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Secure Accommodation Order (SAO)

The Local Authority can apply for a Secure Accommodation Order (SAO) in relation to a child where the child has a history of absconding, is likely to abscond, and, if they do abscond, is likely to suffer significant harm or if they are kept in any other description of the accommodation, they are likely to injure themselves or other persons. Once this criteria is met, the court shall make the order.

The Local Authority can hold a child in secure accommodation, without a court order, for a maximum of 72 hours in a 28-day period.

The initial SAO can be made for a period of 3 months. If it is felt that the criteria in no longer met at any stage, then the child should not continue to be held in secure accommodation. If a longer period of secure accommodation proves necessary, then the Local Authority can make a further application for a maximum of 6 months on each occasion.

There is a duty on the Local Authority to appoint at least three people, one of whom must not be a Local Authority employee, to review the placement within a month and every three months thereafter. This is to ensure that the criteria continue to be met and that no other description of the accommodation is met.

If you have any questions or require more information on Secure Accommodation Orders, please contact

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About the author

TMJ Legal Services

TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986.

TMJ Legal Services

TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services. 

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