant to the child, e.g. ethnic background and gender.

The Panel consists of three people: 

  • The Review Chair (an Independent Reviewing Officer but not the child’s IRO);
  • A Principal Officer;
  • An independent member, normally from Voice (please contact: Voice Website).


5. Arranging a Secure Accommodation Panel

The Social Worker will be responsible for convening a date for the Initial Secure Accommodation Review with the Chairperson and in consultation with the relevant secure unit.

In consultation with the Chairperson (who is not responsible for the care of the child) and Staff at the Secure Unit, the Social Worker will be responsible for organising the Review.


6. Invitations

Apart from those who form the Secure Accommodation Panel, the following people should be invited:

  1. The child and parent(s) / those with Parental Responsibility, see Voice Website;
  2. The child’s Social Worker and Line Manager;
  3. Those who previously have had or may have care of the child upon discharge;
  4. The child's Guardian;
  5. The child’s Independent Visitor or Advocate, if appointed;
  6. The Link/Keyworker for the child from the Secure Unit;
  7. Legal Services should be consulted beforehand as necessary.


7. Preparation for Secure Accommodation Reviews

Prior to the Secure Accommodation Review, the Chairperson will liaise with the Social Worker to ensure the following is undertaken:

  • Invitations are extended to those who should be invited (other than the Panel members); or that they are asked to contribute;
  • The child and parent(s) are clear about the purpose of the Secure Accommodation Review and are given adequate support to prepare for it; which may include arranging for an independent person to assist them. The Social Worker must also ensure that the child's Care Plan, Placement Plan/Placement Information Record are available for the Review;
  • The Social Worker has prepared an up to date Care Plan and report for the Review, and ensures that the child’s Placement Plan/Placement Information Record is available for the Review;
  • The Social Worker will prepare a report for the Review outlining why the child was originally placed in secure accommodation, demonstrating that the criteria were met at that time, and the extent to which it is felt the criteria still apply, whether the child should continue to remain in secure accommodation and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate;
  • Arrangements have been made for the Staff in the secure placement to prepare a report, taking account of the progress made with the child and stating their view as to whether the criteria still apply and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate rather than remaining in secure accommodation.

The child’s file, together with the Care Plan, Placement Plan/Placement Information Record and reports, must be forwarded to the Chairperson by the Social Worker at least 3 working days before the Review date.


8. 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 Section 1, Purpose of Secure Accommodation Reviews) within the context of the child’s specific circumstances.

In considering these matters, the Panel must have regard to the child's welfare.

Nevertheless, the Secure Accommodation Review does not take the place of a Looked After or other review, it is distinctly different.

However, it is acceptable to conduct the Secure Accommodation Review on the same day as other reviews, so long as they are conducted separately.

The independent Panel member should see the young person before the Secure Accommodation Review.

The Review can be conducted in one of two ways:

  • In the form of a meeting which everyone attends and may hear the views of the other participants;
  • In the form of the Panel hearing the views of each person, separately.

In either case, the Panel Chairperson must ensure that those who contribute understand the purpose of the Review; which is to consider whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation continue to apply, on the day of the Review.

The Secure Accommodation Review Panel will consider the social worker's report, the notes and decisions of the most recent Looked After Review and the views of the following:

  1. The child, the parent(s) and those with Parental Responsibility;
  2. The child's Social Worker and Manager;
  3. Those who previously have had or may have care of the child upon discharge;
  4. The Children's Guardian;
  5. The child's Independent Visitor and/or advocate;
  6. The Link/Keyworker for the child from the Secure Unit together with other services provided by the Secure Accommodation, e.g. Education and Health and feedback with regard to the young person’s mobility plan;
  7. Any specialist assessments that may have been commissioned e.g.: psychological;
  8. The local authority managing the secure accommodation in which the child is placed if that authority is not the authority responsible for  the child.

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 are met. Before the review, the Independent Panel Member should meet with the child. The secure unit needs to be made aware of this by the Social Worker, so that they can facilitate the meeting.

It is not sufficient, simply, to retain a child 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 to be restricted unless the criteria are met, however short the period of security.

Having given due regard to the views and contributions of those who attend or were invited, the Secure Accommodation Panel should retire to consider their decision, in private.

Once the Panel has made a recommendation, it should be recorded, together with reasons, and communicated to the young person and other participants at the Review. If the panel recommends that the criteria are not met, this must immediately be reviewed by the Team Manager with Designated Manager (Secure Accommodation Placement) and a decision made about whether to accept the recommendation of the panel. If the recommendation of the panel is accepted, it will be necessary to consider the need for an alternative placement. Legal advice should be sought in coming to this decision. The child must remain in the Secure Accommodation during this process.

Where relevant, a date for the next Review Panel should also be fixed.

If the child requests further explanation, the Chairperson and/or Social Worker should see him or her immediately after the Review in order to provide this.

If the Parents are not in attendance, the Social Worker must take steps to inform them immediately of the outcome of the meeting. 

All communications should be confirmed in writing. The Criteria Review must be formally minuted.

Minutes will be prepared by the Chair and sent to the Social Worker for circulation to all participants and those who were invited but unable to attend.


9. Following the Review

If the Parents are not in attendance, the Social Worker must take steps to inform them immediately of the outcome of the meeting. 

The minutes should be written up and circulated within a week of the Review. They need to contain a specific statement confirming or not that the criteria were met and contain detail of the reason behind the decisions made. They must be signed by the Chair of the Panel and the Social Worker’s Manager. They must be circulated (translated where necessary) to all those invited to the meeting, including the child. 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.

The Social Worker and their Team Manager are responsible for implementing and stating their reasons for any action or inaction in response to the decisions.

If the recommendation of the panel is that the criteria no longer apply, this must immediately be reviewed by the Team Manager with Service Manager/Head of Service  and a decision made about whether to accept the recommendation. Advice from legal services should be sought in coming to this decision.

Where the young person is already a Child Looked Child, or has had a Looked After Review the IRO should be advised of the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review.

End