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9.3.3 Detention and Training Orders


This chapter was updated in December 2021 updated to include an Appendix 1: YRO/DTO Planning and Review Process Flowchart.


  1. Introduction
  2. Legislation
  3. Criteria to be met before a DTO can be Imposed.
  4. Description of the Order
  5. Procedures Prior to Sentence
  6. At Court
  7. Victim Liaison
  8. Sentence Planning
  9. Reviews
  10. Placement Transfers
  11. Early/Late Release Arrangements
  12. Late Release
  13. Compassionate Early Release
  14. Community Supervision
  15. Enforcement
  16. Extended Supervision

    Appendix 1: YRO/DTO Planning and Review Process Flowchart

1. Introduction

1.1 This document details local practice arrangements for the management of DTO cases. It should be read alongside the following documents:

Case Management Guidance Section 7 Youth Justice Board
Placement Review Guidance Youth Justice Board
Practice Advice on Extended Supervision Youth Justice Board
National Standards for Youth Justice Services 2013 Youth Justice Board

2. Legislation

2.1 The Detention and Training Order (DTO) is provided for by sections 73 –79 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
2.2 The DTO is a custodial disposal for children and young people aged between 12 and under 18 at the time of conviction. Where a young person attains the age of 18 before sentence the youth court may deal with the case itself by imposing a DTO or it may, under section 47(1) remit the case for sentencing to the adult court.
2.3 The youth court may impose the DTO up to the 24 months maximum length
2.4 Long term detention for grave offences remains available in the Crown Court. The appropriate test that will determine whether a case shall be committed to the Crown Court is whether following the conviction the sentencing court should have available to it the option of a sentence of at least two years in custody.

3. Criteria to be met before a DTO can be Imposed


The restrictions on the use of custodial sentences contained within Section 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 remain. Thus a DTO can only be made where:

  • The child or young person is convicted of an offence which is punishable with imprisonment in the case of an adult;

  • The offence (or the offence in combination with other associated offences) is so serious that only a Custodial Sentence is justified;

  • In the case of a violent or sexual offence, only a custodial sentence would be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from that individual child or young person;

  • The defendant fails to consent to a community penalty which requires such consent.

There are additional pre-conditions for imposing a DTO according to age:

  • For a child or young person under 15 years of age at point of conviction the court must also be of the opinion that he/she is a persistent offender. 
3.3 No definition of persistent offender is provided in the legislation, it will be for the court to determine the matter on the basis of the facts of the case. Courts will be aware of the definition of persistent young offender used to identify those to be dealt with under fast tracking arrangements. Whilst courts may wish to bear this in mind in approaching the sentencing of 12-14 year old offenders, they are not bound by it in considering whether they are dealing with a persistent offender. 

4. Description of the Order

4.1 The DTO may be for 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 18 or 24 months. Within that it may not exceed the maximum term a Crown Court could impose on an offender aged 21 plus, for that particular offence. When considering the length of a DTO, regard should be had to the overall length of the order, not just the period of detention and training.
4.2 For summary only offences, the maximum term of DTO which may generally be imposed is six months. Exceptions are absconding following release on bail where the youth court could impose a 12 months DTO. Where the maximum sentence for an offence is three months imprisonment in the case of an offender aged 21 or over, a DTO may not be imposed.

The DTO is a sentence of two parts:

  • A period of detention and training served in secure accommodation;
  • A period under supervision in the community.
Each part will comprise half of the sentence except where one of the early or late release provision applies (see Section 8, Sentence Planning)

In deciding the overall length of the order the court must take into consideration time:

  • Spent in police detention;
  • Remanded in custody or local authority secure accommodation;
  • Remanded to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 (section 74 (6) and (7));

  • The stage in the proceedings that the young person indicated his/her willingness to plead guilty and the circumstances in which this indication was given.
The time spent in custody is not subsequently offset against the term set by the court.
4.5 DTOs may be made consecutive to or wholly or partially concurrent with each other where the offences are liable to a DTO. The overall term (i.e. from the start of the first DTO to the end of the last one) is subject to the overall 24 months maximum.

The custodial part of the DTO may be served in:

  • A Secure Training Centre;
  • A local authority secure unit;
  • A Young Offenders’ Institution;
  • Any other such accommodation provided for the purpose of restricting liberty as the Secretary of State may direct. (NB this may include Prison service non-YOI accommodation if the offender has to be held temporarily after sentence whilst awaiting transfer to the establishment where the custodial part of the sentence is to be served).
4.7 The Youth Justice Board will determine the form of accommodation in which the young person will serve the custodial part of the DTO.

The community supervision part of the order will run from the time of release of the custodial part, until the length of the term of the whole order and it is case managed by a member of the Youth Offending Service unless the young person has turned 18 in which case transfer can be negotiated with the Probation Service.


A notice of supervision will be given to each young person before release from the custodial part of the sentence. Where the young person is subsequently found to be in breach of one or more requirements in that notice the court may:

  • Order detention for a period of up to the rest of the DTO term or three months if this is less;
  • Impose a fine not exceeding £1000 with the supervision to continue for the remainder of the term of the DTO.

If the young person commits an imprisonable offence during the community part of the sentence the court may impose a period of custody not greater than that from the date of the commission of the offence to the end of the DTO. This would be additional to any other penalty imposed for the new offence.

5. Procedures Prior to Sentence

5.1 For young people identified as at risk of custody, the placement information module of assetplus should be completed and sent to the placements team at the YJB (via connectivity if possible) at least 24 hours in advance of the sentencing date. The document should be no older than 7 days old at point of being sent. This module provides the YJB Placement Service with the key information necessary to make an appropriate placement allocation.

The Placement Team at the YJB contact details are:

Tel: 0845 3636363

Secure email:

6. At Court


Once the outcome of the court case is known the Placement Team at the YJB must be contacted immediately. This should be by phone initially with any risk of harm or vulnerability concerns highlighted.

  • Following sentence the young person must be interviewed in the cells by the court duty officer, or responsible officer, with particular emphasis on risk assessment. The post court report module of Assetplus should be completed and sent to the YJB placement team via connectivity if possible;
  • Where the Risk Assessment process identified particular concerns the security staff at court must be notified and this recorded on the custody record. The reception centre of the establishment must be contacted and advised by phone of the specific issues and concerns identified. These contacts should also be recorded on Careworks.

7. Victim Liaison

  • Victims of serious sexual and violent offences, where the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, have the right to receive information and consultation from the Probation Provider. In the London Probation Area this service is provided by specialist Victim Liaison staff;
  • In cases where the Youth Court makes a 12 months plus DTO for a violent or sexual offence the responsible officer should complete the victim information sheet and send with required documents (as listed on the form) to:

    Victim Service Admin. Team
    Camden House
    199 Arlington Road
    NW1 7HA

    Tel: 0207 428 8474
    Fax: 0207 428 8431
  • The form asks for the name and address of the victim which will be available from the Youth Offending Service Police Officer with lead responsibility for victim work;
  • Where the sentence is passed in the Crown Court it is the responsibility of the Probation staff at the Crown Court to forward on this information;
  • If the victim chooses to take up this service from Probation, the Youth Offending Service will be notified. It will then be the responsibility of the responsible/supervising officer to provide information on key events throughout the sentence, such as the release date and the area where the young person will be living, to the Victim Liaison Service. The victim will also be given the opportunity to comment on licence conditions.

8. Sentence Planning

The central aim of sentence planning is:

  • The prevention of further offending when the young person is released;
  • To achieve this, those needs that influence the young person’s behaviour must be addressed over the whole course of the order in an integrated and seamless way;
  • The initial sentence-planning meeting must be held within 10 days of sentence. (NS) The supervising officer must contact detention unit to co-ordinate this meeting and agree who will be chairing the meeting. The following should be invited:
    • Parents/carers; Local authority social worker;
    • Education/careers advisor as appropriate;
    • Child and adolescent mental health services or other health worker from the secure estate and community,as appropriate;
    • Housing/ accommodation representative as appropriate;
    • Independent visitor as appropriate;
    • Other relevant partner agency as appropriate;
    • The supervising officer should try to meet the young person individually prior to the meeting.
  • The criteria for denial of early release should be discussed at the initial planning meeting and considered at all reviews;
  • A training plan should be developed at the meeting and incorporated into the approved YJB assessment and planning tools;
  • The supervising officer must work pro actively to ensure:
    • That the plan is appropriate to the young person’s needs and the level of risk that they present to the community;
    • That the elements that present the greatest risk to the community are dealt with as a priority in the custodial part of the sentence where possible;
    • That targets are clear, achievable and measurable, and placed within a timetable for completion;
    • That health, education and accommodation needs on transfer are addressed from the beginning of the sentence;
    • That the plan provides the young person with a realistic opportunity for the young person to qualify for early release by his/her efforts (where eligible);
    • That action required by other parties is recorded. The frequency of visits by the Youth Offending Service supervising officer will be recorded in the plan.
  • Where the young person is on a DTO of 12 months they should be visited at least monthly. Where the DTO is longer visits should be no less than every 2 months. Given that these are minimum requirements the allocated officer may from their own pre-sentence work decide that visits need to be more frequent;
  • Copies of all completed documents will be copied to the Youth Offending Service and unit workers.

9. Reviews

Within one month of the initial planning meeting the supervising officer must hold a case discussion with the trainees key worker or personal officer and the trainee to ensure the plan is being implemented as agreed.

Thereafter a review meeting involving where possible those who attended the initial planning meeting must be held at least every three months. A review after two months is required if the order is of eight months or less.

The supervising officer should attend all reviews and facilitate the attendance of parents/carers. The young person and where appropriate the carer should be kept informed of the situation regarding release. The supervising officer may also call upon other specialist Youth Offending Service staff to attend reviews where appropriate, particularly in preparation for the young person’s release.

One month before the discharge date a release preparation meeting will be held to confirm discharge arrangements including, date, education, training, employment, accommodation, health etc.

Within 10 days of discharge a final review meeting should be held to ensure all the necessary arrangements are in place and going to plan for this meeting the supervising officer will update the Assetplus assessment. The meeting will confirm the requirements on the young person during the community supervision stage including the reporting instructions and where possible the date for the first review in the meeting.

10. Placement Transfers

(See YJB Placement Review Guidance).

11. Early/Late Release Arrangements


There is a presumption in favour of early release unless the young person demonstrates their unsuitability for it through their negative actions/behaviour in the secure facility or because they are serving a sentence for a sexual offence as defined by Section 161 the Powers of the Criminal Courts Sentencing Act 2000 or for certain types of violent offences including homicide, arson with intent to endanger life, kidnapping/false imprisonment, wounding or GBH with intent.

Young people released early will be electronically monitored for the duration of the early release period (i.e. until the mid-point of the sentence) thus certain conditions must be satisfied before early release can be agreed:

  • The young person must have a suitable address;
  • It must be practical to install the required equipment at the release address;
  • Consent to the installation must be given by the responsible adult (for those under 16) and by the householder at the given address if this is a different person from the responsible adult.

The time frames for early/late release are as follows;

4 to 6 months sentence - no early or late release.

8 to 12 months sentence - release one month before or beyond the halfway point.

18 to 24 months sentence - release one or two months before/beyond halfway point.

11.3 At the last review meeting before the earliest possible release date (ERD) for transfer into the community, the question of early release must be considered.
11.4 Where possible, any recommendation concerning the appropriate transfer to the community should represent the collective view of the custodial facility and the supervising officer. Where a staff member disagrees with the recommendation, he or she may submit his/her views separately.
11.5 If the young person is placed in a secure training centre or local authority secure accommodation and the decision is to recommend early release the documentation goes to the juvenile operational management group in prison service headquarters to approve the decision
11.6 If the young person is in a YOI, the recommendation goes to the governor who has delegated powers from the Home Secretary.
11.7 The young person may appeal against the decision on the date of transfer to the community. As appeals are to be in writing, young people may need support to access the appeal process. The supervising officer will have to consider the most appropriate source of that support and make suitable arrangements.
11.8 ISSP will be available from the time of early release for those young people who meet the eligibility criteria and are assessed by the ISSP team as suitable.
11.9 If the trainee is released early, the supervision in the community is extended by the same period so that the overall length of the DTO remains the same.

12. Late Release


Section 102(4) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2006 empowers the Secretary of State to:

  • Apply to the Youth Court to delay the release of a trainee by one month if they have been sentenced to a DTO of 8, 10 or 12 months;
  • Apply to the Youth Court to delay the release of a trainee by one or two months if they have been sentenced to a DTO of 18 or 24 months.
12.2 An application for late release will either be brought by the establishment or via the YJB Placements Service through Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service Young People's Team for those young people in STCs or secure children's homes. It should first be discussed at the relevant review meeting to provide the Youth Offending Service case manager with the opportunity to comment.

To warrant an application to be made to the court for late release, it will be necessary to consider whether:

  • The trainee has demonstrably and wittingly failed to achieve training plan objectives and targets;
  • Those objectives were meaningful for and reasonably achievable by, him/her; and
  • The trainee was given the opportunity, encouragement and support to achieve those objectives and targets.

13. Compassionate Early Release

13.1 The Secretary of State may release a DTO trainee for the custodial part of the sentence where s/he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the release on compassionate grounds. This is a wholly exceptional provision. 
12.2 In making the decision it must also be clear that there is no risk of danger to the public and minimal risk of further offending during the remainder of the order.
13.3 The supervising officer must ensure that they have the necessary information to inform such a decision and thus have maintained adequate contact with the young person’s family/carers throughout the sentence.
13.4 A trainee released on compassionate grounds would be subject to supervision in the community, normally by the Youth Offending Team, for the remainder of the term of the order.

14. Community Supervision

14.1 Prior to transfer the young person will be issued with a 'Supervision Notice' which should be signed by him or her to acknowledge that the requirements of the notice are understood.

The supervising officer must see the young person on the day of transfer to the community to;

  • Ensure the young person understands the requirements of their supervision notice;
  • Commence the programme of community supervision.
14.3 A home visit will take place within 5 days of transfer to the community to ensure that the young person is living where planned. The supervising officer should use this as an opportunity to involve the young person’s family in the work. Copies of the supervision notice and any plans should be provided to parents/carers. The young person and their carers should also be informed of the enforcement process and the likely consequences of failing to comply. Thereafter home visits must then be undertaken monthly.

The supervising officer, or his/her representative, will see the young person at least weekly for the first three months after transfer then at least once every 10 days. Throughout the period of supervision in the community the officer should monitor:

  • Accommodation;
  • Education/training – education should be at least 25 hours per week. Where this is not provided the Youth Offending Service Manager must be advised. For young people over school leaving age the supervising officer must ensure that links are developed with the Personal Adviser;
  • Health needs and whether the planned services are being provided. Where they are not the Youth Offending Team manager must be advised.

A review meeting should take place within 10 working days of transfer to the community. The custodial caseworker must be invited to attend. The meeting should:

  • Review the training plan in light of the updated Assetplus assessment;
  • Ensure the intervention programme has commenced.
14.6 Review meetings will be held 3 monthly after the initial meeting. At the final review the Assetplus assessment should be updated.
14.7 The Youth Offending Service should identify young people who will be 18 at the point of release and discuss with the Youth Offending Service probation officer a transfers to adult services upon their release. When considering transfers to NPS due consideration should be given to the level of support the young adult will require, their levels of maturity and any special educational needs or disabilities they have.

15. Enforcement

15.1 If the young person fails to attend for an appointment or breaches an electronic curfew, the supervising officer should telephone or visit the young person immediately. Where there is no response a letter should be hand delivered or posted first class with an appointment for the next day. The letter should remind the young person of the consequences of failing to comply with supervision. A copy should also be sent to the parent/carer, where appropriate.
15.2 If the young person’s explanation for the missed appointment is not felt to be acceptable then a formal warning should be issued to the young person. This should be in writing and again a copy sent to the parent/carer where appropriate.
15.3 If any failure to comply suggests in the light of the risk assessment, an enhanced risk of self-harm to self or community, the supervising officer must review the case with the Operational/Youth Offending Team manager within one working day to decide what action should be taken. The decision should be noted in the file.
15.4 If more than two formal warnings are issued within three months Breach action should be initiated within 10 working days. This action can only be stayed in exceptional circumstances with the agreement of the Youth Offending Team manager.

16. Extended Supervision

(See also Practice Advice Extended Supervision – YJB).

16.1 The Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 (ORA 2014), creates a new period of supervision for offenders in respect of whom a DTO has been made, who are 18 or over at the half-way point of their DTO.
16.2 The extended supervision period begins at the end of the DTO and ends 12 months after the half-way point of the DTO. This means that a young adult who is released at the halfway point of the DTO serves the first half of their DTO in custody, the second half in the community, with the extended supervision period then applying until the young adult has spent 12 months in the community from the halfway point of their DTO.
16.3 Youth Offending Service officers should identify young adults who would fall into the category requiring extended supervision as early as possible and an assessment of the impact of this should be included within pre-sentence reports and any recommendations made for sentencing.
16.4 The Youth Offending Service should identify young people who will be 18 at the point of release and discuss with the Youth Offending Service probation officer a transfer to adult services upon their release. When considering transfers to NPS due consideration should be given to the level of support the young adult will require, their levels of maturity and any special educational needs or disabilities they have.
16.5 Young people should be involved and informed of the requirement for the extended supervision prior to sentencing and the consequences of breach. It is critical that those who are affected by this legislation understand the expectations of them and that their sentence may appear substantially different from co-defendants who are younger than they are.
16.6 There is a list of extended supervision requirements that may be specified during the supervision period (see full guidance). The requirements must be agreed prior to release, at the final DTO planning meeting when the DTO supervision conditions are agreed. They must be necessary and proportionate, and only included for the purpose of rehabilitation.
16.7 In YOIs the Governor of the releasing prison sets the supervision conditions and the extended supervision requirements. For those who are in STCs or SCHs extended supervision arrangements will be approved by Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service. Subsequent requests to amend or remove any of the supervision requirements, must be made to the person responsible for setting the conditions.
16.8 Minimum contact levels may be all that is required of young adults who are assessed as being well resettled at the point at which extended supervision commences. This could be phone contact with the supervisor.
16.9 Young people who fail to comply with the terms of their extended supervision may be returned to court for breach where they could face penalties for their failure to comply. Both the decision on whether a young adult has failed to comply with a supervision requirement, and what if any sanction there should be for that breach will fall to the court. Breach packs should be prepared as Youth Offending Teams would normally do for breaches of other Orders.

Appendix 1: YRO/DTO Planning and Review Process Flowchart

Click here to view Appendix 1: YRO/DTO Planning and Review Process Flowchart