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Secure care measures for young people who offend

There are 90 secure care beds in Scotland provided by five dedicated units:


Good Shepherd Centre Secure Unit



Kibble Education and Care Centre



Rossie Secure Accommodation Services



St Mary’s Kenmure



Edinburgh Secure Services




Secure care restricts the liberty of the children under the age of 18 placed in their care. The children / young people can be placed through the Children’s Hearings Scotland system or the Courts.

Secure accommodation is a form of residential care for the very small number of children whose needs and risks, for a particular period in their lives, can only be managed in the controlled settings of secure care. Such children have been deemed to be a significant risk to themselves or others in the community.

Secure care provides intensive support and safe boundaries that enable these highly vulnerable children to re-engage and move forward positively in their communities.  Secure care provides a nurturing environment that is able to address specific needs whilst providing care, including health and education where the learning follows the Curriculum for Excellence.


Scottish Ministers are responsible for children under the age of 16 and young people on Compulsory Supervision Orders who are sentenced under solemn procedures and placed in secure care. The Criminal Procedures (Scotland) Act 1995 (sections 205 and 208) gives more information. If a Local Authority has a child or a young person due to attend court on a solemn matter they should contact Mary Amos (0131 244 0996) at the Scottish Government at the earliest opportunity, and well in advance of the court date to allow time to plan the placement should the young person receive a custodial sentence.

The Secure Accommodation Network is the placement information service for secure accommodation in Scotland. The site provides information on the availability of secure beds supplied by all 5 providers and the figures are updated daily. The secure care providers' contact details are on the site and, if needed, you should contact them direct to confirm vacancies and discuss placement arrangements.

The secure care contract is managed by Scotland Excel who are based in Paisley - the contract manger can be contacted on 0141 618 4456. If you plan to place a child in secure care using the contract, the purchasing authority are required to complete an Individual Placement Agreement (IPA) form. Scotland Excel or the secure care providers can provide information on how to complete an IPA.

Statistical Information

The average number of children in secure care from August 2013 to July 2014 was 74 - this is three less residents on average, compared with 2012 – 13 figures. This is less than one per cent of all looked after children. There were 232 admissions throughout the year - an increase of eight per cent compared with the 2012 – 2013 figures. More information on the published statics can be found on the website under Children’s Social Work Statistics 2013 – 14 and Additional Tables


We continue to develop and support robust community alternatives to secure care, including intensive support and monitoring services (electronic monitoring combined with intensive social work support programmes).
Read the Intensive Support and Monitoring System guidance

Future Plans

The Scottish Government support the vision set out in the Securing Our Future Initiative report that we must actively work to reduce the need for secure care and that where it is possible to meet the needs of high-risk young people safely and cost-effectively in their communities, then this should be used.

Alison Gough has recently taken up her position of Secure Care National Lead Advisory Officer. This is a full time post funded by the Scottish Government from August 2015 to March 2017 and hosted by CYCJ at Strathclyde University.

This is an independent, analytical, practice focused and strategic role which will give Alison the opportunity to work with sector leads and other partners to ensure the effective delivery of service to children in secure care, to review current trends, achievements and risks and to make recommendations to partners about future configuration of the secure estate.

Our ultimate ambition is to have no child in Scotland in secure care, however for the very small number of children whose needs can only be met in secure care, we will provide a high quality and nurturing environment that meets their needs and improves their outcomes when they return to the community.