Permissible and Restricted Additional Measures and Rewards / Incentives

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

This policy should be read in conjunction with a range of other documents that relate to Promoting Positive Relationships and Behaviour (see Positive Relationships including Additional Measures Procedure, and parts of Protection of Children).


Staff should always follow a restorative approach and act as a good parent would with the child/young person's best interest being at the fore front of your practice. Within Derbyshire Children Services Residential Children's Homes, our ethos is to practice restorative and social pedagogical approaches to caring for the children and young people, specifically in relations to the permissible approved additional measures and the restricted unapproved additional measures, rewards and incentives with an aim of always attempting to use a restorative approach in terms of positive learning and experiences for all.

Additional measures are defined as a formal action to penalise unacceptable behaviour. Used only when less formal approaches have not had the desired outcome. They are a means of indicating to the child/young person that persistently unacceptable behaviour can have negative consequences for them. However, additional measures and methods of control need not be viewed punitively; they can be constructive in helping the child recognise that there are consequences to their actions and in helping them to develop inner controls and self responsibility.

"It is recognised that some form of Additional Measure will be necessary where there are instances of behaviour which would in a family or group environment reasonably be regarded as unacceptable. Often such unacceptable behaviour can be prevented by the use of mild or more severe reprimand. "The imposition of formal disciplinary measure should be used sparingly and in most cases on after repeated use of informal measures has proved ineffective" (Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations: Volume 5 - Residential Care 2011).

As a general rule, additional measures and methods of control used in children's homes should be similar to those operating within most reasonable family situations, (i.e. as a good parent would) where an approach which emphasises rewarding and encouraging good behaviour is preferred to that which simply punishes unacceptable behaviour.

Good corporate parenting suggests that children who are involved in the discussions and decision making about the day to day running of the home, including discussions concerning what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and the rewards and additional measures that might apply will lead to better outcomes, therefore staff should ensure participation from the child.

In applying additional measures, staff should:

  • Only use approved and permissible additional measures;
  • Be aware that on its own an additional measures may well suppress unacceptable behaviour but does not necessarily teach new behaviour. Avoidance may occur as an result of a additional measure and the unacceptable behaviour may become hidden making the learning of acceptable behaviour less likely;
  • Ensure that the application of an additional measure should be fully considered and not an emotional response based on angry feelings that the situation may engender for them;
  • Take account that additional measures are most likely to be effective where they are tailored to the individual child/young person concerned and linked to their overall Individual Placement Care Plan;
  • Ensure that methods of control should be fair and applied consistently and they must not be excessive or unreasonable, for example, staff will not be permitted to impose a double additional measure for misbehaviour. Additional measures should only be used to address unacceptable behaviour. The aim should be to reject the behaviour without rejecting the child;
  • Be mindful that whilst additional measures are flexibly applied in individual cases, care should be taken to ensure that all children in the home consider that they are being treated fairly and there is consistency in the level of additional measures applied in different situations;
  • Be proactive in the giving of an additional measure and in identifying to the child/young person the reason(s) why they have behaved in a certain way, including the reason for the additional measure so that they are aware of why they are being applied and for how long. This includes each child/young person having a clear understanding of not only what is expected of them, but also what they can expect from the staff in engaging them to communicate to find strategies to resolve the behaviour;
  • Ensure additional measures are operated for the shortest period of time necessary and should have a review/finish date which is clear to all concerned and wherever possible it is good practice to operate a system that allows the child to earn back the loss/privileges and for the additional measure to be lifted part way through as a gesture of good will, if a child is attempting make amends;
  • Be aware of the risk of compounding the child's/young person's misbehaviour and undermining his/her self esteem by successive shifts remonstrating with him/her about a particular incident. There may be times when reference back to a particular incident is a useful aspect of the learning experience but generally staff should appreciate when a misdemeanour is finished and the matter should be dropped;
  • Not ask or allow other children/young people to apply any additional measures; ¬†they can only be carried out by staff;
  • Record any additional measure in the child's/young person's file and in the homes " Additional Measures" Log book as soon as possible after they have been applied (no longer than 24 hours). If they are part of a longer term strategy to respond to a particular aspect of the child's behaviour they also need to be recorded in their Individual Placement Care Plan. Comments should include the effectiveness of the additional measure and the child's views.

Prohibited Measures:

Staff may not use any additional measures that do not comply with legal requirements.

  • Corporal Punishment:
    Any form of corporal punishment is forbidden (e.g. hitting, slapping, pushing, and throwing something at a child/young person);
  • Deprivation of Food or Drink:
    A child/young person must not be made to eat or drink something or be deprived of food or drink as a punishment;
  • Restriction or Refusal of Visits/Communications:
    A child/young person must not be stopped from having contact visits or communicating with people he or she would otherwise be allowed to, or be stopped from phoning a welfare helpline, his or her solicitor, advisor, advocate, social worker or other personnel from OFSTED Inspection. However, this does not prevent restrictions being placed on contact between a child/young person and certain individuals where such restrictions are in the child's best interest and consistent with his/her welfare. It also does not include short-term restriction of contact with friends where the child/young person is grounded but such measures should not interfere with the child's longer term ability to maintain contacts outside the home;
  • Requiring a Child to Wear Distinctive or Inappropriate Clothing:
    A child/young person cannot be made to wear distinctive or inappropriate clothes as an additional measure(wearing a school uniform for attending school is not an additional measure;
  • The Use or Withholding of Medication or Dental Treatment:
    A child/young person cannot be given medicine or stopped from having medication or medical treatment they would otherwise have as an additional measure. Medication should never be routinely used to manage difficult behaviour but in extreme circumstances may be the only way to prevent serious injury or damage. Medication should only be administered on medical advice.
    N.B: Medication may be suggested as a method of managing a child's/ young person's difficult behaviour. This must only be administered on medical advice and written into the child's Individual Health Care Plan. Alternative ways to support individuals with challenging behaviour must continue to be looked at during this time;
  • Intentional Deprivation of Sleep:
    This refers to interrupting the child's/young person's normal pattern of sleep as a method of control/additional measure. Where the child/young person chooses to stay awake all night the behaviour should be tackled through the rewards and incentives scheme or other methods of control. Unless there is a medical or other legitimate reason, children and young people should not be allowed to stay in bed all day and reverse their sleep pattern. In these circumstances (with due regard to the risk of escalating the situation) staff should consider regularly waking the child/young person during the day;
  • Impositions of Fines:
    A child/young person must not be made to pay a fine but can be made to pay a contribution towards the cost of the repair or replacement of misappropriated monies or goods. Pocket money can be withheld as an additional measure where relevant. For example for wilful damage, but no more than two thirds of the child's pocket money should be withheld and payments should not be taken longer than for a 6 week period;
  • Intimate Physical Searches:
    This refers to strip searching a child/young person. A child cannot be made to undergo any sort of intimate physical examination or prevented from having any usual aids or equipment in the case of a disabled child. It does not prevent searching a child's clothes where there are grounds for suspecting the child/young person may be in possession of something that is potentially harmful to themselves or others (e.g. a weapon) or possession of which is illegal (e.g. drugs). The grounds for carrying out such searches must be concern for the child or other people's safety and welfare and they should not be a regular feature of the regime of the home. Where the child refuses to co-operate with a search, or following a search where there are still serious concerns abut what the child may have concealed about their person staff should maintain close supervision and seek the advice of the Police;
  • The Use of Accommodation to Physically Restrict the Liberty of Any Child (except in premises approved by the Secretary of State for use as secure accommodation):
    This refers to any action or measure to prevent a child leaving a building or a room of their own free will, except where such action is immediately necessary to prevent injury or serious damage to property. It does not prevent the home from taking action consistent with normal domestic security such as locking doors and windows to prevent intrusion fro the outside. It also does not prevent the home from setting reasonable limits on tomes children may go out - if a child complies with reasonable instructions, including refusal of permission to leave the building, it would not normally constitute a restriction of liberty. Such limits would take into account the age, abilities and understanding of the child so it would be reasonable to prevent younger children from leaving the home as the potential danger is clear: whilst it may not be appropriate to physically prevent older children from leaving, unless there is an immediate risk of injury or serious damage to property;
  • Physical Restraint:
    Physical restraint of a child must not be used as a an additional measure or to make a child/young person do what s/he is told but only if the child/young person is likely to injure someone or cause serious damage to property. (Please refer to Restrictive Physical Intervention Policy).

In addition to the above prohibited additional measures/methods, staff in Derbyshire's Children's Homes may not use the following:

  • The Use of Verbal/Intimidation:
    Staff may not use verbal intimidation or abuse, racist or sexist abuse or comments, discriminatory language or ridicule or sarcasm as an overt or covert method of control (Please refer to Countering Bullying and Peer Abuse Procedure)
  • Group Punishment:
    A group of children cannot be made the subject of an additional measure for something not all of them did:
    "Children have the right not to be punished cruelly or in any way that would belittle them. They must not be locked up unless the law says they may be" (Article 37, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Methods of Control and Additional Measures Approved by Derbyshire Children's Homes are as follows:

  • Verbal Reprimand:
    Verbal reprimand should not normally involve shouting at a child/young person, although there may be occasions when shouting the child's/ young person's name is an appropriate way of distracting them or gaining their immediate attention. Staff should stay calm and assertive in getting their message across;
  • Reparation/Restitution:
    Where a child/young person is engaged in some practical task, which is within their capability and relevant to the behaviour that led to the additional measure being applied and is time limited. This could include them helping to repair damage done or paying from their pocket money towards the cost of repair/replacement, however, the payment should be realistic in terms of the child's/young person's income and the time it might take to pay, i.e. full compensation would not be appropriate where their pocket money would be reduced for months. N.B: No more than two thirds of the child's pocket money can be stopped. This type of additional measure is appropriate for a child/young person that has caused damage to the home;
  • Loss of Privileges or Extras/Curtailment of Leisure Activities:
    In applying an additional measure it is important to ensure that the measure bears some relation to the misbehaviour, for example, it may be appropriate to not allow the child/young person to participate in a planned activity, have an extension at bedtime, stay out as late as usual, watch television beyond a certain time or listen to music in their bedroom etc. However, staff should consider the level at which something becomes a privilege or an extra and still allow some basic entertainment to ensure that the child/young person is able to occupy him/herself to a certain degree. The Curtailment of Leisure Activities should be used as a disciplinary measure only when the repeated use of informal measures has proved ineffective. Any curtailment of leisure activities should be contemporaneous and relevant and for limited periods. These types of additional measures are appropriate for a child/young person that is refusing to attend education;
  • Stopping/Reducing Pocket Money:
    Children's Homes may not fine children and the use of the word "fine" must not be used in any description of additional measures involving the stopping of pocket money. The total amount of pocket money may only be reduced by two thirds of the child's/young person's pocket money in any one week, this would include taking into consideration any court fines. This type of additional measure would be appropriate for a child who has damaged/stolen another child's belongings;
  • Withholding Pocket Money:
    Refers to situations where a child is temporarily deprived of their pocket money but the money remains theirs and is given to them at a later time or date. Pocket money may be briefly withheld as an incentive for a child/young person to complete a chore or in more serious circumstances withheld or spent under the direct supervision of staff where there are firm grounds for believing they will use their money in a way that is harmful to themselves or others. However, staff should be mindful that withholding or stopping pocket money may lead to the child/young person resorting to other means, such as stealing, in order to make up for the lack of money. This type of additional measure would be appropriate for a child who is misusing alcohol, drugs or solvents;
  • Early Bedtime:
    This type of additional measure can be used as a form of time out but should not normally exceed more than 1 hour earlier bedtime than usual, it is better to have a system where extensions to bed times can be earned through good behaviour. Staff need to be aware and sensitive to the importance of a child's/young person's potential need to use this space as their safe haven and the impact that such an additional measure may have. This type of additional measure would be appropriate if a child had deliberately kept others up the previous night;
  • Time out:
    This refers to circumstances where a child/young person is given time and space away from the group as a means of gaining control of themselves or to reduce tension. Time out does not mean that they are left isolated or unsupervised and they should be in sight and hearing of staff that are available to provide support and help them to re-join the group. This additional measure would be appropriate to calm a situation by providing some personal space and time for a child/young person away from immediate triggers such as an audience in order for them to regain their self control and decide how to re-join the group/activity and is most effective if it is limited to a short period (5-10 minutes). Time out can also be an agreed strategy with them by which he/she can go to a predetermined quiet place as a way of calming down, in this circumstance, the agreed strategy should be included in the written care plan;
  • Grounding:
    This is where a child/young person is not allowed to leave the home unless under staff supervision. Grounding should be time limited, relevant to the circumstances that led to the additional measure being applied and they should not be set unreasonable targets to achieve before the additional measure is lifted. Normal boundaries relating to the times children in the home are allowed out should be set at a level which is reasonable to their age, understanding, ability and their individual needs and circumstances and would not normally be considered a restriction of liberty. This additional measure would be appropriate where there is some risk to the child/young person if they leave the home unaccompanied by staff or where they have consistently failed to come in on time. This additional measure is only appropriate provided there are no restrictions on visits or communications to the child/young person. Staff need to be aware that requiring a child/young person to remain in the home for an unreasonable length of time could constitute a restriction of liberty even where they are not physically prevented from leaving;
  • Control by Physical Intervention:
    Can only be used as a last resort and where other interventions have failed or are unlikely to be effective. Staff may intervene physically to prevent the immediate risk of injury to the child/young person or others or serious damage to property (Refer to Restrictive Physical Intervention Policy);
  • Additional Chores:
    This is where the child/young person is given the opportunity to make amends for their unacceptable behaviour by extra work around the home, such as extra washing up or tidying rooms. The task should not be demeaning to the child/young person, should have some useful function and generally be of benefit to the home rather than the individual, for example, helping in the gardening. Again this should only be used when the repeated use of informal measures has proved ineffective. Any additional chores should be relevant to misbehaviour. This additional measure would be appropriate if a child/young person has been using the home in a disrespectful manner;
  • Rewards, Incentives and Privileges:
    Systems of rewards and extensions of privileges should be operated within homes, which encourage children and young people to behave through the use of positive re-enforcement. The extensive imposition of disciplinary measures can create confrontational situations unnecessarily and often exacerbates challenging behaviour. It is not appropriate or constructive to begin from a base line of no privilege or reward, as many children and young people will be unable to make substantial progress in such a system due to a reinforcement of their low self-esteem. Reward systems should always be based on an easily achievable minimum level.

    Each home should have a written, agreed and workable rewards, incentives and privileges scheme which has been agreed with the children and young people living at the home. Children and young people should be involved in the creation of this to ensure the scheme is meaningful, realistic based on achievable targets in order to promote the positive desired effect to potentially change negative behaviour. The policy should be frequently monitored and reviewed as the group changes to meet current need. Good behaviour should be encouraged by the frequent expression of approval by staff and the generous and realistic rewards.

    Staff should be proactive in encouraging good behaviour, i.e. reward and encourage good behaviour. Rewards could include opportunities to earn extra pocket money or privileges, but don't forget that positive gesture such as a nod, smile and to confirm approval by acknowledgement as methods of reward.