Secure Care Accommodation
|Average number of Scottish residents has decreased|
|Emergency bed usage has declined from previous high levels|
This section presents 2015-16 data on secure care accommodation. Secure care normally refers to accommodation for vulnerable young people who are likely to abscond or are at risk of harm to themselves or others. They are usually placed in secure care on welfare grounds by the Children's Hearing System. Children can also be placed on offence grounds by the Hearings System or the Criminal Justice System.
As secure care accommodation is in place for a very specific group of individuals, numbers are much smaller than for those who are looked after or on the child protection register.
There were 90 secure places available in five secure units in Scotland excluding emergency beds on 31 July 2016 (Table 3.1). It should be noted that two units operated at reduced capacity for part of the previous year, and this may partly explain the reduction emergency bed use. Furthermore, there were an additional 6 beds available across these units for emergency and respite use - these would normally only be used if required and on a very short-term basis. The average cost per week of a secure bed during 2015-16 was £5,579 up 1.5% from £5,495 in 2014-15.
Table 3.1: Secure care unit bed complement at 31 July 2016 (1)
|Edinburgh Secure Services||12|
|St. Mary's Kenmure||24|
Capacity and usage
There were an average of 85 residents in secure care accommodation throughout 2015-16, an increase of four per cent from 82 residents in the previous year and reversing the recent downward trend (Table 3.2). However, this increase was driven by an increase in placements from the rest of the UK - there was a five per cent decline in residents from Scotland.
Table 3.2: Secure care accommodation capacity (1) and usage
|2013||2014||2015||2016||% change 2015-16|
|Places at year end||90||90||90||90||0%|
|Admissions during the year||215||232||249||256||3%|
|Discharges during the year||228||226||245||253||3%|
|Average number of residents during the year||77||74||82||85||4%|
|Residents from within Scotland||76||67||76||72||-5%|
|Residents from rest of the UK||1||7||6||13||117%|
|Minimum number of residents during the year||66||60||71||77||8%|
|Maximum number of residents during the year||90||84||89||90||1%|
|Number of nights emergency bed used during the year||48||5||146||50||-66%|
|Number of residents emergency bed used for during the year||15||3||13||11||-15%|
(1) Young people can be admitted and discharged more than once during the year.
This increase was driven by additional cross-border occupancy compared to previous years. Excluding these from the total, the average number of residents from Scotland fell by five per cent compared to last year. The number of young people in secure care accommodation throughout the year ranged from 77 to 90.
Table 3.3 shows that the number of young people in secure care accommodation on 31 July 2016 was 88. Following a three-year decrease from 2009-10, this has increased in the last three years, and by 4% in the last year.
The use of emergency beds has fallen this year from last year's high level, and is now close to the long-term average.
As can be seen in the additional tables ( AT5.4), there has been a large increase in cross-border occupancy, with 18% of admissions in 2015-16 being from the rest of the UK, compared to 6% last year, or the previous recorded high of 10% in 2013-14.
74% of young people in secure care accommodation on 31 July 2016 were male and just under 40% were aged 16 years and over (table 3.3). Young people in secure care accommodation tend to be older than those looked after and on the child protection registers. The data shows the majority (70%) of young people in secure care accommodation are 15 years or older. This is a very different pattern from what is seen in the child protection and looked after children data where the majority of children are under five and 11 respectively.
In a new method of recording this year, 39% of young people in secure care accommodation on 31 July 2016 had at least one disability, defined as "a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". This new definition is much stricter than in previous years, which were based on additional support needs, and the numbers falling into this category are consequently lower.
Table 3.3: Young people in secure care accommodation by gender, age, disability and length of stay (1)
|2013||2014||2015||2016||% of 2016 total|
|Gender of residents|
|Age of Residents|
|13 years old or under||10||5||7||9||10%|
|16 years or over||39||33||32||34||39%|
|Residents with disability (2)|
|Length of stay of residents at year end|
|Less than 1 month||18||13||17||20||23%|
|1 month to under 2 months||8||14||16||14||16%|
|2 months to under 3 months||12||14||13||14||16%|
|3 months to under 6 months||18||23||26||24||27%|
|6 months to under 1 year||10||9||9||10||11%|
|1 year or more||8||8||4||6||7%|
(1) As at 31 July of each year.
(2) The question was new in 2016, and asked: "does the young person have a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities?". This replaced 'additional support needs', which did not match the definition of disability from the Equalities Act. See background note 3.22 for more information.
Cross- UK secure care accommodation comparisons
Table 3.4: Number of secure children's homes/secure care accommodation units, places approved and children accommodated at year end across the United Kingdom (1),(2),(3),(4)
|England (2)||Number of secure children's homes||16||16||14||14|
|Wales (2)||Number of secure children's homes||1||1||1||1|
|Scotland (3),(4)||Number of secure care units||5||5||5||5|
(1) Sources: England and Wales - Children accommodated in secure children's homes statistics; Scotland - Secure care accommodation census; Northern Ireland, official/national statistics are not produced on secure care accommodation. The legal routes into secure care can vary between the four UK countries.
(2) The figures from outside Scotland include children placed on welfare grounds only.
(3) As noted elsewhere, the Scotland total includes a number of children from the rest of the UK, so trends in each country based on the children's origin may be different.
(4) To allow for comparison with England and Wales, Scotland's data for all years is 'at 31 March' within this table only.
Table 3.4 shows secure children's homes/secure care accommodation units, places approved, and children accommodated across the United Kingdom. This shows that there is no clear trend in the number of children accommodated in England and Wales, as the numbers have fluctuated.
As noted earlier in this Secure Care Accommodation section, the Scotland total includes a number of children that are from the rest of the UK. The England and Wales totals may also include some children from other parts of the UK, but these numbers aren't published separately.
Email: Ian Volante
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