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By Dolores Duncan,2014-04-24 16:52
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     Child Care Services

Youth Justice Board minimum standards

    for transporting young offenders

    Although endorsed by the YJB, adoption of these minimum standards is a voluntary

    matter. However, in the light of recent court cases it should be noted that they can be used in a court of law to show that an individual or corporate body failed to adhere to „best practice‟. The Youth Justice Board believe that it is in the best interests of any organisations involved in the transport of young offenders to adhere to these standards, not only to safeguard the welfare of vulnerable young people, but also to protect the organisation from the possibility of poor practice and subsequent litigation. Contents

    Summary ............................................................................................................. 2

    Transporting young offenders .............................................................................. 3

    The standards ....................................................................................................... 3

    Underlying Principles ....................................................................................... 3

    Specification .................................................................................................... 4

    Organisational Standards ............................................................................... 4

    Staff Selection and Training Standards .......................................................... 5

    Transport Arrangements Standards ................................................................ 5

    Verification of Standards...................................................................................... 7

    Internal verification, self-assessment checklist .................................................. 7

    Child Care Services

    Summary

     The Youth Justice Board (YJB) reviewed and updated the arrangement for transporting young offenders between court and a place of detention. At present, a young offender sentenced by a court and detained will be transported either to a Young Offender Institute (YOI) or to a Secure Training Centre (STC). A young offender remanded into the care of a local authority (LA) will be transported under arrangements determined by the individual local authority.

    As part of that review, the YJB developed a set of minimum standards that could be adopted by escort agencies and local authorities when transporting young offenders. There was widespread consultation with:

    ; The Prison Escort Service;

    ; Contractors involved in escort duties; and

    ; Local authorities.

    The YJB concluded that they should endorse the standards and encourage local authorities to implement them with respect to their own transport arrangements and use their contracting procedures to ensure that are adopted by any agency employed to transport young offenders.

    The aim of this report is to set out the standards and provide a self-assessment checklist that can be applied by a local authority to its own arrangement or incorporated in contracts with third parties. The standards cover:

    ; Organisational standards, the type of organisation and evidence of

    sustainability and insurance cover;

    ; Staff selection and training standards, ensuring that staff employed possess

    the relevant skills and that there are no legal impediments that might raise

    questions about their suitability to work with vulnerable young people;

    ; Transport arrangements standards, the type of vehicle, conditions and the

    number of staff engaged in the transport activity.

    The report is set out as shown below:

    ; Summary:

    ; Section Two: identifies the key reason for introducing minimum

    standards for the transport of young offenders;

    ; Section Three: sets the standards, covering their:

    ; Underlying principles; and

    ; Specification.

    ; Section Four: considers the verification of the standards, both internally

    and externally.

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    Transporting young offenders

    For some time the Youth Justice Board has been concerned about the conditions under which young offenders are transported. This concern has two roots:

    ; The perception that inadequate conditions sometimes prevail during

    transportation and the potential danger to the welfare of the young people

    resulting from those conditions; and

    ; The need to ensure that all possible steps are taken to maximise the

    success of detention as a tool to reduce re-offending.

    The Youth Justice Board reviewed the risks associated with the present system and the use of unregulated escort agencies. Following on from that review, a set of minimum standards were developed that could be adopted to ensure a high standard of safety, security and comfort were observed during the conveyance of young offenders. These standards covered:

    ; Organisational: the legal standing, status, financial propriety and trading

    history of the organisation undertaking the transport duties;

    ; Staff selection and training: the selection, training and verification of

    staff employed in the transport of young people; and

    ; Transport arrangements: the mode and conditions of transportation,

    collection response and delivery times, the transmission of documents and

    staff conduct.

    The Youth Justice Board has indicated that it wishes to endorse these standards and encourage local authorities support them. This would mean local authorities applying the standards when they directly undertake the transport of young offenders and requiring organisations they contract with to observe the standards also.

    The standards

    Underlying Principles

    The principles underpinning the design of these standards are that:

    ; All young offenders should be treated with dignity and respect at all times;

    ; The transport arrangements for young offenders should support the ethos

    of the care centre to which they are being transported;

    ; The transport arrangements should seek to minimise the risk of self and

    third party harm / damage; and

    ; Young offenders should be transported humanely and that the level of

    comfort should be commensurate with modern standards and the duration

    of the journey.

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    Child Care Services

    Specification

    The following standards are designed to cover all aspects of the transport arrangements for young offenders. They are broken down into three categories:

    ; Organisational: the legal standing, status, financial propriety and trading

    history of the organisation;

    ; Staff selection and training: the selection, training and verification of

    staff employed in the transport of young people; and

    ; Transport arrangements: the mode and conditions of transportation,

    collection response and delivery times, the transmission of documents

    and staff conduct.

    Each of these areas is covered in detail below.

    Organisational Standards

    Organisational standards relate to the standing of the organisation in terms of its ability to deliver a service over the lifetime of the contract or agreement. They presume that a local authority has entered into a contractual arrangement with a third party. Accordingly, they do not apply when a local authority engages in direct transport itself.

    In general, these standards help to make sure the organisation is sound and well managed. Accordingly, they require the organisation to show that they have a history of financial stability and a track record of operating this type of service. Often new start-ups will be unable to demonstrate such a history. It is not the intention to constrain competition or create high barriers to entry. As such, an alternative minimum standard is set out for new start-ups that cannot supply a medium- or long- term trading history.

    Based on current best practice, the following minimum standards related to the organisational standing of the firm should be adhered to:

    ; The organisation has been established as a legal entity and;

    ; In the case of an established organisation, it has been operating as such for

    three years before the date of the commencement of the contract; or

    ; In the case of a new start up, a bond, insurance or parent company has

    guaranteed indemnifying the local authority in the event of business

    failure;

    ; The organisation has discharged all of its responsibilities to pay tax,

    National Insurance etc. under the relevant nation state‟s legislation;

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    Child Care Services

    ; The contracting organisation has or will acquire all relevant insurance to

    allow them to conduct the work. At a minimum this should be for ?10m

    per incident or collection of incidents;

    ; The liabilities to discharge the contract has been guaranteed by the holding

    company. Where the organisation is a wholly owned subsidiary of another,

    the liability of each organisation needs to be agreed and set down in

    contract.

    Staff Selection and Training Standards

    The personnel used by the contractor are key to the successful transport of young offenders. They represent the point at which failure is most likely to occur. Hence, the selection of the personnel is a key activity for any organisation carrying out the transport of young offenders. In particular, all people performing custodial transport services must be properly trained and certified in accordance with the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

    Based on current best practice, the following minimum standards related to staff

    selection and training should be adhered to:

    ; All staff should have completed relevant training in health and safety,

    control and restraint, first aid etc;

    ; Each driver should hold a full clean driving license at the point of

    commencement of service. Any subsequent endorsements should be

    notified immediately to the local authority. The authority should reserve

    the discretion to either waiver these endorsements or require that the

    driver be removed from escort duty; and

    ; All staff should be checked to the highest level through the Criminal

    Records Bureau.

    Transport Arrangements Standards

    Transport arrangements, which include the mode and conditions of transportation, the transmission of documents and the conduct of personnel transporting young offenders, should be set out in an operations handbook. This will set the method, conditions and level of service to be adhered to at all times.

    Based on current best practice, the minimum standards related to transport

    arrangements are:

    ; There should be an operations handbook, which sets out the method,

    conditions and standards of service to be provided at all times and that is

    actively adhered to;

    ; The organisation should commit to collecting young offenders from court

    in the shortest time possible;

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    ; Young offenders should be transported to their destination in the shortest time possible;

    ; The organisation should undertake to collect and deliver all the relevant documents, with the young offender. These include the Warrant, the Placement Authority Form, the ASSET Assessment, the Pre-sentence Report and the Post Court Report;

    ; The choice of vehicle used for transporting young offenders is at the discretion of the organisation, but it must be capable of being secured (i.e. soft tops are not suitable) and provide sufficient space in the rear for three full sized adults to be contained in comfort;

    ; Each vehicle should be less than five years old and conform to all UK regulations. There should be less than 200,000 miles “on the clock”;

    ; Each vehicle should appear externally to be a conventional vehicle in general use within the United Kingdom (in order to protect Young Offenders from abuse and stigmatisation);

    ; Each vehicle should be fitted with air conditioning, to allow for the possibility of hot days and the problems of travelling without open windows;

    ; Each vehicle should be equipped with a fully hands free mobile phone for use in an emergency and be operated by the driver;

    ; Each vehicle should be equipped with a fire extinguisher of a type specified as suitable for the vehicle and stored in the front of the vehicle;

    ; Each vehicle should be fitted with a locking system such that the young offender cannot operate the windows and doors;

    ; Each vehicle should be provided with full breakdown cover;

    ; Each vehicle should be cleaned at the end of each journey and thoroughly searched for objects hidden intentionally;

    ; There should be a minimum of two adults accompanying each child in addition to the driver;

    ; At least one of the transport officers should be the same sex as the young offender;

    ; The accompanying adults should be suitably attired (i.e. smart casual clothes). Uniforms should be avoided;

    ; The accompanying adults should both sit in the rear of the vehicle with the young offender;

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    ; A young offender should not be searched by an officer of the opposite sex;

    ; A ban on smoking, alcohol and other restricted stimulants should apply to

    both staff and young offenders during the transport;

    ; A full range of healthy refreshments, such as fruit juices, sandwiches,

    water and fruit should be made available in the vehicle. When journeys

    exceed two hours arrangements for meals should be made; and

    ; A range of child-friendly material, such as magazines, books, music

    players (with headphones to avoid disturbing the driver etc) should be

    provided.

    Verification of Standards

    Although endorsed by the YJB, adoption of these minimum standards is a voluntary

    matter. However, the Youth Justice Board believe that it is in the best interests of any organisations involved in the transport of young offenders to adhere to these standards, not only to safeguard the welfare of vulnerable young people, but also to protect the organisation from the possibility of poor practice and subsequent litigation.

    Internal verification, self-assessment checklist

    The checklist is designed to enable organisations responsible for the transport of young offenders to undertake internal verification checks on the minimum standards set out in section above. It is made up of a series of questions, which can be answered „yes‟, „no‟ or „don‟t know‟. The more questions answered yes, the more likely it is that the transport arrangements are adhering to best practice advice. It will help escort agencies and local authorities to carry out risk assessment and could form the basis of an independent assessment carried out on behalf of the local authority. The checklist is provided as a separate document which can be downloaded from our website.

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