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Joint winners of the John Hawkins Award

The AYM is delighted to announce that for the first time there are joint winners of this years John Hawkins Award for innovative youth justice practice who will share the £500 prize fund.

Following judging by young people from last years winners Bradford YOT, congratulations go to Hampshire YOT for their Therapeutic Wellbeing ​Officers (TWO) project and Lancashire Child and Youth Justice Services, Your Choice Diversion programme.

The John Hawkins Award is made annually by the AYM in the memory of John Hawkins their former Treasurer, AYM Founding Member and Head of East Sussex YOT. Normally the award is presented at the Youth Justice Convention but due to Covid19 restrictions arrangements will be made for AYM Chair Hazel Williamson to virtually present the award to both winners in the near future.


New AYM Chair and Vice Chair elected

Hazel Williamson, Head of Staffordshire YOT and previously AYM Vice-Chair has been elected as the new AYM Chair at the Associations AGM today replacing Andy Peaden (Head of Leeds YOT) who stood down after two years of sterling service. Hazel’s successor as Vice Chair is Jacqui Belfield – Smith (Head of Stockport YOT). 

In her opening remarks as new Chair Hazel said she was ‘proud and privileged to be elected as the new chair of AYM’ and thanked outgoing Chair Andy Peaden ‘who has made a huge difference during his time as chair.’ She also offered her congratulations to Jacqui on her election as Vice Chair and that she was ‘Looking forward to championing youth justice’.

Prior to the start of the AGM Justin Russell, Chief Inspector, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Keith Fraser, Chair of the Youth Justice Board addressed AYM members. Both Justin and Keith paid tribute to the hard work of Youth Offending Teams during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the AGM Ian Langley and Jessica Edwards (Hackney YOT) were re-elected as Secretary and Asst Secretary respectively and Terry Gibson was re-elected as Treasurer. The AGM also approved the Treasurer’s recommendation to increase AYM subscription rates for the first time in 10 years.

Diz Minnitt (Milton Keynes YOT) was re-elected as an Additional Executive Member and former Chair Andy Peaden was also elected as an Additional Executive Member.



AYM Executive proposes dedicated meeting to address concerns of racism and disproportionality in the criminal justice system.

After the recent AYM executive meeting, Chair Andy Peaden sent out an email to all AYM members inviting representatives from all areas to become involved. He wrote:

“The AYM executive met this week and following the meeting we wanted to express our dismay at the manner of George Floyd’s death and our distress at the way in which events are unfolding in the United States and in the United Kingdom. We wanted to express our support for the Black Lives Matter movement and for dealing with the issues of racism and disproportionality that are present within society and particularly within in the criminal justice system.

We recognise that addressing the issue of racial injustice is vital to our society and that as the professional association for youth justice managers, AYM has a big part to play in relation to highlighting and challenging inequality and injustice where we see it within the criminal justice system and within our day to day work.

It is vital that those of us in positions of power and Influence use our voice to address these concerns and also vital to ensure that we listen to the experience of the children and communities that we deal with. We are committed to the concept of ‘explain or reform’ that was proposed within the Lammy report.

We understand that many of the children and families that we deal with and many others in society are angry, frightened and confused, and we want to ensure that we do our best to support youth offending team colleagues to address these concerns.

We welcome dialogue across the sector and all suggestions and as to how we might address these issues and support colleagues as we move forward.

The executive is proposing to host a dedicated meeting for members as an opportunity to discuss and share ideas, and has asked AYM regional representatives to identify volunteers within regions to ensure that we have coverage from all areas and we would welcome any thoughts as to how such a meeting might best be configured?”



Children included in numbers to be released from custody due to Covid19.

The YJB have notified YOT Managers of the possibility of COVID-19 releases from the secure estate for a small number of low risk children. Over the coming weeks YOTs and Governors/Directors will be assessing individual children who may be suitable.  The YJB are developing joint guidance with YCS to support assessments of suitability taking into account any risks and safeguarding concerns.  The YJB has been given an assurance from the Ministry of Justice that children will only be released when the Youth Offending Team is satisfied that a child can be safely managed in the community: victims of any children being released will be contacted to be advised of the child’s release.