Agenda Item No 10
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 9th March, 2016
Report of the Director of Social Services
Youth Offending Service: 6 Month Performance Report for the Period April 2015 to September 2015
Purpose of the Report
- To inform Scrutiny Committee about the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2015 to September 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 (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 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 2015 to September 2015 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 2014/15. As a result, we are currently not able to produce accumulative performance data and so information for Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 is shown separately.
- 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 2014 to June 2015. Performance reflects a 23% decrease in First Time Entrants, from 40 down to 31, when comparing July-June 2013/14 against July June 2014/15. The YOS reported in September 2015 that it may have reached a plateau in our ability to continue reducing the number of young people entering the Youth Justice System. However, performance to date still reflects a positive trend downwards, which we hope to maintain through implementing the revised Prevention Strategy.
- Reduction in re-offending (WYJI 2) continues to be a key priority for the YOS. The information presented in Appendix 1 shows a decrease in the binary rate (number of young people reoffending) from 47.4% to 46.2% when comparing January-December 2012 against January-December 2013. The frequency rate of re-offending (number of re-offences committed by young people) for the same period also demonstrates a decrease from 1.90 to 1.31.
- Performance is positive because both rates have decreased. There has been an increase in the numbers of young people in the overall cohort and an increase in the number of re-offenders. However, there have been fewer instances of re-offending, i.e. young people committing more than one re-offence. This may be attributable to positive intervention by the YOS.
- 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 the first 6 months of 2015/16, with 0 disposals compared to 3 for the same period in 2014/15. This continues the positive downward trend in custody since it was identified in 2014that we were experiencing higher than average custodial rates.
- In respect of engagement in education, training and employment, 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. It should be noted also that the indicator now captures performance information at the review stage as well as at the end of the young person's court order. The first two quarters of 2015/16 show a decline in performance. The number of young people within the cohort is small; as a result, if one or two young people are not accessing provision, it can result in large fluctuations in the performance percentages.
- Regarding access to suitable accommodation (WYJI 5), performance reflects an improved position. During the 6-month period, 19 young people had a closed community based penalty; of these 19, 17 were in suitable accommodation at the start and end of their court orders. There were no closed custodial disposals during the period.
- 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.
- 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 56.67% victim participation in Quarter 2.
- Regarding the new performance measure on access to mental health services, improvement in this area is a key strategic aim of the Welsh Government/YJB Children and Young People First Strategy. The measure identifies if young people are appropriately screened within 10 working days of sentence and where appropriate, receive a mental health assessment with 10 working days of screening.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The performance reported was achieved within allocated resources. Scrutiny Committee were made aware in September 2015 that the YJB were consulting with YOS regarding an "in year" reduction in grant funding and that representations had been made in relation to the potential impact of the proposed reductions. Despite this, the YJB grant was reduced in November 2015 by a further 10.6%, making a total reduction in 2015/16 grant of 18.2%.
- The YOS has been able to absorb this reduction due to a number of practitioner absences associated with maternity and ill health. To date the YJB grant for 2016/17 is unconfirmed but a further reduction is anticipated.
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