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5.2.5 Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to children placed in secure accommodation.

AMENDMENT

In February 2016, Appendix 1: Social Worker Report Form was updated.


Contents

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

    Appendix 1: Social Worker Report Form


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;
  • 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.

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 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

Secure Accommodation Review Panels will be chaired by the Service Leader Review and Quality based within the Safeguarding Unit.


4. Secure Accommodation Review Panel

The Panel will consist of three people including the Chairperson.

Once the date for the review has been agreed, the Safeguarding Unit will contact the Panel members. One Panel member will be an independent person not employed by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the third person will be a member of the Children’s Services and Education Social Care Senior Management Team.

Issues of ethnic background and gender should be considered in deciding on the make up of the panel.


5. Arranging a Secure Accommodation Review Panel

Secure Accommodation Reviews will be convened in the same way as Looked After Reviews. Following a formal request for a Secure Accommodation Review Panel being written or e-mailed to the Service Leader Review and Quality within the Safeguarding Unit, the responsibility for setting up the Review Panel rests with the Safeguarding Unit. They will consult with the social worker regarding date, the timing and of the review.

The young person must also be informed by the social worker of the purpose and date of the review.

Consideration shall be given to the need to reduce the number of people invited to the review related to their role in the meeting.

The panel meeting will be held at the secure accommodation placement since this will provide an opportunity for the young person to present their views to the panel personally should they so wish.

Endeavours should be made to ensure the young person is supported enabling attendance at the review wherever possible.

The young person should be provided with an independent advocate. This will be arranged by the Social worker in consultation with the young person.


6. Preparation for Secure Accommodation Reviews

Written invitations must be sent to the parent, if appropriate and those with Parental Responsibility, and any other persons whose attendance is agreed.

A report written by the social worker and endorsed by their team manager, which includes the views of those consulted, should be circulated at least 3 working days before the review. The report should include brief factual information, the circumstances leading up to the granting of the Secure Accommodation Order, the grounds for the order and details of any ongoing proceedings.

As a minimum requirement the social worker report should provide information about:

  1. The wishes and feelings of the persons listed below:
    • The child;
    • Any parent;
    • Any person not being a parent but who has Parental Responsibility;
    • Any other person who has had the care of the child, whose views the panel consider should be taken into account;
    • The child's Independent Visitor if one has been appointed;
    • The local authority managing the secure accommodation in which the child is placed if that authority are not the authority who are looking after the child.
  2. An assessment and analysis of risk in the circumstances of a Secure Accommodation Order not being in place;
  3. A recommendation as to whether the criteria for keeping the child in secure accommodation continues to be met and placement in such accommodation continues to be necessary, and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate for the child.

See Appendix 1: Social Worker Report Form.

  • The child and parent(s) should be helped by the social worker to be 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 and child should be given adequate support to prepare for the Review, which may include arranging for an interpreter and/or advocate to assist them;
  • The secure unit must be aware of the Review date and arrangements will 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 for secure accommodation still apply and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate rather than remaining in secure accommodation.


7. Conducting the Secure Accommodation Review

The Secure Accommodation Review does not take the place of a Looked After Review; it is distinctly different.

The Secure Accommodation Review is separate from any other statutory care review that may be conducted. In some circumstances, for example where there is some distance to travel to the secure accommodation, it may be appropriate to hold the two review meetings on the same day. In that instance the independent Secure Accommodation Review must be held first.

In all cases, the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review must be reported to the Looked After Review.

The purpose of the review is to consider whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation continues to be met, placement in such accommodation continues to be necessary, and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate for the child.

The Chairperson is responsible for ensuring that an agenda is provided:

  • All the people present introduce themselves;
  • The purpose and structure of the meeting is clarified;
  • Members of the meeting are cautioned regarding the confidential nature of the information to be shared;
  • The criteria that the panel will be testing are clarified.

It is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that appropriate reports have been prepared and circulated. These are likely to include:

  • The social worker's report;
  • The unit report of progress including levels of mobility;
  • The education unit or school report, if appropriate/available;
  • Health reports;
  • Psychiatric or psychological report (where appropriate).

The Safeguarding Unit administration will be available to assist the social worker to achieve this.

The social worker will speak to his/her report to provide evidence as to whether the criteria continue to apply. The representative of the secure unit will also provide information about progress. This will include all behaviours and behaviour management techniques, intervention plan with supporting evidence. As well as educational and health needs.

The Local authority retain parental responsibility therefore the secure unit needs to seek permission before introducing medication etc.

Information may be presented from a range other persons and may include:

  • The child;
  • His/her parents or those with Parental Responsibility;
  • Those who previously have had or may have care of the child upon discharge;
  • The Children's Guardian;
  • The child's Independent Visitor and/or advocate;
  • The Link/Keyworker for the child from the Secure Unit;
  • The local authority managing the secure accommodation in which the child is placed if that authority is not the authority looking after the child.

The young person (or representative) should be permitted to offer a different view, challenge the evidence, and present their own evidence.

This in turn can be disputed by the social worker/ other persons present. The various views should be recorded in the minutes.

The young person, their representative or parent/s may raise concerns relating to the unit regime; contact with (and/or access) family and friends; education; and mobility. Whilst these are issues for discussion at the Looked After Review, it will be appropriate for the panel to address, seek resolution or make recommendations.

The social worker should be asked to summarise the facts. The young person and/or his/her representative should summarise their views.

The Review Panel should then consider and discuss, in private, whether the criteria are met before the Chairperson presents the Panel's decision. The Panel may also make recommendations about other aspects of the young person's care, however it must be noted that any decisions regarding Care Plans can only be endorsed via the Looked After Review process.

The views of individual panel members to whether the criteria are met will be minuted as will be the finding of the Panel and any recommendations they wish to make. The Safeguarding Unit will ensure that a copy of the minutes is circulated to all attendees. Any changes to the minutes must be requested of the Chairperson within 10 working days. The minutes should also be forwarded to the Director of Children's Services.

When the recommendation is that the young person remains in Secure Accommodation, a date for the next review should be set; to take place within the subsequent three months.

The criteria that will be tested are as follows:

  • S/he has a history of absconding and is likely to absconds from any other description of accommodation; and
  • If s/he absconds, s/he is likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  • That if s/he is kept in any other description of accommodation s/he is a risk to herself and others.

The key questions that must be considered are:

  • Whether the criteria continue to apply on the day of the review, and even if they do;
  • Whether the placement in secure accommodation continues to be necessary;
  • Whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate.

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

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, no matter how short the period of security.


8. After the Secure Accommodation Review

The social worker  will immediately arrange to see the child to explain the decision to him or her if they have chosen not to attend the secure review panel meeting.

The social worker will also inform all those whose views have been taken into account of the outcome of the Review, what action, if any, the local authority proposes to take in relation to the child in the light of the Review, and their reasons for taking or not taking such action.

All communications should be confirmed in writing.


Appendix 1: Social Worker Report Form

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