Decision on secure home postponed

Northamptonshire Council has postponed a decision on the future of the St John’s secure children’s home because it needs more information on the financial implications of closing the unit.
The council was due to decide on the future of the home this week but will not now do so until December.

A report presented to its cabinet indicated that a £5m Department of Health capital grant to build St John’s may have to be repaid if the unit is no longer used as a secure home.

However, the report also pointed out that the loss of a contract last year from the Youth Justice Board had removed the unit’s “only source of guaranteed funding”. This allowed “some discretion” that could be exercised in the council’s favour.

It has now written to the government to find out whether it would want the grant to be repaid.

Closure of the 16-bed secure unit is one of four options being looked at by the council. It is also considering continuing to operate it at the same capacity, reducing capacity to eight beds or selling it to another provider.

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