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Agenda Item No 8

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Home and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 25th July, 2016

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Youth Offending Service: End of Year Performance Report for the period April 2015 to March 2016

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Scrutiny Committee about the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2015 to March 2016.

Recommendation

That Scrutiny Committee notes the content of the performance report.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure that Elected Members are able to exercise effective oversight of the Youth Offending Service performance against designed indicators (UK, devolved and local).

Background

  1. As part of its grant funding terms and conditions, the Youth Offending Service (YOS) is required by the Youth Justice Board to undertake performance reporting in relation to a number of key performance indicators.
  2. The performance indicators on which we report are:

National (England and Wales) Indicators

  • reduction in first time entrants
  • reduction in re-offending
  • reduction in use of custody.

Devolved Welsh Indicators

  • engagement with education, training and employment
  • access to suitable accommodation
  • access to substance misuse services.

Local Performance Indicators (agreed by the Vale YOS Management Board)

  • re-offending by young people in the Youth Justice System
  • re-offending by young people starting a Diversion Intervention
  • number of victims participating in Direct Restorative Justice (Statutory Orders and Triage Diversion).
  1. Performance reporting by the Youth Offending Service is always approximately one quarter behind because of the need for the Youth Justice Board to validate data before circulation.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The performance report for April 2015 to March 2016 is attached at Appendix 1. It includes analysis of the performance data. Please note that the YJB introduced changes to the Welsh Key Performance Indicators in 2014/15. As a result, we are currently not able to produce accumulative performance data; detailed information for all four quarters is shown separately within Appendix 1 but summarised within this report. Local performance measures have been included to provide a greater depth of understanding of performance in specific areas.
  2. Performance data for First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice System (WYJI 1) is for the 12 months from January 2015 - December 2015. Performance reflects a 7.5% increase in First Time Entrants, when compared to the same period in 2014 (rising from 40 to 43. The YOS reported a downward trend in performance for the nine months period to September 2015 but this has changed over the remaining quarter. It may be that the YOS has reached a plateau in relation to further reductions.
  3. Reduction in re-offending (WYJI 2) continues to be a key priority for the YOS. The information presented in Appendix 1 shows a decrease in the binary rate (number of young people reoffending) from 44.2% to 41.9% when comparing July 2012 - June 2013 against July 2013 - June 2014. The frequency rate of re-offending (number of re-offences committed by young people) for the same period also demonstrates a decrease, from 1.54 to 1.05.
  4. Performance is positive because both rates have decreased. There has been a decrease in the numbers of young people in the overall cohort (95 down to 86 young people) and a decrease in the number of re-offenders (42 down to 36). There has also been a decrease in the number of re-offences (146 down to 90). This reflects positive performance in relation to re-offending.
  5. Local performance information now included within this report provides insight into the complex needs of young people within the Youth Justice System and the range of interventions provided by the YOS and its partners.
  6. The YOS has seen a reduction in the custodial rate (WYJI 4), with only 2 young people being sentenced to custody between April 2015 and March 2016, compared to 6 for the same period in 2014 to 2015. This continues the positive downward trend in custody since it was identified in 2014 that we were experiencing higher than average custodial rates.
  7. In respect of engagement in education, training and employment, this indicator has changed and now reflects the number of hours in education that a young person has been offered, alongside the number of hours the young person attended the provision. The information enables stakeholders to identify if performance is being affected by a lack of suitable provision or if there are attendance issues which need to be addressed. It should be noted also that the indicator now captures performance information at the review stage as well as at the end of the young person's court order. The detailed performance information is outlined in Appendix 1 but, overall, the year shows a decline in performance. Not all young people within the cohorts were in receipt of the mandatory 25 hours for statutory school age provision or 16 hours for post 16 provisions.
  8. Performance for statutory school age shows that some young people were not attending any provision despite this being offered. The EWOs were involved and attempts made to identify alternative placements for young people placed outside of our area. Performance for young people post-16 demonstrates the difficult environment within which the Careers Wales Officer is working. A number of young people who have been disengaged from education or training started to engage with the Moving Forward Project, They attended 5 hours per week to prepare them for work placements or training placements for 21 hours short- term. This involvement ended before intervention by the YOS ceased. As a result, there was a dip in performance as the young people were not receiving any provision at the end of their Orders although they did experience positive engagement during their Order.
  9. Access to suitable accommodation (WYJI 5) performance reflects a decline during Quarters 3 and 4 of 2015/16. Three young people being placed in bed and breakfast while waiting for more suitable supported accommodation.
  10. Performance in respect of access to appropriate support for substance misuse issues (WYJI 6) demonstrates that some young people can be difficult to engage in the assessment process within the 5 day timescales. However, once young people do engage following assessment, the majority of them also continue to engage in treatment.
  11. There is a new performance measure regarding access to mental health services (WYJI 7). Improvement in this area is a key strategic aim of the Welsh Government/YJB Children and Young People First Strategy. The measure identifies if young people are appropriately screened within 10 working days of sentence and, where appropriate, receive a mental health assessment with 10 working days of screening. Evidence from performance for the year indicates that screening and assessment is not taking place within identified timescales in every case. This is to be expected as the YOS does not have access to dedicated provision in respect of mental health. Work to develop new emotional well-being and mental health services for children and young people across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan is ongoing. We do not anticipate performance in this area improving significantly until these services are embedded and referral pathways established.
  12. Victim Participation is a local measure. The YOS has a duty to comply with the Victim's Code of Practice and to promote community confidence in the Criminal Justice System. In order to demonstrate the work undertaken by the YOS in relation to restorative justice, a local performance measure was introduced based on the former YJB measure which is no longer in use nationally (i.e. engaging 25% of victims in direct restorative practices). The Vale of Glamorgan YOS actively promotes restoratives practices; this is reflected in the performance for the year which in every quarter is 50% engagement or above.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The performance reported was achieved within allocated resources. Scrutiny Committee should be aware that the YJB grant was confirmed on 20 April 2016, with a 12% reduction in funding.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Youth Justice Board under section 41 (5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has the authority to make grants with the approval of the Secretary of State to the Youth Offending Service subject to a number of terms and conditions.. The Board has a number of functions including the obtaining of information from relevant authorities for the purpose of monitoring the operation of the youth justice system and provision of services and to advise the relevant Government Minister on a number of matters.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The work of the Youth Offending Service assists in the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour by children and young people across the Vale of Glamorgan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no equality implications directly as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The work of the Youth Offending Service helps the Council to achieve Well-being Outcome 1 (An inclusive and safe Vale in the Corporate Plan 2016 - 2017) and specifically Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The provision of Youth Offending Services is a Vale wide responsibility and there are no specific implications for individual wards. The YOS Management Board is aware of the performance figures.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Paula Barnett, YOS Manager

Officers Consulted

Head of Children and Young People Services

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

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