Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 20th May, 2015
Report of the Director of Social Services
Delivering the Youth Justice Plan 2014/15
Purpose of the Report
1. To update Scrutiny Committee regarding the progress made in delivering the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2014/15.
That the progress made in delivering the Youth Justice Plan 2014/15 is noted and that Members acknowledge the delay regarding rollout of the new assessment framework (Asset Plus) by the Youth Justice Board.
Reason for the Recommendation
To meet the statutory requirements of grant terms and conditions provided by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales, to achieve continuing improvements in the performance of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) and to ensure that Members can exercise oversight of this key area of work for the Council.
2. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 39(1) places a duty on each Local Authority, acting with its statutory partners (Police, Probation and Health), to establish Youth Offending Teams in their local area. Under Section 38(3) of the Act, the Local Authority and its statutory partners must make payment towards the expenditure incurred in providing youth justice services.
3. Membership of the Youth Offending Team 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 relevant services are available across the local authority area to the extent required. 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 chaired by the Director of Social Services.
5. 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 Plan confirms how youth justice services are to be provided and funded, how the teams are established, composed and funded, what functions they are to carry out and how they will operate. The 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.
6. The format of the YOS Youth Justice Plan is dictated by the YJB and must address the following areas:
- structure and governance;
- resources and value for money;
- partnership arrangements; and
- risks to future delivery.
7. The Plan must also demonstrate how the activities being undertaken can be considered as developing good practice and achieving value for money. It includes performance information, which is validated quarterly and annually by the YJB. Again, this is a requirement of the terms and conditions of grant as it indicates compliance with the YJB Data Recording Guidance.
Relevant Issues and Options
8. The updated Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2014/15 is attached at Appendix 1.
9. The majority of actions are on track for completion. However, because of delayed rollout by the YJB, some delays are being experienced in implementing Asset Plus and the practice changes required for the new assessment framework in the Vale of Glamorgan. Early practice change tools are currently being piloted and training is being arranged for staff regarding the new assessment framework, intervention planning and sequencing, and the impact that difficulties with speech, language and communication can have on young people's behaviour. Workshops have taken place regarding breach, compliance, induction and the expectations of Court Orders. Recommendations from these workshops, plus the audit of custody cases and the completed re-offending analysis, will feed into actions to be carried forward into the 2015/16 Youth Justice Plan.
10. At a strategic level, the YOS continues to engage very actively with partners to highlight the need for continued commitment to providing an appropriate level of resources and to assist work being done to help young people get access to mainstream services that can prevent and/or reduce their offending.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
11. From the report presented in August 2014, Scrutiny Committee will be aware that it is not possible to guarantee sufficient contributions to the YOS budget in the long-term because it relies on contributions from partner organisations and annual grants from various sources. The Managing Director wrote to the statutory partners in October 2014 seeking continued commitment of resources to the YOS.
12. The YOS has been notified of a 7.6% reduction in the YJB grant for 2015/16. A business case has been submitted to Welsh Government in respect of the Youth Crime Prevention Fund which is currently awaiting approval by Ministers. Welsh Government is indicating that, if approved, funding will remain at the same level as 2014/15. Discussions are taking place with the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner regarding changes to funding arrangements for the YOS with a possible move away from having to bid for grant funding on an annual basis to a more formal partnership arrangement.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
13. There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a result of this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
14. The YOS is a statutory service as required by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It is a highly regulated, non-devolved service overseen by the Ministry of Justice via the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.
Crime and Disorder Implications
15. The work of the YOS assists in the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour by children and young people.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
16. Actions to address equalities issues have been taken into account in producing the Youth Justice Plan.
17. A safe and secure environment is one of the key aims of the Corporate Plan. The key service objectives for the YOS are to prevent offending and re-offending by children and young people and to reduce the use of custody.
Policy Framework and Budget
18. This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
19. The YOS Management Board reviewed the updated Plan as part of their meeting in March 2015.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
20. Housing and Public Protection.
Youth Justice Board: Terms and Conditions of Youth Justice Good Practice Grant 2013 - 2014, Annex A (Guidance Notes to Youth Offending Teams on Providing a "Costed Plan").
Paula Barnett, YOS Manager
Corporate Management Team
Members of the Youth Offending Service Management Board
Head of Children and Young People Services
Assistant Team Manager, Youth Offending Service
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services