AYM opposes in year budget cuts

18 August 2015
The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is currently consulting with youth offending teams (YOTs) as it seeks to make its contribution to the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ’s) efforts to model the impact of the significant budget reductions that are likely to be imposed on it by the Treasury.

While we expected a difficult financial settlement for the 2016-7 financial year, it came as a huge surprise to YOTs to be asked to provide an assessment the impact of an in-year (i.e. 2015-16) reduction of 14% in its funding from YJB.

We recognise that since 2010 YJB has prioritised its commitment to giving grant aid to YOTs and has reduced its expenditure on the secure estate and its own operating costs. YJB grants to YOTs support effective practice in the community and currently amount to £ 91m . In spite of all YJB’s attempts to safeguard YOT grants over the last 5 years they have still reduced by 18%. This reduction is already having a significant impact on services.

The Association of YOT Managers (AYM) wants to ensure that MOJ fully recognises how YOTs are funded. By far the largest part of our funding comes from local authorities, with local police and health services, and the National Probation Service making contributions as part of their statutory duties. Contributions to YOTs from all of these partners has been reducing during the recession. However, despite the pressures they all face, local partners in the main, stick to the commitments that they have given for each financial year. They recognise that it is totally unacceptable to reduce their contributions midway through the year. We are concerned that if the YJB is forced to take such unusual action it will give licence to our local partners to follow suit.

YOT funding for each year is fully committed to staff costs and to contracts for specialist services and facilities. YOTs are local partnerships and not independent, permanent organisations with monies held in capital reserves, such as buildings which could be sold off. There are no capital reserves. There is a significant cost to breaking contracts or to laying of staff midway through the year. These costs would outweigh any potential savings.

AYM Chair, Gareth Jones, said: “AYM fully supports the YJB’s efforts to resist further reductions in the grants it make to YOTs. The success of the youth justice system in the last fifteen years has been due in large part to the investment in preventing youth crime at an early stage, and in ensuring young people face up to the consequences of their offending for their victims through restorative justice. These innovations are likely to be the first to be cut if YOTs only have sufficient funds to carry out their statutory work for the courts.”