Agenda item


To approve the Youth Justice Plan 2018/19.


Council was invited to approve the Youth Justice Plan 2018/19.


The cabinet member – young people and children’s wellbeing introduced the report.


She highlighted performance in the county against the three national indicators which formed the basis for the action plan for 2018/19:

·        there had been a reduction in the number of first time entrants into the youth justice system. The actual numbers were very small, less than 0.5% of young people aged 10-17 in the county.  It was nevertheless important to work to continue to reduce this number.

·        the use of custody was also reducing and the rate was better than for West Mercia and England;

·        proportionately more young people were reoffending than in the West Mercia area as a whole but they were re-offending with less frequency.

She added that the service had been subject to an inspection at the end of 2017/18 and judged as requiring improvement overall.  Across the 12 inspection standards seven were rated good, four requiring improvement and one inadequate.  The latter was in relation to sharing information and partnership working.  This assessment on this standard applied to the whole of West Mercia. Herefordshire social care staff were working with the local youth justice team to enable access to systems to improve joint working.

The following principal comments were made in discussion:

·        A question was asked about the issues underlying priority 2.1 of the Plan (p66 of the agenda papers): “improve multi-agency engagement at high risk and decision making meetings”, as this seemed to be an ongoing issue and in particular working with the police.  The cabinet member commented that it was a case of seeking continuous improvement in collaborative working. In relation to working with the police there were some specific areas regarding the application of thresholds where improvement needed to be made.

·        In response to questions the director for children and families clarified joint working arrangements including the Youth Justice Service, the multiagency service hub and the allocation of an officer to work directly alongside the police in relation to child sexual exploitation issues. He reported that the recent Ofsted inspection had recognised the council’s service for missing children was working well.

·        In relation to knowledge of low level youth offending in communities the cabinet member commented that she clearly had to rely on information from the Children’s Safeguarding Board and the Community Safety Partnership and other similar reports.  The director undertook to share information in relation to the query raised previously at children and families scrutiny committee regarding the non-criminalisation of children under 18.

·        The cabinet member acknowledged the importance of children’s safeguarding observed that the council’s work in this area had been recognised by Ofsted and provided assurance that there was no complacency.

·        It was suggested that youth work and groups made a significant contribution to reducing crime and it was asked what support was being provided in this area.  The cabinet member commented whilst recognising the importance of youth work it was hard to quantify the extent of that contribution to reducing crime.  She was ambitious to get a co-ordinated approach to prevention work and a clear understanding of what help was on offer to help provide the support to young people from which they would benefit.

·        A member requested that the graphs at page 79 of the agenda papers be rescaled.  Information was also requested on the picture of reoffending in the period of crossover between youth offending and the early years of adulthood.  The cabinet member agreed to seek to provide this information.

·        A member highlighted that following the loss of council provided youth services Leominster Town Council had mapped all such activities in the Town and was working with organisations and the police to engage with young people and the police with a view to reducing offending. It was suggested that others might find this approach helpful.

RESOLVED:  That the Youth Justice Plan 2018/19 as set out at ‘appendix a’ to the report be approved.

Supporting documents: