ISSUED BY THE HOME OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, WELSH OFFICE AND DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
|Summary of main points||1|
|(ii) plans for implementation||5-9|
|(iii) purpose of youth offending teams||10-15|
|(iv) links to other initiatives||16-17|
|Scope of youth offending teams|
|(vi) "start-up" meeting||24-27|
|(vii) services to be co-ordinated or provided by youth offending teams||28-33|
|Forming a youth offending team|
|(viii) steering group||34-42|
|(ix) appointment of a youth offending team manager||43-48|
|(x) formulating a youth justice plan||49-58|
|(xii) public launch||73-74|
|Managing a youth offending team|
|(xiii) role of the manager||75-79|
|(xiv) role of staff from different agencies||80-88|
|(xv) standards for youth justice services and youth offending teams||89-92|
|(xvi) sources of guidance on dealing with young offenders||93|
|(xvii) sharing information||94-100|
|(xviii) ethnic monitoring||101-102|
|Links with the Youth Justice Board|
|Annex A||Relevant provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act|
|Annex B||Youth justice pilots|
|Annex C||Relevant guidance issued under the Crime and Disorder Act|
|Annex D||Youth offending team manager: possible job description and person specification|
|Annex E||Youth justice plans and other local plans|
|Annex F||Local youth justice audits|
|Annex G||Launching youth offending teams|
|Annex H||Guidance on information sharing|
1. The main points of the circular are:
2. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 places new duties on local authorities with education and social services responsibilities, chief officers of police, police authorities, probation committees and health authorities in England and Wales to establish youth offending teams and ensure that appropriate youth justice services are available in their area for children and young people aged 10 to 17 who offend, or who are accused of offending. A summary of the relevant provisions of the Act is at Annex A.
3. This inter-departmental circular has been prepared to provide guidance to the relevant local agencies on establishing youth offending teams. A draft, based on work undertaken by the Task Force on Youth Justice, was issued on 29 June for comment to the relevant associations and others. This circular takes account of the comments received. It may form the basis of future statutory guidance to local authorities, police authorities, probation committees and health authorities issued under section 42(3) of the Act.
4. Further guidance will be provided in the light of the first six months’ experience of the youth justice pilots which began on 30 September 1998 (see below). Health Service Circular 1998/177 provides specific guidance for the chief executives of health authorities and trusts on the implications for the NHS of the establishment of youth offending teams.
(ii) plans for implementation
5. Pilots of the new powers for the police and the courts contained in the Crime and Disorder Act - the final warning scheme and the reparation order, action plan order, child safety order and parenting order - and youth offending teams began in ten areas on 30 September and will run for 18 months in total. The areas taking part in the pilots are at Annex B. The pilots will help develop good practice and allow the costs and savings which nation-wide implementation will involve to be assessed.
6. The pilots will inform decisions over the costs and cost-effectiveness of the new measures and their full implementation. The Government’s aim, however, is formally to bring the provisions concerning youth offending teams into nation-wide operation from April 2000. This means that all areas will be expected to have in place before then a youth offending team(s) and a youth justice plan for 2000-2001.
7. Those initial youth justice plans will have to be submitted, perhaps by December 1999, to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, established under section 41 of the Crime and Disorder Act, which came into operation on 30 September. The Board has an important role in overseeing implementation of the youth justice reforms, including youth offending teams.
8. All local areas will therefore need to begin developing and implementing their plans for youth offending teams in the course of 1998-99 and 1999-2000. This inter-departmental circular provides a framework for that. The Government will also disseminate information from the pilots to all areas as this becomes available.
9. Subject to the outcome of the pilots, the Government’s aim is to bring into force nationally the new youth justice services - the final warning scheme and the reparation order, action plan order, child safety order and parenting order - in the course of 2000-2001. This means that, by that time, local areas will need to have decided how interventions in support of these provisions are to be delivered. Separate guidance on the final warning scheme and new court orders has been issued; a list of all the relevant guidance so far issued under the Crime and Disorder Act is at Annex C. It will be possible to anticipate some of these measures prior to formal implementation (eg by bringing cautioning and caution "plus" arrangements broadly into line with the final warning scheme, and introducing greater reparation activity into existing work with young offenders).
(iii) purpose of youth offending teams
10. The principal aim of the youth justice system established by section 37 of the Crime and Disorder Act is to prevent offending by children and young people. As set out in the framework document on the principal aim published in September 1998, the Government intends that this should be achieved through the following objectives:
11. Tackling offending behaviour and the risk factors associated with it - from poor parental supervision and domestic violence or abuse to peer group pressure, from truancy or school exclusion to substance misuse or mental health problems - requires the involvement of a range of local agencies. Youth offending teams will bring together the staff and wider resources of these agencies - social services, education, the police, probation service and health - with the scope to involve others, including the voluntary sector.
12. Youth offending teams are not intended to belong exclusively to any one department or agency. Local authority social services and education departments, the police, probation service and health authorities are all expected to participate. These agencies will provide the core membership of the teams, which will be led by a youth offending team manager or team leader. In particular, the Government is looking to local authority chief executives to take a lead in ensuring that their authority responds to the task of establishing youth offending teams corporately with the police, probation service and health authorities, and that elected members recognise the significance of this area of their responsibilities and its place within the broader range of work to tackle crime and social exclusion.
13. Under section 39(6) of the Crime and Disorder Act, there is also scope for local areas to include other agencies or organisations with skills and experience relevant to the work of the youth offending teams as members of the teams, where this is considered appropriate locally. These may include local authority youth services, the Prison Service, Victim Support or other voluntary organisations. There is also scope to involve such other agencies or organisations in the steering group arrangements for youth offending teams (see below), again if this is considered helpful locally. In some cases, other forms of involvement may be appropriate, such as a partnership arrangement with a voluntary organisation to deliver a particular service, such as bail support, reparation or mediation work or specified activities under a supervision order.
14. The duties of youth offending teams will be to:
- co-ordinate the provision of youth justice services for those in the area who need them. (See paragraph 28, below). How these services are provided and funded locally will have to be set out in an annual youth justice plan; and15. Youth offending teams will also be able to undertake work to prevent children and young people offending in the first instance. Given their inter-agency membership, youth offending teams will be well placed, for example, to identify those children and young people known to the relevant agencies as being most at risk of offending and working with them and their families, on a voluntary basis, to encourage them towards more positive activities. They will also be able to provide advice and stimulus to other local agencies, including the youth service, on activities and programmes which can help to prevent youth offending.
- carry out the functions assigned to the team in the youth justice plan. This will be likely to involve the team in providing certain key youth justice services itself (eg carrying out assessment work following final warnings, providing reports and other information to the courts and acting as supervising officer for community sentences and after release from custody), and in drawing on individuals and projects outside the team to ensure that other youth justice services are properly delivered. Youth offending teams will also have an important role in helping to tackle delays in the youth justice system, and thereby deliver the Government’s pledge to halve the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders, from an average of 142 days to 71 days. This will involve, in particular, co-ordinating or providing effective support for young people on bail, and the timely provision of pre-sentence reports and other reports for the courts.
(iv) links to other initiatives
16. The work under sections 5 and 6 of the Crime and Disorder Act of the crime and disorder reduction partnerships, and the strategy, objectives and targets which they must have in place by April 1999, will provide the local framework for identifying and responding to problems of youth crime. Within this, the multi-agency youth offending teams will provide the local focus for tackling youth offending.
17. The youth justice reforms
and the development of youth offending teams are closely related to other
aspects of Government policy to tackle social exclusion and build safer
communities. These include:
(i) the crime reduction programme - £250 million over three years from April 1999 for evidence-based crime reduction initiatives. This will include work to prevent young people getting into crime;
(ii) seeing young people as part of the solution, not just as part of the problem. This includes the work of the youth service in providing positive activities for young people. It also includes the role of initiatives such as Youth Action Groups and Millennium Volunteers in promoting active citizenship and involvement in the community;
(iii) tackling truancy and school exclusion. The Government has set a target of reducing levels of truancy and school exclusion by one third by 2002, and is providing £500 million over three years from April 1999 to support local initiatives to achieve this target and to help schools deal more effectively with children with behavioural difficulties;
(iv) parenting and family support, on which the Government’s agenda includes: a national parenting helpline, to be developed by Parent Line to offer advice to parents and refer people to local sources of help; the National Family and Parenting Institute, to provide helpful guidance and develop more and better parenting support; a new enhanced role for health visitors, embracing the whole well-being of parents and children, as well as their physical health; Sure Start, a new programme for children under four and their families in areas of disadvantage to give children the best start in life; and support for families to help reduce more serious problems, such as teenage pregnancies, domestic violence and youth offending;
(v) drugs - the Government’s 10-year strategy for tackling drug misuse has a key focus on helping young people resist drug misuse. This will have to be reflected in the action plans of local Drug Action Teams. An extra £217 million is being made available over three years from April 1999 to deal with the problem of drug misuse, including the development of more effective drugs education and prevention programmes and treatment services for young people;
(vi) neighbourhood renewal - following a recent Social Exclusion Unit report, 18 Action Teams have been established to tackle the problems of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. One of these is focused on young people and youth disaffection; and
(vii) Welfare to Work
- which will provide jobs, full-time education or useful work experience
for 250,000 unemployed people under the age of 25. There are also Gateway
programmes for young offenders in custody or under probation service supervision.
18. Each local authority with education and social services responsibilities will be required to ensure that one or more youth offending teams is established to cover all of the area they serve. Under the oversight of local authority members it will fall to local authority chief executives (and equivalents in authorities with no chief executive) to ensure that this duty is fulfilled in accordance with the legislation. Given the large variations in size, and the relationship between the boundaries of local authorities and the other agencies involved in establishing youth offending teams, each area will need to decide how best to fulfil this duty in their particular local circumstances.
19. Two or more local authorities acting together will be able to establish together a youth offending team or teams and provide youth justice services for their areas. This joint approach should always be considered where the caseload of one or more of the authorities is insufficient to support a youth offending team or justify provision of the full range of youth justice services. In addition, all local authorities should consider whether co-operation across local authority areas may provide a more efficient service for the courts or enable other agencies - in particular, the police and the probation service - to make a more effective contribution to the youth offending team arrangements. The responsibility for establishing youth offending teams is shared between local authorities, the police, the probation service and health authorities and it is important that each can contribute effectively.
20. Where two or more local authorities are in the same youth court area, for example, there will be economies to be achieved by establishing a joint youth offending team: by avoiding duplication in providing services to the youth court and simplifying co-operation with the court. There will also be advantages in local authorities which fall within one police force area co-operating together in providing teams and services. Overseen by one chief officer-level steering group, this might involve local units within one overall youth offending team structure serving all the local authorities across the police force area. This might be particularly helpful to the police, and also to the probation service, in enabling them to contribute effectively to the youth offending team arrangements across their service area. It will be important that local authorities consider this aspect carefully; the Youth Justice Board will be able to ask them to account for their decisions about the geographical scope of the youth offending team arrangements in their area. Paragraph 39, below, describes how such inter-authority co-operation might be taken forward.
21. Where multi-agency teams provide youth justice services at present, they tend to serve a population of between 200,000 and 300,000. This may provide a guide as to the size of area over which the new youth offending teams might most appropriately operate. But this will be a matter for local decision and will need to take account of relevant local circumstances, such as where a densely populated urban area or a large rural area is to be served, or the relationship of local authority boundaries to court, police and probation service areas.
22. To establish the approach most likely to be best suited to local circumstances the local authority chief executive (or other lead official) should consult colleagues in the police, probation service and health authority, as well as education and social services, and may wish to speak to colleagues in neighbouring authorities, before reaching a provisional view on the appropriate boundaries for a youth offending team(s). Chief executives may wish to use existing arrangements for consulting other agencies - for example, chief executives in metropolitan and county areas with overarching arrangements for discussing youth justice issues should consider using those to discuss the preferred structure for youth offending teams across the area.
23. The most appropriate geographical boundaries for a youth offending team(s) in the area will ultimately be a matter for decision by local authority members, in consultation with the chief officer of police, police authority, probation committee and health authority. As noted above, however, the Youth Justice Board will be able to ask local areas to explain the basis of their decisions.
(vi) "start-up" meeting
24. It will be helpful for the local authority chief executive to call a broadly-based "start-up" meeting to discuss the youth offending team arrangements for the area and the formation, if an appropriate local structure does not already exist, of a steering group to plan and oversee the work of the team(s). Many of those who attend this initial meeting may not need to join the steering group - there may be more efficient means of liaison - but it will be helpful to include all those with an interest in local youth justice arrangements in early discussions of how the youth offending team is to be established and operate. The youth offending team structure will be the main focus for the delivery of youth justice services. It is important that all those locally with a role or interest in this understand the new arrangements and have the opportunity to consider how best to work within them.
25. In addition to officers from social services, education, the police, probation service and health authority (and relevant health trust representatives), invitees should normally include:
(i) other local authority services: such as youth services, housing and leisure services. In areas with two tiers of local government it will be important to consider how to involve district councils which provide housing and leisure services, and which will, together with the county council, the police and other agencies, be responsible for drawing up a crime and disorder reduction strategy for their area. In areas where firesetting by children and young people is a particular problem, some involvement by the local Fire Brigade may be desirable;26. Senior representatives of many of the relevant agencies will already be involved in the Drug Action Team covering the area, which may be a useful starting point for discussions about youth offending teams. There will, in any case, need to be a clear understanding locally about the relationship between the work of youth offending teams and the work, overseen by Drug Action Teams, to deliver the new strategy, Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain.
(ii) voluntary organisations working with children or young people who are offenders, or at risk of offending; Victim Support; and organisations involved in mediation or parenting;
(iii) youth court magistrates, justices’ clerks and/or justices’ chief executives: close liaison between youth courts and youth offending teams will be essential to promote efficient working arrangements, and to maintain the confidence of the courts in the services delivered by the youth offending teams. Areas will need to consider the best way of achieving this;
(iv) Crown Prosecution Service: good liaison between the CPS and youth offending teams will also be important, particularly in relation to the provision of information to youth offending teams for the preparation of pre-sentence reports and other reports for the courts;
(v) Prison Service or other local custody provider. It will be essential that there is close liaison between youth offending teams and custodial staff over sentence planning, through-care, risk assessment and post-release supervision;
(vi) Careers Services: the contribution which Careers Services can make in helping to turn disaffected young people away from crime should be taken account of in establishing the youth offending team arrangements; and
(vii) the officer in charge of any local attendance centre(s) for young offenders, the work of which needs to be linked closely to that of the youth offending teams.
27. The "start-up" meeting might also involve local authority members and members of the police authority, probation committee and health authority. Alternatively, a report might be made from the meeting to those authorities on the proposed way forward on the youth offending team arrangements.
(vii) services to be co-ordinated or provided by youth offending teams
28. Youth offending teams
will be required to co-ordinate the provision locally of a basic infrastructure
of youth justice services, set out in section 38(4). The youth offending
team may provide these services directly or may co-ordinate their provision
by others, including the local authorities and other relevant agencies
themselves, and the voluntary sector. The services required to be available
i. appropriate adult services under PACE and the Crime and Disorder Act final warning scheme provisions;These services will have to be delivered in accordance with national standards issued by the Government, on the advice of the Youth Justice Board.
ii. assessment and intervention work in support of final warnings given by the police to children and young people who admit offending (analogous to what are currently known as "caution plus" programmes). Assessment of young offenders under the final warning scheme, as well as at other stages of the youth justice process (eg in preparing reports for the courts and planning supervision under community sentences and in work during and following custodial sentences), will be a key element in the work of youth offending teams. Taking account of work on assessment tools currently in progress in the probation service and Prison Service, the Youth Justice Board will be considering what framework for assessment might be developed for youth offending teams.
iii. bail support and supervision services;
iv. placement of children and young people on remand from the court in open or secure accommodation, remand fostering, approved lodgings, etc. This work might be undertaken by the youth offending team or, co-ordinated by the team, by the social services department, together with placement work in welfare cases;
v. provision of pre-sentence reports or other reports or information required by courts in criminal proceedings against children and young people. Effective court duty and close liaison with the courts over the work of the youth offending team and the local delivery of youth justice services will be particularly important;
provision of persons to act as responsible officers for child safety orders and parenting orders. Much of the work under these orders might be done by the social services department, which may have some knowledge of or other current involvement with the child or family concerned. But education staff working within youth offending teams and probation officers may also have a role, in particular, as responsible officers under a parenting order;
vii. supervision of children and young people sentenced to an action plan order, reparation order, supervision order, probation order, community service order or combination order. This may include drawing on programmes and activities provided outside the youth offending team, eg by the social services department, probation service or voluntary sector.
There will also need to be a clear understanding of how arrangements for the supervision of these orders fit with those for the curfew order and drug treatment and testing order made against offenders aged under 18. Whilst the supervision of those two orders is not required to be co-ordinated by the youth offending team, team members will need to be familiar with arrangements for them (including for the purpose of preparing pre-sentence reports) and it may be appropriate in some circumstances for the probation officer supervising a drug treatment and testing order to be a probation officer member of a youth offending team (eg where the young person is subject to supervision by the team under another community sentence); and
viii. through-care and post-release supervision for young people sentenced to a detention and training order, or other custodial sentence. This should be taken forward jointly by youth offending teams and the relevant custodial facility from the commencement to the completion of the sentence. A member of the youth offending team should be nominated to work closely with staff at the relevant custodial facility and should be involved with them in sentence planning, through-care and pre-release assessment, as well as then acting as the responsible officer for the period of the young person's supervision in the community. This will require effective information-sharing between youth offending teams and custodial facilities.
29. Youth offending teams will need, in particular, to deliver a consistent and coherent approach to work with young people convicted of violent or sexual offences - from assessment and reports for the courts, to arrangements, as appropriate, for throughcare and supervision in the community. This should take account of the findings of the report by HM Inspectorate of Probation on the role of the probation service in protecting the public from sex offenders, which was published in April 1998. It may involve the development, where these are not already in place, of multi-agency strategies and protocols for managing potentially dangerous offenders.
30. Local areas may decide there are other services that prevent or address offending by young people which can sensibly be delivered, or co-ordinated, through youth offending teams. In particular, there should be those links between the youth offending team and any attendance centre in the area dealing with young people under 18 - the officer in charge of the centre (often a local police officer) might, if not a youth offending team member, be an associate member of the team, that is closely involved with it, though not formally a team member. How this is best taken forward will be a matter for local judgement.
31. Local areas will also need to determine how best to manage the relationship between the work of youth offending teams with offenders under the age of 18 and the work of the probation service with young adult offenders. The expectation is that most community supervision of offenders under the age of 18 at the time the order was made or the offender was released from custody will be undertaken by youth offending teams, and that most juvenile offenders who start an order or post-release licence under youth offending team supervision will complete it under the youth offending team if they turn 18 in the meantime. This continuity will be very important and may help the probation service to manage its involvement in youth offending teams alongside its work with young adult offenders. But where, for example, an offender has previously been supervised by the youth offending team or where a reasonably mature 17 year old receives a two or three-year probation order, it may be more appropriate for them to be placed under probation service supervision outside the youth offending team. Likewise, there may be circumstances, eg where the offender is not making progress with the youth offending team, in which it may be appropriate for them to be transferred to the supervision of the probation service. A local protocol between the youth offending team and the probation service on the transfer of cases may be helpful.
32. It will also be a matter for local decision how far youth offending teams are involved in work to prevent offending by children and young people who have not yet committed offences. While their core business will be work with known offenders, the Crime and Disorder Act enables youth offending teams to undertake work to prevent youth offending and for this to be included in the youth justice plan, thereby helping the local authority to discharge its duty under paragraph 7(b) of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 to encourage children and young people not to commit offences. As noted in paragraph 15, above, by the nature of their membership and other functions, youth offending teams will be well placed to provide advice and stimulus to social services departments, youth services and others, including Youth Action Groups, in respect of youth crime prevention and to play a direct role in identifying, and working with, those children and young people known to the local agencies to be most at risk of offending.
33. The role of youth offending teams in co-ordinating the provision of responsible officers under the child safety order (many of which cases may be dealt with by the local authority social services department) will be relevant here. Links will also need to be made between work to prevent youth offending undertaken by youth offending teams and the work of district and unitary authorities and the police in relation to:
(viii) steering group
34. The outcome of the "start-up" meeting should, if an appropriate inter-agency structure does not already exist, be the formation of a steering group for the youth offending team(s) for the area, comprising the local authority chief executive and the chief officers for social services, education, police, probation and health, plus any others (eg justices’ clerk and/or justices’ chief executive) invited onto the steering group. Arrangements for reporting from this group to local authority members, the police authority, the probation committee and the health authority will need to be agreed. This could include the formation of an inter-authority members’ group, chaired by a local authority member, to oversee the work of the chief officers’ steering group.
35. The appropriate level of representation of each agency on the steering group will be a matter for local decision. Particularly where a youth offending team covers only part of the area served by a police force, probation service and/or health authority, the chief officers concerned may wish to ask their senior officer responsible for that area to represent them on the steering group. Where the chief officer is not personally a member of the steering group, it will be essential that those asked to serve on the steering group have the authority and skills to negotiate with the other services on matters concerning the youth offending team (including resource allocation) without having to refer back continually to their chief officer, though they will need to account properly to their own agency for their decisions.
36. The relationship between the steering group for the youth offending team and other inter-agency structures should also be considered. Relevant bodies include:
38. Figure one on page 13 illustrates how the relationship might work in relation to some of these inter-agency structures. There may already exist, or it may be possible to establish, an inter-agency group which can, for example, oversee the arrangements for youth offending teams and youth justice services and co-ordinate these with the work of Drug Action Teams and the crime and disorder reduction partnerships. Alternatively, where there are separate inter-agency bodies for different purposes within broadly the same geographical area, it may be possible for meetings to be organised so that a basic membership remains at the table while others join and leave as each form of inter-agency work is addressed in turn.
39. In county areas, it may
be possible for one steering group to oversee the youth offending team
arrangements across the county (and perhaps therefore the same police force
and probation service area); co-ordinate these with the work of Drug Action
Teams and other groups; and play a role in co-ordinating the input of county-wide
agencies, including police, probation and county council departments, such
as social services and education, to the district-based crime and disorder
reduction partnerships. Such a steering group could also operate across
a police force or probation service area containing a number of metropolitan
unitary authorities. In considering such county or force-wide co-ordination,
local areas must be sure that it will add something of specific and discernible
value to the work. Also, there can be no question of any county or force-wide
co-ordination having primacy over the district-based crime and disorder
reduction strategies. It is the latter which the legislation requires
and on their effectiveness at district level that all partners’
contributions will be judged.
40. Subject to the oversight and approval of the local authority, policy authority, probation committee and health authority, the steering group should:
42. The chief officers’ steering group will need to consider whether to establish a separate middle management-level group for the youth offending team(s), to which the manager or leader of the team would report directly and which would help resolve any day-to-day difficulties arising in the course of the team's work and monitor its activities. This is more likely to be appropriate for youth offending teams serving relatively large populations, where the local authority chief executive and other chief officers may not be able to exercise effective managerial oversight. In other areas the duplication of meetings may be considered wasteful. Either way there should be clear procedures for the youth offending team manager to follow, with clear access as appropriate to the local authority chief executive, if differences between agencies are impeding the work of the youth offending team which cannot be resolved by the manager.
(ix) appointment of a youth offending team manager
43. The steering group will need to decide how to appoint or designate a manager for the youth offending team. The youth offending team manager is a key appointment – he or she will play an important leadership and resource management role and will need to be able to address strategic issues and forge an effective multi-agency team at operational level.
44. The manager may be drawn (either on secondment or on appointment as a local authority officer) from one of the relevant statutory agencies, the voluntary sector or elsewhere and will be accountable ultimately to the local authority and the other agencies through the chief officers’ steering group. It may be appropriate for the manager to be supervised on a day-to-day basis by a senior officer of one of the relevant agencies (such as the Director or an Assistant Director of Social Services or an Assistant Chief Probation or Assistant Chief Police Officer) and/or by a middle management-level group (see above). But youth offending team managers should not be "buried" within the management structure of any of the partner agencies; it is essential that they are able to engage, as appropriate, at a senior and strategic level with all the relevant local agencies, including by reporting directly to meetings of the chief officers’ steering group.
45. Appointing the youth offending team manager should involve advertising the post externally and establishing a formal selection panel. In some areas with experience of effective multi-agency working there may be agreement between the local agencies that a manager currently within one of the agencies is best qualified to take on the role. However, it is crucial that the appointment should be made strictly on the basis of merit, with a clear person specification against which to judge the suitability of candidates. A candidate should not be appointed simply because he or she works for a particular agency.
46. The type and seniority of person appointed will depend, in part, on whether they are to lead directly a single youth offending team within a local authority area, or be the line manager or overall service manager for several teams established over a wider area and deal with planning and strategic issues across that area.
47. A possible job description and person specification for youth offending team managers is at Annex D. The Youth Justice Board may wish, in due course, to recommend some common elements to the job description, person specification and selection process. This will help to ensure some consistency across the country in what is a key appointment. The Board will also draw up a management development programme for youth offending team managers.
48. The key requirement is that the youth offending team manager should be able to motivate and manage a group of people with different professional backgrounds to provide services to the court and to undertake demanding and challenging work with young offenders. The manager will need to be able to forge an effective inter-agency team. Co-location of all team members will be helpful - but may take time to achieve.
(x) formulating a youth justice plan
49. Section 40 of the Crime and Disorder Act requires the local authority, after consultation with the chief officer of police, police authority, probation committee and health authority - and where there are two tiers of local authority, the district councils - to formulate and implement for each year a youth justice plan setting out:
50. The preparation of the youth justice plan should be led by the youth offending team manager and overseen by the chief officers’ steering group, and then submitted in draft to the local authority, police authority, probation committee and health authority for consideration and approval - either separately or through an inter-authority members’ group. They should discuss any alteration of their agency's contribution under the plan with their chief executive or chief officer.
51. Youth justice plans will need to be consistent with, and complementary to, other plans and strategies drawn up by the local agencies, including:
53. The youth justice plan will have to be published. It will also have to be submitted each year to the Youth Justice Board, which will be able to hold local agencies to account for their contribution and performance. Further guidance on the structure and content of youth justice plans will be developed with the Youth Justice Board, in the light of the plans prepared in the youth justice pilot areas.
54. Experience of establishing Drug Action Teams suggests a sound basis for formulating an initial plan would be for the steering group to commission a local audit of:
(a) local youth justice services currently in place. The audit should identify existing local resources and services for young people accused or convicted of offending or who admit offending. These may include an appropriate adult service; bail information and support; arrangements for accommodating children and young people accused of offending; placements in, and purchases of, secure accommodation; providing reports and other information to the youth court and Crown Court; supervision of community sentences (including projects for particular types of young offender, eg arsonists, motor thieves and sex offenders); and arrangements for through-care and post-release supervision. They may also include fast tracking arrangements for dealing with young offenders.55. The initial plan could also draw on:
(b) evidence of local need. The audit could identify the number of young people:
- arrested for a second offence who admit guilt - to underpin minimum estimates of the numbers of young people who may receive a final warning with intervention;
- charged or summonsed by the police;
- requiring an appropriate adult service;
- the time from arrest to sentence, to underpin estimates of what action is needed to help meet the target of 71 days for persistent young offenders and any other performance targets;
- transferred by the police to local authority accommodation where they are not granted police bail;
- remanded by the court to local authority accommodation, and bailed on condition they reside as directed by the local authority;
- against whom an anti-social behaviour order is made;
- given a conditional discharge - to underpin estimates of the numbers who may become eligible for a reparation order;
- given a supervision order, probation order, community service order or combination order;
- remanded to custody;
- sentenced to custody; and
- in local authority care.
57. Local areas will also be able to draw on local audits of youth justice services undertaken by district auditors in 1997. Nonetheless the local audits described above, whether conducted as part of or complementary to the review of crime and disorder problems undertaken in formulating the crime and disorder reduction strategy, or the comprehensive review of drug-related spending undertaken for the Drug Action Team action plan under the new national drugs strategy, may be a substantial task. But they should help improve the value for money obtained from existing resources. Local areas should consider initiating and completing such audits before establishing youth offending teams and agreeing their youth justice plan and budgets.
58. Local agencies should also consider setting performance targets for youth offending teams. In the short term, these should focus on known offenders and the delivery of youth justice services, but thought should also be given to how to reduce the number of young people who offend. Initial targets should include reducing reoffending and halving the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders. Longer term targets might include having fewer young people per 1,000 offending and fewer serious offenders. The Youth Justice Board is likely to consider the issue of performance targets as part of its responsibility for monitoring the operation of the youth justice system.
59. In determining how youth offending teams and the range of youth justice services are to be provided, the local authority and the other relevant local agencies will have to determine the level and sources of funding, and how those funds are to be budgeted and accounted for. The chief officers’ steering group will have a key role in this, through their oversight of the youth justice planning process and taking account of the local youth justice audit (see paragraph 54, above).
60. The primary responsibility for establishing youth offending teams and ensuring the availability of the required youth justice services rests with the local authority and is a corporate responsibility, not something which stems solely from its social services and education responsibilities. But those agencies which are under a duty to co-operate with the local authority in this - the police, probation service and health authority - will need to be able to demonstrate - both locally and to the Youth Justice Board - that the resource commitment which they are making to work with young offenders adequately discharges that duty. In considering the youth justice plans submitted to it, the Youth Justice Board will need to reach a broad view about what this entails. The experience of the youth justice pilots will help to clarify what should be expected of each agency.
61. The resource commitment made by the local authority, the police, the probation service and the health authority to the provision of youth offending teams and youth justice services may take several forms and will need to be considered as a whole and set out in the youth justice plan. It may include:
(a) combined budgeting
63. Under combined budgeting, the youth justice plan will set out the staff and other resources to be made available by each of the local agencies. They will continue to spend their own funds on employing these staff and purchasing or providing the services to fulfil their contribution to the plan. Each agency will account for its funds in the usual way and the spending will be audited by the auditor appointed by the Audit Commission to audit each of the local services.
64. This approach is already used under existing inter-agency working in some areas - it is straightforward to operate but it lacks some flexibility. In addition, if an agency finds itself unable to fulfil its part of the youth justice plan, or finds that other priorities require it to divert resources to other functions, it may not be possible to operate the youth offending team and relevant youth justice services for reasons outside the control of the youth offending team manager. Nor will the audit of each service check whether the plan as a whole has been fulfilled, unless special arrangements are made. So where this approach is adopted, it may be more difficult for local agencies to provide the Youth Justice Board with evidence that the youth justice plan set out at the start of the year has been implemented.
(b) pooled budgeting
65. The Act also allows local authorities with social services and education responsibilities - together with the police, probation committees and health authorities - to make payments towards expenditure incurred in the provision of youth justice services, and by, or for purposes connected with youth offending teams, by contributing to a fund, established and maintained by the local authority, out of which the payments may be made. The Act also allows scope, where one or more local authorities are collaborating in the provision of youth justice services and/or youth offending teams, for the fund to be held by one of them.
66. This common fund or pooled budget will be able to be used for the provision of youth justice services, as defined in section 38(4), by a statutory agency or a voluntary or private sector body. The fund will be able to be used to pay for activities and intervention work directly concerned with the provision of one of those services. For example, where drug misuse is a factor in a young person's offending behaviour, the fund could be used to pay for their referral, as part of a rehabilitation programme following a final warning or of an action plan order, to a drug counselling project run by a voluntary organisation.
67. The fund will also be able to be used to pay for salary and other costs, such as accommodation and administrative overheads, connected with the operation of youth offending teams. Most of the members of a youth offending team are likely to be provided on secondment by the relevant local agencies and this will be paid for by the employing agency as part of that agency's contribution to the provision of the team. But the fund will allow for some flexibility over the way in which members of the team can be funded. For example, where a drug worker from a voluntary organisation becomes a member of a youth offending team, the fund will be able to be used to reimburse the relevant organisation for this.
68. Accountability for the fund will rest with the local authority, which will need to establish appropriate management arrangements. This might involve delegating day-to-day authority over the fund to the manager of the youth offending team, who would be responsible for the fund and would report to the local authority through the chief officers’ steering group. The fund would be audited within the local authority's accounts by a local auditor appointed by the Audit Commission.
69. There will not be a requirement that a common fund is established or that, where one is, apart from the local authority, all the relevant local agencies must participate. This will be a matter for them to determine, according to what they consider most helpful and appropriate in local circumstances. Where the local authority and other local agencies consider that setting up a common fund would help to strengthen inter-agency working in providing youth justice services and youth offending teams, the Act allows flexibility for them to do so. The size and timing of transfers to the common fund will need to be agreed before the start of the year.
70. Further guidance on the operation of a common fund will be provided in the light of any early experience from the youth justice pilot areas.
71. The advantages of this approach are that the agencies make an "up front" commitment of resources and the youth offending team manager then has some flexibility to deliver the relevant services and the work of the team in the way he or she considers most appropriate. This is particularly valuable as needs and circumstances change. In addition, in dealing with individual cases the youth offending team would be able itself to purchase some intervention and treatment work directly concerned with delivering a particular youth justice service, rather than being reliant on negotiation with providers for access to services. But it may remain the case that the best means for a youth offending team to obtain access to relevant services required in working with young offenders to prevent reoffending by them will be through local discussion and agreement, eg about referral arrangements, rather than by a fund being used to make payments towards expenditure incurred in the provision of such services.
72. The Youth Justice Board will be able to use the audited accounts of the common fund as one source of evidence that the youth justice plan set out at the start of the year has been implemented.
(xii) public launch
73. Youth offending teams provide an important new focus locally for delivering youth justice services and tackling youth crime. It is important that all local groups working with young people, and the wider community, are aware of the team and understand its role in tackling youth crime and delivering the statutory aim of the youth justice system of preventing offending by children and young people. A public launch of the youth offending team and of the local youth justice plan, which is required to be published, may be a helpful and constructive way of securing support for the youth offending team in its work and commitment to and understanding of its aims and objectives.
74. A launch event, and publicity material associated with it, can help explain that the youth offending team has been established to bring a multi-agency approach to bear in reducing youth crime and that its primary aim is to prevent offending by children and young people. A public launch can help strengthen local confidence in the way in which the relevant agencies are addressing local problems of youth offending, and can help explain how this is part of the wider work of crime and disorder reduction partnerships. Annex G suggests some key messages for communicating at launch events, and through associated publicity material, that flow from the legislative framework in the Crime and Disorder Act.
Managing a youth offending team
(xiii) role of the manager
75. The youth offending team manager will manage the staff and other resources available to the youth offending team. In practice, most staff are likely to come on secondment from the participating agencies, perhaps for two or three years at a time, or for longer periods in the case of specialist youth justice workers, and will continue to be paid according to the terms and conditions of their employing agency, and remain subject to the complaints and disciplinary procedures of that agency. Clearly, the different services enjoy different terms and conditions and managing this aspect of the youth offending teams so that it does not impede effective multi-agency working within the teams will be a key task for the team manager.
76. The youth offending team manager will need to be able to allocate work equitably to members of the team, to provide flexibility and ensure joint working. While the skills that different professionals bring to the team are likely to reflect their occupational background, rigid boundaries within the team would be inefficient and limit the benefits of joint working. It will be desirable to promote flexibility in the work done by individual members of the team.
77. The youth offending team manager should have a say in which staff from the relevant agencies serve in the team. In the case of social workers and probation officers, for example, they will need to be individuals equipped to undertake challenging work with young offenders, as well as being able to address their wider development needs. The first priority with the staff nominated by the chief education officer and the health authority is that they should be able to help the youth offending team access relevant available education and health services; beyond that, it will be possible to include particular professional skills in the team, eg a teacher, educational psychologist, community psychiatric nurse or drug worker, where this is considered appropriate locally. In all cases, advertising of posts in the team should be considered.
78. If secondees from the participating services are not considered appropriate by the youth offending team manager, he or she will need to pursue this with the steering group. If a common fund is in place, it may be possible for the youth offending team manager to make alternative arrangements themselves.
79. Close liaison with the courts on the work of the youth offending team and the local delivery of youth justice services will also be an important feature of the role of the youth offending team manager.
(xiv) roles of staff from different agencies
80. The Crime and Disorder Act does not prescribe roles for particular members of youth offending teams. Through amendments which Schedule 8 to the Act makes to existing legislation, it allows, in principle, any team member to undertake any function which might be assigned to the team, including the preparation of reports for the courts and the supervision of offenders under court orders and following release from custody. All members of youth offending teams should expect to work flexibly, with work allocated to them in the light of their personal skills and experience, not solely because of their professional background.
81. However, it will not be possible or appropriate for some youth offending team members to perform certain roles, eg police officers acting as appropriate adults. In addition, the presumption should be that certain key functions, such as writing pre-sentence reports and supervising community sentences and post-release licences, will continue to be undertaken by social workers and probation officers working in youth offending teams. All services will need to be delivered in accordance with national standards issued by the Government, on advice from the Youth Justice Board.
82. Youth offending team managers should look for a variety of skills that, together, will ensure the team can deliver the services required of it. But youth offending team managers will need to give the relevant agencies some idea of the sort of work staff seconded to the team are likely to undertake. The following job outlines, which should not be interpreted rigidly, are offered as the basis for the sort of job description, based on their likely previous experience, which might be used in initially recruiting staff to the team. They will need to be amended to reflect local circumstances.
83. Social workers and probation officers should expect, either directly or with the help of others, to:
a) assess and manage risk of reoffending, including of violent and sex offenders;84. Police officers may expect to:
b) make assessments and deliver interventions following a final warning;
c) provide bail information and support services;
d) prepare pre-sentence reports and other court reports;
e) supervise community sentences, reparation orders and, where appropriate, child safety orders and parenting orders; and
f) provide through-care for young people serving detention and training orders, and other custodial sentences, and post-release supervision.
a) highlight to young offenders the effect of offending on victims and the impact having a criminal record has on people;85. Education staff should expect to:
b) organise reparation work with young offenders and their victims, including in support of a final warning or a reparation order;
c) oversee curfew elements of bail conditions and court orders (other than curfew order enforced by electronic monitoring) and other restrictions, eg non-association with named individuals;
d) liaise with colleagues running attendance centres for young people; and
e) link the work of youth offending teams to wider crime reduction initiatives.
a) help get young people accused of offending, and those known to offend, of school age but not at school back into school or make other arrangements to meet their literacy, numeracy or other educational or training needs. Many local education authorities already have staff performing this function for young people out of school and it may be appropriate for one or more of these staff to operate as a member(s) of the youth offending team, to assist the team to access relevant local services and other provision;86. Health staff should expect to:
b) advise on education issues within the work of youth offending teams and liaise with schools and with other education colleagues, including concerning the provision of information for court reports; and
c) help put young people dealt with by youth offending teams in touch with those able locally to provide careers advice or help with finding employment.
a) help ensure that both the physical and mental health needs of young offenders which may be relevant to preventing further offending are identified and are addressed through appropriate services;The health staff nominated by health authorities could be a member(s) of staff of a health authority, a trust or a primary care group. Health staff with experience of working in one or other relevant areas of health care and with skills and contacts to make appropriate referrals may be particularly helpful as members of youth offending teams. Health Service Circular 1998/177 provides further guidance for the chief executives of health authorities and trusts on the implications for the NHS of the establishment of youth offending teams.
b) liaise with any health professionals who are currently providing health care services to the young offender, such as those in primary care settings, including concerning the provision of information for court reports; and
c) provide advice on "healthy lifestyles", sexual health or drug and alcohol issues as part of work under offending behaviour programmes.
87. Ensuring young offenders with drug and alcohol problems receive appropriate services, and liaising between the youth offending team and those involved in work aimed at young people engaged in or at risk of drug misuse carried out under the auspices of Drug Action Teams, will be particularly important and may involve other members of the youth offending team beyond health staff. The local Drug Action Team will be a key source of information on how to take this forward.
88. Individuals from other agencies or organisations, such as local authority youth services, the Prison Service or a voluntary organisation, may be recruited as full members of the youth offending team if this is considered appropriate locally. Alternatively, the youth offending team may draw on outside agencies and organisations (including the agencies of team members) to provide particular services. This may include a partnership arrangement with a voluntary organisation or private sector body to provide particular services, eg appropriate adults, bail support, reparation or mediation work or specified activities programmes. Close links will be needed with housing department officials and/or voluntary sector projects to help young people who have to leave the parental home to find accommodation.
(xv) standards for youth justice services and youth offending teams
89. The basic infrastructure of youth justice services which will have to be provided or co-ordinated by youth offending teams is set out in paragraph 28, above.
90. In delivering these services, youth offending team members, along with others working in the youth justice system, will be required to have regard to the new principal aim of the youth justice system - to prevent offending by children and young people.
91. In addition, the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales will be providing advice to the Home Secretary on the drawing up of national standards for the provision of youth justices. Those standards will build on the existing National Standards for the Supervision of Offenders in the Community and will be informed by the Board's monitoring of the operation of the youth justice system and the work of the youth offending teams and by inspections (see below).
92. For the moment, local agencies considering how to deliver youth justice services may wish to take account of the following points and to be aware of the guidance referred to in the next section:
It is envisaged that this will normally involve the youth offending team in ensuring that arrangements for providing appropriate adults are in place rather than in directly providing team members to act in that capacity. This means that an appropriate adult who is not a parent or guardian will generally continue to be a social worker from the local authority social services department (including for children and young people in local authority care); another family member of the child or young person; another adult known to them, such as a teacher; or a volunteer drawn from a local panel of suitable, trained persons prepared to act as appropriate adults. The arrangements made to discharge the youth offending team's responsibility should, if possible, encompass those for the provision of appropriate adults in other circumstances, that is for vulnerable adults.
Under the 1984 Act, police
officers are not able to act as appropriate adults. It would not be appropriate
in certain circumstances for another member of a youth offending team to
act as an appropriate adult. For example, it would not be appropriate for
a member of a youth offending team to act as appropriate adult in a case
and then, following an admission of guilt or a conviction, deal with the
child or young person in another capacity - for example, by undertaking
assessment or intervention work in connection with a final warning or by
preparing a pre-sentence report. But the possibility of a member of a youth
offending team who is not a police officer - perhaps a social worker member
of the team - acting as an appropriate adult is not excluded, provided
that they are wholly independent of the relevant police investigation and
play no subsequent role in the case with the child or young person concerned.
Such involvement by a member of a youth offending team would be preferable,
for example, to unduly prolonging the period the child or young person
was required to spend in custody whilst another appropriate adult was obtained.
93. National Standards for the Supervision of Offenders in the Community were published in 1995 by the Home Office, Department of Health and Welsh Office; the Government expects to review these and issue new national standards in respect of adult offenders in 1999. The Youth Justice Board will build on these existing standards, and on the experience of the pilot projects, in providing advice on new national standards for the provision of youth justice services, which are likely to be drawn up during 1999-2000. Other sources of guidance on services to be provided by youth offending teams include:
94. If youth offending teams are to operate effectively, all team members will need to obtain and share with each other information about particular children and young people and their families held by the relevant agencies and elsewhere which is relevant to preventing offending by those children and young people and to addressing their wider development needs. This information might include:
95. Before public or statutory bodies can disclose information, they must first establish whether they have the power to do so. Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act provides power where none currently exists for the disclosure by any person of information to relevant authorities or persons acting on their behalf which is necessary or expedient for the purposes of any provision of the Act. Those authorities or persons will also have the power to use for those purposes the information disclosed to them.
96. The authorities or persons to whom disclosure may be made by virtue of section 115 are:
97. Section 115 will therefore enable agencies and individuals to disclose information to youth offending teams where that disclosure is necessary or expedient for the purposes of enabling the teams to discharge their duty under section 39(7) of co-ordinating the provision of the youth justice services in section 38(4) for those in the area who need them and carrying out the functions assigned to the teams in the youth justice plan under section 40. These may include direct delivery of youth justice services and, under section 40(3), work to prevent offending by children and young people, both of which may involve addressing wider development needs, such as truancy and exclusion and relevant health problems.
98. How this power is exercised will have to be determined in each case by the holder of the information. It provides a basic statutory authority for disclosure, not an unconditional power to breach any statutory or other legal obligation not to disclose. Information holders will not be under a duty to disclose, nor will potential recipients have any power to demand disclosure. Disclosure will also need to comply with the data protection principles of fairness, compatibility, relevance, accuracy and so forth unless and to the extent that any Data Protection Act exemptions apply.
99. It is envisaged that protocols between holders of information (eg the relevant statutory agencies, schools, health professionals) and youth offending teams as to the operation of the power will help provide a framework for decisions about sharing information. Such protocols might set out the information which is to be disclosed, in what circumstances, to whom and how it is to be used, and they can be agreed with the Data Protection Registrar.
100. Some general guidance on information-sharing under the Crime and Disorder Act and the use of protocols is at Annex H. Further guidance will be prepared in the light of the experience of the youth justice pilots.
(xviii) ethnic monitoring
101. Those working in the youth justice system, including youth offending teams, should put in place arrangements to monitor the operation of that system as it affects different ethnic groups. The purpose of such monitoring should be to retain the confidence of all ethnic groups in society by showing whether or not members of different groups are being dealt with equitably, with any differences of treatment either explained or addressed. Account should also be taken of information published by the Secretary of State under section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, for the purpose of facilitating the performance by persons engaged in the administration of criminal justice of their duty to avoid discriminating against any persons on the ground of race or sex or any other improper ground.
102. Local authorities may wish to consider consulting groups representing ethnic minority communities to help ensure that the arrangements for youth offending teams and youth justice services in their area deal fairly and properly with all sections of the community.
103. Training needs for youth offending teams include:
104. Current work to develop occupational standards for probation officers, as a basis for NVQ awards and a Diploma in Probation Studies, will take account of the likely role of probation officers within youth offending teams. Elements of those standards and awards may also have application to the work of other youth offending team members with young offenders. The youth justice pathway through the Diploma on Social Work may also be relevant.
Links with the Youth Justice Board
105. It will be for the Youth Justice Board to decide how to fulfil its responsibilities within the framework set for it by the Secretary of State. But:
a) local authorities will be required to submit their annual youth justice plan to the Youth Justice Board and publish it;106. Local agencies will need to monitor the effectiveness of their youth offending teams. Teams will need to maintain adequate case records (including records of breaches and reoffending). Youth offending teams will need to provide information requested by the Board for monitoring purposes. The Board will be giving early consideration to the information it wishes local areas to collect and to the information needs of youth offending teams.
b) the Board may review the plans to ensure they comply with legislation and guidance and seek evidence that the plans are fulfilled;
c) the Board will collect and publish monitoring information on the work of youth offending teams and the provision of youth justice services against national standards;
d) the Board will identify, promote and make grants for the development of good practice in the operation of the youth justice system and the provision of youth justice services; the prevention of offending by children and young people; and working with children and young people who are or are at risk of becoming offenders. The Board is to be responsible for administering a development fund of £85 million over three years from April 1999 to support this work;
e) the Board will be able to hold local agencies to account for their contribution to the provision of youth offending teams and youth justice services. This may involve calling for a report, which may be published, from the local authority or any of the other local agencies on the action taken by them to discharge their new statutory duties; and
f) the Board may wish to initiate or set standards for training for youth offending team managers and promote training for other team members.
107. Other in the youth justice audit, or otherwise, thought will therefore need to be given to the adequacy of existing information systems and the IT requirements of youth offending teams. In particular, areas will need to consider how to monitor the effectiveness of different pre-court and court disposals with young offenders in preventing reoffending. The Youth Justice Board will work up a specification for information systems for youth offending teams. This will address the desirability of facilitating the transfer of information between the teams and social services, education, the probation service, police and others.
108. Under its monitoring and advisory functions, the Youth Justice Board will be able to arrange for the inspection of youth offending teams and the provision of youth justice services in a local authority area or areas (ie where there are joint arrangements between authorities). Inspection work - which may involve checks on aspects of national standards, formal visits to areas, full inspections and thematic work - will be undertaken by staff seconded or loaned to the Board (from the relevant Inspectorates and agencies) or employed by it.
109. Rather than operating on the basis of a national rolling programme of inspections (eg covering every local authority area once every five years), the Board will adopt a more targeted approach. It will use the monitoring information (eg on performance against national standards) and annual youth justice plans received from local areas, and published information available from local audits including under Best Value, to identify those areas where arrangements are thought to need further inspection.
110. There will continue to be scope for the relevant Inspectorates to look at a particular agency's contribution to youth justice work in an area as part of an overall quality and effectiveness inspection of that agency.
111. The Youth Justice Board will be able to act if it feels that the arrangements for youth offending teams and youth justice services in a particular area are inadequate or the youth justice plan is not being fulfilled. Initial enquiries could be informal or formal and include correspondence; the Board could call for a report from the relevant local agencies (see above). If necessary, the Board could arrange for an inspection to be undertaken and the resulting report published. The Board may wish to consider whether to validate youth justice plans. The Board will prepare an annual report to the Home Secretary on the discharge of its statutory functions, which will be laid before Parliament and published and in which it will be able to provide an overview of the operation of those arrangements.
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