1. Context

Information about the Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark, April 2018.

From 2016 to March 2018 the Association of YOT Managers (AYM) and the children’s charity Achievement for All worked together on a Department for Education funded project aiming to improve outcomes for young people in the youth justice system with SEND. https://afaeducation.org/our-projects/youth-justice-send/youth-justice-send/

In the course of the project the two organisations worked with staff from YOTs, local authority SEND specialists and health professional in over 50 areas using a benchmark-improve-review process. In recognition of the high quality of work undertaken in some of these areas, we introduced a new Quality Mark, the Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark. The standard for the Quality Mark was achieved in 20 areas by March 2018, and many of the areas (from the original 50+) continue to make good progress towards it.

Achievement for All has a well-established and highly valued process for recognising the progress made by partner education settings in terms of inclusive practice and enabling the progress and achievement of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in the education system. The Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark is assessed with the same rigour as AfA’s awards in other education settings. http://res.afa3as.org.uk/YJBubble/YJSENDQualityMark/index.html

2. The Ten Key Statement Framework

A series of statements are used to frame effective SEND practice in the youth justice system. These were developed with the support of leading practitioners, academics and government departments. YOT areas will be asked to rate their performance on a scale of 0 to 10 on against each of the ten statements below. A profile is thus created, giving a “picture” of strengths and development needs.

  • Statement 1 All Local Authority SEND Team staff (and others who work regularly with YOTs) have working knowledge of SEND Reform practice in the Youth Justice System
  • Statement 2 All staff within Youth Offending Teams (relevant staff in the Secure Estate) have a working knowledge of SEND Reform practice in the Youth Justice System
  • Statement 3 All staff who work with and within YOTs have had recent training that builds a basic awareness of the type and range of special educational needs that are prevalent in the youth justice system, as well as the complexities and impact of structural (social) disadvantage.
  • Statement 4a Information exchange regarding all forms and levels of special educational needs between secure estate, health and care professionals, LAs and YOT is timely, comprehensive and leads to continuity of/establishing appropriate provision.
  • Statement 4b Proactive information exchange and planning between LA SEND, Social, Health and LAC Teams, as well as YOT, leads to the early identification of YPs at risk of entering the youth justice system, with provision leading to reduced “first time” offending rates.
  • Statement 5 Initial screening/assessment of YPs entering the Youth Justice System is conducted by trained / experienced professionals and informs provision mapping.
  • Statement 6 If a YP has an EHCP, information sharing leads to continuity of provision (throughout youth justice system and into transition/resettlement)
  • Statement 7 If screening/assessment indicates a YP has high level needs that were previously unidentified, or has SEN support needs not met by an EHCP, timely and appropriate support is either implemented or commissioned whilst further assessment is considered.
  • Statement 8 Multiagency teams, working in partnership with the YOT, ensure that transition and resettlement planning/delivery are aligned to securing a series of positive life outcomes for YPs (education, independence, self-efficacy, work, etc.)
  • Statement 9 Young people and their families are actively engaged in all aspects of screening, identification, diagnosis and intervention planning, and have a voice in shaping the provision, and evaluating its impact
  • Statement 10 Strategic Commissioners within Local Authority Area Partnerships ensure that the needs of YPs in the youth justice system are adequately resourced and supported, and the provision reviewed regularly.

    Following local discussion of the ten statements area partnerships describe the strategic and operational improvement planning already underway, and work out ways to integrate development needs into existing plans. The results from the benchmark process (and the sharing of effective practice) may well trigger new thinking and new development planning.

Scoring grid

3. Criteria for Quality Mark Award

• On re-evaluation of scores, and due to demonstrable improvement activity, a consistent “6” or “7” is scored across all Ten Key Statements. Individual anonymised case studies are welcomed as supporting evidence, or short witness testimonies from key professionals.

4. Criteria for Quality Lead Award

  • Ratings of “6s” and “7s” obtained in the majority of statement areas during initial benchmarking activity, backed up by additional evidence of effective practice and partnership working (such as first-time offending rates, reoffending rates, protocols in place, systems in place and operational, appropriate panels and forums active and functioning effectively, etc.)
  • No statement scored below a “7” on re-evaluation • At least two scores of “8” or higher, with a case study of effective practice submitted with each score of 8 or higher as part of the QL submission.

5. How submissions will be judged

A panel consisting of Achievement for All and Association of Youth Offending Team Managers will meet to scrutinise the evidence at least once a year.

In some cases, follow-up conversations and the submission of additional information will be requested. In other cases, contact will be made by a member of the panel to verify the scoring.
All area partnerships will be given detailed feedback on the benchmark scores and will be encouraged to continue to improve practice, and resubmit when they are confident that they have evidence of the required improvement. There is no deadline for completion of the process although we would expect areas to keep us informed of their progress so that we can plan dates for assessment panels.

A formal presentation of awards will be made at the AGM of the Association of YOT Managers and/or at Achievement for All’s annual conference. We are happy to help with local press releases.

6. Length of time for which the Award is valid

The QM/QL awards are valid for a period of three years from the date on which the moderation committee approved them.
Six months before the end of this three year term, AYM will invite local areas to seek re-validation. Areas with do not re-apply, or who cannot provide evidence that they still meet the standards, will be expected to cease using the logos.

7. How submissions can be made

YOTs can apply to work towards the Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark at any time by contacting AYM or Achievement for All via the email addresses below. There is a fee of £1,200 plus VAT (reduced to £1,000 plus VAT for areas where a manager is a member of AYM).

8. Cost of the Awards

The cost is inclusive of:

• A 1-2 hour benchmarking meeting. The Ten Key Statement framework papers are circulated well ahead of the benchmark meeting, which is conducted via concall with a subject expert. We would expect a minimum of three people on the call: someone from the YOS Senior Management Team, someone from the Local Authority SEND Management Team, and an operational leader or manager from the YOT, health, education or social care teams. Each statement is explained and considered, evidence of effective practice discussed, and a score between 0 and 10 agreed. This process helps to identify strengths as well as areas for development, and the subject expert will be in a position to share initiatives, knowledge and creative ideas from across the national YOS network. An action can then be drawn up, and the evidence required to reach a higher standard discussed and agreed.

• Telephone support and guidance from the Youth Justice SEND specialists between benchmarking and final assessment. At any time between benchmarking and progress review, your team leader is welcome to contact the subject experts for advice and guidance.

• A 1-2 hour progress review. When progress has been secured, and the required evidence (quantitative and qualitative) has been assembled, another concall will take place to present the results of change management to the subject expert: new scores are then agreed.

• Award of Quality Mark or Quality Lead logo and certificate. The final submission, supported by comments from the subject expert, will be presented to a verification panel consisting of representatives from AYM, AFA and, where possible, neutral expert observers. The Award is formally ratified, and the area partnership informed. The shelf life on an award is 3 years, after which redesignation can be sought, or a bid to raise the award from Quality Mark to Quality Lead.

9. Site Visits

Some teams have welcomed a visit from a subject expert. These visits might also be used as an opportunity to lead a workshop, a seminar or brief Management Boards or Executive Panels, as well as conduct a benchmark review.

If a site visit is requested, the cost will be around £450–700 + VAT, depending on length of time needed on site and travel costs.

10. Who can I contact to get started?

Please email the team: Marius.Frank@afaeducation.org or phil.sutton@aym.org.uk Or: YouthjusticeSEND@afaeducation.org