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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) : 6th December, 2012

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Funding Arrangements for the Youth Offending Service

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Elected Members about the current funding arrangements for the Youth Offending Service (YOS) and the potential impact of proposed changes.

Recommendations

That Scrutiny Committee:

 

1.             Notes the content of the report.

2.             Notes the potential risks to future funding, the impact this may have on service delivery and the increasing burdens being placed on the YOS as a result of legislative changes as detailed in the report.

Reason for the Recommendations

1 & 2 To ensure that Elected Members are fully informed about the funding arrangements

 for the YOS, the contributions made by partner agencies and the increasing demands being placed on the service.

Background

2.             The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Section 39(1) placed a duty on each Local Authority, acting with its statutory partners (Police, Probation and Health) to establish Youth Offending Services in their local area to deliver youth justice services.  Section 38(3) of the Act placed a duty on the Local Authority and its statutory partners to make payment towards the expenditure incurred in providing youth justice services. 

3.             Membership of the YOS is prescribed by the legislation.  It must include at least one Probation Officer, Social Worker, Police Officer, Health representative and Education representative.

4.             The purpose of the YOS is to ensure that youth justice services are available to the extent required across the local authority area.  The YOS should be the main vehicle through which youth justice services are coordinated and delivered.  The YOS Management Board, made up of senior representatives from each of the statutory partners as outlined above, oversees the operation of the service including the functions it undertakes and the funding arrangements.  It is currently chaired by the Director of Social Services.

5.             At the same time as YOS' were being established, the Government introduced an independent advisory body known as the Youth Justice Board (YJB).  The YJB was given authority under Section 41(5) of the 1998 Act to make grants to YOS', with the approval of the Secretary of State "to develop good practice and commission research".  YOS' were introduced in 2000 and, over the last 12 years, a range of additional duties have been prescribed in the considerable volume of new Criminal Justice legislation.  In order to meet these demands, the YJB provided a range of funding streams.  These had different qualifying criteria and used different formulae for distribution; some grants were for England or Wales only, based on whether governmental functions were devolved or not.

6.             Section 40 of the 1998 Act places a duty on the Local Authority to produce an annual Youth Justice Plan in consultation with its statutory partners.  The Youth Justice Plan confirms how youth justice services are to be provided and funded.  The Youth Justice Plan is submitted to the YJB and published in accordance with directions of the Secretary of State.  This duty is one of the requirements of the terms and conditions of the Youth Justice Grant.

7.             Contributions to the YOS consist of payments in cash and in kind (e.g. seconded staff).  The Council makes the largest contribution to the budget.  It covers the costs of accommodation for the team, the building running costs and a range of personnel including management, social workers, education representative and administrative support.  Cash and in kind contributions are made by the South Wales Police, Wales Probation Trust and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.  Staff working in areas such as intensive supervision and surveillance, reparation, parenting and careers are all secured through Youth justice Board grant funding.  The Prevention Service is jointly funded by YJB prevention funding and the Welsh Government Safer Communities Fund.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             A breakdown of the 2012/13 budget is set out in Appendix A.  The table demonstrates the insecure nature of significant contributions to the budget.  Additionally, there is a wide range of current pressures.

Comprehensive Spending Review 2012

9.             The Ministry of Justice, which is the principal funder of the YJB, was given a target in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review of reducing its annual budget by 23% over four years.  The YJB is responsible for funding custodial placements within the secure estate for children and young people.  This accounts for the majority of the budget, with the remaining funding allocated to YOS programmes.  The YJB has given a commitment to protect as far as possible front line grants to YOS.  However, during 2011/12, a large proportion of the funding received from the Department of Education to fund prevention was moved to the Early Intervention Grant in England and the level of Home Office funding has also been reduced significantly because of its own ministerial budget cuts.  Grant funding received by this Council from the Ministry of Justice/Youth Justice Board has reduced from £306k in 2010/11 to the current level of £225k for 2012/13, which was partly offset by £62k growth within the YOS Council budget during 2011/12 budget process.

Local Authority contribution

10.        Local Authority budgets also were directly affected by the Comprehensive Spending Review and its effect on allocations to the Welsh Government.  In 2010, the Vale of Glamorgan YOS was asked to make over a period of 3 years savings of £65,000 (9% of the 2010/11 Budget).  Coupled with a reduction in funding of 23% from the YJB, this meant that the YOS had to review all services and prioritise those delivered directly to children and young people.  As a result, a range of savings were identified which included staff redundancy, reduction of hours for some posts (the Education representative and the Careers Wales representative), the decommissioning of some services such as the Taith Project for children who abuse others (this was replaced by an NSPCC service at no cost) and removal of staff 'on call' provision based on volunteers being supported to provide out of hours provision.  Following the transfer of the service to Children and Young People Services in April 2012, the YOS needs to identify additional savings as part of the Social Services Directorate's Budget Programme.  In line with other operational teams in the Division, the required savings amount to 5% of the Council controllable budget and this means approximately £21k for 2013/14.

South Wales Police contribution

11.        South Wales Police second a full time Police Constable to the YOS and also provide a £5,695 cash contribution towards capitation, administrative support and the YOS Managers salary.  Their contribution both in cash and services was reduced in 2011/12 by £10,145 overall of which £2,875 was a cash contribution.  No further reductions have been made to date or indicated for the future.  Confirmation of funding is always received late, i.e. June/July of each financial year, leading to a period of uncertainty annually.

Wales Probation Trust contribution

12.        Wales Probation Trust second a full time Probation Officer to the YOS and also provide a £5,576 cash contribution towards YOS running costs.  In addition, Wales Probation Trust is required to provide access to Unpaid Work services for young people subject to this requirement as part of Court Orders.  There has been no reduction in Probation funding although again confirmation of funding is not normally received until June/July of each year.

Local Health Board contribution

13.        The Cardiff and Vale UHB employ and commission services for the YOS in the form of a full-time Inroads substance misuse worker, a part-time (4 days) physical health nurse and a part-time CAMHS substance misuse nurse.  No cash contribution is made.  Notification is not received regarding contributions as seconded staff remain in post.

14.        Additionally, the budget for the YOS is facing a number of risks.

Proposed Changes to the YJB Funding Formula

15.        The grant funding received from the YJB was previously ring fenced for specified areas of work such as intensive supervision and surveillance, all of which had their own terms and conditions (although the basis for the funding was the Barnett formula).  As a result of the UK Government's localism agenda and a reduction in monitoring requirements, the Youth Justice Grant has been transferred into a single pot with one set of terms and conditions.  The aim is reported as being the need to allow YOS to focus their resources on tackling local issues without the constraints of specifically targeted funding streams.

16.        The YJB has been working with various stakeholders over the past 18 months reviewing the funding formula in order to develop a single formula for the grant distribution which is seen as fair and equitable by all stakeholders across England and Wales and can be used to support delivery against the three youth justice outcomes; reducing first time entrants, re-offending and the use of custody.

17.        In August 2011, the YJB produced four options outlining how potential changes in the funding formula would impact on individual YOS.  The worst case scenario for the Vale of Glamorgan is a reduction of £38k, equivalent to approximately 16% of the YJB grant received.  Although the other three options indicate that the Vale may benefit initially from additional grant funding, this will be short lived as the proposed allocation outlined in the letter was based on historical data.  Since 2010, the YOS has invested heavily in prevention and early intervention.  If the criteria for funding was changed to reflect statutory orders caseloads or the gravity score of offences, The Vale's improvements in either keeping young people out of the Youth Justice System entirely or moving the offence trend toward lower level crimes would have a detrimental impact on the amount of funding received.  Changes to the funding formula were scheduled for introduction during 2012/13 but they have been delayed.

Ministry of Justice/YJB - Payment by Results

18.        The Ministry of Justice and the YJB are consulting with stakeholders about the introduction of Payment by Results by 2013/14, as outlined in the Green Paper "Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders".  The initiative is designed to allow the Government to ensure that funding allocated is linked to performance against the three youth justice outcomes.

19.        Two proposals are included in the consultation.

  • To 'top slice' a percentage of the YJB grant centrally, possibly 10%, and distribute it to those YOS that improve the most; or
  • To withhold a percentage of each YOS allocated grant and only issue this when the required performance has been met.

20.        Indications during the consultation were that YOS would only receive the withheld funding if they achieved performance in the top quartile across all three youth justice indicators.  Therefore, it was unlikely that all the funding would be received.  As the funding is annual, it was envisaged that performance would be monitored over three quarters and payment allocated in the final quarter.  This would mean that any funding received would need to be used before the end of the financial year, thereby undermining effective planning and allocation of resources.

21.        The Ministry of Justice and YJB are not proposing to introduce Payment by Results until the Youth Justice Grant has been finalised.  As a result of the delay in agreeing a funding formula, the Grant for 2013/14 will be allocated on the existing basis.  Notwithstanding the delay, the Ministry of Justice and YJB still have savings to achieve.

Ministry of Justice - Devolving the Cost of Youth Remands

22.        Under Section 4(5)(k) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the YJB can offer assistance to Local Authorities to discharge their duty to place a young person subject to a Court Ordered Secure Remand in either a secure children's home or secure training centre.  As a result of this arrangement, any young person ordered to be secured through the criminal courts is placed via the YJB Placements Team and the Local Authority is charged one third of the cost of the bed price for the placement.

23.        The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) will introduce changes to the current remand arrangements.  This will have a significant impact on the Council, including:

  • the transfer of financial responsibility for the cost of the whole remand to Local Authorities (YJB currently fund 2/3rds of the cost);
  • a new burden of responsibility for the cost of whole remand for young people placed in Young Offenders Institutes.
  • any young person remanded will receive Looked After Child (LAC) status, with those remaining on remand for more than 13 weeks plus acquiring leaving care status.

24.        The UK Government believes that, by introducing stricter criteria for remand and devolving the entire cost of youth remands to individual Local Authorities, each area will be incentivised to prevent young people from entering custody.  By giving young people Looked After Children status as a result of remand, each Local Authority will also be incentivised to provide support services prior to and on release of the young person from custody.

25.        Currently, the YJB is in consultation on the mechanisms for transferring funding to Local Authorities, how to manage "spike events", the transportation of young people to and from court/remand placement, the application of LAC status and the recovery of costs.  The proposed changes to Youth Remands are to be implemented in November 2012, with changes to financial responsibility commencing in April 2013.

26.        The LASPO will also contain a provision for young people to receive "Out of Court" disposals.  These will be available to all young people offending at a low level and will require YOS to provide officers in Police Custody Suites, available to carry out assessments of suitability and to make decisions regarding disposals and use of diversionary services in conjunction with the Police and CPS.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) - Prevention and Diversion

27.        The YOS Prevention Service, also grant funded, is at risk beyond 31st March 2013 for the following reasons:

  • The funding is renewed annually and confirmation of funding is not generally received until July of each year.  This is disruptive for staff and the service delivery and it is currently managed by off-setting the risk against reserves held within the service.
  • Welsh Government requires a business case to be submitted on a regional basis to determine allocation for 2013/14.  Discussions need to take place at a strategic level to determine whether the business case to be submitted is based on the South Wales region in line with the Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) or the Health Board footprints.
  • As grant funding will be allocated to a single authority to act as a banker, there are immediate concerns that no Local Authority will wish to take on the responsibility given future risks to funding.
  • There is no clear indication that each Local Authority will receive the same level of funding it currently receives.
  • The introduction of PCC and the powers attached to the appointment mean that priorities for the funding currently provided to local Community Safety Partnerships for preventative services will be decided regionally in future.  The YOS currently receives Home Office funding via the YJB in respect of prevention of offending and, from 2013, this funding will be allocated to the PCC to distribute.  The Welsh Government provides grant funding to the Safer Vale Partnership in the form of the Safer Communities Fund.  In 2012/13, this amounted to £188,576 of which the YOS receives approximately £83k, the Youth Service Targeted Community Prevention (detached outreach service) £70k and the Safer Vale ASB Unit £35k.

28.        The Vale YOS, in partnership with South Wales Police and Cardiff YOS, operates a triage or diversionary service provision in the Custody Suite which enables young people who would previously have received a Reprimand or Final Warning to receive an alternative intervention.  The Triage Service was originally funded by the Home Office but, when this funding ended, Cardiff YOS continued to operate the Service utilising Safer Communities Funds at no cost to the Vale.  The scheme is at risk because both the SCF funding and YJB prevention funding are uncertain.

29.        The introduction of prevention and diversion services by the YOS has demonstrated a significant reduction in the numbers of young people entering the Youth Justice System.

i)

No of Young Offenders

 

Category

2011/12

2010/11

2009/10

2008/09

2007/08

Total No Offenders

105

146

291

360

371

Total No Offences

254

299

595

736

716

First Time Entrants

46

53

153

192

225

Custody Cases

5

8

15

21

16

 

No of Young People accessing Prevention Services

 

Category

2011/12

2010/11

2009/10

Referrals Made

102

76

54

Engaged ISP

68

33

37

Engaged other

68

645

112

Waiting allocation

14

29

9

 

ii)

No of Young People engaged in diversion programmes (Triage):

 

           

Category

2011/12

2010/11

2009/10

Young People engaged Triage

140

86

5

 

No of Young People subject to Final Warning:

 

Category

2011/12

2010/11

2009/10

2008/09

Final Warning programme

12

21

57

76

 

30.        Any loss of either prevention or diversionary services could see a significant increase in the number of young people entering the Youth Justice System in the Vale of Glamorgan.  This would result in poorer outcomes for children and young people, as well as having an adverse impact upon YOS performance with implications for both YJB grant and other funding received by the service.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

31.        These are outlined in the body of the report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to include Human Rights Implications)

33.        The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Section 38(1) places a duty on each Local Authority, acting with its statutory partners (Police, Probation and Health) to establish Youth Offending Services in their local area to deliver youth justice services.  Section 38(3) of the Act placed a duty on the Local Authority and its statutory partners to make payment towards the expenditure incurred in providing youth justice services.  The YOS is a highly regulated, non-devolved service overseen by the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board.

Crime and Disorder Implications

34.        The work of the YOS assists in the reduction of crime and anti social behaviour of children and young people across the Vale of Glamorgan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

36.        To work with partners to make the Vale of Glamorgan a safer environment free from crime and disorder and the fear of crime through prevention and positive action.

Policy Framework and Budget

37.        This is a matter for Executive Decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

38.        The provision of Youth Offending Services is a Vale wide responsibility and there are no specific implications for individual wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

39.        Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Paula Barnett, YOS Manager.

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

 

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

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