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5.2.5 Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to children placed in secure accommodation.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Local guidance – Secure Accommodation Policy for Children in Care

RELATED CHAPTERS

Placements in Secure Accommodation

This chapter was reviewed in April 2016.


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 


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 an Independent Reviewing Officer.


4. Secure Accommodation Review Panel

The Secure Accommodation Panel is responsible for listening to the views of those who attend/contribute, and coming to a decision about whether they believe the criteria for secure accommodation are still met. The Panel cannot come to a decision about whether the child should remain or leave secure accommodation; it can only make a recommendation on this to the Designated Manager (Secure Accommodation) (Director of Children’s Services).

The Panel consists of the Chairperson and two other people, one of whom will be independent both of the local authority and the authority managing the secure unit. 


5. Arranging a Secure Accommodation Review Panel

Secure Accommodation Reviews will be convened in the same way as Looked After Reviews. Notification will be sent to the child's social worker, Panel members and the relevant secure unit. An agenda and criteria to be considered at the review will be sent.

The Review Panel will meet at the relevant secure unit.


6. Preparation for Secure Accommodation Reviews

Prior to the Secure Accommodation Review, the social worker will ensure the following are undertaken:

  • A report for the Review is prepared, which has been endorsed by his or her manager and incorporates the views of all those consulted about the placement (see Placements in Secure Accommodation Procedure, Consultation), the Children's Guardian and the provider of the secure accommodation;
  • Written invitations are sent to the parent and those with Parental Responsibility, and any other persons whose attendance is agreed;
  • The child and parent(s) are clear about the purpose of the Secure Accommodation Review. The social worker should go through the contents of the Report and proposed Care Plan with them;
  • The parents and child are given adequate support to prepare for the Review, which may include arranging for an interpreter and/or advocate to assist them;
  • The secure unit is aware of the Review date and arrangements have been made for the staff in the secure placement to prepare a report, taking account of the progress made with the child and stating their view as to whether the criteria for secure accommodation (see Placements in Secure Accommodation Procedure, Secure Accommodation Criteria) still apply and whether any other description of accommodation would be appropriate rather than remaining in secure accommodation.

The social worker should ensure that his or her Report is circulated to the secure unit and to the Panel Chairperson and other Panel Members at least one week before the Review date.


7. Conducting the Secure Accommodation Review

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

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

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

  1. The child, the parent(s) and those with Parental Responsibility;
  2. The child's social worker and manager;
  3. Those who previously have had or may have care of the child upon discharge;
  4. The Children's Guardian;
  5. The child's Independent Visitor and/or advocate;
  6. The Link/Keyworker for the child from the Secure Unit;
  7. 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 Review Panel is responsible for listening to the views of those who contribute, and coming to a recommendation about whether they believe the criteria for secure accommodation (see Placements in Secure Accommodation Procedure, Secure Accommodation Criteria) are met.

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.

Once the Panel has made a recommendation as to the child's continued placement in secure accommodation, it should be recorded, together with reasons, and communicated to the participants at the Review. The recommendation may be accompanied by other recommendations on related issues, for example as to mobility and visiting arrangements.

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

Minutes will be prepared and sent to all those in attendance.


8. After the Secure Accommodation Review

The recommendation of the Panel will be submitted immediately to the Designated Manager (Secure Accommodation) (Director of Children’s Services) for consideration and decision as to the future placement of the child.

The social worker will be notified of the decision and will immediately arrange to see the child to explain the decision to him or her.

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.

End