Procedure Governing Roles and Responsibilities Between the Youth Offending Team and Child Protection and Family Support Service
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis chapter enables staff in both the Youth Offending Service and the Children and Young People's Service to provide a consistent approach to both the assessment of and service provision to children and young people who may require services.
1. Aims and Principles
The Children and Young People Service has a duty under the Children Act 1989 'to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need' and provide services to them. Children who have committed offences and Children in Care for whom Children and Young People Service acts as 'corporate parent' are clearly defined categories of Children in Need. In fulfilling its duties, the Children and Young People Service must always have regard to the paramountcy principle i.e. that the welfare of the child should always be the primary consideration.
The principle aim of the Youth Justice System, established by Section 37 of the Crime and Disorder Act, is 'to prevent offending by children and young people'. The YOT is composed of staff from Health, Education, Children and Young People Service, Police and Probation. Their parent agencies have a legal obligation to commit staff and resources to the YOT.The purpose of this agreement is to define areas of responsibility concerning service provision, practice arrangements and information sharing in order that common principles of intervention are established and that where different demands exist between the two parties these are properly reconciled. There is a need for both the YOT and Children and Young People Service to ensure that the service objectives within their key plans support these working agreements. It is recognised that the agreement will need to be reviewed and amended in the light of emerging practice and guidance at both local and national level.
2. Service Provision - Youth Justice Services
Kirklees Youth Offending Team (YOT) is required to co-ordinate the provision of a number of core Youth Justice Services either by providing the services directly or through another local authority department, agency or voluntary organisation. This section defines the respective role of the Children and Young People Service and YOT concerning the provision of core Youth Justice Services.
Particular attention is given to the role of Children and Young People Service in relation to its responsibilities as the lead agency for the Authority's role as corporate parent.
Appropriate Adult Services under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE)
- The role of Appropriate Adult i.e. attendance at the Police Station for interview where a young person has been arrested for a criminal offence and no parent is in attendance, will be undertaken by the YOT, during their usual operational hours i.e. Monday - Thursday 8.45am - 5.15pm and Friday - 8.45am - 4.45pm. Outside of these hours the service will be provided by the Emergency Duty Service. The 'Appropriate Adult Service' is currently provided by the YOT and Emergency Duty Service via a group of volunteers managed by the YOT;
- The placement of young people in overnight accommodation under PACE (where the Police are unwilling to release the young person on bail) will be the responsibility of whichever agency is fulfilling the Appropriate Adult role. The Residential and Family Placement Service will accept referrals for PACE accommodation, alongside other emergency referrals and will prioritise admissions accordingly. Remand Foster Carers may be appropriate in some circumstances. In exceptional circumstances, where PACE placements are made in units other than within Kirklees, the Child Protection and Family Support Service (in consultation with health and education) will be responsible for the financial cost. All such placements should be discussed and authorised by a Senior Manager, Child Protection and Family Support;
- If an accommodated young person is interviewed under PACE, the YOT will provide an Appropriate Adult unless the Social Worker for a Child in Care feels it more appropriate for them to provide a worker.
Bail Conditions and Bail Supervision and Support
- Where a young person is bailed by the Court with a condition to reside as directed by the local authority, the issue of residence must be determined by the local authority rather than the YOT;
- In such cases the Duty and Advice Team may need to undertake a Single Assessment. To facilitate this the YOT will provide the most recent AssetPlus Assessment;
- The YOT provide a Bail Supervision and Support service primarily aimed at reducing the number of young people remanded to care or custody.
The assessment of young offenders remanded by the Court is primarily the responsibility of the YOT. However, this will be a jointly agreed responsibility with Child Protection and Family Support where the young person is a Looked After Child or was Accommodated immediately prior to the remand episode.
The YOT will:
- Undertake initial assessments of remanded young people using the AssetPlus assessment tool;
- Allocate a worker to all remanded young people, who will complete the required documentation and will organise a planning meeting within 5 working days for all remanded young people;
- Recording information on Liquid Logic: If the case is open to Child Protection and Family Support - inputting data will be their responsibility. If it is a new case the Youth Offending Team will arrange for the data to be inputted;
- Undertake placement of RILAA's - any funding requirements beyond the remand foster carers will have to be agreed by a Divisional Manager. There is no automatic access to other Kirklees residential units. All placements must be discussed and authorised by a YOT Duty Manager. Where access may be required to other provision, this will need to be supported by YOT Duty Manager prior to referral to a Divisional Manager;
- If it becomes apparent during the remand episode that a young person may need to be accommodated after the remand episode has finished, a referral will be made, to the Duty and Advice service to undertake an assessment;
- Arrange all transport to and from court and support at court, as necessary.
Remanded Young People who are Already Children in Care
- It is recognised that Children in Care with a variety of complex social and emotional needs may commit criminal offences. Where the Court determines that a Child in Care should be remanded to Local Authority Accommodation or Secure Accommodation this agreement states that in determining agency responsibility, the Child in Care status in respect of that young person should prevail. Children and Young People Service therefore, have joint responsibility in such cases for the assessment and placement of the young person during the period of remand. Normally the young person would remain in their existing placement (if not remanded to Secure Accommodation), unless the seriousness of offending indicates otherwise. Responsibility for supervision of the remand aspects of the placement would be with the YOT. Children and Young People Service would retain responsibility for all other aspects of the placement, including Child in Care documentation and procedures. Where appropriate, the Children and Young People Service may access the YOT Bail Supervision and Support Project in order to provide any additional level of support to the placement, at the discretion of the YOT;
- The YOT will provide the most recent copy of AssetPlus to carers and the Children and Young People Service Social Worker.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
Duty and Advice Team are responsible for ensuring an age assessment is carried out (if required) and legal status determines whether the child becomes Looked After.
Reports to Courts
- The provision of reports to courts in criminal proceedings will be the responsibility of the YOT. Because of the requirement to comply with Standards for Children in the Youth Justice system when preparing reports, the detailed knowledge of sentencing options and the application of the AssetPlus (assessment) framework for YOT's, all reports, including those for looked after children, will be prepared by the YOT;
- Where reports are prepared on Children in Care, close liaison between the YOT and the Children and Young People Service will be a requirement of good practice;
- If a young person is charged with an offence of a serious violent or sexual nature against a young person under the age of 16 the YOT will consult with Duty and Advice Team regarding whether the matter needs to be dealt with under the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Procedures.
Single Assessment (Part 1)
YOT staff will use the Single Assessment Part 1. All YOT operational staff will undertake Single Assessment training at the appropriate level.
Detention and Training Orders, Section 90/91 Orders
The supervision of these Orders will be the responsibility of the YOT, including cases where the young person is a Child in Care. A child on a Care Order or Accommodated will continue to be looked after while in custody, the Children and Young People Service social worker will continue to have a duty to undertake visits and follow Children in Care procedures.
Saturday and Bank Holiday Courts
The YOT will provide a service to the Courts. However, there may be late listings and other unforeseen circumstances that prevent the YOT being in attendance. In such circumstances, this unplanned work will, by necessity, need to be dealt with by Emergency Duty Service.
3. Service Provision
3.1 Children in Care
In dealing with Children in Care, YOT will relate to the Children and Young People Service in a similar way to other parents and carers. YOT staff will liaise closely with Child Protection and Family Support in carrying out any of its functions in relation to a Child in Care. This will be achieved by the allocated YOT worker and the young person's social worker providing and exchanging relevant information and agreed actions to reduce the risk of re-offending.
The child/young person's allocated social worker will be responsible for:
- Arranging transport to and support at court if necessary;
- Ensuring attendance of the Child in Care under the terms of any orders administered by the YOT;
- Keeping the YOT informed of any relevant changes in circumstances, e.g. change of address, change of school, any significant changes in the level of risk to or from the child;
- Providing any material assistance to Children in Care to ensure that they can comply with the requirements of the YOT intervention e.g. provision of bus fares;
- Inviting the YOT case-holder to any reviews or planning meetings.
The YOT will:
- Have responsibility for all criminal orders;
- Offer regular contact with Children in Care as required by Standards for Children in the Youth Justice System;
- Provide a prompt and constructive response to suggestions and comments from Children and Young People Service;
- Provide a regular flow of information to Children and Young People Service about progress of Children in Care. This information will be written and verbal and include as a minimum the provision of periodic reviews and assessments to enable Children and Young People Service to comply with looked after children systems requirements;
- Invite the Social Worker to reviews and planning meetings;
- Attending the police station as Appropriate Adult for interviews under PACE;
- Children in Care will have access to all YOT Services as appropriate;
N.B. good practice indicates that to avoid duplication a timetable of reviews/planning meetings will be agreed at the earliest opportunity.
Under Section 11 of the 2004 Children Act, all agencies have the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' guidance defines safeguarding and promoting welfare as
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children's health or development;
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best life outcomes.
It is the responsibility of all YOT staff to work in line with West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Procedures.
Should a YOT officer have grounds for child protection concerns regarding any young person under the age of 18 they will refer their concerns to the Duty and Advice Team.
New enquiries will be the responsibility of the Duty and Advice Service unless the child in in Care or has an allocated Social Worker, and if appropriate will be done jointly with the YOT officer. The YOT will be invited to any subsequent case conference and the YOT will in most circumstances be part of an ensuing Core Group Meeting.
If the child is already looked after or has an allocated Social Worker from either the Assessment and Intervention Service, Child Protection and Family Support or the, Children in Care and Leaving Care Services the YOT worker will refer their concerns to the allocated worker or in their absence the duty worker from the relevant team.
As part of the AssetPlus Assessment all young people are assessed re the risk of harm to other people (ROSH) and the risk of harm to self (Vulnerability). The YOT has its own risk planning procedure for all cases assessed as medium or above. Additionally should the risk of harm to others be sufficiently high, Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) will be invoked.
Should there be safeguarding concerns regarding a young person in custody initial responsibility for investigating will be with the Safeguarding Children Partnership local to the establishment.
At times the YOT will be working with a young person who 'though 18 years old is vulnerable due to learning disability. In such circumstances, concerns will be referred to the Adult Learning Disabilities Services, who will assess regarding the need to invoke the vulnerable adults' procedure.
All YOT staff (including volunteers) will have access to any Child Protection/Safeguarding training organised by or for Children and Young People Service or the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Partnership.
4. Service Provision - Children and Young People Service Resources
In the course of the work with children and young people, the YOT may need to access certain Children and Young People Services:
- Child Protection Investigations and Assessments, Youth Offending Team workers will not undertake Child Protection Enquiries. Enquiries and referrals should be made in accordance with the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding procedures. This includes allegations of professional abuse against children where clear procedures are in place, defining agency responsibility;
- Section 20 Accommodation: if a young person or their parents with whom the YOT is working requests Section 20 Accommodation for welfare reasons, a referral should be made to Children and Young People's Service. Prior to referral the YOT will endeavour to access resources to prevent this course of action. If accommodation is still requested, Children and Young People's Service will make an assessment and if necessary will be responsible for placing the young person. Once the young person is a Child in Care responsibility for placement and supervision rests with Children and Young People Service with the YOT retaining responsibility for core Youth Justice Services;
- If a young person is likely to be homeless on release from custody a referral will be made by the YOT to the Young Person's Team at Housing Options Support Service (HOSS) for assessment under the Children Act (1989). If they are assessed as meeting the criteria of child in need they will be referred to Duty and Advice Service for consideration for accommodation under Section 20 of the Children Act (1989) (Southwark Judgement).
5. Information Sharing
Effective joint agency practice will depend to a large extent on the sharing and availability of information between agencies. Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act enables agencies and individuals to disclose information where that disclosure is necessary or expedient for the purposes of enabling the YOT to discharge its primary functions.
The Children and Families Service and YOT will provide each other with information relevant to the assessment planning and review processes in individual cases.
6. Dispute Resolution
The above agreement is designed to provide the framework for a constructive relationship and reduce the areas of uncertainty between the Children and Young People Service (Child Protection and Family Support) and the Youth Offending Team. It should, therefore, reduce the scope for conflict. In the event that there is a dispute between the parties, the principle is that this should be resolved at the level closest to the area of dispute i.e. between operational staff and operational managers. In the event it cannot be resolved at that level it should progress to Divisional and YOT Manager.