Agenda item

Youth Justice Update


Councillor Downie introduced this item to the committee, Ian Taylor (Service Manager for the Youth Offending Team) and Jean Kelly (Service Director for Children, Young People and Families) presented the item to members.


The Youth Offending Team worked with children and young people aged 10 -18 who had either committed or had been suspected of committing offences in the city.


The last Joint Targeted Area Inspection advised that the governance arrangements for the Youth Offending team had not been robust enough. Plymouth had then moved to a joined up approach with two other Local Authorities, Torbay and Devon. This joined up approach did not work for Plymouth and in turn re-instated the Youth Justice Board in Plymouth. 


The team are funded from the Government, Local Authority, Probation, Police and Health with the aims to; prevent offending, reduce the risk of further offending, support victims, support young people on bail, prepare reports for the court, supervise young people on Court Orders, help with young people remanded to local authority care, help young people during and after custodial sentences, help parents.


Since the formation of Plymouth’s Justice Board, progress had been made which had allowed the team to focus on the city of Plymouth rather than the whole of Devon.


The JTAI had highlighted some weakness, particularly in relation to children’s mental health, training had been provided to staff and a psychologist is now part of the team. All young people go through a screening.


Improvements had been made in the way in which Plymouth worked with the Police. There was now a full time police officer based within the team. Plymouth had a child centred policing team which is unique to Plymouth in region who had a team of officers working with children and young people across the city.


There had been a delay in receiving the statistical data for the five Key Performance Indicators of two years which had made it difficult to adjust.


The 5 Key Performance Indicators are:



Young People in Custody – Plymouth had two young people in custody, this figure two years ago had been 9 which showed a marked improvement. 



First Time Entrants into the Youth Justice System – Figures released on 5March 2021 stated that 74 young people had been first time entrants during the period January 2019 – December 2019. This had represented an increase from the previous year’s data of 65 young people. 



Re-offending rate – Figures from 5 March 2021 evidenced a rate of 41.2% of Young People who had been open to the Youth Offending team in December 2018, this represented an increase from the previous year figure of 32.3%. This data had been two years old and since then the team had created a local live tracking tool to monitor 90 young people open to the Youth teams between 01 April 2020 to 20 May 2021 for any further offences. To date Plymouth’s Youth Offending rates for those 90 young people had a rate of 12%, this had been due a change of approach, young people would re-offend within 3 months, and the team now have diversion programmes to target this which had worked.



Young people in suitable Education and Employment



Suitable accommodation, 96% of the teams young people are in suitable accommodation. 


Between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2020, 1042 young people had come to the attention of Police, however only had come through to the Youth Offending team, this had been a key factor is Plymouth’s reoffending rate being high due to 90% of young people not being engaged by the team. The Youth Offending team had work closely with Devon and Cornwall Police to address this. 


Plymouth’s Youth Offending teams Impact project had gone live on 1st June which worked with partners to deliver a programme to the young people in the service around harmful sexual behaviour, child sexual exploitation, child exploitation and substance misuse. Work had been done to divert young people through various projects and get them into better peer networks. The team had continued to work closely with education colleagues and had started delivering parenting interventions.


Members discussed:



56 interventions had been offered in the first month, much have been diverted to other agencies. The Youth Offending team had regular meetings with partners to discuss best interventions for each young person.



The Plymouth Youth Justice Board have funded two new posts for the team. 



The team recognised that they would not have the capacity to work with 1042 young people but target those that have patterns of repeated offending. Plymouth University evaluate the project, if more resources had been required the team would apply for this. 



There had been four social workers and probation workers in the team that assess risks for every young person within the team. There had been six young people in Plymouth that were assessed as high risk to members of the public. These young people would have risk managements in place, would be seen more regularly by the team and the Police would target these individuals. These together had been reducing reoffending in the city and protected the public.

















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