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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 4th February, 2015

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Youth Offending Service - Six-months Performance Report for the period April 2014 - September 2014

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Scrutiny Committee about the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2014 to September 2014.

Recommendation

1.         That Scrutiny Committee notes the content of the performance report.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To ensure that Elected Members are able to exercise effective oversight of the Youth Offending Service performance against the three National and the three devolved Performance Indicators.

Background

2.         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.

3.         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.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         The performance report for April 2014 to September 2014 is attached at Appendix 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.

5.         Analysis of the performance data is included in the report.  Performance in relation to First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice System (WYJI 1) demonstrates a reduction of -14.7% since 2012.   It is important to note that performance is based upon a 12-months rolling cohort; this means that, on a quarterly basis, the numbers included within the last quarter fall out of the cohort as numbers within the current quarter are included. 

6.         An analysis of first time entrants is currently taking place. The aim is to consult with partners across the Local Authority to ensure that we continue to target those young people most at risk of offending and anti-social behaviour.  The outcome of this work will inform a refreshed Prevention Strategy.

7.         Re-offending (WYJI 2) continues to be priority for the YOS. The information presented in Appendix 1 shows an increase in re-offending for the period 1st January 2012 to December 2012.  It has been recognised nationally that young people now entering the Youth Justice System have more complex needs.  The YOS is currently working with the Youth Justice Board to analyse historic re-offending information to identify whether there are any additional measures we can take to tackle re-offending rates.

8.         The custodial rate (WYJI 4) for the first six months period shows a more positive picture than the previous year, with half the number of young people being sentenced to custody.  The YOS previously identified a higher than average rate of custody for 2013/14.  As a result, analysis has been undertaken internally.  An exercise has also been completed with Cardiff YOS to identify if it is experiencing similar issues.  This work indicates that Cardiff young people are generally sentenced to custody by Crown Court rather than Magistrates Court.  An event for Magistrates will be hosted by both Cardiff and Vale YOS to highlight the complexities of young people now within the system and the range of interventions available to manage them within the community, to promote the fact that the use of custody should be seen as a "last resort".

9.         Engagement in education, training and employment has been identified as a priority area for the YOS Management Board as not all the young people have been receiving the statutory 25 hours of education.  Performance for the first six months of this year shows an increase in the number of hours young people are receiving - up to 21 hours for school age, which is a positive step.

However, it is important to note that this measure looks at both young people of school age and those above school age.  The average number of hours received by post school age young people is 12 hours; full time is defined as 16. 

10.      Young people over 16 years of age and looking for training or employment can experience a range of obstacles, including the fact that there are only two training providers within the Vale of Glamorgan.  Once young people have exhausted these options, prospects of placement are reduced.  Young people see attending providers in Cardiff as problematic and barriers need to be overcome to empower them to access provision.  The complexities and behaviours the young people display can prove a challenge in relation to management and sustainability of placements.  The YOS employs a part time Careers Wales worker to assist young people to develop individual career management skills.  However, the changing labour market and opportunities for accessing educational or training opportunities can mean that some young people need a heavy investment of time in order to develop sufficient skills prior to accessing placements.

11.      In respect of access to suitable accommodation (WYJI 5), there are no concerns identified currently.

12.      Performance is positive in respect of access to appropriate support for substance misuse difficulties (WYJI 6), with 100% engagement in assessment and 90.9% engagement in treatment within 10 days, and 100% engagement within 20 days.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      The performance reported in the attached report was achieved within allocated resources.  Scrutiny Committee will be aware that the funding arrangements for the Youth Offending Service are complex and dependent upon high levels of external grant funding, which is potentially at risk of reduction and cuts.  The YOS is currently engaging with external funders in relation to grant funding for 2015/16.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      The Youth Justice Board under Section 41(5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has the authority to make grants to Youth Offending Services subject to a number of terms and conditions.  One of these terms and conditions is that the Youth Offending Services and their Management Board's comply with the Youth Justice Board Data Recording Guidance for the specific year and provide performance information on a quarterly and annual basis to the Youth Justice Board.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.      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)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.      The work of the Youth Offending Service helps the Council to achieve the Corporate Plan 2013-17 outcome "Residents and citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan feel safe and are safe within their community".

Policy Framework and Budget

19.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      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

21.      Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Paula Barnett, YOS Manager

 

Officers Consulted

YOS Performance and Information Officer

Head of Children and Young People Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

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