Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 2nd September, 2015
Report of the Director of Social Services
Youth Offending Service: End of Year Performance Report for the period April 2014 - March 2015
Purpose of the Report
- To inform Scrutiny Committee about the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2014 to March 2015.
- 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 (National, devolved and local).
- 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.
- 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 Youth Offending Service is always approximately one quarter behind because of the need for the Youth Justice Board to validate data before circulation.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The performance report for April 2014 to March 2015 is attached at Appendix 1. It includes analysis of the performance data.
- At the request of the Committee local performance measures have been included within the report. These measures were developed to provide the YOS Management board with a greater depth of understanding of performance in specific areas.
- Performance data for First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice (WYJI 1) is for 9 months from January 2014 to December 2014. These show an 11.5% increase in numbers entering the system, which equates to 40 entrants over the 9 month period compared to 36 for the whole of 2013/14. Over the last two years, the rolling cohort has fluctuated between 36 and 42 entrants per years, which may demonstrate that the Vale of Glamorgan has reached a plateau in our ability to continue reducing the number of first time entrants.
- Detailed analysis of first time entrants have been completed and consultation has taken place with partners to develop a refreshed Prevention Strategy which will be launched in October 2015. A copy is attached for information at Appendix 2.
- Reduction in re-offending (WYJI 2) continues to be a key priority for the YOS. The information presented in Appendix 1 shows an increase in re-offending for the period 1st July 2012 to 30 June 2013 from 37.2% to 44.2%. It has been recognised nationally that young people now entering the Youth Justice System have more complex needs. The Youth Justice Board has completed an analysis of historic re-offending information for the YOS and this has been used to inform a re-offending action plan. Implementation of this plan has been delayed due to staff shortages and a requirement to focus on implementation of the new assessment framework.
- Local performance information now included within this report provides 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.
- The YOS has seen a reduction in the custodial rate (WYJI 4) during 2014/15, from 9 young people sentenced to custody during 2013/14 to 7 during this year. This is an overall reduction of 22%.
- Engagement in education, training and employment has been identified as a priority area for the YOS Management Board. Performance for the year shows that the Vale of Glamorgan is performing slightly better than the all Wales average (19 hours per week) and the South Wales average (16 hours) in providing 20.6 hours. However, this represented a fall from the previous year's figure and still remains short of the expected 25 hours. This performance 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 14.6 hours and this shows an increase from an average of 12.2 hours during 2013/14. Full time is defined as 16.
- The young people over 16 years of age with which the YOS works can experience additional obstacles when looking for training or employment. Their complex needs and challenging behaviours can prove a challenge in relation to the management and sustainability of placements. Previously, there were only two training providers within the Vale of Glamorgan; once young people had exhausted these options, prospects of placement were reduced. Young people regard attending providers in Cardiff as problematic. It is possible to note therefore that ATC Training provider has recognised these issues and has made provision within the Vale of Glamorgan.
- Regarding access to suitable accommodation (WYJI 5), performance for the year reflects a decrease of 4.2% in respect of young people placed in the community. Performance decreased because 2 young people were placed in emergency accommodation prior to accessing more supported accommodation. No concerns have been identified in relation to access to accommodation for young people leaving custody.
- Performance is positive in respect of access to appropriate support for substance misuse difficulties (WYJI 6), with 92.3% engagement in assessment and 92.3% engagement in treatment within 10 days.
- 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 60% victim participation.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- 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. The Committee were advised that all budget and grant contributions for 2014/15 had been confirmed. Unfortunately, the YOS was advised on 29th July that the YJB will be seeking to reduce their grant funding by an additional 14%, making a total reduction for the year of 21.6%. The Chair of the YOS Management Board has made strong representations to the YJB in relation to the proposed reduction and the likely impact.
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 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. The Board 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 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)
- There are no equality implications directly as a result of this report.
- 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
- 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. The YOS Management Board is aware of the performance figures.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Housing and Public Protection.
Paula Barnett, YOS Manager
Head of Children and Young People Services
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services