Better together? Youth Support Services and Youth Offending Services. 21 March 2016

Former Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton MP, hosted a parliamentary conference for local authority heads of services and YOT managers, on behalf of Ambition and The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM). Over 80 delegates listened to key note speeches on the Government’s Youth Justice Review and partnerships across local authorities, police and crime commissioners and the justice system. Charlie Taylor, Ministry of Justice, set the scene with a national perspective from two select committee chairs, Keith Vaz MP (Home Affairs) and Bob Neill MP (Justice) and Lord Tom McNally, Chair of the Youth Justice Board.


The joint conference explored models and experience of partnership working and overarching preventative strategies, set in the context of the Youth Justice Review and in advance of the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities in England. This included how effectively the youth justice system and its partners operate in responding to offending by children and young people. Delegates also discussed the actions and responsibilities of local authorities, youth offending teams, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), the police and other partners in preventing children and young people from offending.


We would like to thank all those who contributed to the event including the national lead for policing and children DCC Olivia Pinkney; the national youth-lead for the Association of Directors of Children’s Services Stuart Smith, DCS Calderdale; Local Government Association Safer and Stronger Communities Board Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of Hackney; children’s rights lead for the Children’s Commissioner, Anna Henry; and Andy Champness, Chair of the Association of Policing & Crime Chief Executives.


There was a wide consensus over the need for a co-ordinated response from a number of partners, putting young people at the centre and creating a link between YOTs, children’s, health and education services to address the root causes of offending. Where there is a multi-agency approach or greater integration of services, it is vital we break down silos and professional hierarchies to align resources and commissioning.


Barry Williams, Director of Strategy and Membership at Ambition, said: “It was brilliant to hear so many important issues raised at today’s conference, and we plan to build on these discussions in our work with local authorities, AYM, lead partners and commissioners. Ambition remains committed to helping shape and deliver effective practice and partnership models, ensuring all children and young people in trouble with the law receive the best possible support they need to lead productive and rewarding lives.”

Gareth Jones, AYM Chair, said: “Today’s conference provided an opportunity to explore how close working between wider youth support services and youth offending teams, at a time when there is significant change in how services are being configured, can support effective prevention for young people at risk of getting in trouble with the law.   Whilst accountability for outcomes is a key element, it is essential we build in flexibility to secure local partnership models that serve distinct community needs.”


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