LAC Manual Part 4 - Care Away from Home - Identifying the need for secure accommodation
Identifying the need for secure accommodation
The following guidance confirms the requirements placed on the Chief Social Work Officer (CSWO) in authorising, reviewing and terminating secure care placements.
- An emergency transfer of accommodation to secure care s143 of Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011.
- A placement instigated by a Children’s Hearing 1 s85 of the Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011 (Implementation of Secure Accommodation Authorisation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 OR for order by the Sheriff under s44 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.
The following process must be applied: -
1. When the prospect of secure care becomes an issue the Social Worker, acting as lead professional in the team around the child, will discuss the needs and issues with their team manager.
Discussion will focus on: -
- The child must have absconded (from a residential establishment) at least once before and be likely to do so in circumstance in which it is likely there will be risk to: -
- Physical welfare (bodily injury)
- Mental welfare (mental or emotional state)
- Moral welfare – this can include habits of criminality, as to deny the child moral guidance threatens to turn the child into an habitual offender (deprived of moral guidance or support)
ii. The child is likely to injure him or herself or some other person. The injuries can be physical, mental or moral.
iii. In addition to (i) and (ii) it must also be in the child’s best interest to be placed in a secure care.
2. The Social Worker/senior or manager will discuss the key issues with the Corporate Parenting and Commissioning Manager. Focus of discussion will be need for secure care and what options may be appropriate as alternatives to secure care.
3. The Social Worker to provide the child/young person with 'Rights: Information for Young People who are Looked After in Secure Care'.
4. The Social Worker/senior or manager will discuss the key issues with secure care providers.
5. The Social Worker will confirm with the Corporate Parenting and Commissioning Manager the outcome of discussions with the secure care providers relating to the Head of unit’s agreement of the need for secure care and options for placement.
6. The form SC1 – seeking a secure placement must be completed by the social worker, into which the Corporate Parenting and Commissioning Manager will make comment as Chair of Placement Services Group: comment will be based on information presented and confirm agreement or otherwise to the need for secure/ possible alternatives that might be considered.
7. The Social Worker should send all relevant papers, listed within the SC1, to the Chief Social Work Officer.
8. If placement is agreed by the CSWO and the Head of the Unit, and a vacancy confirmed by the secure care provider, planning should consider how best to ensure the young person is transported to the secure care provision. If escort transport is assessed necessary – the provider with which Moray has a contract until March 2018 is Wrixon.
10. If the placement is not agreed or a vacancy is not possible the CSWO and the Corporate Parenting and Commissioning Manager will meet with at least 2 of the following: - the social worker/ senior social worker/ team manager.
The meeting will consider alternatives to secure care and the process for advising the Children’s Hearing that the order has not been implemented, where the request for placement was instigated by a Children’s Hearing (s85 of the Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011)
11. When a placements to secure accommodation has been made without the authority of a Children’s Hearing,
a. The reporter must be informed within 24 hrs of the placement being made
b. The reporter must arrange a children’s hearing within 72 hrs of the placement
12. The social worker should also inform the Reviewing Team of the placement to enable them to plan the 72 hour Looked After Child Review.
13. When the Chief Social Worker considers secure accommodation he must
(i) the decision of the chief social work officer;
(ii) the reasons for reaching that decision;
(iii) the information obtained in carrying out the consultation requirements at regulation 4(3)(a);
(b) send notice of the decision to—
(i) the child, where taking account of the child’s age and maturity, the chief social work officer considers that the child is capable
of understanding the effect of the decision;
(ii) each relevant person in respect of the child;
(iii) the head of unit;
(iv) the Principal Reporter;
(c) send with the notice the reasons for making the decision;
(d) inform the child and each relevant person in respect of the child—
(i) of the right to appeal the decision under section 162 of the Act;
(ii) where the decision is a decision not to implement the secure accommodation authorisation, that they may require the decision to be reviewed.
If any of these requirements are not complied with within 72 hours of receipt of the decision to make a relevant order containing a secure accommodation authorisation, the chief social work officer is deemed to have made a decision not to implement the secure accommodation authorisation (regulation 5(3)). There could be implications from a failure to follow the notification procedure and it is important to ensure that the correct procedure is followed in all cases.
- Reviews by the CSWO are in addition to LAC reviews.
- The first review by the CSWO must happen within 7 days of placement within Secure care.
- Thereafter CSWO must review on a monthly basis
- The decision for a young person to remain in secure care will be based on information provided by the ‘Team around the Child’. In this way, it will be evidence based, informed by a thorough and up-to-date assessment of risk and informed by the views of all those involved, including the young person and parent/carers as appropriate.
- The format must consider: -
- Summary of the reasons why secure care was agreed appropriate
- Discussion about what has changed since the placement was made
- Reflection on what supports are in place including the YPs access to advocate e.g. Who Cares?
- Discussion about whether the YP continues to meet criteria for secure care based on current risk assessment
- Confirm the recommendation re continued need for secure care
- Note any dissent
The minute of the review must list who was present and their role and must be issued for consideration by CSWO.
More usually a member of the reviewing team will chair these CSWO reviews; on rare occasion a manager who has no line management responsibility for the young person’s case may chair.
- If the timing of the CSWO review falls in line with a LAC review then the LAC review must have within a specific section that addresses the points listed above.
- Production of the review and minute must be timed to meet the legislative requirement for the CSWO review/ recommendation to Children Hearing.
- Together with the minute from the above the social worker must complete SC1.
- Assuming the CSWO approves continued secure care, that decision should be forwarded, by the social worker using secure email, to the relevant secure provision for Head of Unit to confirm agreement.
- The social worker, as the Lead professional for a Looked After child, should ensure the information leading to the decision of the CSWO, and the decision itself, is communicated to the child/parent as appropriate prior to the Hearing.
- The final document should be filed with a copy sent to the Corporate Parenting and Commissioning Manager as Chair of Placement Services Group.
- The process for review detailed above should be applied to evidence there has been a reduction in need/ risk. If the conclusion is that secure care is no longer appropriate, this should be reflected in the minute and SC2 completed by the Social Worker.
- The minute of the review should detail what supports are assessed appropriate as part of the exit strategy and that those identified will be in place.
- The timing of the planned exit from secure care should be made explicit in the recommendation that evidences why secure care is no longer necessary.
- The CSWO and Head of Unit must receive the minute and SC3 well within the time frame of recommended exit.
The decision for a child/young person to remain in secure care will be based on information provided by the ‘Team around the Child’. In this way, it will be evidence based, informed by a thorough and up-to-date assessment of risk and informed by the views of all those involved, including the child/young person and parent/carers as appropriate.
Placements in secure accommodation without authority of a children’s hearing.
The Chief Social Work Officer and head of the secure establishment can place a child who is subject to a supervision requirement and meets the conditions referred to above. In addition :
- The reporter must be informed with 24 hrs of the placement
- The reporter must arrange a children’s hearing within 72 hrs of the placement
Appeal against CSWO to detain a child in secure accommodation (following on order by a Sheriff under s44 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (applies to decisions made after 1 February 2016.)
- Appeals can be made by the child plus one or more relevant person(s)or two or more relevant persons
- Appeals must be made within 21 days of decision by CSWO
- Appeal is made to the Sheriff and must be heard in private
- It must be disposed of within 3 working days following the day the appeal was made.
- The Sheriff may wish to hear evidence or request a report, including from the CSWO or SW
Problems / amendments required to LAC Manual?
Please contact Linda Pearce
1. A children’s hearing has no power to require that a child be kept in secure accommodation. They can authorise the placing of a child there, by specifying secure accommodation within the Supervision Requirement in term of S70(9). (Children’s (Scotland) Act 1995). The implementation of such a Supervision Requirement rests with the person in charge of the establishment, and the Chief Social Work Office. Both must agree that the criteria in S70(10)(a) or (b) (Children’s (Scotland) Act 1995)are satisfied and that secure accommodation is in the child’s best interests. The decision will be based on information provided by the ‘Team around the Child’.