Board allays fears on beds reduction

The Youth Justice Board has denied that the potential reduction in
the number of places in secure children’s homes could result in
young offenders being forced to stay in prison longer.

The Secure Accommodation Network, which represents local authority
secure children’s homes in England and Wales, is concerned that
more vulnerable young people will have to remain in youth offenders
institutions as a result of financial pressures.

Concerns were prompted by warnings from the YJB that it might not
be able to afford as many local authority secure unit beds as it
had originally hoped. It blamed the rising cost of places, which in
some cases is up 17 per cent. However, it was unable to say where
any extra capacity would be found.

Bids to provide beds had to be submitted to the YJB by the end of
September with the successful ones expected to be announced in
January. The current contracts are due to finish at the end of

The YJB contracts 65 per cent of the 461 beds available in local
authority secure children’s homes in England and Wales. There is
concern that some might not now receive contracts and be forced to

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