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Protocol for YOTs on case responsibility

National Protocol for Case Responsibility: Practice Guidance for Youth Offending Teams in England and Wales, Youth Justice Board, January 2018

This Protocol replaces the 2014 National Protocol for Case Responsibility.  It provides guidance to Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) working with children who have committed offences outside of their usual home area.   The responsibilities of the ‘home’ YOT and the ‘host’ YOT  pre-court, at court and following sentence are set out.

Details

Practice principles are set out with the welfare of the child as paramount.  In the pre-court section the protocol details which YOT must provide an appropriate adult at the police station and what their communication responsibilities are.  In addition, it sets out who has responsibility for liaising with the police and others about potential out of court disposals.

The protocol states that there should always be discussions between the home and host YOTs whenever a child who resides in one geographical area appears in a court in a different one.  It states that ‘in the interests of reducing avoidable remand to youth detentions, it is important that a potential host YOT does its utmost to offer a bail support package to out-of-area children and young people which would satisfy the grounds on which the court is willing to grant bail’ (paragraph 4.22). In relation to Saturday  and bank holiday courts the YOT should contact the court in advance to find out whether any children will be appearing and if so and a remand to youth detention accommodation is likely the home and host YOT should liaise establish the home emergency duty team arrangements.

In relation to sentencing, a variety of provisions and resources exist in different locations. It is the responsibility of the home  YOT to communicate with the host YOT prior to transfer to ensure that YRO requirements can be fulfilled. If there is disparity in what can be delivered, then it is the responsibility of the home YOT to return the order to court for variation in the order to comply with the host.

The protocol also gives detailed guidance about the responsibilities of YOTs in relation to looked after children.

Commentry

This guidance provides helpful clarity for practitioners about the processes which much be followed when a child is arrested or prosecuted out of their area and is a particularly useful resource for lawyers who may need to liaise with YOTs at court regarding bail support.