Principles of the New SEND Code of Practice 0-25 years - Youth Custody

  • Children and Young Person age 18 and under (10-18) – up to their 19th birthday.
  • Children and Young Person who have been sentenced or remanded to Young Offender Institute, a Secure Training Centre, or a Secure Children’s Home 
  • Children and Young Person voluntarily detained in a Secure Children’s Home
  • Home Local Authority continues to be responsible for ensuring provision is in place for the duration of the custodial sentence.

  • The Children and Young Person receives appropriate special educational provision and health provision in custody.

  • Identify need and ensuring that provision continues on release to support resettlement.

  • Local Authority - a request for an assessment must be made to the Local Authority where the Children and Young Person is ‘ordinarily’ resident

  • Youth Offending Team  – key point of contact between the establishment and the Local Authority.
Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans
  • A Child and Young Person may have an EHC Plan when they enter custody or may have been assessed and remain in custody when their final plan is issued.

  • The Youth Offending Team must notify the team with responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in the Children and Young Person's home Local Authority / District (if within Staffordshire) that they have gone into custody.

  • The home Local Authority must send the EHC Plan to the Youth Offending Team, the person in charge of the establishment, and NHS within 5 working days.

  • The Local Authority must keep the EHC Plan and must arrange appropriate special educational provision for the Young Person as set out in the plan.

  • NHS must arrange appropriate health provision for the Child and Young Person as set out in the EHC Plan.

  • When the Child and Young Person is released their EHC Plan must be considered as any other EHC Plan in the community and the home Local Authority must review the plan  The home Local Authority and NHS must arrange SEN and health provision in the Child and Young Person's plan

  • The law does not permit the Local Authrority to formally reassess or to formally amend the EHC Plan in custody.

Monitoring and Reviewing
  • The EHC Plan should continue to be used to actively monitor a Child or Young Person's progress towards their outcomes

  • The Local Authority should conduct a monitoring meeting and continue to do so every 12 months

  • On the Child and Young Person's release the Local Authority must review their plan as soon as possible on release 


Statements of SEN
  • From 1st April 2015 for Children and Young People entering or in custody with a Statement of SEN the Local Authority must treat provision as if an EHC Plan

  • The right to request an EHC needs assessment whilst in custody commences in April 2015 – including those with a Statement of SEN

  • Local Authority’s must conduct a ‘Transfer review’ on release and may do so in custody

  • From April 2018 provision in a Statement must be deemed as if an EHCP.  The Local Authoirty must conduct an assessment as soon as possible.
Learning Difficulty Assessments
  • The right to request an EHC needs assessment whilst in custody commences in April 2015 – including those who have an Learning Difficulty Assessment.

  • From September 2016, if a Young Person has a Learning Difficulty Assessment the Local Authority must carry out an EHC needs assessment as soon as possible where it believes the Young Person will return to education on release
The Law

In addition to the general provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to SEND and other legislation relevant to SEND and youth custody, sections 70-75 of the Act and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Detained Persons) Regulations 2015 set out specific statutory provision for young people with SEN in youth custody. 
These specific provisions come into force from 1st April 2015.

Code of Practice & Key Duties

SEND code of practice 10:60 – 10.150 (pp222 – 243) provides detailed statutory guidance on children and young people with SEN in youth custody. 

Key duties:

  1. Youth offending teams and youth accommodation providers must have regard to the SEND code of practice and must cooperate with the local authority in relation to SEND.

  2. Youth offending teams (YOT) must notify local authority (SEND team) when any young person under 18 is remanded or sentenced to custody.

  3. LA (SEND team) must tell the YOT and youth accommodation provider within 5 days if the young person is known to have special educational needs, and provide all available information about those needs including a copy of the EHC Plan if there is one.

  4. Youth accommodation providers complete an education assessment for all young people admitted, leading to an Individual Learning Plan. This must take account of any SEND identified through their assessment and any information supplied by the Local Authority including an EHC Plan if there is one.

  5. The Local Authority must maintain an existing EHC Plan for young people under 18 remanded or sentenced to custody. 

  6. The Local Authority must arrange and monitor any special educational provision specified in the EHC plan, or as close to it as possible, while in custody.

  7. Health needs for all young people in custody are assessed using the appropriate Health Assessment Tool leading to an individual health care plan. This must take account of information provided by the LA about a young person’s needs including an EHC Plan if there is one.

  8. Health care specified in an EHC Plan must be arranged by NHS England who is the health commissioner for custodial establishments. 

  9. Consideration must be given to whether social care needs specified in the plan continue in custody. There are specific duties to young people in care who go into custody. A young person remanded to custody becomes a young person in care.

  10. The EHC Plan must be reviewed on release.

  11. Young people and relevant youth accommodation providers may request an EHC needs assessment while the young person is in custody.

  12. The Local Authority must complete any EHC needs assessment underway on entry to or exit from custody.

Guidance notes - SEN support, EHC Plan, Cross-border issues

SEN support

The aim of the legislation and guidance is to ensure that special educational needs are met in youth custody for young people under 18. The education assessment carried out by the youth accommodation should identify any SEN and ensure it is met. The duty to have regard to the code of practice means that the code of practice should be followed by youth accommodation including education and health care provision within that accommodation. 
The notification duties should ensure that the youth accommodation is informed about any SEN known to the Local Authority and has a copy of any EHC Plan. As schools inform the authority of young people receiving SEN support this information can be provided by the SEN team. The information held by the Local Authority is limited however, unless a statutory assessment has been carried out. The Youth Offending Team might want to approach the school for copies of any information they have about the SEN support being provided as this will help in ensuring the right support can be provided in custody. 

EHC Plans

The aim is to ensure that provision set out in an EHC Plan continues to be made in custody and that there is timely planning to meet needs on release.

Where the EHC Plan includes health care provision this should be arranged by NHS England. However, if a young person with an EHC Plan including health care provision goes into custody, the SEN team should advise the Designated Clinical Officer in any case.
Where the EHC Plan includes social care provision the Youth Offending Team should advise the social worker so that consideration can be given to how social care needs nay be met.
The SEND team will need to lead on reviewing EHC Plans for those in custody and monitoring provision. The Youth Offending Team and youth accommodation provider will be key members of the team around the young person for reviewing EHC Plans while in custody. 

Cross-border issues

If a young person is in care to Staffordshire Local Authority and living out of area on going into custody, the Local Authority where they are placed has the duty to provide information including the EHC Plan. The Youth Offending Team should notify both local authority SEN teams in this case.
Young people placed in custody in Wales, where SEND reform has not been enacted, should be supported in the same way as if they were placed in England. In this case the Local Health Board is responsible for arranging to meet health care needs.

Detailed guidance

The code of practice gives more detailed guidance on the application of the duties set out in this protocol, and should be referred to when supporting a young person with SEN who goes into custody


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