John Hawkins Award 2020 – update

John Hawkins was Head of East Sussex Youth Offending Team and treasurer of the AYM, until his untimely death in 2011. The AYM John Hawkins Award was established in memory of John, with agreement from his family. The award is presented annually to a youth offending service for innovation and creativity in youth justice practice. The award ceremony usually takes place at the Annual Youth Justice Convention, however Covid restrictions meant that the awards had to take place virtually. The winners are chosen by children and young people of the previous years winners. This year Bradford judged the entries and couldn’t decide between two projects and for the first time ever it was decided to split the award between two Youth Offending Teams. Congratulations go to Hampshire YOS for their ‘Therapeutic Wellbeing Officers (TWO) Service’ and Lancashire YOS for their ‘Your Choice Diversion Programme’

What the children said about Hampshire’s project:

Gets young people to build relationships and have support to address what’s happening for them. This could help most young people and support them to think of different ways to manage emotional and mental health and build relationships.

It’s good because it can help a lot of young people and they can get to know the worker. Help them to not hurt there self and build confidence so they believe in themselves.

What the children said about the Lancashire Project

It is a good way for young people to develop knowledge but they might not open up in group situations i.e. if they were being exploited, I think other YOT’s offer similar things before young people go to court.

Can help young people before they offend or before they end up in court

Both YOT’s were presented with their awards by the Chair of the AYM in December 2020. Lancashire received their award during the YOT Management Board meeting.  Hampshire received their award during an awards ceremony and were joined by our AYM Secretary who was their previous head of service. John’s sons attended both award ceremonies and shared their own personal reflections of their dad and have agreed to visit both projects once the Covid restrictions have been lifted. Congratulations to both Lancashire and Hampshire.


Job Vacancy: North Lincs

Senior Case Manager x 2

Location: Church Square House

Salary: £34,729 to £39,881 per year

Hours:  37 Hours per week

Contract Type: Permanent   

Position Type: Full Time 

DBS: Yes    Enhanced

Closing Date: Wednesday 20 January 2021

Apply at North Lincs Council website here


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.


Results from governance arrangement survey

Members will recall that we launched an online survey in December asking about current governance arrangement for local YOT partnerships. The survey will help shape our contribution to the YJB’s work to update its guidance, ‘Modern Youth Offending Partnerships’. We are grateful to the 48 colleagues who took the time to respond. We have posted the full results here with a summary of the key findings.


Hillingdon, AYM condolences

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.