Movement restriction conditions in the children's hearing system: guidance
Information for social workers who have a statutory responsibility to present information to children’s panel members.
11.0 In certain circumstances the concerns about a young person's behaviour may escalate in seriousness rapidly and unexpectedly or a young person with no prior history of offending behaviour may be brought before a Children's Hearing in emergency circumstances ( e.g. direct from Police custody following alleged involvement in the perpetration of a serious offence.) In such circumstances a Children's Hearing may include an MRC in an interim variation of a compulsory supervision order (if the young person is already subject to a compulsory supervision order) or an interim compulsory supervision order (if the young person is not already subject to a compulsory supervision order.)
11.1 In the event that a Children's Hearing is considering including a secure accommodation authorisation measure in an interim order, it is incumbent on the Lead Professional to highlight viable alternatives where they exist. This might include making an interim variation of the compulsory supervision order to include an MRC condition. Nevertheless, the Lead Professional should be equally conscious that an MRC is not a panacea and decisions must ultimately be guided by structured professional judgements about the nature, frequency and seriousness of offending behaviour.
11.2 It is strictly competent to make an MRC without a Child's Plan. Evidently a detailed Child's Plan co-produced with the young person and his parent(s)/carer(s) submitted for Panel Members to consider is far preferable but in emergency circumstances, a more rudimentary approach may be acceptable in order to avoid a secure accommodation placement.
11.3 If the Lead Professional is satisfied following as thorough an initial assessment as is possible that the minimum necessary conditions are in place to make an interim order with an MRC condition viable ( e.g. informed consent of young person and parent(s)/carer(s), support package, appropriate address etc.), he should update Panel Members to that effect. Furthermore, the Lead Professional may wish to outline to Panel Members the manner in which the review process following imposition of an MRC in such circumstances could be used to build a more comprehensive picture of risk and need.
Risk management and screening groups
12.0 It is anticipated that young people for whom an MRC is being considered will already be known to services and subject to local risk management arrangements for those individuals under the age of 18 who present a risk of serious harm to themselves and/or others.
12.1 In the event that a young person being considered for an MRC is not, for whatever reason, already subject to local risk management arrangements, the Lead Professional should ensure that the case is brought to the attention of such bodies as appropriate.
12.2 Multi-agency risk management groups provide a useful forum for information sharing in situations where a young person's behaviour is giving particular cause for concern. They enable risk assessments to be scrutinised and for risk formulation and scenario-planning with a particular emphasis on victim-safety planning to occur. Modifications to the Child's Plan based on such discussions may be appropriate.
12.3 In those implementation authorities where screening groups exist to assess young people's eligibility for intensive service provision, it may be necessary for the Lead Professional to share information with these bodies when a young person with whom they are working is at risk of becoming subject to more restrictive measures. While such groups do not have the same legal standing as a Children's Hearing which is a tribunal, the Lead Professional should endeavour to work through local channels as appropriate while prioritising the best interests of the young person at all times.
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