Restraint review delayed by ‘significant gap’ in evidence

The publication of the long-awaited review of restraint in the juvenile secure estate has been delayed due to “a significant gap” in evidence concerning local authority secure children’s homes (Laschs).

The review, commissioned by the government last year (right), was due to report to ministers next month but this has now been extended to June at the request of chairs Andrew Williamson and Peter Smallridge.

This will enable them to fully consider the findings of research commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families into the use of restraint in the 18 Laschs, which began in January.

In a Commons statement last week, prisons minister David Hanson said information on restraint in Laschs was “fragmented” and that the research, by children’s charity NCB, would aim to provide a “systematic map” of restraint methods for the first time.

Currently, Laschs use a wide range of methods and it is the responsibility of each local authority or provider to identify what is appropriate while taking into account regulations and national mininum standards.

Roy Walker, deputy chair of the Secure Accommodation Network, which represents Laschs in England and Wales, welcomed the announcement. He said Williamson and Smallridge had already visited at least one Lasch to look at how they managed children with difficult and challenging behaviour.

“Key issues the review must look at are staffing ratio, the quality of training offered and management,” he said. “Sadly the use of restraint is part of the daily business of working with young people in secure settings. There is no sense in which one type of institution deals with it better than others – we can all learn from each other.”

Related article

More on restraint techniques used across the secure estate

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Maria Ahmed


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