SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies to children placed in secure accommodation.
The Purpose of a Secure Accommodation Review is to consider the following:
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.
The Secure Accommodation Panel should be chaired by a person independent of the care planning for the child, including line managers and the Independent Reviewing Officer. Given the need to focus on the Section 25, Children Act 1989 criteria issues, the chair should also be independent of any resource allocation, etc. but have sufficient experience and knowledge to carry out the task.
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).
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.
An IRO may sit as one of the other two Panel members (not as part of the IRO function), paragraph 4.14 IRO Handbook.The make up of the Panel should seek to be sensitive to issues that may be relevant to the child, e.g. ethnic background and gender.
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.
Prior to the Secure Accommodation Review, the social worker will ensure the following are undertaken:
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.
The Secure Accommodation Review, and the Panel’s members, must focus on the questions and issues around the criteria for secure accommodation (see Section 1, Purpose of Secure Accommodation Reviews) within the context of the child’s specific circumstances.In considering these matters, the Panel must have regard to the child's welfare.
Nevertheless, 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 independent Panel member should see the young person before the Secure Accommodation Review.The Criteria Review must be formally minuted.
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:
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 on Welfare Grounds Procedure, Secure Accommodation Criteria) are met.
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 communicated to the young person and other 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.
The recommendation of the Panel will be submitted immediately to the Designated Manager (Secure Accommodation) for consideration and decision as to the future placement of the child.
Where the young person is already a Looked After Child, or has had a Looked After Review the IRO should be advised of the outcome of the Secure Accommodation Review.
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.
The minutes of the Secure Criteria review should be completed as soon as possible and within one month of the Criteria review. They should detail the reasoning behind the decision.
It should be borne in mind that the Agency Decision Maker, the Children’s Guardian and /or the court may need to have the minutes as evidence for decision - making.
If the Panel concludes that the criteria for restricted liberty no longer apply, the placement is no longer necessary or another type of placement would be more appropriate, the local authority must immediately review the child’s placement (paragraph 4.14 IRO Handbook) and effect the ‘exit‘ or contingent plan.