How to get ahead in ... youth offending services
Jun 25, 2012
The shape of the youth offending service is changing as it tackles deep spending cuts from both councils and the Youth Justice Board, its main sources of funding. Last year the annual grant paid to youth offending teams was slashed by almost 20%, and the board has just confirmed that another 7% will be shaved off this year's award.
Shrinking budgets have prompted teams across England to look at how they can deliver the same level of service with less money. They are coming up with different solutions.
In January, three West London boroughs – Hammersmith and Fulham, the City of Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea – launched a tri-borough youth offending service. Each council still has its own dedicated team, but court services, restorative justice and business support are shared.
....Nicky Gunter is the restorative justice team manager for the tri-borough youth offending team. Because there is a shared service, she says, restorative justice has become a priority in all three boroughs with dedicated resources, and standards have improved.
"I noticed the value in working like this straight away. Before the work was much more fragmented as the other work in the YOT took over and we also had staff shortages. It's also meant that we have been able to sit down and start from the beginning and say 'This is how it should be done properly'."
The changing shape of youth offending teams is being monitored by the Youth Justice Board. Its chief executive, John Drew, says it is "keen to learn from the best examples".