Children and young people can be placed in secure accommodation if there is a concern about their welfare or if they pose a danger to others. A Court will need to consider if the conditions of s.25 Children Act 1989 are met and if so, the Court will make a secure order. Once a placement is made, regular reviews must be held.
Section 25 Children Act 1989
This is also known as the secure order.
It is a court order which restricts the liberty of a child who:
has a history of absconding and is likely to abscond from any other description of accommodation; and
if s/he absconds is likely to suffer significant harm
if kept in any other description of accommodation, is likely to injure him/herself or other persons.
If a secure order is made, this will be time-limited and during the placement, regular reviews must take place.
The first review must happen within 1 month of being detained and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 3 months
(NB within 15 working days for children looked after by Welsh local authorities)
Secure accommodation reviews MUST have an
independent panel with an Independent Person
The secure accommodation panel should be chaired by a person independent of the care planning of the young person including line managers and the IRO
Given the need to focus on section 25 Children Act 1989 criteria, the chair should also be independent of any resource allocation role to ensure there are no conflicts of interest
Reviews must be undertaken by at least 3 people one of whom MUST be an Independent Person
(not a member or officer of the local authority) (Regulation 15)
The following agenda can be used or adapted by the Chair of the review:
1. Introductions and role of the panel
2. A reminder of the purpose of review and criteria for SAO
3. Social Work report
4. Secure Children’s Home report
5. Information/reports from other professionals as appropriate
6. Views of the young person
7. Views of family
8. Views of any other carers
9. Views of Guardian
10. Panel Deliberation (in private)
a) Which (if any) criteria continue to apply?
b) Does the placement continue to be necessary?
c) Reasons for decision
11. Actions for the next review
12. Date of next review
Download the Young Person's Leaflet
The following links provide additional information relating to secure accommodation, regulations, standards and guidance
RRC is an independent organisation of social care professionals providing a range of independent social care services such as statutory social care complaint investigations, Independent Persons for secure accommodation criteria reviews, Regulation 44 Inspections, independent assessments and management investigations for Local Authorities nationwide.