Agenda Item No. 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 15 February, 2017
Report of the Director of Social Services
Youth Offending Service: 6 months Performance Report for the Period April 2016 to September 2016
Purpose of the Report
- To inform Scrutiny Committee about the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2016 to September 2016.
- 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).
- As part of its grant funding terms and conditions, the Youth Offending Service (YOS) is required by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to undertake performance reporting in relation to a number of key performance indicators.
- 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).
- Performance reporting by the YOS is always approximately one quarter behind because of the need for the YJB to validate data before circulation.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The performance report for April 2016 to September 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 2015/16.
- Local performance measures have been included to provide a greater depth of understanding of performance in specific areas.
- Performance data for First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice (WYJI 1) is for the 12 months from July 2015 to June 2016. Performance reflects a 32.3% increase when comparing July 2014 to June 2015, however it is worth noting that this equates to an increase of 10 young people, making a total to 41. PNC data is used to inform this performance measure so the YOS is currently unable to verify the information. Our own internal reporting shows a 0% change as we have 42 young people in our local cohort.
- Reduction in re-offending (WYJI 2) continues to be a key priority for the YOS. The information presented in Appendix 1 produced by the YJB shows a decrease in the binary rate (number of young people reoffending) from 46.2% to 37.1% when comparing January-December 2013 against January-December 2014. The frequency rate of re-offending (number of re-offences committed by young people) for the same period demonstrates a slight increase from 2.83 to 2.85.
- It is important to note that the YJB performance is always approximately 18 months behind. Local performance information in relation to re-offending shows that both the number of young people offending and the number of re-offences has risen; 11 of the 15 young people tracked have re-offended within 6 months committing a total of 48 offences. The increase in re-offending can be seen across both Triage diversion and YOS statutory cases.
- Appendix 1 contains additional information to provide an 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 to try and address the underlying causes of offending.
- The YOS continues to have a low custodial rate (WYJI 3) during the first 6 months of 2016/17, with 1 custodial disposal imposed due to the seriousness of the offence. When comparing custodial disposals for 2015/16 the YOS had 3 disposals compared to 6 in 2014/15. This demonstrates custody is used as a last resort.
- In respect of engagement in education, training and employment, (WYJI 4) this indicator has changed and now reflects the number of hours' education 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.
- Data provided by the YJB indicated that during the year to date, young people of statutory school age were offered an average 22 hours at the start of their intervention, this decreased over time and ended on an average of 16.6 hours. The average hours offered and attended by young people was less at 19.7 hours at the start and 13.1 at the end, all below the recommended 25 hours.
- Young people above statutory school age were also offered and attended less than the recommended 16 hours provision, with the average hours being attended at the start as 4.8 and at the end 12.5. Despite a positive improvement in above statutory school age provision, concerns have been raised that there has been no increase in the average number of hours for school age children since 2014/15.
- Further analysis by the YOS indicates that the number of children is low, some of these children have re-offended and are therefore included within the cohort more than once as subject to different interventions, whilst others have multiple complex issues and have exhausted a number of educational placements.
- Regarding access to suitable accommodation (WYJI 5), performance continues to be positive. During the 6 month period, 19 young people had a closed community based penalty; all were in suitable accommodation at the start and end of their interventions. 2 young people ended a custodial sentence; both were in suitable accommodation at the start but only 1 at the end of their licence period. Due to the low numbers this reflects a 50% decrease.
- Performance in respect of access to appropriate support for substance misuse difficulties (WYJI 6) demonstrates the majority of young people referred continue to engage in assessment and treatment even if outside of the performance timeframes.
- 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 has recently been revised and identifies if young people are appropriately screened within 28 working days of referral date and where appropriate, receive a mental health assessment within 28 working days of screening.
- 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 (no longer in use), i.e. engaging 25% of victims in direct restorative practices. The Vale of Glamorgan YOS operates a restorative ethos and actively promotes restoratives practices, as demonstrated by the positive performance of above 50% victim participation for the period.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The performance reported was achieved within allocated resources. Scrutiny Committee will be aware that it is not possible to guarantee sufficient contributions to the YOS budget long-term because of its reliance on contributions from partner organisations and annual grants from various sources.
- To date the YJB grant for 2017/18 is unconfirmed.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a result of this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- The YJB 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. The YJB 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
- The work of the YOS 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)
- There are no equality implications directly as a result of this report.
- The work of the YOS 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
- This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- The provision of Youth Offending Services is a Vale wide responsibility and there are no specific implications for individual wards.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Homes and Safe Communities
Paula Barnett, YOS Manager
Head of Children and Young People Services
Assistant Team Manager, Youth Offending Service
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services