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 be treated as Looked After by their designated local authority.
See also the following chapters:
In December 2022, this chapter was amended in line with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
1. Youth Remand Framework
The youth remand provisions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 as amended by the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 made significant changes to the remand framework for 10 to 17 year olds in criminal proceedings.
The Act imposed a new scheme for remands of children (other than on bail). Where a child aged 10-11 is refused bail, they must be remanded into local authority accommodation, or if the child is aged 12-17 (and where certain criteria are met) the court may instead remand the child to 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 to the 2012 Act were:
- 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 be remanded to local authority accommodation, unless certain specified conditions justify remand to Youth Detention Accommodation. All such children will be Looked After.
The 2012 Act gave 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?
One of the objectives of the 2022 Act is to ensure that custodial remand is always used as a last resort. That Act also introduced a statutory duty for the courts to consider the best interests and welfare of the child when making their decision.
Important considerations / principles
- Each agency has responsibility for its own tasks and responsibilities within these LASPO processes (see Appendix 2: YOT and Children's Social Care Practitioner Responsibility Flowchart - Remand);
- It is imperative to see the process through the eyes of the CYP and to avoid as far as possible duplication of tasks and visits. The YJS and 14+ teams have sought to combine initial visits and reviews;
- The IRO role is key is ensuring effective joint planning and keeping paramount the interests / views of the CYP;
- The LASPO Operational group will serve an important role in reviewing processes and developments.
2. Youth Detention Accommodation
When a child or young person under 18 is remanded or sentenced to custody, the Youth Custody Service decides where they 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 certain specified criteria are met:
- The child has reached the age of 12; and
- Either the child is legally represented before the court or legal representation has been withdrawn/refused; and
- It appears to the Court that it is very likely that the child will receive a custodial sentence;
- Either the offence 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 child has a recent history of absconding from remand/committing offences whilst on remand; and
- It is necessary to protect the public from death or serious personal injury or to prevent further offences.
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.
2.1 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:
- Convene a multi-disciplinary meeting to establish how risk can be managed or reduced;
- Complete the Placement Review Form (Refer to the Guidance and Tips document for support on completing this form);
- E-mail it to the Placement Review team at YCSTransfers@justice.gov.uk.
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.
3. Local Authority Accommodation
3.1 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 3.3, 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.
Where a child is remanded to local authority accommodation, the designated local authority is responsible for identifying a suitable placement. For as long as they remain looked after, these children are entitled to the same care planning and review processes as other looked after children. This includes ensuring that, while remanded, looked after children under the age of 16 are placed in a children's home, foster placement or in an 'other arrangements' placement if the child's needs are best met by the services provided in one of the exempted regulated settings. An 'other arrangements' placement can be an independent or semi-independent provision for looked after children aged 16 or 17 or an alternatively regulated setting. The responsible authority must be satisfied that the placement is in 'suitable accommodation'.
3.2 Designated Local Authority
A court that remands a child to local authority accommodation must designate the local authority that is to receive the child. 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.
The Youth Justice Board has provided guidance in the event of a dispute between Local authorities as to the designated Local Authority. Please see Appendix 1: Youth Justice Board (YJB) Guidance on Designated Authorities. It is not a panacea to every situation but is a helpful starting point.
The designated local authority must receive the child and provide or arrange for the provision of accommodation for the child whilst the child is remanded to local authority accommodation.
Where a child is remanded to local authority accommodation, it is lawful for any person acting on behalf of the designated authority to detain the child.
3.3 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.
Merton's arrangements for a YP likely to be remanded to the Local Authority or to a Youth Detention Accommodation are shown in the flow diagram (see Appendix 2: YOT and Children's Social Care Practitioner Responsibility Flowchart - Remand).
4. Escort Arrangements
Children remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation will be transported under a contract held by the Youth Justice Board. Children remanded to local authority accommodation will continue to be transported by the local authority. In Merton the SW is to organise transport to LAA - whether the young person is previously known or not.
5. 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 an adult.
6. 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.
If a young person is arrested and likely to be held overnight the YOT (Youth Justice Team) court duty officer will inform the YOT Operational Manager without delay. The Operational Manager will in turn contact the YOT Manager and Access to Resources and notify the allocated social worker team or MASH.
The purpose of this will be to begin preparation for the following morning's court and to ensure that at the earliest opportunity key individuals are being made aware that the young person is likely to be held overnight. It is for Heads of Service in conjunction with Access to Resources Team (ART) (see Placement Requests: Making LAC Placements with ART Procedure) to look at alternative accommodation arrangements for young people held in police custody. The key principle being that young people should be provided appropriate accommodation rather than spending the night in police custody.
If a child or young person is remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation (YDA) or local authority accommodation then they will become a looked after child.
The YOT officer and social worker will undertake a joint visit to the young person within 5 working days of the child becoming accommodated.
Within 10 days of the child being accommodated an initial planning/remand meeting should take place and should be attended by the YOT officer, social worker and where possible the IRO.
The young person will then be visited in line with LAC visiting requirements.
Looked after child reviews will be held in line with the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations.
If the young person is sentenced to custody then at least 4 weeks prior to the release of the young person a planning meeting will be convened to agree an exit plan for the young person with roles and responsibilities defined. This meeting will also confirm the details of the accommodation for the young person following discharge.
A post-release meeting will be held within 5 working days after the young person has been released. This meeting will also occur for any unexpected release from remand to YDA (e.g. in cases of being found not guilty at trial) or at the end of a custodial sentence when the sentence was completed in custody (e.g. in cases when young person is recalled on licence and ends their order in custody).
In relation to children remanded to local authority or Youth Detention Accommodation, the Care Planning Regulations were amended by the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. See also The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review.
6.1 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 Care Plan does not need to include the plan for permanence/long-term plan for the child's upbringing, unless it is considered that the child needs to remain looked after after the period of remand has ceased. However, consideration must be given to what longer term support or accommodation the child will need following the remand episode.
Otherwise, the care planning arrangements are the same as for all other Looked After children - see Care Planning Procedure.
6.2 Remands to Youth Detention Accommodation
6.2.1 Where the child was Looked After immediately before being remanded:
- A Detention Placement Plan must be prepared instead of a Placement Plan, within 10 working days of the remand. This will usually be based upon the assessment that has informed the current Care / Pathway Plan (see Section 6.2.3, Detention Placement Plans);
- A copy of the Care / Pathway Plan must also be given to the Governor, Director or Registered Manager of the Youth Detention Accommodation;
- The provisions as to Health Assessments (see LAC Health Care Assessment Plans Procedure) do not apply.
6.2.2 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. This will require an assessment of 'sufficient quality' to ensure identification of the child's needs and how the YDA Establishment will respond to them on a day-day basis;
- The provisions as to Health Assessments (see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure) 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; where there is a notice of concern from Ofsted about the establishment where the young person is accommodated (under the Care Standards Act 2000 or section 47 of the Criminal Justice Order Act 1994), or H M Inspectorate of Prisons where the young person is in a YOI;
- 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.
6.2.3 Detention Placement Plans
The Detention Placement Plan (see Appendix 2: YOT and Children's Social Care Practitioner Responsibility Flowchart - Remand) 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;
- How, on a day to day basis, the child will be cared for and the child's welfare will be safeguarded and promoted, particularly noting if there is a risk of self harm, emotional or Mental Health problems;
- Ensure the child is aware of how they are going to be kept safe, including the Establishment's policy on Bullying;
- 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 which seek to meet any specific needs of the child;
- Identify what arrangements the YDA Establishment has that might appropriately develop independent living skills;
- 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. This may include establishing a child's immigration status and whether there is anyone who has Parental Responsibility;
- 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:
- The child is offered practical support where appropriate, e.g. clothes, money, books, etc.
- 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.
See Matters to be dealt with in a Detention Placement Plan' of The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review.
7. OversightMerton’s Children in Care Monitoring meeting has HoS oversight of all children entering the care system in Merton. The Youth Justice Team is represented at this meeting at Team Manager level.
Appendix 1: Youth Justice Board (YJB) Guidance on Designated Authorities
Youth Justice Board Guidance (when there are LA disputes over the Designated Local Authority).
Amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013 amends section 102 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012. The new provisions, which relate to the designation of a local authority for a child who is remanded to youth detention accommodation, came into force the day after Royal Assent.
Section 102(6) of the LASPO Act requires the court (where a child is remanded to youth detention accommodation) to designate a local authority as the designated authority for the child. The designation operates for various purposes, including the recovery of costs from the designated authority.
Section 102(7)(a) provided that the court must, where the child is looked after, designate the authority which looks after the child. Section 102(7)(b) provided that, where section 102(7)(a) does not apply, the court must designate either the local authority in whose area it appears to the court that the child habitually resides, or the local authority in whose area it appears to the court that the offence was committed. The amendments:
- Provide that a court is to designate the local authority in whose area the child habitually resides, unless it considers it inappropriate to do so, or is unable to identify any place in England and Wales where the child habitually resides;
- Provide that where it appears to the court that the offence was not committed in England and Wales, and it is not required under new section 102(7A) to designate the local authority in whose area the child habitually resides, the court may designate a local authority which it considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case;
- Give a court the power to make an order to replace a designated local authority with another local authority. N.B. A court previously had the power to change the designated authority, but such a change only had effect from the date on which the change is made. A replacement designation under the new provisions means that the newly designated local authority becomes liable, by virtue of any regulations made under section 103(2) of the 2012 Act, to pay any costs of accommodation, including during the period before the replacement (that is, when the original local authority was designated);
- Provide that, if a designated local authority has paid the costs of the remand of a child to youth detention accommodation, and a replacement designation has been made, that amount must be repaid to the original local authority;
- Provide that, although a replacement designation may be made in respect of a remand ordered before the commencement of the new clause, the substitution of a newly designated local authority does not have effect in respect to any time before commencement. Subject to this, the amendments only have effect in relation to remands ordered after commencement.