This guidance describes how to run bail and remand services. It is for youth offending teams (YOT) and managers.
1.1 Why bail and remand services are important
Bail and remand services are an important part of your work, in order to:
- minimise the use of custody, to only those cases which you cannot safely manage in the community
- ensure that children and young people attend court as required
- reduce the likelihood of further offending on bail
1.2 National Standards
The National Standards for Youth Justice Services state that you must have a strategy in place to reduce the unnecessary use of secure remand at the earliest stage in the criminal justice process. The term ‘unnecessary’ applies to those cases where it is possible that a child or young person could have been safely supervised in the community on bail.
The strategy should look at how you meet the welfare needs and risk of harm to others for children and young people on bail. This is to present viable packages to court.
1.3 Appropriate adult services and police bail
All children and young people aged 10 – 17 who the police arrest or interview as a voluntary attender should have an appropriate adult present. This is defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
If a family member or carer is not able to attend, you must supply an appropriate adult. You can do this:
- through locally commissioned or out-of-hours arrangements
All children and young people in police stations in your area must get this service, even if they are not from your area originally.
The appropriate adult’s role is to protect the interests of the child or young person. They should advise and support them and ensure that they are fairly treated and their needs met. In particular they should be aware of and able to support any:
- mental health needs
- communication difficulties.
The first choice for an appropriate adult should be a parent, carer or other responsible family member. No one known or suspected of involvement in the offence or its investigation may be an appropriate adult.
In the case of children and young people in the care of the local authority, the organisation providing accommodation and day-to-day support may fill this role, or the allocated social worker. If this is not possible, or if the offence is serious, then you may send a team member rather than a volunteer or commissioned agency.
The police custody sergeant will contact you or your contracted provider for the appropriate adult service. The service must be available seven days a week, with arrangements made for out of office hours.
If an offence has taken place by a looked-after child within a care home, staff from the establishment cannot act as an appropriate adult and the social worker must attend. The service must be available seven days a week, with arrangements made for out-of-office hours.
There are different ways to commission you an appropriate adult service. You may:
- purchase an appropriate adult service from an external provider
- provide it directly
If you choose step 1 you, as commissioner, retain overall responsibility for the quality of the service provided. For the most serious offences, you may choose to send a team member rather than a volunteer or commissioned agency. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) and National Appropriate Adult Network have created a resource to provide information on the key elements of the model, factors for consideration and how it works in practice.
View the appropriate adult scheme models in the effective practice library for more information.
The appropriate adult’s role is to protect the interests of the child or young person. The main responsibilities include:
- supporting, advising and assisting the child or young person while in detention including during any interview
- ensuring the child or young person understand their rights
- observing whether the police are acting fairly, properly and with respect for the rights of the child, and telling them if they are not
- inspecting the child or young person’s custody record if necessary and in agreement with the custody officer
- assisting with communication between the child or young person and police
The appropriate adults you use should reflect as far as possible the diversity of the local community. The role is subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check and the recruitment process should be rigorous to ensure suitability for the role. Training for appropriate adults should also be provided. Good practice suggests that training should be a minimum of 20 hours and include:
- an introduction to Police and Criminal Evidence Act Code C as amended in 2012
- an introduction to mental health, learning disabilities, speech, language and communication needs and other diversity factors
- information on child protection and safeguarding, and on risk of harm to others
- information about possible outcomes including out of court disposals, bail, remand and their implications for the detainee
It is also important that the appropriate adult is aware of local specialist provision linked with custody such as:
- liaison and diversion schemes
- the out-of-court disposal process
This will help the child or young person access these services and know what happens next.
Arranging to shadow an experienced appropriate adult will help with your training, as will a visit to a local custody suite to meet the relevant staff. If your team are a member of the National Appropriate Adult Network then you can also access their training.
There should be a clear process in place with all local police stations to request an appropriate adult service. Whenever possible the service must be provided within two hours of the request being made, providing legal representation is in place and any additional services, such as an interpreter, have been arranged. The appropriate adult attending should have advance warning of any risk or safeguarding issues and any speech, language or communication needs.
If the child or young person is detained for an extended period or there are extensive delays, it may be necessary to change the appropriate adult. You should do this in consultation with the custody sergeant and managed to reduce delays. An appropriate adult attending the police station may also be asked to act for another child or young person. You may want to consider whether there is time to do this and still provide a quality service.
The appropriate adult should introduce themself at the custody desk and have access to the custody record. They should then see the child or young person alone and explain their role and assess any welfare needs. They should let the child or young person know how to access legal support, and can insist that this is provided even if the child or young person refuses it.
The appropriate adult must not discuss the detail of the offence with the child or young person, as they could risk being called as a witness. For the same reason, when the solicitor attends, the appropriate adult must not be present.
During the police interview the appropriate adult should ensure the child or young person understands the proceedings, and that their welfare needs are met. appropriate adults must be present during:
- the administration of youth cautions and youth conditional cautions
- decisions to extend the timescale during which the child or young person is detained
- decisions to bail the child or young person to re-appear at a police station at a later date
- charging the child or young person with an offence
- the taking of photographs, fingerprints or DNA
- intimate or strip searches (the appropriate adult must be of the same gender as the child or young person)
The appropriate adult should take a copy of the charge sheet and give this to you. They should ensure that the child or young person understands what has happened, any bail conditions imposed and the implications of not complying with these, and the next steps in the process. If bail is refused, the appropriate adult must contact you immediately, as an assessment for viable alternative accommodation should be made in liaison with police and Crown Prosecution Service colleagues.
The Appropriate Adult must report back to you at the conclusion of the service. They should let you know of any issues of concern. This should include:
- anything in the area of risk or safeguarding
- the outcome of the interview
- any bail conditions imposed
Read appropriate adults: guide for youth justice professionals for more information.
1.4 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 transfers
If it is necessary to detain the child or young person overnight, they must be transferred to local authority accommodation and the responsibility for their care transfers to the local authority. Transfers cannot be used for young people detained for breach of bail or under a warrant.
The custody officer will liaise with the local authority to arrange accommodation. You must assist with the process of identifying a placement and contribute information on risk and vulnerability. Transfers must take place unless extreme circumstances such as severe weather conditions make it physically impossible to do so. Transfers may not be refused because of difficulties finding a placement, or concerns about behaviour or the offence.
If a transfer is agreed, there should be a local agreement on how the child or young person is physically transferred to the accommodation. This responsibility may fall to the police, YOT or local authority, depending on local arrangements
It is important that the transfer of children and young people takes into account the:
- health and safety of staff
- safety and wellbeing of the child or young person and others
- risk management issues
There should be a clear handover to YJB placement staff, which includes providing:
- relevant personal information
- assessments of risk of harm to themselves or from others or at risk of serious harm to others
- arrangements for transporting the child or young person to court.
- information to parents/carers and the home YOT (if placed away from here) on the transfer and arrangements to attend court
Read the placing young people in custody guide for more information on this process.
2.1 Reduce the likelihood of police bail being denied
You can improve the chances that children and young people get bail by providing information and support. The appropriate adult should let you know immediately if they notice that the police have concerns about granting bail. Once they have done this you should speak to the custody officer to find out what their concerns are, and identify a bail supervision and support package which could address them.
The police may consider refusing bail if:
- there are doubts about the child or young person’s identity
- there is a realistic risk of further serious offending
- there is a risk the child or young person may not attend court
- there is reason to believe that the child or young person may attempt to interfere with witnesses and the administration of justice
It is important that the packages of supervision and support recognise these risks and minimise them.
2.2 Unscheduled court hearings
Every court day, you should check to see whether any children or young people are detained overnight. This may be by:
- Police and Criminal Evidence Act transfer
- arrest as a result of a warrant, who will be dealt with by the court that day
In these cases you should use the information you gather to reduce the chances of remand to youth detention accommodation.
Your court staff will see the child or young person in the court cells to:
- assess them
- ensure their welfare needs are met
- start to identify a suitable bail supervision and support package
Discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service as to any representations they may make to the court will also inform the design of the bail package.
The Bail Act 1976 gives a presumption that children and young people will be given bail from court unless:
- they are serving a custodial sentence and were produced at court for a new matter
- they previously breached, or absconded on, bail (where this is the case, the time lapse, current circumstances and young person’s willingness to comply should inform the assessment of the likelihood of recurrence)
- it is an imprisonable offence and there is reason to believe that the child or young person would fail to surrender, commit a further offence or seek to obstruct the course of justice
- the offence was committed on bail and could have been heard at either a magistrates’ or Crown court
If any of these circumstances apply, you must seek to propose a bail supervision and support programme (including intensive supervision and support) which will:
- reduce the risks
- protect the public
- promote the justice processes
In cases where the assessed risks are too high for safe management in the community, you may choose to not propose a bail support package to the court.
The Bail and Remand section of AssetPlus helps you make an assessment to respond objections to bail, and to recommend the most suitable bail package.
If the child or young person is previously known, you should use information from past assessments to ensure that the assessment reflects current circumstances and is accurate. If the child or young person is not previously known, all sections must be completed to give a detailed picture of their situation, history and risks.
At this stage, it is vital that you establish whether the child or young person is currently, or has previously been looked after by any local authority. If the responsible local authority is not the one in which the child or young person is appearing in court, the ‘host’ area YOT must ensure that the home authority is informed and consulted.
You need be particularly aware of the impact of the accommodation needs of children and young people who are looked after. This will affect the likelihood of the court granting bail and you should work with local authority housing services to ensure that an appropriate bail address can be provided to court.
Due to time constraints at court, the assessment for bail needs to be short and simply expressed.
The sections of AssetPlus that are most relevant for consideration of the child or young person’s ability to comply with a bail package are:
- substance misuse
- peers and networks
- personal, family and social factors
Potential risks to self and others must also be clearly assessed. The Community Package Bail Proposal section of AssetPlus will then form the basis of your proposal to the court.
2.4 Bridging Guidance
Before the introduction of AssetPlus, and during its phased implementation, you will prepare existing paperwork, including the Asset – Bail Supervision and Support Profile assessment. These should continue to be used until AssetPlus is fully implemented in your area.
2.5 Bail Supervision and Support programmes
The court can choose to make bail unconditional (no conditions other than returning to court on the required date) or conditional.
Conditions may include:
- living and sleeping at a specific address
- an electronically monitored curfew, if the young person is 12 or over
- reporting to a police station at specific times
- reporting to the YOT as required (anything from once a week to a number of times daily, depending on the assessment)
- restrictions on entering a specific area (a map should be supplied to the young person)
- restrictions on directly or indirectly contacting named individuals, such as victims or witnesses
- attending appointments required to produce a Pre-Sentence Report
If the court imposes a Bail Supervision and Support package you have case management responsibility. The case should be allocated within 24 hours, and if the parent or carer was not present in court there should be a home visit within 24 hours of allocation. If the child or young person is currently on a statutory order you can use the appointments associated with this as contacts for the bail supervision.
The case manager should ensure that the child or young person and parents and carers understand the requirements of the bail package. The programme should be agreed and signed, and a copy provided to the child or young person. Contact with the YOT may be with the case manager directly or with other specialist workers if necessary to address the needs identified in their AssetPlus assessment. Bail Support and Supervision cases should not be held on duty, nor should the majority of appointments be with a duty worker.
YOTs should continue to manage young people who turn 18 while on bail for under-18 offences. This will help to ensure the stability of Bail packages, supervision and risk management. Once the young person has been sentenced, you should follow the Youth to Adult Transitions Framework. Where applicable, you should use the Wales Youth to Adult Transition Principles and Guidance. This will help to establish which agency will continue supervision of the young adult.
2.6 Reports for court
Reports for court will be based on AssetPlus and any other relevant assessments available. They will be prepared for court in an agreed local format, but should contain the following at a minimum:
- suitability for conditional bail supervision and support
- the child or young person’s informed agreement to comply and participate with the proposed package
- details of the bail address, checked by seconded YOT police staff for suitability
- the level, timing and nature of the support and supervision provided
- any other bail conditions assessed as necessary to manage risk
- details of the enforcement measures to be applied in the case of any non compliance
The bail condition you ask the court to impose should usually be “to comply with the requirements of the bail supervision and support programme” and so give you the scope to amend the programme content as the needs and risks presented by the child or young person vary.
You should prepare reports in writing wherever possible to ensure clarity of communication and for review at future court hearings. If custody is being considered, section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 mandates that the report must be in writing. Your court staff should provide the report to court alongside the bail application by the defence solicitor. If the child or young person is the responsibility of a different local authority and the host YOT is presenting the package to court, the agreement with the home authority should be both confirmed and acknowledged for accuracy within the report. The report must be shared promptly with any responsible colleagues from other areas.
Read the national protocol for case responsibility for more information
2.7 Bail Intensive Supervision and Surveillance
A condition of Intensive Supervision and Surveillance can be added to a child or young person’s bail package as an alternative to secure remand. This must provide a minimum of 25 hours structured time over 7 days each week, including the core elements of:
- education, training or employment - 15 of the 25 high intensity hours should be timetabled in this category
- family support: sessions with the parents or carers to ensure that they understand the child or young person’s licence requirements and are doing what they can to encourage compliance
- interpersonal skills - work to support the factors which can increase resilience and desistance
- an electronically monitored curfew
In addition, programmes should include access to support with universal and specialist services for individual issues such as homelessness, drug misuse or mental health problems. As the child or young person will not yet have been convicted, the restorative justice element of Intensive Supervision and Surveillance must not be included in the timetable, and while general discussions around offending behaviour can take place, specific offending behaviour work must not be carried out.
Bail Intensive Supervision and Support packages can be in place for substantial timescales where there is a delay in the case coming to court. An application can be made to the court to vary the condition, reducing the hours to a minimum of 5 hours a week, where there has been consistent compliance.
2.8 Increase the use of bail
You should take action to ensure the courts are aware of and confident in Bail Intensive Supervision and Surveillance packages, and other alternatives to custodial remand. As well as explaining these clearly to the court in individual cases, they may wish to invite youth court magistrates to meet supervising officers and ask questions.
You should also consider the following actions to reduce unnecessary remands:
- tackle disproportionality, with regard to gender and ethnicity, and ensuring that bail packages identify measures to address this
- provide of community-based alternatives and consortia arrangements such as enhanced bail support, tracking systems and specialist remand fostering
- further reduce the length of secure remands by pro-actively securing further listings and informing legal representation of resources available
- improving assessments and bail information
2.9 Compliance and enforcement
If a child or young person fails to comply with Bail Supervision and Support conditions, you should follow up by a phone call or home visit within 24 hours, to determine whether there is a reasonable excuse.
It is up to you, with oversight by an operational manager, to agree the terms of a reasonable excuse. Where there is no reasonable excuse, a written warning must be issued. Written warnings may also be issued when a child or young person attends an appointment but behaves in an unacceptable manner.
Once two written warnings have been issued, further instances of non compliance will lead to breach. You may also proceed straight to breach if there is one instance of serious behaviour that warrants this.
When you decide whether or not to breach the child or young person you should make a balanced appraisal of what is being achieved with them as well as their failure to comply with specific requirements.
Breach proceedings are instigated by making a Witness Statement to police. The child or young person should be advised that breach has been instigated and that they should present to their nearest police station or to the court early the next day. You will then prepare a breach report giving full details of the non compliance including:
- the circumstances of prior warnings
- any reasons given by the child or young person
- the progress made to date and recommendations
3.1 Considerations for court
The court will ask the YOT officers in court which is the designated local authority for the child or young person. If a remand to youth detention accommodation is being considered, it is important that this designation is correctly made. For looked-after children and young people, the designation must be to the ‘home’ authority, regardless of where they are living or where the offence took place. If the designation is unclear, for example if a child or young person divides their time equally between parents living in different areas, or if they are a newly arrived unaccompanied minor, the court decide on the designation.
If a local authority believes that the designation has been incorrectly made, it can ask the court to change this, giving reasons. Any changes of designation can be from the new court appearance or may be retrospective, from the start of the remand.
You should inform the YJB of any changes of designation, to avoid incorrect charging and ensure correct contact details are recorded for the safe management of the child or young person during their periods within secure accommodation.
When there is a possibility that a child or young person will be remanded into youth detention accommodation, you should alert the YJB Placement Service immediately by sending an AssetPlus assessment which includes an updated Custody module, using the Placement Notification stage.
The custody module enables the worker to make a placement recommendation and includes specific information relevant to their placement. If the child or young person has been securely remanded the custody module, including the Post Court section of AssetPlus must be completed and sent by 5.30pm that working day. The Placement Service will review the young person’s documents and make a placement decision. If a secure children’s home (SCH) or secure training centre (STC) is recommended, the Placement Service will make a referral to the identified accommodation unit.
Once the placement has been confirmed, the Placement Service will issue a placement confirmation form to you, the escort contractor and the accommodation unit.
3.2 Remands to local authority accommodation
Local authorities have a legal duty under Section 21 of the Children Act 1989 and in Wales, the Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014 to provide accommodation for all children and young people remanded to local authority accommodation.
The Children’s Services department of the local authority decides what the most appropriate placement will be. This may be with:
- a family member
- remand foster placement
- children’s home
If a child or young person appears in a court beyond their ‘home’ area, the YOT officers present will need to liaise with the home authority when making any decisions related to this type of remand. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 makes this type of remand available for all young people under 18.
A court that remands a child to local authority accommodation must designate which local authority will receive the child. If the child is looked after, the designated local authority will be the ‘home’, regardless of where the child or young person is placed, or where the offence took place. The designated authority must provide or arrange for accommodation for the child for the duration of the remand, and during this time it is lawful for any person acting on behalf of the designated authority to detain the child.
3.3 Remands to youth detention accommodation
The court must give consideration to the legal ‘test’ for referring children and young people to youth detention accommodation, i.e. the seriousness of the offence and the likelihood that they will receive a custodial sentence. Youth Offending Service court officers should also be aware of the relevant legislation in this regard.
If a child or young person is remanded into youth detention accommodation, you must ensure that the correct documents are completed and sent securely to the YJB Placement Service using Connectivity.
If the child or young person is in court away from their home, or ‘designated’ area, the documents should be completed in liaison with the home area wherever possible to ensure an accurate assessment. As soon as you are aware that there is a possibility of a secure remand being imposed, you must prepare in advance the Bail and Remand module of the AssetPlus assessment, and ensure it is sent.
On the day of court, the Post Court section must also be completed, ensuring it takes account of the child or young person’s reaction to the court’s decision and the information available on the Person Escort Record, and sent before the end of that working day. This section provides the most up-to-date assessment of the child or young person’s demeanour and potential state of mind. It is critical that where a child or young person is known to another area’s YOT that the Post Court section is completed in conjunction with them.
3.4 Bridging Guidance
Until the full introduction of AssetPlus, you should continue to send a placement information form and Asset assessment, with any additional information on risk or vulnerability management, in advance where possible, and a post court report before the end of the day the remand is made.
If the child or young person is produced from court and given a custodial sentence for the offence, the worker completing the Post Court section of the Custody module of AssetPlus should also consider the most appropriate type of placement and discuss this with the YJB Placement Service. Young men may be accommodated in under-18 young offender institution (YOI), STC or SCH, depending on the assessed level of risk and need. Young women may be accommodated in STCs or SCHs only.
The cost of the accommodation is charged to the local authority and levels of cost vary between the different types of accommodation, but the decision as to which should be informed by the child or young person’s safeguarding needs and not the cost. Factors which influence the decision as to placement include:
- the child or young person’s safety and wellbeing and any additional safeguarding needs the YOT has highlighted
- the level and nature of risk the child or young person is assessed to pose to others
- the child or young person’s previous history within the secure estate, including any positive experiences in particular institutions
- any specific needs, for example the requirement for a specific programme of intervention, health education or welfare needs which can best be met at a specific setting
- the current availability of places across the secure estate
- any gang or territory affiliations which may cause clashes with other young people in youth detention accommodation, and make particular placements undesirable for that individual
The decision is a shared one between the YJB and the YOT, and if agreement cannot be reached, this should be escalated to the duty Placement Manager in the YJB Placement Service.
Read the placing young people in custody guide for more information on this process.
• ensure that the case is allocated within two working days
• inform parents, carers, education establishments, accommodation providers and any other relevant organisations or individuals
• have established liaison and referral pathways with Children’s Services to ensure that Looked After assessments and duties are initiated promptly
• work with the secure establishment to put remand plans in place which meet the child or young person’s needs
• consider whether an application should be made for bail, and if so list this as soon as possible
3.5 Remand management
An initial planning meeting should take place no more than five working days from the date of the remand, and agree the programme of work the child or young person will undertake during their time in youth detention accommodation.
This will be based on the needs set out in their AssetPlus assessment. If you are a manager, you are responsible for liaising with:
- the home education authority where the child or young person is of school age, to ensure that their statutory duties continue to be met
- the relevant education or training provider, employer or careers advice agency if they are above school age
The initial review should have the child or young person, case manager from the home designated YOT, the child or young person’s parents or carers, the allocated social worker and any other relevant individuals invited to attend.
At the initial planning meeting consider if the young person is approaching 18 years old. If so, you should begin planning for their possible transition to the adult prison estate, NPS or CRC. This will be dependent on the custodial or community sentence they may receive.
Where possible, young people who turn 18 while on remand should remain in the under-18 estate. This will be until the court case has concluded and their sentence given by the court. Consideration should be given to the length of time the young person is likely to remain on remand and, if convicted, the type of custodial sentence they would receive. At no time should these young people move to the adult estate straight from a court hearing. If the young person receives a custodial sentence, they should return to the remand facility. You should follow this with a planned move as part of their transition plan. The young person will be transported from the secure establishment to the adult prison.
Because all children and young people remanded to youth detention accommodation automatically achieve looked-after status (see below) it is recommended that you use a single detention and placement plan instead of separate sentence planning and looked-after child documents . You can use this template to help you do this.
You should then review the plan on at least a monthly basis to review progress against targets and progress within the institution. Review meetings should also consider whether an application for bail is appropriate.
Remand hearings may be conducted by video link to reduce disruption to the child or young person’s placement. In the case of re-remands to the same institution, the placement paperwork does not need to be repeated.
Your case manager should also visit monthly to see the child or young person individually and discuss their welfare needs. This meeting may take place on the same day as the remand review but be separate
3.6 Looked-after child status
All children and young people remanded to secure accommodation automatically become looked after by their home local authority. If they were looked after prior to going into youth detention accommodation, they continue to receive services under the Children Act 1989, and young people not previously looked after acquire this status. This includes situations where a child or young person is serving a custodial sentence, during which they are charged and remanded for other offences – known as a ‘technical’ remand, although in this situation the local authority will not be charged for the remand nights.
The Children’s Services social worker schedules the looked-after child reviews are to assess their welfare needs and take action to ensure these are met. Your detention placement plan should be agreed, based on the local authority’s assessment of their needs no more than 10 working days after the remand. You should make every effort to combine looked-after reviews with remand reviews, so that the relevant staff can be present and take a holistic view of the child or young person’s needs.
If the remand lasts for 13 weeks or longer, the child or young person becomes eligible for leaving care services. This means that they will get advice and support for particular needs including accommodation and financial assistance (including for higher education) by the responsible local authority.