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Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Whenever a court refuses bail to a child/young person (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child to local authority accommodation unless certain conditions are met, in which case the court may instead remand the child to Youth Detention Accommodation. Every such child (whether remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation or to local authority accommodation) will now be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.

All Secure Placements subjected to the same guidelines as laid down in the Placements in Residential Care Procedure.

See also the following chapters:

Looked After Reviews Procedure

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Procedure

Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)

AMENDMENT

In March 2019, this chapter was updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 4.4, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.

1. Background

Changes to the youth remand framework were made following public concern that 17 year olds were being remanded like adults and not on the same principles as younger children. That practice has attracted criticism from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Placement of children in secure accommodation was also seen to be discriminatory and unfair as it was predominantly determined by age and gender. Furthermore, many 15-17 year olds whose alleged offences were not the most serious and whose behaviour did not pose a risk to the public were remanded securely. The new framework is designed to introduce a better approach to youth remand which maintains community-led supervision, support, education and training.

2. Youth Remand Framework

The youth remand provisions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 came into force on 3 December 2012. They make significant changes to the remand framework for 10 to 17 year olds in criminal proceedings.

The Act imposes a new scheme for remands of children (other than on bail). All children must now be remanded into local authority accommodation if the court do not approve of the bail package presented at court by the local YOS, or (where certain criteria are met), Youth Detention Accommodation. In both situations, the cost of this accommodation must be met by the designated local authority, and the child will attain Looked After status.

The main changes are:

  • All children under 18 will be subject to the same remand criteria, compatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Previously 17-year-olds were effectively treated like adults and were required to be remanded to prison;
  • All children not released on bail must now be remanded to local authority accommodation, unless certain specified conditions justify remand to Youth Detention Accommodation. All such children will be Looked After.

The Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 is amended to bring children who are remanded to local authority accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation into the definition of a Looked After Child for the purposes of the Children Act 1989.

The Act gives local authorities greater financial responsibility for remands to Youth Detention Accommodation. Youth Offending Teams will therefore have a financial interest in ensuring that they are adequately prepared for the remand hearing. For example Youth Offending Teams should where appropriate assist the court with information relating to:

  • Available bail packages;
  • Available local authority accommodation;
  • Relevant conditions available that may be attached to a remand to local authority accommodation or bail;
  • Which local authority should be designated by the court where a child has been remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. The authority that the child/young person originates from will be the designated authority.

3. Youth Detention Accommodation

Youth Custody Service decides where a young person should be placed.

This comprises the following kinds of accommodation:

  • A secure children's home;
  • A secure training centre;
  • A Young Offender Institution.

A court can only order a Remand to Youth Detention where the following conditions (set out in Section 98 and 99 LAPSOA) are met:

  • The child has reached the age of 12 (but under 18 years of age);
  • The offence condition, i.e. the offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate is a violent offence, sexual offence or one that if committed by an adult is punishable with a term of imprisonment of 14 years or more;
  • The necessity condition, i.e. that the court is of the opinion that after considering all the options for remanding the child, including remand in local authority (non-secure) accommodation, only remanding the child in Youth Detention Accommodation would be adequate for the protection of the public from death or serious personal injury occasioned by further offences committed by that child or to prevent the commission by the child of imprisonable offences; and
  • The legal representation condition, i.e. the child must be legally represented or not represented for specified reasons that are set out in Section 98.

The child must also meet one of the two "history conditions" set out below:

  • The first "history condition" under which a child may be remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation is if:
    • The child has a recent history of absconding while subject to local authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation; and
    • The offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate is alleged to be, or has been found to have been, committed whilst the child was remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation.
  • Alternatively, the second "history condition" is:
    • The offence(s) to which the remand proceedings relate, together with any other imprisonable offences of which the child has been convicted in any proceedings, amount - or would, if the child were convicted of that offence or those offences, amount - to a recent history of committing imprisonable offences while on bail or remanded to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation.

Where a court remands a child to Youth Detention Accommodation, the court must designate a local authority as the designated authority for the child. The child will be Looked After by that designated local authority.

The responsible local authority will be the authority already looking after a child or, in the case of a child not previously Looked After, the authority in whose area the child habitually resides or the offence/one of the offences was committed.

4. Local Authority Accommodation

4.1 Meaning of Local Authority Accommodation

This means any accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority.

A court remanding a child to local authority accommodation may, after consultation with the designated authority, impose on the authority requirements for securing compliance with any conditions (see Section 4.5, Conditions/Electronic Monitoring) imposed on the child by the court, or requirements stipulating that the child must not be placed with a named person. In the absence of any such requirements, it is for the designated local authority to decide where the child resides.

4.2 Designated Local Authority

The court will ask the YOT officers in court which is the designated local authority for the child or young person. If a remand to Youth Detention Accommodation is being considered, it is important that this designation is correctly made. For Looked After children and young people, the designation must be to the 'home' authority, regardless of where they are living or where the offence took place.

4.3 Safeguarding Children and Young People who are on Remand

Children and young people in custody can be particularly vulnerable. When a child or young person is remanded, the social worker should request a copy of the complaints procedure for the establishment. Social workers should then familiarise themselves with the complaints process and check that the child has been provided with information about, and understands, the complaints process and also about their entitlement to advocacy.

Young people who are remanded should also be provided with information which is routinely given to all children who become looked after. This could include for example:

  • Contact details for their Social Worker, Independent Reviewing Officer and sources of support (including out of hours);
  • Contact details for the Children's Commissioner Advice Line (0800 528 0731 / advice.team@childrenscommissioner.gov.uk);
  • Information on the local Children's Rights / Advocacy Service / Independent Visitors for Looked After Children.

If a remanded child complains to their social worker about any aspect of their care while remanded, this should be recorded on the child's electronic record and reported to a manager and the child's IRO. The most appropriate response will vary depending on the nature of the complaint, and the type of accommodation the young person is remanded to, but could include a referral to Children's Social Care and possible Section 47 Enquiry if the complaint concerns actual or likely Significant Harm.

If the complaint concerns an allegation against staff, the LSCB allegations procedure should be followed. Complaints in relation to services provided by a local authority should be dealt with under the Compliments, Comments and Complaints Procedure.

Where there are concerns that the young person is not being safeguarded or their welfare promoted (for example, there are concerns relating to the quality of care the young person is receiving, the suitability of the type of placement or issues around bullying, self harm, violence or intimidation), in the first instance it may be possible to resolve the concerns by agreement with the establishment itself.

Where issues cannot be resolved at establishment level, and if the responsible authority is of the view that the young person needs to be moved to another establishment, see Section 4.4, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review. The YJB has a transfer protocol. Transfer requests can be formally initiated by the YOT, establishment or placement team at the YJB. The local authority should contact one of these agencies to express their concerns and ask that they complete a Transfer Request Form, indicating the degree of urgency. Concerns should also be submitted in writing to the YJB placement team and, if they relate to the standard of care being provided by the establishment rather than the specific needs of an individual young person, the LSCB and YJB monitor for the establishment should be notified.

The Local Authority should inform the establishment and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service Young People's Team that they have decided to take this course of action.

4.4 How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review

The Youth Custody Service (YCS) carries out placement reviews to decide whether a transfer is required for a child or young person.

YOTs can ask for one if they are responsible for a child or young person and:

  • Their circumstances change;
  • There is a risk or issue with their current placement.

To request a transfer, the YOT should read the Placement Review Guidance and then:

Other people can ask for a transfer but only the YOT and/or staff at the establishment where the child is placed should contact the YCS Placement Team.

The YCS Placement Team makes the final decision in the best interests of the child or young person after carefully considering all of the information available and opinions stated.

4.5 Conditions/Electronic Monitoring

A court remanding a child to local authority accommodation may impose conditions (e.g. to ensure that s/he does not interfere with witnesses, or makes him/herself available for the preparation of court reports). The designated local authority may apply to the court for such conditions to be imposed.

The court may impose electronic monitoring to secure compliance with such conditions provided that:

  • The child has reached the age of 12; and
  • The offence/one of the offences is an imprisonable offence; and either
  • The offence/one of the offences is a violent or sexual offence or an offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment of 14 years or more; or
  • The offence together with any other imprisonable offences of which the child has been convicted in any proceedings amount to a recent history of committing imprisonable offences whilst on bail/remand; and
  • The court is satisfied that suitable provision for electronic monitoring can be made in the relevant area; and
  • A Youth Offending Team has informed the court that, in its opinion, the imposition of an electronic monitoring condition would be suitable in the child's case.

A court remanding a child to local authority accommodation may, after consultation with the designated authority, impose on the authority requirements for securing compliance with any such conditions imposed on the child, or requirements stipulating that the child must not be placed with a named person. In the absence of any such requirements, it is for the designated local authority to decide where the child resides.

A court may, on the application of the designated authority or the child, vary or revoke any such conditions or requirements.

The child may be arrested without an arrest warrant if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the child has broken any such conditions.

5. YOS Referral Process to Children's Services

With respect to a child/young person aged 12 - 17 years who is remanded to either youth detention accommodation or to local authority accommodation the YOS worker will:

  • Check if the child/young person is known to Children's Services and, if known, the allocated Children's Service Social Worker will be notified to ensure that Care and Youth Justice planning requirements are adhered to;
  • If the child/young person is not known to Children's Services, YOS officers will contact the Central Duty Team (tel: 0300 41 11 11) and make a referral.

6. Escort Arrangements

Children remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation will be transported under a new contract held by the Youth Justice Board. Children remanded to local authority accommodation will continue to be transported by the local authority.

7. Transitional Arrangements for 10-17 Year Olds Already Remanded

A child/young person who has been remanded under the previous remand framework will remain remanded as ordered by the court until the remand comes to an end and the child/young person is released, sentenced or remanded again.

8. Children who Turn 18 Years of Age During their Remand

When considering whether there is a real prospect that a child will be sentenced to a custodial sentence for the offence to which the proceedings relate and the child is likely to turn 18 before conviction, a custodial sentence can include an adult custodial sentence. Where a child turns 18 during the course of their remand they will remain in Youth Detention Accommodation until they are released or returned to court. The YJB will not seek to recover costs from local authorities in respect of a child.

9. Care Planning for Young People on Remand

The decision to remand a child will be made by a Court. This decision may be made at short, or no, notice for the local authority concerned.

In relation to children remanded to local authority or Youth Detention Accommodation, the Care Planning Regulations are, with effect from 19 April 2013, amended by the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

9.1 Remands to Local Authority Accommodation

  • Where a child is Looked After only by reason of being remanded to local authority accommodation, the Care Plan and Placement Plan must be prepared within 5 working days of the child being remanded;
  • The Youth Offending Service have undertaken to:
    1. Notify Intake and Conference and Review of the fact of the remand;
    2. Visit the young person within 5 working days.
  • If when the young person returns to Court bail is granted the LAC status ends;
  • If the remand period continues the full LAC processes applies including the need to hold a LAC review within 20 working days of the initial remand;
  • The Care Plan does not need to include the plan for permanence/long-term plan for the child's upbringing.

Otherwise, the care planning arrangements are the same as for all other Looked After children - see Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure.

9.2 Remands to Youth Detention Accommodation

9.2.1 Where the child was Looked After immediately before being remanded:

9.2.2 Where the child was not Looked After immediately before being remanded:

  • A Detention Placement Plan must be prepared instead of a Care Plan/Placement Plan, within 10 working days of the remand;
  • The provisions as to Health Assessments (see Health Care Assessments and Plans) do not apply, but the responsible authority must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the child is provided with appropriate health care services, in accordance with the Detention Placement Plan including medical and dental care and treatment, and advice and guidance on health, personal care and health promotion issues;
  • In relation to Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Procedure, the social worker must also visit whenever reasonably requested to do so by the Governor, Director or Registered Manager of the Youth Detention Accommodation;
  • In relation to Looked After Reviews Procedure, the responsible authority does not have to consider whether they should seek any change in the child's legal status, whether there is a plan for permanence for the child, or whether the placement continues to be the most appropriate available and whether any change to the placement agreement is likely to become necessary before the next review;
  • The provisions as to avoidance of disruption in education, placements out of area and termination of placements do not apply.

9.2.3 Detention Placement Plans

The Detention Placement Plan must:

  • Set out how the Youth Detention Accommodation will contribute to meeting the child's needs;
  • Include the address of the Youth Detention Accommodation;
  • Be agreed with, and signed by, the Governor, Director or Registered Manager of the Youth Detention Accommodation;
  • Include:
    • How, on a day to day basis, the child will be cared for and the child's welfare will be safeguarded and promoted;
    • Any arrangements made for contact between the child and parents/persons with Parental Responsibility/Connected Persons including, if appropriate, the reasons why contact would not be reasonably practicable or would not be consistent with the child's welfare; details of any orders made under Sections 8 or 34 of the Children Act 1989;
    • The arrangements made for the child's health (including physical, emotional and mental health) and dental care including any arrangements for the giving or withholding of consent to medical or dental examination or treatment;
    • The arrangements made for the child's education and training;
    • The arrangements made for social worker visits, the frequency of visits and the arrangements made for advice, support and assistance to be available to the child between visits;
    • If an Independent Visitor is appointed, the arrangements made for them to visit the child;
    • The child's personal history, religious persuasion, cultural and linguistic background, and racial origin;
    • The name and contact details of:
      • The Independent Reviewing Officer;
      • The Independent Visitor (if one is appointed);
      • The social worker;
      • The Personal Adviser appointed if the child is an Eligible child.
  • The responsible authority must ensure:
    • That the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
    • Where the child was Looked After immediately before being remanded, that the Independent Reviewing Officer has been informed of the remand.

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