Cost concerns slow down training at local authority secure homes

Local authority secure children’s homes are lagging far behind
the rest of the secure estate for young people in training staff on
standard qualifications.

The YJB wants 80 per cent of youth justice workers to gain the
professional certificate in effective practice (PCEP), or
equivalent accreditation under the National Qualification
Framework, by next March.

The YJB developed the PCEP to meet the need for a standard
qualification for staff across the sector.

Mary Graham, chair of the Secure Accommodation Network, the body
that represents Laschs, said they were falling behind because the
YJB did not meet “backfill” costs to pay for substitute staff when
existing staff were released for training.

She said this put extra pressure on social services budgets that
fund welfare beds in Laschs, adding: “It’s unfair to expect local
authorities to give extra money so Laschs can get more staff on the

However, the YJB said YOIs had started the training first in
2004-5, and that Laschs and STCs were “on track to deliver more
training to a tighter schedule”.

A spokesperson for the YJB said it did not meet “backfill” costs
for any establishments.

Graham also said the shorter contracts given to Laschs by the
YJB – two to three years compared with about 15 years for STCs –
“raises the question of whether it is worth paying for staff to do
the training”.

The YJB spokesperson said STC contracts were longer because the
companies that set them up and operated them needed to recoup
capital costs.

Meanwhile, the Youth Justice Board has sanctioned a
controversial “nose distraction” technique for staff in STCs to
control young offenders, reportedly involving a “karate chop”-style
blow to the nose.

It has also permanently suspended the seated double embrace
restraint following the death of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt at
Rainsbrook STC in April 2004. He lost consciousness while being
restrained by three staff.


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.