Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 2nd September, 2015
Report of the Director of Social Services
The Youth Justice Plan 2015/16
Purpose of the Report
- To inform Scrutiny Committee about the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2015/16.
- That the Youth Justice Plan is noted and that Members continue to be aware of the risks posed by reductions in core contributions and grants to the Youth Offending Service (YOS) from key agencies.
Reason for the Recommendation
- To meet the statutory requirements regarding the terms and conditions of grants provided by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales, to achieve continuing improvements in the performance of the YOS and to ensure that Members can exercise oversight of this key area of work for the Council.
- 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 Teams in their local area. 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.
- 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.
- 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 co-ordinated 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.
- 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 the directions of the Secretary of State. This duty is one of the requirements of the terms and conditions of the Youth Justice Grant.
- The format of the YOS Youth Justice Plan is dictated by the YJB and it must address the following areas:
- structure and governance;
- resources and value for money;
- partnership arrangements; and
- risks to future delivery.
- The Plan must also demonstrate how the grant is being used exclusively for the delivery of youth justice services 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
- The Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2015/16 is attached at Appendix 1.
- Delays by the YJB in implementing its new 'Assetplus' assessment framework has meant that many of the actions contained within the Youth Justice Plan 2014/15 have been carried forward, as they remain current. Implementation is now scheduled to take place by April 2016.
- Additionally, the Youth Justice Plan has been updated to provide an overview of changes to governance or service delivery and the YOS response to thematic inspection reports published by HM Probation Inspectorate during 2014/15 .
- There have been no significant changes to the structure or operational functions of the YOS, or to the corporate environment within which it operates. Attached at Appendix 2 is the current staff structure.
- Currently, the major risk is the fact that the YJB notified the YOS on July 29th that the Board is required by the Ministry of Justice to make in year savings of £12m during 2015/16. The YJB has indicated that it will be consulting formally with YOTs and other partners to gain an understanding of the potential impact of any further reduction in grant funding during 2015/16.
The YOS Management Board has submitted a robust response to the YJB outlining its concerns regarding delivery of services if the YJB grant is further reduced.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- A breakdown of the YOS budget for 2015/16 is attached at Appendix 3. Scrutiny Committee will be aware that it is not possible to guarantee sufficient contributions to the YOS budget long-term because it relies upon contributions from partner organisations and annual grants from various sources.
- The National Probation Service (NPS) and the YJB are currently undertaking a review of the contribution made to YOTs by the NPS, to ensure that the NPS statutory obligations are met nationally in a consistent manner which meets the needs of both the NPS and the Youth Justice Sector. It is anticipated the outcome of this review will be available in September 2015.
- Additional funding has been made available to Local Health Boards by Welsh Government to enhance mental health services to children and young people within the Youth Justice System. YOS representatives are contributing to the work being undertaken to develop a service specification intended to address the needs of those young people who fall below the threshold for access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
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 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. The legislation places a number of duties on the Local Authority in relation to the establishing of a youth offending team. Further there are duties on the Local Authority, after consultation with the relevant persons & bodies, to formulate and implement for each year a plan. It is the duty of the Youth Justice Team established by the Local Authority to co-ordinate the provision of youth justice services and to carry out the functions as set out in the plan.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- 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)
- Actions to address equalities issues have been taken into account in producing the Youth Justice Plan.
- 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 and reduce the use of custody in relation to young people.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- The YOS Management Board has approved the Plan.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Housing and Public Protection.
Youth Justice (YOT) Grant (Wales), Terms and Conditions of Youth Grant 2015 - 2016, Youth Justice Plan: YJB Practice Note for Youth Offending Partnerships, March 2015.
Paula Barnett, YOS Manager
Members of the Youth Offending Service Management Board
Head of Children and Young People Services
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services