Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 6TH OCTOBER, 2014
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 10TH SEPTEMBER, 2014
THE YOUTH JUSTICE PLAN 2014/15 (DSS) –
Committee was informed of the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2014/15.
The success of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) in reducing or diverting young people out of the Youth Justice System has meant that those now entering the system present more complex and / or acute needs. The increasing complexity of YOS service users had been recognised by the Youth Justice Board. Work was currently taking place nationally to enhance both the quality of assessments and interventions delivered to young people to effect change. By introducing new models of working, Youth Justice Services were attempting to take the next step in breaking the cycle of offending and reoffending by young people which could result in periods of custody and young people moving through the system to become prolific adult offenders. A success of preventative services had demonstrated that it was more cost effective and beneficial to individuals and society if the Council worked in partnership to tackle the causes of offending and reoffending.
At a strategic level, the YOS Management Board would continue to engage all partners in highlighting the need for YOS resource commitment to be maintained, despite the reduction in numbers of young people; and to facilitate young people’s access to the mainstream services that would prevent and / or reduce their offending.
Outlined within the Youth Justice Plan in Section 2 were the operational activities the YOS was planning to undertake during the next 12 months, i.e. reviewing all its current systems, training managers and staff in readiness for the introduction of the new assessment model, introducing specialist tools i.e. screening for speech, language and communication difficulties. The changes were designed to ensure that staff were competent and capable of making effective risk management and safeguarding decisions and exercising the flexibilities and freedoms outlined in revised National Standards 2013.
The YOS expected to face considerable challenges in delivering these changes when all agencies were faced with financial constraints and competing pressures.
Members observed that the YOS was being faced with a combination of increased workload and reduced resources.
Members enquired as to what extent the Management Board was working to find a solution and were informed that the Management Board was taking a very robust approach. The Head of the Youth Justice Board Wales had been invited to its meeting in June 2014 and the Management Board had voiced its concerns to him about the levels of funding and additional areas of responsibility being devolved to the Local Authority / Youth Offending Service. This was based on the fact that the levels of funding being received were insufficient to meet demand.
The Head of the Youth Justice Board Wales had stated that he would be prepared to attend Cabinet to answer questions if so required.
Additionally, the report before Members today was to be reported to Cabinet.
The report had also been discussed in CMT, and agreement had been reached that the Managing Director write to all statutory partners following today’s meeting.
Having considered the report, it was
(1) T H A T the Youth Justice Plan be noted.
(2) T H A T Committee recognise the potential risks should the contributions to the Youth Offending Service from key agencies continue to reduce and that Cabinet be informed of these concerns.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To meet the statutory requirements of grant terms and conditions provided by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, to achieve continuing improvements in the performance of the Youth Offending Service and to ensure that Members can exercise oversight of this key area of work for the Council.
(2) To advise Cabinet of the concerns of this Committee.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 10th September, 2014