Intensive Supervision and Surveillance: New YJB Case Management Guidance Encourages More Flexibility

How to manage bail and remands

How to use reports


The recently revised YJB Case Management Guidance contains sections on the use of Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (“ISS”) which encourage practitioners to adopt a more flexible approach in both their bail and remand assessments and their pre-sentence reports, when looking at alternatives to custodial sentences.  For a general overview of the revised Case Management Guidance see our previous legal update here.


The first link detailed above takes you to the revised guidance on bail and remand and contains separate sections on bail support packages which look specifically at the use of ISS to strengthen the case against a custodial remand.  The second link will take you to the revised guidance on report writing and contains specific sections on the use of electronic monitoring and ISS.  Although aimed primarily at Youth Justice Service officers, the YJB guidance is written so that it can be accessed by all practitioners involved in the youth justice system. 

The key changes to the guidance regarding bail ISS are:

  • The removal of a weekly minimum number of contact hours.  Contact hours can be anything up to 25 hours per week and contact hours can be increased or altered if the child’s situation changes to justify this;
  • The removal of a prescriptive approach in terms of the ISS package.  Whilst there is an expectation that children on ISS are engaged in education and training, the number or hours attributed to each activity in the package can be determined by the YJS to suit the child’s individual needs and circumstances;
  • There is no minimum period for bail ISS.

Th​​​​​​​ere are fewer changes when it comes to the guidance regarding YRO ISS packages. YRO ISS must still be imposed for a minimum of 91 days up to a maximum of 180 days.  Nonetheless, the guidance does recommend a flexible approach, stressing that “programmes should be tailored to the needs of each individual child.”


In relation to this guidance the YJB have said: “The YJB is committed to promoting an evidence based Child First approach across all aspects of the justice system for children, and hopes that this revised guidance opens ISS as an alternative to custody for a wider range of children, particularly the large group currently held on custodial remand”.

These revisions are part of the YJB’s broader strategy to adopt a “child first approach”.  Increased flexibility is closely aligned to this doctrine as it encourages all practitioners and decision makers to work on a more individualised, child-by-child,  basis rather than using the guidance in a prescriptive manner.  However, when disseminating this new guidance to practitioners, the YJB have also stressed that this does not represent a relaxation of the regime. 

Written by Ruth McGregor Hamann, Youth Justice Lawyer, YJLC