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Children: Restraint Techniques

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Education) (Children and Families)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the incidences of the use of restraint in children's homes.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015, for the first time, introduced quality standards for children’s homes. Through the guide to the regulations and quality standards, we make clear that the only purposes for which restraint can be used are to prevent injury to any person; prevent serious damage to the property of any person; or prevent a child who is accommodated in a secure children’s home from absconding from the home.

When restraint involves the use of force, the force used must not be more than is necessary and should be applied in a way that is proportionate. The regulations are clear that restraint that deliberately inflicts pain cannot be proportionate and should never be used on children in children’s homes.

Where restraint is used, records must be kept and should enable the registered person and staff to review the incident, identify effective practice and respond promptly where any issues or trends of concerns emerge.

Ofsted is responsible for inspecting children’s homes and on inspection will review the policies and procedures homes have in place for the use of restraint, including the recording of incidents. Ofsted will review individual cases of restraint to ensure practice is proportionate and meets the needs of the child. Where poor practice is identified, Ofsted can take enforcement action including issuing compliance notices where necessary.

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