SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
The purpose of this document is to clarify the roles and responsibilities between Children's Services and the Youth Offending Service. It was reviewed locally and updated as required in March 2020.
A number of children and young people who are involved in, or are at risk of becoming involved in, offending will also be Children in Need. Those signed up to this practice guidance are committed to, wherever possible, avoiding delays due to disputes about who should undertake specific pieces of work in relation to these young people. Recognising that the welfare of the child is a shared concern, all involved will aim for a consistent, continuous service within which resources are effectively managed.
Derby City Council uses a Strengths Based Approach for all work with children and families.
- Legislation and Legal Context
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Respective Assessments
- Case Responsibility
A Young Offender is a child or young person between the age of 10 and 17 years inclusively who has been convicted for an offence. Although not specified as such in the Children Act 1989, the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures recognise young offenders as "Children in Need".
A child or young person who has not been convicted of an offence, but is identified as being at risk of offending will apply, for the purposes of this guidance, to a child or young person who is open to and receiving a programme of intervention delivered or commissioned to be delivered by the Derby City Youth Offending Service.
ASSETPLUS is an assessment profile for statutory use with all young offenders who enter and leave the youth justice system. It provides the YOS with a consistent means of assessing the risks of re-offending, risk of causing harm, and risk of being harmed by their own behaviour and/or the behaviour of others. AssetPlus is a holistic assessment and planning framework that consider all aspects of a youth offender's circumstances and personal characteristics.
2. Legislation and Legal Context
This guidance is written within the context of:
- The Care Planning Placement Regulations 2010;
- The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008;
- The Children and Young Person's Act 2008;
- The Children Act 2004;
- The Criminal Justice Act 2003;
- The Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003;
- The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000;
- The Leaving Care Act 2000;
- Care Standards Act 2000;
- The Crime and Disorder Act 1998;
- The Data Protection Act 1998;
- The Education Act 1996;
- The Children Act 1989;
- The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (section 2, Annex A);
- The Children and Young People's Act 1969;
- National Standards for Youth Justice Services 2009.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 identifies Children's Social Care and the Youth Offending Service (YOS) amongst the agencies that are required to work together to reduce youth crime. The YOS aims to reduce and prevent offending by children and young people. Staff employed in both settings will therefore demonstrate a shared commitment to:
- Preventing offending;
- Promoting alternatives to children being remanded to Local Authority accommodation;
- Helping children/ young people develop a sense of self worth and responsibility;
- Strengthening protective factors for young people at risk of harm; and
- Anti-discriminatory practice.
The interpretation of the requirements of the legislation with respect to the role of the local authority in assessing children and young people in custody for "child in need" and "child protection" services was clarified by both the Manchester Judgement (2006) and the Sutton Judgement (2007):
- The Manchester Judgement (November 2006) tested the duties of local authorities with regard to child welfare and protection and encompasses ALL children in custody and is not confined to those who have been 'Looked After'.
The Judgement indicated:
- Local Authority Social Care cannot delegate their duties under the Children Act 1989; specifically they cannot delegate them to YOS;
- The role of YOS is defined as preventing re-offending;
- YOS can, and should, refer children to Social Care, both under Section 17 requesting an assessment under the Child In Need procedures, and under Section 47, under the Child Protection Procedures;
- Local Authorities should carry out Child In Need Assessments under Section 17 to assess whether a child requires assistance upon release from custody;
- The judgement clarifies that a Child In Need assessment can and should look to future needs.
The Sutton Judgement (SJ (vs.) Sutton 2007) confirmed the responsibility of the Local Authority to undertake a Child in Need Assessment with respect to all children and young people in custody with the specific purpose to ensure that on their return to the community they are "suitably" accommodated.
N.B. the Howard League are operational in all secure establishments and do follow up with youth offending teams and Local Authorities the case of any child or young person where accommodation for re-settlement purposes has not been identified. The consequences of not identifying accommodation are the potential for a judicial review.
The Children Act 2008 (clause 15, section 23ZA) prescribes the duty of local authorities to ensure visits to, and contact with, looked after children and young people.
The Children Act 2004 Section 11 also includes Children's Social Care and the YOS as having a statutory responsibility to take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
3. Roles and Responsibilities
The Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Procedures clarify the roles and responsibilities for Children's Social Care and the Youth Offending Service (YOS) as follows:
- Children's Social Care act as the principal point of contact for children about whom there are welfare concerns, and are responsible for coordinating an assessment of the child's needs, to keep the child safe and promote their welfare, and of the wider family circumstances;
- The principal aim of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) is to prevent and reduce offending by children and young people. Many children and young people open to YOS will also be Children in Need. The YOS has a duty to carry out their functions so that they safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
4. Respective Assessments
Where a young offender is recognised as a Child in Need and qualifies for a Single Assessment, this will be completed by Children's Social Care within 10 working days. ASSETPLUS and referral information will form part of this assessment to minimise duplication and avoid unnecessarily repetition of their circumstances to more than one assessor.
Responsibility for Single Assessments lies with Children's Social Care staff.
Responsibility for ASSETPLUS assessments lies with YOS staff. A completed AssetPlus assessment is required within 28 days of the commencement of the Order or Out of Court Disposal that made them subject to YOS supervision.
ASSETPLUS assessments will provide an assessment, analysis and plan for managing the risk of re-offending by the youth offender and the risks of harm that they may present to others or experience themselves; concentrating on areas of their life most likely to be associated with offending behaviour.
The YOS will continue to use ASSETPLUS as its principle assessment tools, but will contribute towards other assessment processes, including Early Help Assessment (through the Pre-assessment checklist) and Single Assessments.
The YOS will meet the identified offending behaviour needs of young people for the duration of current involvement within the youth justice system if the interventions required are deliverable within its current multi-agency structure and available resources. Current involvement includes young people that are subject to a Criminal Sentence; court directed Bail Support and Supervision Programmes; Out of Court Disposals issued by the Derby City Out of Court Disposals Clinic; YOS Prevention Programmes for those young people that meet the eligibility criteria; and Individual Support Orders, as defined by the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003.
Those signed up to this guidance agree that the assessment of a child's needs as presented in the various assessment formats by either YOS or Children's Social Care are of equal standing and will be mutually respected.
5. Case Responsibility
Not Looked After / Not known or currently open to Children's Social Care:
Children and young people (aged 10 – 17 years) who are not Looked After prior to involvement with the youth justice service - YOS will be the lead professional, but this may change depending on the outcome of a Single Assessment which will always include those who are serving a custodial sentence or that are remanded into youth detention accommodation and are being prepared for a return to the community.
Previously unknown/closed to Children's Social Care and acquires Looked After Status as a result of a Court decision to remand them to Local Authority Accommodation / Youth Detention Accommodation:
Children and young people (aged 10 – 17 years) who are not Looked After or open prior to remand to Local Authority accommodation / Youth Detention Accommodation - YOS will be the lead professional but a Children's Social Care Social Worker must also be allocated to the case to complete functions and activities relating to the child's Looked After status. However this may change depending on the length of remand and outcome of referral to VCM where ongoing needs have been identified.
Already open to Social Care/ Early Help and acquires Looked After status as a result of a Court decision to remand them to Local Authority Accommodation / Youth Detention Accommodation:
Social Care/ Early Help will be the lead professional
Already Looked After at the time of the court decision and a community disposal is imposed:
Children's Social Care/ Early Help will be the lead professional
Where a custodial sentence is imposed on a Looked After child / young person who is subject to a care order:
S31 LAC status remains - Children's Social Care/Early Help will be the lead professional.
S20 LAC status ceases but young person should be deemed a Child in Need (CPPR and Children Act 2008 inserts duty with respect of visiting children formerly Looked After S23ZA) therefore Children's Social Care/Early Help worker should retain lead professional and consideration should be given prior to release as to whether the child should re-acquire Looked After status upon release.
Please also see the supporting procedures:
- Guidance on the Admission of Children to Care, Placement Planning and Review Procedure;
- Placements in Foster Care Procedure;
- Fostering Panel Procedure;
- Leaving Care and Transition Procedure;
- Education of Children in Care and those Children with a Social Worker Procedure;
- Health Assessments and Plans Procedure.