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Operational Protocol Between Children's Services (Social Care, Leaving Care) and the Youth Justice Service


This chapter was updated in February 2020 in line with local processes.

1. Context to this Protocol

This document formalises the joint working relationships between the children and young people's youth justice service (referred to as YJS within this protocol) and social care teams (referred to as CSC within this protocol).

It seeks to give workers clarity around roles and responsibilities within both the safeguarding and youth justice arenas.

It should be read and understood in conjunction with the "continuum of need and response" document which underpins how the needs of children and young people are met within Blackburn with Darwen. 

2. Referral Pathways – YJS to CAF and/or CSC First Response

Common Assessment Framework - CAF

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a key component in the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme. The aim is to identify, at the earliest opportunity, a child's or young person's additional needs which are not being met by the universal services they are receiving, and provide timely and co-ordinated support to meet those needs.

It has three elements:

  • A simple pre-assessment checklist;
  • A process for undertaking a common assessment;
  • A standard form.

The lead professional ensures that front-line services are coordinated, coherent and achieving intended outcomes. Responsibilities include:

  • Act as a single point of contact for the child or family;
  • Co-ordinate the delivery of the actions agreed;
  • Reduce overlap and inconsistency in the services received.

The CAF process should be considered for young people who have been assessed at Level 3 of the continuum of need and response model.

At the commencement of any YJS involvement with a child or young person, the responsible case worker will check if there is a current CAF in place (see CAF Procedure) as this will inform the decision making of the YJS worker, who should build on the support that has already been provided.  The YJS worker should also check whether or not there is any current or recent CSC involvement.

If assistance is required, contact the CAF team.

The referral will be completed using the CAF form (excluding pages 4-5) and the most recent ASSET or pre-sentence report should be attached.

If the YJS has safeguarding concerns about a child or young person then these should be discussed with their manager and if agreed as appropriate, a referral should be made to the First Response Team.

3. CAF as an Exit Strategy for YJS Involvement

See: CAF Procedure.

Where it is clear that a young person will require support beyond the duration of their court order the YJS worker will make a referral to the CAF team following the referral process outlined. The CAF should be activated with the consent of the child / young person and parents/carers and whilst the YJS worker remains involved, they will become part of the team around the child.

4. Team Around the Family

The Team Around the Family (TAF) links a number of services providing support for families to ensure cohesive service provision for families in need. TAF is leading on 'Think Family,' an approach designed to streamline and coordinate a holistic family approach which increases family participation and promotes creative support for families from a full range of providers including commissioned services, third sector services and faith groups. This preventive work with families is strengths based and solution focused, builds family resilience and increases the capacity of parents to provide a supportive environment in which their children can flourish.

TAF Diagram

5. Safeguarding and Child Protection Team

The Safeguarding and Child Protection team holds responsibility for the vulnerable children and their families who are assessed to require longer term intervention at level 4 and 5 of the Continuum of Need. The local authority has a duty under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 to make enquiries, or cause enquiries to be made, where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm. These enquiries involve assessing the child's circumstances in order to inform future plans and the nature of services required.

The work of the team can involve Child in Need at level 4 and intervention with more complex cases, children on Child Protection Plans, children in our care and cases where court proceedings have been instigated, with the team remaining involved right through to adoption or other permanence plans. Support is also provided for private law proceedings (Sections 7 and 37 CA 1989) and the team also holds responsibility for the service that provides supervised contact to families in the midst of care proceedings.

The circumstances under which the YJS may work in close partnership with team are:

Where the YJS becomes involved with a child or young person already subject to a CP plan, the YJS should become part of the core group in these cases and the social worker should attend all YJS planning and review meetings including Multi-Agency Risk Management Panel meetings to contribute to intervention planning to address the child's offending behaviour. The SCP team will provide relevant information to inform the YJS's ASSET assessment.

Where a child or young person is subject to a CIN Plan, the YJS will be invited to CIN meetings. The Social Worker or Child Support Officer will attend YJS planning and review meetings including Multi-Agency Risk Management Panel meetings.

Where the YJS makes a referral to the CADS team regarding child protection or child in need issues, the CADS will undertake a holistically and individually tailored response depending upon the circumstances presented. The YJS will share all relevant information to inform child and family assessments and provide regular updates regarding the child and or family's offending behaviour. Both services will share all relevant information between them on an ongoing basis throughout their involvement and significant decisions which affect offending and or compliance with court orders will be made jointly.

Where an open case to both teams is progressing through the court process and offending behaviour or compliance with court orders is problematic – the social worker/ family support worker and YJS worker will prioritise attendance at all YJS/CSC meetings to jointly plan interventions to address the offending behaviour issues. Where the young person is subject to ISS (Intensive Surveillance and Supervision) there will be close partnership working to ensure that young people access education or training.

Where a  young person's (open to the Safeguarding and CP team) personal circumstances deteriorate to the point where their ability to comply with court orders is affected and/or where they are continuing to offend consideration should be given to the provision of additional CSC resources such as the Adolescent Support Unit or to accommodating the young person under Section 20 CA 1989. Requests for ASU support will be submitted to the Resource Management panel by the social worker and a YJS manager will attend to support the request. The need to accommodate a young person will be discussed between team managers for both services in the first instance.

CSC will not make decisions to close the case without consultation with the YJS worker regarding the young person's progress. If a case is referred back to CAF, CSC will inform the YJS who the lead professional will be.

6. Emergency Duty Team

The YJS link to the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) generally relates to the provision of an appropriate adult outside of the operating hours of CANW appropriate adult service. Where the EDT provides this service, notification will be forwarded to the YJS within 24 hours so that Child View can be updated.

The EDT will facilitate access to the PACE bed and to the remand facility provided through Child Action North West at weekend and after 5pm Monday to Friday if required. EDT will make contact with the CANW on call rota, identify the provision and in the case of a remand to LAA, complete the LAC documentation and transport the young person to placement. The YJS will pick up any further transporting needs and take over the management of the case the following day. EDT will inform the YJS by email of any involvement with YJS young people and outcomes of any court appearances as soon as possible.

There is no current access to Child View during weekends or bank holidays. In the case of remands to youth detention accommodation, the EDT will provide the YJB placements team and the secure establishment with as much written information as possible, with particular reference to information relating to any potential risk of harm to the young person or to others. Where the risk is felt to be significant, EDT will also make direct contact with the secure establishment to share this information.

7. Parenting Orders

Where the court or the YJS consider that a parenting contract or a parenting order is required to safeguard the welfare of a child or young person, to protect the public from harm or to prevent re-offending, the YJS will consult with CSC and consider the need for joint assessment.

8. Children in our Care Team

Each Child who becomes 'Looked After' is allocated a qualified social worker. The social worker is the most tangible aspect of and direct link for a child to the corporate parent, The Social Workers main role is to ensure that each looked after child (s)he is responsible for has an up to date care plan that clearly indicates how current and ongoing needs are met and how each looked after child will be supported in achieving positive outcomes in their life.

Social workers regularly update a child's Care Plan and liaise with the child, were appropriate any family, carers for the child, along with a range of other professionals and agencies to ensure that this plan is the best plan possible and that services are coordinated to ensure that the Care Plan is delivered.

Care Plans are regularly reviewed by the local authority, as part of this process each child will have a named Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who will facilitate this process. The IRO will gather the views of all stakeholders in child's care plan and highlight areas of strength in Care Plans as well as any areas of concern. This will enable to the social worker to continue to build on these strengths and address any areas of concern.

A child who is looked after could be in one of a variety of placement types, a foster placement, residential placement, living with family or friends, or subject to a care order whilst remaining at home with one or both birth parents.

Each looked after child will receive statutory visits, dependant on their type of placement within the following time frames;

Statutory Visits

The 2010 Regulations set out the minimum visiting requirements for the Local Authority's representative to visit the child wherever, he or she is living. This duty will be best met if the visits are undertaken by the child's allocated social worker, other than in exceptional circumstances. Visiting requirements differ according to the type of placement.

Child in LA Foster Care \ Residential Care

The child\young person should be visited within 1 week of the start of the child's first placement and within 1 week of the start of any subsequent placement. Thereafter the child must be visited at intervals of not more than 6 weekly for the first year of any placement. Visits during subsequent years must also take place at intervals of no more than 6 weekly unless the placement has been formally agreed as a permanent placement which is intended to last until the child is 18 and in those circumstances the intervals between visits in the  second and subsequent years of placement must not be longer than 3 months.

Placements with a Temporary Approved Foster Carer (new Reg 24)

When a child is placed under regulation 24 the child must be visited at least weekly until the first statutory review. Subsequently, visits must take place at intervals of no more than 4 weeks until the carer is approved under the 2002 Regulations

Placements Whereby a Child is Living With Parents on an Interim Care Order

When an Interim Care Order has been made and a child is placed with parents, the child needs to be visited weekly until the first statutory review. Subsequently visits must take place at intervals of no more than 4 weeks until the care proceedings have been completed.

Child Placed at Home on a Full Care Order

Where a Care Order has been made  for a child under Section 31 and the child is placed at home with parents, the child must be visited within 1 week of the making of the Care Order and then at intervals of no more than 6 weeks. A child placed at home with parents before the assessment is completed must be visited at least weekly until the first Statutory Review.

Subsequently the statutory visiting requirement is then no more than 6 weekly.

Child in Care Where Accommodation is Not Provided by the Local Authority (e.g. Child in Secure Accommodation or Young Offenders Institution)

When the child is in care but placed in the secure estate, the young person must be visited within 1 week of the start of the placement and within 1 week of any change to those living arrangements. Subsequently, visits must take place every 6 weeks for the first year and at intervals of not more than 3 months in any subsequent year.

This frequency of statutory visits is the minimum requirement, and as such, statutory visits may take place on a more frequent basis, any increase in frequency will be documented with case supervision.

Should there be any significant change in a child's situation then it may be felt that an assessment be undertaken to determine what if any action is required, why this is required and who will be responsible for delivering this.

Each child's social worker will also be responsible for drawing up the child's Pathway Plan and liaising with the child's Personal Advisor in ensuring that this is delivered.

9. CioC Team – Interface with YJS

BwD CSC is committed to ensuring that positive behaviour amongst looked after children at risk of offending is promoted and supported. A protocol between Children's Services and the Police to avoid unnecessary criminalisation has been developed and approved by all parties and will be part of the local authority's strategy to reduce offending by children and young people in our care. Where a CioC is believed to present a risk of offending, the IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer) must ensure that the Care Plan / Pathway Plan addresses those risks and concerns.

The YJS recognises that "children in our care" (CioC) who enter the youth justice system are especially vulnerable for a number of reasons:

  • They are separated from their families;
  • Many have experienced neglect, abuse and trauma resulting in their admission to local authority accommodation;
  • They are vulnerable to poorer outcomes against the "Every Child Matters" outcomes than the general population of children and young people;
  • They are more vulnerable to the development of emotional and mental health difficulties and therefore to self harm and risk taking behaviour.

It is therefore essential that the YJS identifies CioC from the earliest point of entry into the youth justice system and works closely with the CSC to prevent further offending and to safeguard their interests in court.  Key principles include:

  • CioC who are arrested will always be provided with an appropriate adult through CANW (other Local Authority's commissioned service if placed out of Blackburn with Darwen) and must always be legally represented in the police station.  Carers should never act as AA as they are not trained and cannot therefore provide the best possible service. However, where the young person requests that their carer attend to support, the carer should agree this with the custody sergeant. They should attend alongside the AA, but never in their place;
  • The CIOC social worker should ensure the best possible legal representation for the CioC going to court. A list of local solicitors with youth justice and child care experience and expertise can be obtained through the YJS;
  • The YJS will check all arrest notifications to determine CioC status. Once this is confirmed the YJS worker will communicate with the CioC SW who will provide relevant information for the purpose of ASSET completion;
  • CioC will always be accompanied in court by their social worker and carer and /or parents if appropriate. The social worker is responsible for organising who should attend. If the young person refuses to attend, the social worker should still attend to offer an explanation to the court. If for any reason the SW is not able to attend court they are responsible for arranging for their line manager or a colleague to attend. If this also proves impossible, they will notify the CioC SW of details of the sentence, including placement details if sentenced to custody, in writing and by telephone on the same day;
  • CioC will always be accompanied at Referral Order Panel meetings  by their social worker and carers and / or parents. If the young person refuses to attend, the social worker should attend to offer an explanation and discuss relevant issues with the panel;
  • The YJS and CSC will share all relevant information before, during and after the assessment stage to ensure that risk factors are accurately identified and addressed in intervention and care plans which the YJS, the CSC social worker and carers will jointly plan, review and deliver. All parties will take responsibility for consulting with each other regarding significant decisions e.g. change of placement;
  • Where the court is considering awarding compensation to the victim of an offence committed by a CioC the YJS will undertake to consult with the social worker where proposing this as part of a Pre Sentence or Referral Order report. Compensation should not be discounted as a proposal simply because of the legal status of the child because this may be a suitable disposal for both the victim and the CioC. There may be circumstances where the local authority contests the award of compensation and in these circumstances the case should be adjourned to allow for representation by legal services. Where the court wishes to sentence the CioC without adjourning for reports, the YJS will request a one hour adjournment to consult with the social worker. The YJS will ask the court to take account of the CioC's personal income (pocket money, training allowances) and award compensation accordingly;
  • CioC planning meetings and reviews should address the risk of offending. The YJS will attend CioC meetings on all CioC cases open to the YJS and should be consulted regarding services available to support children and young people at risk of offending who have not yet come into the youth justice system;
  • CioC involved with the YJS are entitled to access the full range of multi agency resources available through both YJS and CioC teams. It is therefore essential that planning and review meetings identify and coordinate which resources will be used within a plan that sequences the involvement  of different professionals in order of priority and in such a way that does not overwhelm or disengage the young person;
  • All parties will provide the required resources and support to ensure that custodial sentences and remand to youth detention accommodation is used as a last resort;
  • The YJS will provide CioC SW with a copy of the ASSET (at all stages) and PSR for the CioC paper file to ensure that there is good understanding between teams of the underlying causes of the offending behaviour and how it will be addressed both through YJS intervention plans and care and pathway plans. Proposals for sentence should be agreed between the YJS and CioC SW – where there is disagreement this should be escalated to line managers in the first instance. The YJS will ensure that welfare concerns are reflected in sentence proposals;
  • Whenever a CioC is arrested (whether or not they are charged) the SW and YJS worker should consider the need to inform the IRO and arrange a review of the care plan;
  • Where a CIOC on a community sentence/ court order is cared for outside of Blackburn with Darwen the Youth Justice Service will:
    1. Contact the YJS in the host authority to discuss the most appropriate arrangements for implementing the order. Where travelling distance is not a major issue, it may be appropriate that BwD YJS retains responsibility for the order with the support of the local YJS who may offer leisure services etc.
    2. Where travelling distance is significant, the YJS will make arrangements for the local YJS to 'caretake' the order but BwD YJS will usually retain case holder responsibilities unless there are very good reasons (agreed by YJS Manager) why a full transfer of the case is necessary.
    3. Where an OOA YJS accepts 'caretaking' responsibilities the YJS will take responsibility for arranging planning meetings, review meetings and enforcement action (if required) in consultation with the CioC social worker, IRO and host YJS.
    4. The YJS will ensure  that all relevant information is shared with the host YJS including ASSET, ROSH (Risk of Serious Harm) assessments, risk and vulnerability management plans, PSR's, care and pathway plans.
  • The CioC will ensure that both YJSS are invited to attend CioC planning and review meetings. Where CioC meetings and community sentence meetings are held together for the sake of convenience, consideration should be given to how the agenda is structured and who should chair both aspects of the meeting.

10. Leaving Care Team

Entitlement to leaving care services

Whether children have become looked after through voluntary agreement with parents (Section 20 CA 1989) or through the making of a Care Order by the court,  all "looked after" children may be entitled to leaving care services [Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000]. This applies to children of 16 and above who have been "looked after" for 13 weeks from their 14th birthday and:

  • Are still "looked after" ("eligible children");
  • Were "looked after" but left care aged 16 or 17 ("relevant children") OR were looked after immediately prior to detention in a custodial setting on attaining the age of 16.

Both eligible and relevant children become "former relevant children" when they reach the age of 18 and continue to be eligible for support.

Where children have a history of being "looked after" but do not meet the above timescales the Local Authority still has the power to offer advice and assistance until the age of 21 ("qualifying children").

Children's entitlement to care-leaving services continues when they are remanded to Local Authority accommodation, youth detention accommodation or sentenced to youth detention accommodation.

From the age of 16, young people start to prepare for the next phase of their lives - leading to independence. In 2000, the Government passed a new law, The Leaving Care Act, to make sure that all looked after children and young people received proper training and skills to support them through this transition. All young people open to the Leaving Care Team are allocated a Personal Advisor, this person will work with them until they are 21 or up to 25 if they are in Full time education.

The LCT  supports and advises young people into Education, Training and Employment, help them to access and sustain suitable accommodation and provides emotional and practical support with a wide range of issues.

11. Leaving Care – Interface with YJS

Regular communication between both the YJS and Leaving Care Service will ensure the parties working together to develop plans, review plans and support compliance of any orders. Where there are indicators of re offending services will be jointly be proactive to prevent this.

  • Every effort will be made to ensure that the social worker, Leaving Care Team and/or Carer (Foster Carer or Residential worker) attend any court or Referral Order panel appointments with a young person. The child to asked who (s) he would wish to attend with them and this view acted upon, however, young people will not attend court alone under any circumstances.

Clarification at the planning process as to how the SW and where applicable foster Carer or Residential worker will support compliance with any Order and specifically outline any actions that they have in this. Social worker and Carer to attend 3 monthly review meetings of this plan. YJS worker to attend CIOC/Leaving Care Team planning meetings and Reviews so that their role in delivery of care plan can be made clear and were required specific actions made clear.

  • Carer and or Social Worker to attend Referral Order Panel with child, if the child refuses to attend then ideally Carer or Social worker still to attend to inform the panel of reasons for young person's non attendance and agree what actions will be taken to ensure attendance at next available panel meeting.

Leaving Care young people in custody - refer to Appendix 1: Guidance in relation to CioC and Leaving Care Children and Young People in Custody.

12. The Youth Justice Service

See also: Appendix 2: Understanding the Youth Justice System.

The role and function of Youth Justice Services (YJSs) is to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people. Multi agency YJSs were established by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and subsequent legislation has introduced a scaled approach to youth justice - see Appendix 2: Understanding the Youth Justice System.

Five core agencies are required to contribute funding and /or staffing to the composition of YJSs in addition to Youth Justice Board core funding. In 2015 the YJS has a police officer, probation officer, substance misuse workers, a victim worker, reparation coordinator, mental health and physical health practitioners, social workers, a VIA partnership worker and youth justice workers. The YJS is currently (2015) divided into three sub teams with a team manager for each – a Preventing First Time Entrants Team, a Reducing Offending Team and a Reducing Custody Team though staff work generically across these three disciplines. The main areas of YJS work discussed in further detail below and in Appendix 2 includes:

  • The provision of services to the Youth and Crown Courts – Pre Sentence Reports, ASSET assessments of young people, bail supervision, remand management;
  • The delivery of community sentence programmes including a violent offender programme, a car offender programme and a wide range of individually tailored offending behaviour programmes, reparation;
  • The delivery of restorative justice principles ensuring that victims have the opportunity to participate in youth justice processes and that young people have opportunities to make amends for their behaviour, take responsibility for it and understand the consequences of their actions for victims, for themselves and for their families;
  • The delivery of early intervention processes and programmes including Youth Cautions, Youth Conditional Cautions and Referral Orders;
  • The provision of through care and resettlement services for children and young people sentenced to custody.

13. Multi-Agency Risk Management Panel (MARM)

The YJB and HMP Inspectorate expect YJSs to lead robust multi agency management oversight of cases presenting the highest levels of risk. This includes cases which are assessed as high likelihood of reoffending (ASSET score 33-64), high risk of serious harm to others and/or a high level of vulnerability. Blackburn with Darwen YJS oversees these cases by means of a weekly MARM panel.

It has been agreed that CSC will ensure appropriate representation for this weekly meeting which is chaired by a senior manager from the YJS. Attendance is required by the case social worker or family support worker for all child in need cases open to Teams, the social worker in all children in our care cases and the social worker and / or personal advisor in leaving care cases. Where there are urgent safeguarding concerns on an unallocated CSC case, a CSC team manager from the First Response Team  will be expected to attend.

Young people meeting the criteria for this forum will be discussed at an initial meeting and reviewed no less than 3 monthly. The purpose of the meeting is to approve and review risk management, vulnerability management and intervention plans and ensure that appropriate exit plans are in place for young people at the end of their court order. The meeting also examines release plans for young people due to be released from custody. CSC staff have a significant role to play in the majority of MARM meetings.

14. Children in Custody

See also: Appendix 1: Guidance in relation to CioC and Leaving Care Children and Young People in Custody.

Where the YJS has identified that a child (up to the age of 18) serving a custodial sentence meets the threshold of the "continuum of need and response" for assessment at level 4 as a "child in need", they YJS should make a referral to CSC First Response Team  using the CAF form and ASSET. CSC will undertake a Child and Family Assessment under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 of the child's needs prior to the final custody review meeting and well in advance of release. At the end of this assessment process it should be possible to see what help and support is needed by the family and which agencies are best placed to provide it and who is best placed to lead and co-ordinate that package of support. In the case of 16/17 year olds homeless on release, careful consideration will be given to whether the young person requires assistance regarding their accommodation need or whether their welfare needs are such that they should be accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act.

Where a child or young person serving a custodial sentence is a case already open to CSC, the YJS will ensure that relevant CSC staff are invited to all planning and review meetings to contribute to decision making and planning for release.

Where a "child in our care" or a young person involved with the leaving care team is sentenced to custody – consult guidance (see: Appendix 1: Guidance in relation to CioC and Leaving Care Children and Young People in Custody).

Guidance in relation to looked after and leaving care children and young people in custody.

Placing Children and Young People in Secure Training Centres and Secure Children's Homes subject to  Youth Detention Accommodation

July 2010  - Protocol was introduced detailing the basis of agreement for admitting children and young people to STC or LASCH on a youth detention accommodation remand. The protocol outlines the responsibilities of the 'responsible authority' (the authority within which the establishment is situated), the local authority with responsibility for the child made subject to youth detention accommodation and the YJB. The protocol outlines admissions criteria, admissions process, the legal basis for youth detention accommodation in relation to 10/11 year olds, 12 to 14 year olds and 15 to 16 year old girls. It sets out the care planning and review procedures, escort and transport arrangements and includes a court warrant checklist. See: Protocol for Court Ordered Secure Remands Placed into Secure Training Centres and Secure Children's Homes (Government Website).

15. Homeless 16-17 year olds involved with YJS

See: Joint Housing and Social Care Protocol for Homeless 16 and 17 year olds Procedure.

Homeless 16/17 year olds involved with the YJS will be referred to the First response Team following agreed referral procedures. The only circumstances in which this referral will not be made at the point of admission to supported accommodation is where the YJS refers a young person to the YJS emergency bed at Cornfield Cliffe when young people should be referred to the CADS Team within 48 hours of admission as young people should remain in this bed for no longer than 28 days and their longer term accommodation needs should be addressed without delay.

16. Remands to Local Authority accommodation (LAA) – Secure or Open Conditions

The YJS will deploy all its resources and services to ensure that children and young people are remanded to youth detention accommodation only as a last resort. These services include:

  • Bail supervision which requires the young person to meet with their allocated YJS worker for the duration of the bail period. The proposed level of contact will be determined by assessment and agreed with the court. The BS worker will provide a tailored programme to provide support and supervision which particularly addresses the grounds for refusing bail;
  • ISS (intensive supervision and surveillance) can be offered as a condition of bail supervision providing 25 hours of weekly intervention to reduce the risk of further offending during the bail period.

Where a child or young person (not a current open case to CSC) is remanded to LAA, the YJS worker will identify a suitable placement following consultation with the CSC duty officer regarding the availability of in-house provision. The YJS will normally access the identified remand bed commissioned from Child Action North West fostering service unless the bed is unavailable or risk assessment indicates that foster care is unsuitable. Where this is the case an agency placement, funded by the YJS (unless already a CIoC or open as CIN – CSC to fund), will be sought. Where the remand is made to youth detention accommodation, the YJS worker will inform the YJB placements team who will identify the placement. Where a child looked after is remanded to youth detention accommodation, the full cost of the placement will be met by CSC.

The YJS will inform CSC as soon as is practically possible that a child or young person is likely to be remanded to LAA so that a social worker can be allocated without delay and the necessary placement documentation completed. The allocated social worker will be responsible for completion of the placement plan to ensure that the placement can be proceed without delay but the YJS worker must assist in providing basic information that CSC may not have. The YJS worker will transport the child/young person to placement and ensure the parents are informed of contact details. The YJB will be responsible for arranging transport where a child or young person is remanded to youth detention accommodation.

Allocation of a social worker from CSC is necessary where any child/young person is placed away from home. The YJS will make a referral to CSC for allocation of a social worker by completing a CAF referral form and attaching the appropriate ASSET if recent and available. The CSC social worker will complete the placement plan and inform the review and protection team of the need to convene a LAC review within 28 working days of placement. The CSC will be responsible for all further LAC documentation and for supporting the child/young person as a "looked after child" whilst the case progresses.  The YJS worker will ensure that information relating to court proceedings is shared and that any decisions regarding change of placement or applications for bail are made jointly with the CSC social worker.

17. Remanding Children or Young People Already Open to CSC

Where a child/young person who is already an open case to CSC is remanded or likely to be remanded into LAA the YJS worker will inform the social worker and their line manager at the earliest opportunity. The social worker should identify a suitable remand placement unless it has been agreed at a managerial level that it is more appropriate for the YJS worker to do so.  Appropriate authorisation and funding for the placement will need to take place via the Commissioning Panel. In addition LAC procedures will need to be followed. The CSC social worker is responsible for LAC documentation and for the arrangement of reviews. The YJS worker will be responsible for arranging an initial remand planning meeting at the placement within 3 working days of that placement to which the social worker should be invited.

It is essential that the case is managed jointly between the YJS worker and the social worker from that point.

18. Bailed to Live as Directed

Where the court is bailing a young person to live as directed because of welfare concerns the YJS worker will consult with the CSC duty manager and steer the court towards either:

  • Bail to live as directed by CSC – where there are primarily safeguarding issues;
  • Bail to live as directed by YJS – where there are primarily offending issues.

Where the former (a) is agreed and young person is placed away from the family home, CSC will have responsibility of the identification of the placement, transportation, the LAC documentation and reviews. The YJS worker may offer the court an option to impose bail supervision or bail ISS either to support the young person in placement or as an alternative to placing the young person away from home. Any decision to place the child/young person at home under these circumstances should be made jointly with YJS and CSC and followed up with an early planning meeting.

Where the latter (b) is agreed and the child/young person is placed away from home the YJS worker will be responsible for the identification of the address and transportation. If the address is a placement they should make a referral to CSC via a CAF form and provision of the ASSET assessment in order that a social worker can be allocated.  At that point CSC will become responsible for supporting them in line with LAC fieldwork procedures.

19. Appropriate Adult Service

The YJS commissions an appropriate adult service thorough Child Action North West who respond directly to the police request for an adult between the hours of 9am and midnight 7 days a week.  The YJS has agreed to the principles outlined in CANW's safeguarding children and young people policy and vice versa as indicated in the service level agreement between the two agencies. 

The most significant safeguarding issues that arise from the AA agreement are:

  • That the AA will not agree to proceed to police interview unless the child and young person is legally represented;
  • That AA staff are appropriately trained to recognise when a young person is not fit to be interviewed and require the assessment of the police surgeon;
  • That AA staff adequately trained to represent the best interests of the child or young person to be interviewed under PACE;
  • All AA staff undergo enhanced DBS checks;
  • All CioC arrested and interviewed by the police will be supported by an AA through CANW. Foster Carers and residential staff should not act as AA in any circumstances.

20. Children and Young People Who Present a Risk to Other Children and Young People Under the Age of 18 Years

If a young person is assessed by ASSET / risk of serious harm assessment as presenting either a high or very risk of serious harm to children or young people under the age of 18 years with whom they have daily or regular contact, the YJS worker will refer to CSC following Child Protection Procedures and refer to the review and protection team for a young offender strategy meeting which will be held in line with procedures. The case should also be discussed at MARM panel which will consider whether referral at level 2 is required.

Where a young person presents a high or very risk to children and young people outside the family home context, the YJS will:

  • Refer the case to Multi-Agency Risk Management Panel which will consider and agree the need for a MAPPA referral at Level 2. 

21. Children and Young People Displaying Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Refer to: Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire Children's Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP) Procedures, Children and Young People Who Display Sexually Harmful Behaviour.

Support Around Sexual Health Programme (SASH)

The SASH Project is coordinated through the YJS but will accept referrals in respect of children and young people up to the age of 18 displaying harmful sexual behaviour irrespective of whether the behaviour is dealt with by the criminal justice system.

The AIM 2 assessment model is designed to identify the supervision and intervention needs of young people displaying HSB using a strengths and concerns matrix which is evidence based. AIM 2 assessments can be undertaken alongside Child and Family Assessments and where an assessment indicates that intervention of more than 6 months is required a comprehensive assessment which can run alongside Child and Family Assessment should be completed.

Referrals to the SASH project should initially be made via telephone contact with the YJS Manager (SASH Project Coordinator ) who will e mail a referral form. Once there is agreement that an AIM assessment is required, the coordinator will identify two AIM trained practitioners to undertake the work and set a timescale for completion of an AIM 2 report. The coordinator will supervise and quality assure assessment reports before they are submitted to strategy meetings, courts or any other formal meetings. If the intervention proposal is accepted, the coordinator  will then identify, support and supervise ongoing intervention work. Specialist supervision for these cases will also be provided as appropriate.

Appendix 1: Guidance in relation to CioC and Leaving Care Children and Young People in Custody


This guidance is aimed at CSC Looked After Children and Leaving Care Teams and the YJS to support their work with looked after children and care leavers who are either sentenced or remanded to youth detention accommodation. It recognises that a significant proportion of children and young people serving custodial sentences or in youth detention accommodation have been in the "care" system at some point and are still entitled to a range of support services provided by different sections of the local authority.

Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire Children's Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP) is committed to ensuring that all relevant agencies operate in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that all under 18's are treated as "children first" rather than defining them on the basis of them having broken the law. The UN Convention requires that custody for children should only be used as a last resort and then only for the shortest appropriate period of time. The YJS, CSC and leaving care teams are all committed to deploying the necessary resources to ensure that children who are looked after and care leavers are kept out of youth detention accommodation if at all possible.

Legal Context

On 29th November 2002, Mr Justice Munby delivered his judgement in the High Court, on the Howard League application in relation to the application of the Children Act (1989) to children detained in young offender institutions (YOIs). He found unequivocally that the Children Act 1989 did apply to these children, and that duties owed by Local Authorities with social services responsibilities (LASSRs) continue to be owed to children in YOIs, subject to the requirements of imprisonment. The Judge also confirmed that human rights legislation, and particularly the Human Rights Act (1998), applies to children in custodial facilities.

Local Authority Circular (2004)26

LA circular was issued July 2004 to remind local authorities with social services responsibilities (LASSRs) of their responsibilities towards safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in custody.   

Understanding Care Status

The term "looked after child" was introduced in the Children Act 1989 and replaced the description of children being "in care". It means that children are looked after by the local authority away from their parents but is an umbrella term covering different types of legal status. It is important to understand these differences because they have implications for the respective responsibilities of parents and local authorities, and for the child's entitlement to services, including ongoing support after leaving care. Legal status is further complicated when a child goes into custody. The most important categories for practitioners to establish are as follows.

  • Subject to care order (S31 Children Act 1989);
  • Accommodated - by voluntary agreement with parents or unaccompanied asylum seeker (S20 Children Act 1989);
  • Remanded to local authority accommodation (S23.1 Children and Young Persons Act 1969);
  • Entitled to leaving care services (Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000).

Subject to Care Order 

Where the family proceedings or High Court considers that a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, it makes this order to place the child in the care of the local authority. This enables the named local authority to share parental responsibility for the child with the parents, and to decide where the child must live. This will usually be a foster home, children's home or other residential establishment but some children on care orders may live with parents or with family members. Care orders last until the child's 18th birthday unless formally revoked by the court.

Care orders are not affected by the child's imprisonment. The local authority's responsibilities remain the same, apart from the fact that it cannot determine where the child will live whilst remanded to youth detention accommodation or sentenced to custody.

Accommodated - By Voluntary Agreement With Parents

Where parents/carers are having difficulty in caring for their child it may be agreed that the local authority will "accommodate" the child, that is, look after the child on their behalf. They will provide a placement for the child in a foster home, children's home or other residential establishment. Once a child is "accommodated", the local authority will be responsible for planning for their care in the same way as if he or she was the subject of a care order. The local authority does not have parental responsibility for the child and if the parent requests that the child be returned to their care then the child will be discharged from accommodation and is no longer looked after.

Where a child enters the country as an unaccompanied asylum seeker, the local authority is responsible for assessing their needs. If they are under 16 or between 16 and 18 and vulnerable, then there is a presumption that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children will need to be provided with accommodation under s20, as above.

Remanded to Local Authority Accommodation

Where a criminal court decides to remand a child pending trial to local authority accommodation (or youth detention accommodation), the local authority has a duty to find a suitable placement for them. The child is "accommodated" and entitled to the same planning and review processes as children in category 2a above (S23 Children and Young Persons Act 1969).

Entitled to Leaving Care Services

Whatever route they have followed, all "looked after" children may be entitled to leaving care services [Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000]. This applies to children of 16 and above who have been "looked after" for 13 weeks from their 14th birthday and:

  • Are still "looked after" ("eligible children")
  • Were "looked after" but left care aged 16 or 17 ("relevant children") OR were looked after immediately prior to detention in a custodial setting on attaining the age of 16.

Both eligible and relevant children become "former relevant children" when they reach the age of 18 and continue to be eligible for support.

Where children have a history of being "looked after" but do not meet the above timescales the Local Authority still has the power to offer advice and assistance until the age of 21 ("qualifying children").

Children's entitlement to care-leaving services continues when they are remanded to youth detention accommodation or sentenced to custody.

Planning Process

Every looked after child must have a care plan setting out the overall objective for their care and how the authority will meet their specific needs, such as education and health. This plan will be drawn up in consultation with the relevant agencies (for example schools) and usually with the parents. The plan should take account of the child's wishes and feelings. The local authority must formally review this care plan at least every 6 months.

Every care leaver is entitled to a pathway plan from the age of 16 detailing the ongoing support they will receive from the local authority to prepare them for leaving care and to provide subsequent support, including the provision of accommodation, financial and personal support. Their pathway plan will continue until the age of 21, or 24 if the young person is still in education or training, but the local authority is no longer responsible for providing financial maintenance or accommodation after the age of 18. 'Relevant ' children will retain this status in custody and the relevant local authority  retains responsibility for providing support during time in custody and on release.

Roles and responsibilities checklists

Children's services social worker / leaving care personal adviser

When a looked after child or care leaver is arrested and/or charged with a criminal offence, you are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the child is accompanied by an appropriate adult and, if necessary, has access to a legal representative;
  • Sharing relevant information with the YJS about the child's needs, circumstances and plans;
  • Working with YJS to provide a package of support to maximise the child's chances of getting bail;
  • Contributing relevant information and advice to the YJS for the pre-sentence report;
  • Accompanying the child to court or arranging for a parent/carer to do so;
  • Considering how to prevent the child offending in future.

If the child is remanded to youth detention accommodation or sentenced to custody, you are responsible for:

  • Providing essential information to the secure establishment, including any risks that the child may pose to self or others, both verbally and in writing;
  • Visiting the child within 1 week and beginning an assessment of needs;
  • Providing information to the secure establishment within 5 working days regarding the child/young persons legal status;
  • Supporting the child to have contact with family and friends;
  • Making a plan as to how the child's needs will be met in custody and on release;
  • Informing the independent reviewing officer that the child is in custody (date of admission) and liaising with the relevant IRO to ensure that care planning and review processes continue within statutory timescales;
  • For ensuring that both the YJS case manager and establishment key worker are invited to CioC planning and review meetings (with child's consent);
  • Ensuring that a CioC review takes place within the last month prior to release (try to tie in with final DTO review);
  • Implementing the aspects of the plan you are responsible for, including financial support and accommodation;
  • Keeping in touch with the child whilst in custody and keeping informed about progress and events whilst in custody by liaising with a designated link worker within the establishment and the child's YJS worker;
  • Ensuring that the YJS worker is aware of any changes to care plan or in service delivery plans;
  • Contributing to the sentence planning process, particularly the release plan, and making sure that it is suitable for the child's abilities and needs;
  • Attending as a minimum the initial and final remand or sentence planning meetings and where it is not possible to attend any meetings for providing information about the care/pathway plan to the YJS case manager responsible for making the links between respective plans;
  • For ensuring that where there is any potential for overlap of roles between social worker and YJS that agreements regarding responsibilities (e.g. for health, education arrangements on release) are in place;
  • Supporting the child after release;
  • For ensuring that the child knows no later than 10 days before release who will be collecting them, where they will be living, reporting arrangements, sources of support, arrangements for education, training or employment, arrangements to meet health needs, how they will receive financial support, when they will see their social worker and what the roles and responsibilities of involved practitioners will be.

YJS worker

If a looked after child or care leaver is arrested and/or charged with an offence, you are responsible for:

  • Establishing the child's care status, including entitlement to leaving care services;
  • Sharing relevant information with the child's social worker;
  • Working with the social worker to prevent the child from committing further offences;
  • Establishing relevant information from the social worker to inform the content of ASSET and the recommendations of the pre-sentence report;
  • Working with the social worker to maximise the child's chances of bail.

If the child is remanded to youth detention accommodation or sentenced to custody, you are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the secure establishment is aware of the child's care status and social worker's contact details;
  • Ensuring that the secure establishment receives all relevant documentation (Post Court Report, Pre Sentence Report and ASSET) electronically outlining issues of risk and vulnerability without delay. Where a child is assessed as being particularly vulnerable in custody, the YJS worker should make direct personal contact with the YJB placements team and the establishment to share information;
  • Checking that the social worker has informed Review and Protection that child is in custody and where they are held;
  • Liaising with the social worker and contributing to children's services planning and review processes;
  • Involving the social worker in the sentence planning process making sure the plans are compatible;
  • Ensuring that release plans and intervention include the role of the social worker, and reflect their assessment of the child's abilities and needs;
  • Maintaining contact with the social worker after the child is released;
  • Making a referral to the leaving care service in the case of relevant young people;
  • Supporting the child in line with national standards for youth justice and youth justice board guidance;
  • Consulting the social worker in respect of any enforcement issues and where child /young person having difficulty complying for working with the social worker to identify additional sources of support.

Independent reviewing officer

You are generally responsible for the quality of care-planning and pathway planning for looked after children and care leavers in relation to offending behaviour by:

  • Making sure that children's care/pathway plans includes measures to prevent them from offending;
  • Reporting any deficiencies in the service or trends in relation to offending behaviour to managers and monitoring the response.

In relation to individual looked after children and care leavers who are serving a custodial sentence or remanded to youth detention accommodation, you are responsible for:

  • Making sure that each child has a plan that reflects their particular needs within a custodial setting including money to purchase toiletries, clothing, books etc that educational needs are met including any special needs, that health, cultural and religious needs are all addressed. The care/pathway plan should consider whether the child is worried about anything, whether support in respect of family contact arrangements is required, what action is needed to address accommodation problems on release and what support is needed to facilitate early release. In remand cases whether there is support for a bail application;
  • Establishing a timescale for their care/pathway plan to be reviewed according to the child's needs and circumstances, and not less than the statutory minimum;
  • Monitoring the implementation of plans and the effectiveness of services provided in particular any unmet needs that are significant to the risk of further offending;
  • Ensuring that review arrangements are satisfactory and that children and parents/carers are able to contribute their views in spite of the setting;
  • Making sure that plans/reviews are linked to sentence plans;
  • Bringing together the DTO final review in custody and a CioC review;
  • Consideration of who needs to attend next review.

Former CioC in Custody

Section 15 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 inserted a new section 23ZA into the 1989 Act, imposing a duty on the local authority to visit children who cease to be looked after as a result of being remanded or sentenced to custody and are not eligible for leaving care support. This statutory guidance and The Visits to Former Looked After Children in Detention (England) Regulations 2010 set out how local authorities should carry out their responsibilities to this group of children in custody:

There are particular concerns with regard to children who were voluntarily accommodated (under section 20 of the 1989 Act) before receiving a custodial sentence and whose period in custody ends before their 16th birthday or those aged 16 and 17 who are not entitled to leaving care support. Some children in this group may have been looked after for a considerable time prior to being sentenced or remanded and may not necessarily be able to return to the care of a stable family. The local authority may have other ongoing duties towards this group of children under the 1989 Act. Where these children and young people are aged 16 or 17 they may be entitled to advice and assistance as "qualifying children" under section 24(1B) of the 1989 Act. All children who may be in need are entitled to an assessment under section 17 of the 1989 Act.

At the point the young person is remanded to youth detention accommodation or sentenced to custody, if the local authority's social worker has not attended Court, the responsible YJS should notify the local authority about the details of their sentence, or remand into custody, and about where they have been detained.

The local authority must then appoint a representative to visit the child. This representative should be a qualified social worker employed by the authority, usually the social worker or personal advisor who was allocated to the child's case and was responsible for maintaining the care or pathway plan before they entered custody. There may be some circumstances where a residential care worker or a foster carer familiar to the child might be appropriate to carry out this role. The role must not be fulfilled by a YJS worker. The local authority should also inform the child's Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) of their placement in custody and the name of the appointed representative.

Regardless of the fact that the child is no longer looked after, the secure establishment will have the same need for information as any other residential setting. Within 5 working days of the child's placement, the local authority should provide information to the custodial establishment by contacting the offender supervisor based in the YOI, or equivalent post in the STC or SCH, to inform them  of:

  • The child's previous care status;
  • Persons with parental responsibility for the child;
  • Name and contact details of the local authority's appointed representative and the accountable team manager;
  • Any immediate information necessary to ensure the child's safety;
  • Relevant information about the child's family/carers and contact arrangements;  
  • Relevant information about the child's needs that will enhance the establishment's ability to care for the child, especially in responding to the child's health and education needs;
  • The date when the appointed representative will be visiting the child;
  • In return, they should seek information from the secure establishment about how the child has settled in and agree arrangements for them to visit the child.

The LA must ensure that the appointed representative visits the child within 10 working days  of their entering custody unless this is not reasonably practicable (It may be helpful if these visits could be coordinated with the Initial Planning Meeting)The establishment should facilitate the visit and allow the child to be seen in privacy (unless the child refuses).

Reg 4(1)(b) of 2010 regs places a duty on the LA representative also visits the child when reasonably requested to do so by:-

  • The child;
  • A member of staff of the establishment;
  • The child's parents or person with PR;
  • The relevant YJS case manager.

The purpose of the initial visit is to complete an assessment of the child's needs whilst in custody and on release. This will take into account previous care plan; assessments made by YJS and the establishment.

The assessments should be based on the format of the I.A. The representative should consider:

  • Is there a risk of self harm;
  • What is the child's emotional state?
  • Does the child need money, clothes, books or other practical support?
  • Educational needs and are the staff aware of these and able to meet these, including any special needs and abilities?
  • Are the health unit and staff aware of and able to meet the child's health needs?
  • Are staff aware of and able to meet the child's religious and cultural needs?
  • Is the child worried about anything and if so what? Does the child understand how they can access advocacy and other services to express any concerns and make their views known
  • Are the parents able to fulfil the PR o the child whilst in custody?
  • Has there been a change in parents' capacity to enable them to resume the care of the child upon release in a way that will meet the child's needs? If not, might additional support be provided to enable the parents to resume the care care of the child;
  • If it is not appropriate to return home or to become looked after again what alternative arrangements need to be made;
  • The Child's wishes and feelings on these matters should sought; Child's parents ( or person with PR), staff should be sought; the views of previous carers and the IRO should also be sought. If the representative is not the SW previously allocated the child's case then their views also should be sought;
  • The assessment should be completed within 20 working days of the child entering custody and should conclude with an analysis that sets out clearly recommendations to the LA about the advice, assistance and support the child will need in custody and on release;
  • Reg 6 ( 2010 regs)sets out information that must be included in the assessment (see p6 para 23-24 of the Guidance);
  • A copy of the representatives report should be given to:-
    • The child;
    • The parents or those with PR unless not in the best interests of the child to do so;
    • The governor or director or registered manager of the establishment where the child  Is detained;
    • The relevant YJS case manager;
    • The LA where the child is detained (if different from home authority);
    • The home authority designated manager (Head of Service Safeguarding and CP.

Role of the Designated Manager

 The home authority designated manager responsible for allocating resources to ensure future support of the child will confirm via e mail to the LA representative and to the YJS case manager that the assessment and recommendations have been received and will outline  what steps will be taken to implement the recommendations and confirm the plans. Where the designated manager doesn't accept the recommendations he/she will consult the YJS Manager and if appropriate the former social worker and IRO. Where it is necessary to obtain the approval of the commissioning panel to secure resources, requests should be submitted to the panel approximately 6 weeks prior to release by the representative with the agreement of the designated manager. Once the plan and resources to implement are confirmed details should be forwarded to:

  • The YJS case manager;
  • The Governor of the secure establishment;
  • The child;
  • The parents and/or others with PR;
  • Any agency with responsibility for implementing the plan;
  • Other relevant parties (with child's consent.

Where the designated manager has decided that continuing support post release support will not be provided they will inform via e mail the YJS case manager, the governor of the secure establishment, the child, their parents or any other parties with PR.

Role of the LA Representative

Where it is agreed that the child will need support in custody or on release or where it is agreed that they will be accommodated on release the LA representative should:

  • Visit with same frequency as for a CioC (statutory visits) and additional visits should be undertaken if requested by the child or the establishment (see Appendix A);
  • Attend meetings in order to be fully involved in planning for release including plans for early release and/or home curfew detention;
  • Ensure the child knows who will be collecting them and where they will be living no later than 14 days before release;
  • Ensure that the child understands reporting arrangements post release including when they will see their social worker;
  • Ensure that the child understands their support arrangements post release;
  • Ensure that the child understands arrangements and can access education, training or employment on release;
  • Ensure the child understands how their health needs will be met post release;
  • Ensure the child understands how their financial support needs will be met post release.

Appendix 2: Understanding the Youth Justice System

The current youth justice system was introduced in 1998 with the passing of the Crime and Disorder Act and the establishment of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and Youth Justice Services (YJSs). Its primary purpose is to prevent offending by children and young people under the age of 18. The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 but younger children may be the focus of attention if they are thought to be at risk of developing offending behaviours. The system is not designed to meet welfare needs, although there is a recognition that unmet need may be a causal factor in offending behaviour.

The following summary of the system is based on information available on the YJB website.

Youth Justice Services

There is a YJS in every local authority in England and Wales. They are made up of representatives from the police, Probation Provider, social services, health, education, drugs and alcohol misuse, and housing. Each YJS must submit a Capacity and Capability Plan to the YJB. YJSs are inspected jointly by the Healthcare Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, HM Inspectorate of Probation and the Office for Standards in Education. YJS Inspection forms part of the Joint Area Review and Corporate Assessment processes.

YJS Assessment

All young people who enter the youth justice system from the Youth Caution point onwards are assessed by their allocated YJS worker using the YJB tool ASSET. ASSET  is used to determine the risk factors inherent in a young person's offending behaviour across 12 different domains which include:

  • Living arrangements;
  • Family and personal relationships;
  • Education, training, employment;
  • Neighbourhood;
  • Lifestyle;
  • Substance use;
  • Physical health;
  • Emotional and mental health;
  • Perception of self and others;
  • Thinking and behaviour;
  • Attitudes to offending;
  • Motivation to change.

The tool also requires an assessment of the young person's vulnerability, risk of harm to others and of positive factors which provide resilience to adverse outcomes when faced with difficult circumstances. The tool is supported by a scoring device that enables the YJS worker to quantify the level of risk of further offending as well as qualify the supervision and support needs of each young person assessed. Each of the 12 domains attract a score of 0 to 4, 4 being the highest indication of risk and the higher the score the greater the need for intervention to address that particular area of risk.

Research evidence indicates that there are four static factors which are good indicators of the risk of further offending and these also attract a score. These are:

  • Offence type (motor offending and burglary are strong indicators);
  • Age at first reprimand/caution/warning;
  • Age at first conviction;
  • Number of previous convictions.

The higher the overall ASSET score, the greater the risk of reoffending.

Pre-court Intervention

When young people first get into trouble, behave anti-socially or commit relatively minor offences, they can be dealt with outside of the court system. Police and local authority can use a variety of pre-court measures including those listed below.

Arrest and Detention

If police decide to take action because they suspect a child has committed a criminal offence, they must interview the child in the presence of an 'appropriate adult'. This will normally be a parent or guardian but can also be a representative of the local authority or other responsible adult. Their role is to ensure that the young person understands what is being said and that the interview is conducted fairly. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) sets out the way in which suspects must be treated.

There are a range of pre-court disposals available if the child/young person admits an offence, dependent on the seriousness of the offence.

Tackling Anti-social Behaviour

Acceptable Behaviour Contract

An acceptable behaviour contract is given when a local authority and YJS identify a young person who is behaving anti-socially at a low level. With the young person and their parents/carers, they agree a contract under which the young person agrees to stop the patterns of behaviour that are causing nuisance to the local community and undertake activities to address their offending behaviour. If they breach the terms of the contract, the local authority can use this to get an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) applied to the young person.

Civil Injunction

A civil injunction can be applied for by the police and/or local authority. The injunction can be used with anyone who is 10 years of age or over and has engaged or threatened to engage in anti-social behaviour that has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person.

Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO)

An application for a CBO can be made in relation to a criminal conviction. It is designed to prevent further anti-social behaviour where the court has concluded beyond reasonable doubt that the offender has engaged in behaviour that caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person.

Community Resolution

This is an informal process for dealing with minor offences. It can include advice to the offender, a verbal or written apology to the victim, reparation or financial compensation.

Restorative Justice Disposal

This will usually involve a more formal process of mediation with the victim including the possibility of a Restorative Justice Conference.


The child/young person is referred to Child Action North West and is usually required to perform 3 hours of community reparation. An assessment is undertaken and referral made to relevant organisations in the event that unmet needs are identified. Triage is an informal criminal justice response, but may still be included in Enhanced DBS disclosures.

Youth Caution

A Youth Caution is recorded on the Police National Computer and is a formal sanction. No further action is required in law, but Blackburn with Darwen YJS conduct an assessment in all cases (except those involving British Transport Police) and offers a voluntary intervention where appropriate.

Youth Conditional Caution

This type of caution is conditional upon the child/young person completing statutory intervention which may include any/all of the following categories:

  • Rehabilitative;
  • Restorative;
  • Punitive;
  • Restrictive.

All cases in Blackburn with Darwen where a Caution/Youth Conditional Caution is being considered by a Police Officer, are referred to a Multi-Agency Youth Disposal Panel which is chaired by a YJS Operational Manager. The panel has the options of confirming the Police Officer's recommendation, de-escalating to Triage. Community Resolution/Restorative Justice or even no further action or in rare cases escalating to prosecution.

Bail and Remand

Where a young person is charged by the police, the matter will be brought to a Youth Court. If the young person is charged with an extremely serious offence, the Youth Court may refer the case to the Crown Court. If the case cannot be dealt with immediately, the court will make a decision as to whether the young person will be bailed or remanded into Local Authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation.

Unconditional Bail

A young person remanded on unconditional bail is required to return to court on a specific day at a specific time, but apart from this requirement there are no other conditions attached to their bail.

Conditional Bail

A court will remand a young person on conditional bail to ensure that the young person attends court on the next occasion, does not re-offend whilst on bail and does not interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice. Conditional bail can range from a fairly low level, including a condition of residence and curfew; to much more demanding levels, where the young person is supervised by a YJS on a bail-support and supervision programme. YJSs can include electronic tagging and/or Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS) as part of bail supervision and support programmes.

Remand to Local Authority Accommodation

Remanding a young person to local authority accommodation involves the young person being looked after by the local authority. Conditions can be applied to remands to local authority accommodation as with bail. The local authority chooses what type of accommodation it provides for the young person unless there is a competition preventing placement at a specific address. A Remand Fostering Scheme is currently being piloted by the YJB.

Youth Detention Accommodation

Courts use youth detention accommodation for young people whose offences are particularly serious or who have offended frequently. Young people on youth detention accommodation are placed in Secure Children's Homes (SCHs), Secure Training Centres (STCs) or Young Offender Institutions (YOI), dependent on age and assessment of risk/vulnerability.

The Scaled Approach

The Scaled Approach aims to ensure that interventions are tailored to the individual, based on an assessment of their risks and needs. Evidence tells us that interventions are more effective when their intensity is matched to an assessment of the likelihood of the person reoffending, and are focused on the risk factors most closely associated with their offending. The key benefits are that interventions can be better targeted and, ultimately, offending and risk of serious harm can be reduced. This way of working has the benefit of allowing youth justice services to direct time and resources to young people appropriately, in accordance with their risk assessment.

Determining intervention level

intervention levels

Youth Justice Sentences in the Community

Referral Order

A Compulsory Referral Order is given to a young person who pleads guilty to an offence when it is his/her first time in court. The only exceptions are if the offence is so serious that the court decides a custodial sentence is absolutely necessary, or the offence is relatively minor in which case an alternative such as a fine or an absolute or conditional discharge may be given. Legislation has provided for increased use of Discretionary Referral Orders and, as a result of the LASPO Act, Discretionary Referral Orders can now be used at any stage of a young person's sentencing history.

When a young person is given a referral order, he or she is required to attend a youth offender panel, which is made up of two volunteers from the local community and a panel adviser from a YJS. The panel, with the young person, their parents/carers and the victim (where appropriate), agree a contract lasting between 3 and 12 months. The aim of the contract is to repair the harm caused by the offence and address the causes of the offending behaviour. The conviction is 'spent' once the contract has been successfully completed. This means that in most circumstances the offence will not have to be disclosed by the young person when applying for work.

Reparation Order

Reparation orders are designed to help young offenders understand the consequences of their offending and take responsibility for their behaviour.

They require the young person to repair the harm caused by their offence either directly to the victim (this can involve victim/offender mediation if both parties agree) or indirectly to the community. Examples of this might be cleaning up graffiti or undertaking community work. The order is overseen by the YJS.


The size of a fine reflects the offence committed and the offender's financial circumstances. For a person under 16 years of age, the payment of the fine is the responsibility of their parents/carers and their financial circumstances will be taken in to account when the level of the fine is set.

Conditional Discharge

A young person receiving a conditional discharge receives no immediate punishment. A period of between 6 months and 3 years is set and, as long as the young person does not commit a further offence during this period, no punishment will be imposed. However, if the young person commits another offence during this period, they can be brought back to court and re-sentenced.

Absolute Discharge

A young person is given an absolute discharge when they admit guilt or are found guilty, but no further action is taken against them.

All sentences where the young person is to be kept within the community are open to the following orders.

Parenting Order

Parenting orders can be given to the parents/carers of young people who offend, truant or who have received a child safety order, anti-social behaviour order or sexual offences prevention order. A parenting order requires the parent to comply with requirements specified for a maximum period of 12 months and to attend counselling sessions for a concurrent not exceeding 3 months.

Youth Rehabilitation Order

The Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) is a generic community sentence for young offenders and combines a number of requirements into one generic sentence. It is the standard community sentence used for the majority of children and young people who offend. It simplifies sentencing for young people, while improving the flexibility of interventions.

The YRO came into effect on 30 November 2009 as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

The YRO represents a more individualised risk and needs-based approach to community sentencing, enabling greater choice from a 'menu' of requirements.

The following requirements can be attached to a YRO although some (*) are not currently available in Blackburn with Darwen.

  • Activity Requirement
  • Curfew Requirement
  • Exclusion Requirement
  • Local Authority Residence Requirement
  • Education Requirement *
  • Mental Health Treatment Requirement *
  • Unpaid Work Requirement (16/17 years)
  • Drug Testing Requirement
  • Intoxicating Substance Treatment Requirement
  • Supervision Requirement
  • Electronic Monitoring Requirement
  • Prohibited Activity Requirement
  • Drug Treatment Requirement
  • Residence Requirement
  • Programme Requirement
  • Attendance Centre Requirement
  • Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (based on the current ISSP)
  • Intensive Fostering *

The YRO is a robust community sentence providing a 'menu' of interventions for tackling offending behaviour and the sentence can be used again on multiple occasions, minimising the use of custody. There are no restrictions on the number of times an offender can be sentenced to a YRO. Courts would be expected to use the YRO on multiple occasions, adapting the menu as appropriate to deal with the offending behaviour.

For the court to sentence a young person to a YRO, the court must consider the offence serious enough to warrant a YRO, and the restriction of liberty involved must be proportionate to seriousness of offence (ss 147-148 CJA Act 2003). The court will specify the date or dates by which particular requirements must be completed; the maximum period of a YRO is 3 years. If the young person is already subject to a YRO or reparation order, the court cannot sentence to a YRO, unless the existing orders have been revoked.

In a YRO case a warning is required if the supervising officer finds there is a failure to comply without reasonable excuse. If following a further second warning, within the 12 month 'warned period,' there is then a third failure to comply without reasonable excuse, the officer must refer the case to court for breach proceedings, although YJSs will have additional discretion in exceptional circumstances following a third failure to comply. The officer also has the discretion to refer the case to court at an earlier warning stage.

When dealing with the breach of a YRO, the court has the following options:

  • Fine;
  • No Action;
  • Amend the YRO by substituting, changing or adding a requirement;
  • Revoke and Resentence.

Custodial Sentencing

Detention and Training Orders (DTO's)

The DTO is the main custodial sentence for children and young people. The DTO can be for a term of four, six, eight, ten, 12, 18 or 24 months, half of which is served in detention, the remainder in the community under the supervision of a member of the YJS. It is available for young offenders who have been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment in the case of someone aged 21 or over. It is available for males and females.

Section 90

If the conviction is for murder, the sentence falls under Section 90 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Such sentences are termed "Detention at Her Majesty's Pleasure" and a mandatory life sentence will apply. The sentencing court will set a minimum term (also known as the tariff) to be spent in custody, after which the young person can apply to the Parole Board for release. The Secretary of State's directions to the Parole Board  set out the assessment criteria for the release of those serving a life sentence. Once released, the young person will be subject to a supervisory licence for an indefinite period.

Section 91

If a young person is convicted of an offence for which an adult could receive at least 14 years in custody, they may be sentenced under Section 91 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. The length of the sentence can be anywhere up to the adult maximum for the same offence, which for certain offences may be life.

A young person given a Section 91 sentence will be placed in custody. The young person will be released automatically at the halfway point and could be released up to a maximum of 135 days early on a Home Detention Curfew (HDC)  if they meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme and pass a risk assessment (authorised by the Governor for those in a YOI or the YJB Placement and Casework Service for those in STCs or secure children's homes). Once released, the young person will be subject to:

  • A supervisory licence;
  • A notice of supervision for a minimum of 3 months.

Section 226B – extended sentence for certain violent or sexual offences

This is a determinate (or fixed-term sentence). If a young person has committed a specified offence and the court determines that individual to be dangerous, then this disposal is available, although no longer mandatory. The sentence is structured as a custodial term and an extended licence period, which together form the total sentence; for example, a custodial term of X years and an extension period of Y years, with a total term of Z years (where X + Y = Z).

The Carter Report recommendation, realised by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, requires all public protection sentences to result in a minimum of 2 years in custody. As release takes place at the half-way point of the custodial term, then the custodial term must normally be at least 4 years to achieve this. There are also limitations on the extension periods available depending on whether the offence was violent or sexual.

The juvenile secure estate

There are three types of secure accommodation in which a young person can be placed. Together these make up the juvenile secure estate.

Secure training centres

Secure training centres (STC's) are purpose-built centres for young offenders up to the age of 17. They are run by private operators according to Home Office contracts, which set out detailed operational requirements. There are now three STCs in England:

  • Oakhill in Milton Keynes;
  • Rainsbrook in Rugby;
  • Medway in Kent.

Young offenders are given the opportunity to develop as individuals which, in turn, will help stop them re-offending. Trainees are provided with formal education 25 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year.

Secure Children's Homes

Secure Children's Homes (SCHs) focus on attending to the physical, emotional and behavioural needs of the young people they accommodate. They are usually run by local authority children's services authorities, and overseen by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills. SCHs provide young people with support tailored to their individual needs. To achieve this, they have a high ratio of staff to young people and are generally small facilities, ranging in size from 6 to 40 beds. SCHs are generally used to accommodate young offenders aged 12 to 14; girls up to the age of 16; and 15- to 16-year-old boys who are assessed as vulnerable.

Young Offender Institutions

Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are facilities run by the Prison Service. They accommodate 15- to 21-year-olds. The Board commissions and purchases places for under-18s, who are held in discrete juvenile wings.

  • YOIs have lower ratios of staff to young people than STCs and SCHs and generally accommodate larger numbers of young people. Consequently, they are less able to address the individual needs of young people. YOIs are generally considered to be inappropriate accommodation for more vulnerable young offenders.

They house vulnerable young people who are sentenced to custody in a secure environment where they can be educated and rehabilitated. They differ from Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) in that they have a higher ratio of staff to young offenders (a minimum of three staff members to eight trainees) and are smaller in size, which means that an individual's needs can be met more easily. The regimes in STCs are education-focused.

Trix procedures

Only valid for 48hrs