The AYM is very appreciative of the negotiations undertaken by the YJB with the Ministry of Justice, in order to ensure that the Core Grant to YOTs was not reduced from the 2017/18 level. However, as it is set at the same level as last year it does represent a reduction in funding to YOTs, due to inflation. This is at a time that many YOTs are experiencing a reduction of funding from partners due to cuts to those services themselves, as a result of this prolonged period of austerity.
YOTs have been consistently excellent in terms of reducing first time entrants to the youth criminal justice system and reducing the number of children that are detained in custody. As a result of this, the level of safety and wellbeing concerns that children supervised on community orders present with is significant. In addition, the seriousness of offending committed by these children and the risks they pose to others requires close monitoring and extensive support from the YOT, all of this requires sufficient funding to be effective.
The AYM is conscious that the landscape of youth offending is changing, recent media coverage of violent offending and offences committed as a result of exploitation highlights some of this, as does that of crimes associated with social media use by children. Research undertaken by YOTS has also shown that the majority of children who offend have significant special educational needs and disabilities (SENDAR) and have suffered numerous adverse childhood experiences that have resulted in trauma.
All of this requires YOTs to be in a position to manage these emerging patterns of crimes committed by children and properly resourced to respond to the increasing complexity of needs of the children who offend. Partners to the YOT are required to ensure that there is adequate funding to provision youth justice provision in their local area, the AYM hopes that the ongoing commitment from the YJB to support YOTs is accepted as an indicator to those local partners that YOTs should continue to be prioritised if children are to be enabled to pursue more positive lifestyles.