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PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY BOARD Swansea Youth Offending Service This presentation sets out the nature of the YOS partnership, its relationship with government and its achievements in reducing youth crime in Swansea since establishment in April 2000
The creation of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales as a central co-ordinating non-departmental public body. Its functions being to advise Ministers of policy needs; establish an inspectorate function for YOT’s; to monitor the performance of the youth justice system; to disburse grants.
The establishment of Youth Offending Teams (Services) across England and Wales.
YOT’s were envisaged as part of a triangular process that would reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
Established as statutory multi-agency partnerships in Local Authority areas where Chief Executives have responsibility for Education and Social Services.
Responsibility for the resourcing of the YOT is placed directly with the Chief Executive of the Local Authority, together with the Chief Officers of Police, Health & Probation who must form a Steering Group/Management Board.
Each of the statutory partners is required to contribute at least one member of staff from its professional base.
In 2000 the YOT Management Board set a vision for Swansea based on a prevention led strategy.
Welsh Assembly Government had published “Extending Entitlement” as its youth policy lead based on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
U.K. Government was embarking on its anti-social behaviour strategy with an “ASBO first” policy.
The YJB concern was the level of custodial sentencing. The YOS has had to hold a balance between being a criminal justice agency and a child welfare agency with responsibility for safeguarding and risk management.
Inevitably the conflicts in these different areas present some interesting discussions.
In April 2009 we implemented the Youth Bureau with South Wales Police. Now we are able to respond to all young people arrested by undertaking an assessment of the young person and their offending.
All victims of crime are identified and contacted. Where appropriate they are engaged in Restorative Interventions.
Critically parents are engaged in taking responsibility for their children and their behaviour rather than a statutory intervention. The introduction of the Bureau process is showing significant benefits. The two week Bail period enables time to develop restorative intervention.
Parents report a strong sense of ownership over the plan when attending for the Bureau Panel meeting.
Attendance is close to 100% at the Cautioning Clinic.
Re-offending rates are substantially reduced. The Restorative Intervention which is imposed as a first resort in most cases has a re-offending rate of less than 5% at present – more time is needed to make full analysis of effectiveness.
YOS prevention staff are engaged with South Wales Police in five schools providing early intervention to prevent offending and anti-social behaviour, improve school attendance and consequently outcomes.
There are many lessons learnt that can aid the PPO and Joint Office dialogue. YOS has dev eloped into a strong identity which has exceeded the sum of its parts.
The statutory demands around victims, parents, ASB reduction, Safeguarding, Risk Management, Information and Data Protection, Substance Misuse and Social and Economic Exclusion mean we still have a great deal to deliver which lead to improved victim reassurance and confidence.
The young people are reviewed to screen for problem with education, employment or training; drugs and alcohol; mental health; accommodation and family difficulties.