Private sector to up secure estate role

The private sector is set to increase its involvement in the council-run secure estate for children.

Southwark Council in south London was expected this week to approve the sale of Orchard Lodge, the capital’s last local authority secure home, to the Glen Care Group.

And Northamptonshire Council wants to find an external partner to work with the St John’s secure home in Tiffield, although it does not plan a full sale.

Orchard Lodge, which provides a mixture of beds for children referred on welfare grounds and young offenders placed by the Youth Justice Board, will transfer in January if Southwark’s cabinet backs the sale.

Glen Care, which has said it will continue the home’s contract with the YJB, runs services in south east England for people with mental health problems.

Northamptonshire Council had considered closing St John’s, but will not pursue this option as it is waiting to hear whether this would force it to repay a 5m government capital grant.

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