The AYM is both shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of a young person in Hillingdon YOT on Friday 8 November 2019. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and for our colleagues in Hillingdon YOT, to whom we offer any support we can.
AYM members enjoyed an excellent autumn conference at the University of Derby on 16 October 2019. Many thanks to Unitas for hosting this event. More information on speakers and their talks can be found here. Twitter discussion can be found using #aymautumnconf
The AYM autumn conference is taking place at the University of Derby on 16 October 2019.
Talks and speakers are as follows and presentations will be available on the events page soon after the event.
- Youth Justice Institute: ‘Setting the Scene’ – Rob Allen and Professor Phil Hodgson
- Learning Hub – Sally Brown
- Apprenticeships – Louise Morgan
- Looked After Children: Research Findings – Ann-Marie Day
- Secure College – Steve Chalke MBE
- HMIP YOT Inspections – Justin Russell
The event is open to YOT Managers but there is a waiting list for other professionals if spaces allow. Please contact us if you would like to attend,
The AYM response to the Labour Party Policy review of the criminal justice system was submitted today (Friday 28 June 2019) and can be read here.
The Annual Conference and AGM on 5 June 2019 in Rugby proved to be another great success with speakers providing some really interesting information on peer reviews, sport in prisons, overuse of remands and approaches to serious violence. The AYM was also pleased to recognise the achievements of four more areas – Blackburn, Hackney, Kirklees and St Helens – in reaching the required standards for our Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark Award.
The Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark recognises good partnership work in local areas for the benefit of children with special educational needs. The standards for the award were developed with the support of the DfE and YJB and with input from academics and practitioners.
For information on how to gain this award follow this link.
In early June, AYM responded to the Public consultation on Mental Health Conditions and Disorders: Draft Legal Guidance. This is a new revised proposal of CPS guidance on prosecuting defendants with mental health issues. You can read the AYM response here.
At the request of the Programme Board for Youth Justice Sector-led Improvement, Dr Kerry Baker and Dr Christine Magill have undertaken an independent review of the peer-review process and their report is now available to download
The key findings from their review are:
· Youth Justice Peer Review (YJPR) is viewed positively by those who have experienced it.
· YJPR shares many of the features of similar effective peer review processes in other sectors.
· The current arrangements between YJB and the sector are working well, and the role of the YJPR Facilitator is key to this.
· In most cases, respondents agreed that the Peer Review Teams had achieved an appropriate balance between being rigorous and challenging whilst also being informal and supportive (i.e. they were successful in the role of ‘critical friend’).
· The skills and experience of the YJPR teams were valued by host YOTs.
· The Framework Guidance and the training for reviewers were well received and seen as useful.
· The ‘non-shaming’ approach of YJPR creates a receptiveness to feedback and enables an open discussion of strengths and challenges.
· All the participating YOTs identified specific ways in which YJPR had made an impact on their governance, organisation, practice or morale.
· There is, however, more to be done to foster engagement from the wider youth justice sector and a need to communicate the value of YJPR more effectively.
· There is potential to better capture and share good practice flowing from the Peer Reviews.
· The benefits YJPR offers to Peer Reviewers are a significant strength of the process.
· Continuation and development of YJPR requires appropriate resources, particularly to support the critical role of a central coordinator.
The Evaluation made a number of helpful recommendations for improving the process further, and the Sector-Led Improvement Partnership Programme Board is confirming an action plan to follow up the recommendations.
Managers/ heads of service wishing to find enquire about a Peer Review for their service, or interested in becoming part of a review team should contact us using the contact form and we will put you in touch with the co-chairs of the programme board
The Government has today (31/1/19) announced an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill by including the introduction of ‘Knife Crime Prevention Orders’ (KCPO) which would appear to be a new form of ASBO. Such orders will be able to be imposed on children aged 12 years and over if the police believe them to be carrying a knife.
These new civil orders will restrict the liberty of those subject to the order by imposing curfews and geographical restrictions as well as limiting the individual’s use of social media. Breach of the order will be a criminal offence and the individual can be sent to prison for two years if convicted.
The orders are described as a deterrent, in reality we believe it is likely to fast track children into custody. Children carrying knives and other weapons regularly report that they do so because they are fearful of their own safety – balancing this against this the possible consequence of breaching an ASBO/KCPO is unlikely to deter them from ‘defending’ themselves. In our view education and preventative programmes are needed to change this narrative for young people.
The government argue this fills a gap which is not covered by existing preventative orders such as gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid states that he has listened to the Police who are calling for these orders. It is a shame that there has been no consultation with agencies such as Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) who are key players in working with children to prevent them from offending.
Sajid Javid states said “It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place”. Our view is that introducing such an order that is likely to result in a disproportionate number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children entering custody which will not steer them away from crime but is putting them into the one place they are likely to meet other children who have committed offences.
The introduction of these orders also coincides with the work being undertaken by YOTs to address serious violent offending. YOTs use education and support programmes to help children understand that carrying a knife is more likely to result in they themselves becoming a victim and to address the reasons why they feel the need to do so.
The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has just recently formed a Serious Youth Violence Reference Group with a number of YOTs to consider how to develop and share best practice. The AYM calls for the government to reconsider this new measure and look instead for the police to work even closer with YOTs and other agencies to provide programmes that will really address youth violence and knife possession.
We do not want to introduce any measure that would most likely prohibit vulnerable of children from engaging with the police, who may on occasions be the only people on the street they can turn to when in trouble.
The link between exclusion and criminality is well known to professionals working in the youth justice system. Following on from a two year DfE contract, the education charity Achievement for All (AfA) and the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM), are working hard to change perceptions, develop practice and reduce the number of young people with complex needs from entering the youth justice system.
We encourage Local Authority area partnerships to forensically analyse “pathways to criminalisation”, which may include formal permanent exclusion, “off-rolling” and other forms of informal exclusion (such as persuading parents to “choose” home education as an alternative to permanent exclusion), or the failure to identify and meet special education needs. We have developed a set of quality standards that over fifty Local Authority partnerships now use to help improve partnership working between Education, health, social care and the police: despite the national backdrop of reducing budget streams and pressures on local services, we are delighted to report that over thirty Youth Offending Teams and their associated local partners have aspired to, and exceeded, the Quality Standard threshold.
We are extremely encouraged by the recent change in focus signalled by Ofsted, holding schools and academies as responsible for social and education inclusion as the drive for high education standards.