One Minute Guide

All you need to know about secure accommodation and the review process 

What is a Secure Order & the Criteria?

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.

What are the Review Timescales?

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)

Who can be on the Review Panel & who is the Independent Person?

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)

What should the Review Agenda cover?

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

       d) Recommendations

11. Actions for the next review

12. Date of next review

Young Person's Review Video

Download the Young Person's Leaflet

Professional's Information

Full guide for professionals involved in secure accommodation reviews

Useful Links

The following links provide additional information relating to secure accommodation, regulations, standards and guidance

About RRC

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.

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