Alternatives to secure care and custody: guidance

Guidance for local authorities, community planning partnerships and service providers on developing a whole system approach.

Executive Summary

A whole system approach involves putting in place a streamlined and consistent planning, assessment and decision making process for young people involved in offending to ensure they receive the right help at the right time. This approach works across all systems and agencies. It brings together Government key policy frameworks into one holistic approach to deal with young people who offend.

As part of the whole system approach, this guidance highlights good practice in relation to alternatives to secure care and custody and the need to promote these wherever possible. The evidence to support the good practice principles is highlighted as well as 'testing' various different approaches in practice through various pilot schemes and examples of effectives services currently available.

The ethos behind this guidance, is not that one approach fits all, but that services should be developed to meet the needs of the child and by following a GIRFEC approach that all agencies should be working in partnership. No young person should be placed in secure care or custody due to local authorities not having appropriate alternative services.

The guidance highlights the core principles that should be included in effective alternative services; the information that should be given to decision makes regardless of what system the young person is in or who is making the decision; and also the requirements of workers involved within these services to be as effective as possible.

By following these recommendations, young people will be better supported by local authorities and community planning partners providing robust alternative services to secure care and custody where appropriate.

Fiona Dyer
Professional Advisor
Scottish Government

The Scottish Government would like to thank all those who contributed to this guidance/working group. Names are listed at Appendix 1


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