The Youth Justice Board’s Chair, Lord McNally, has responded to the interim report of emerging findings from the youth justice review.
The review was launched by Michael Gove in September 2015 and is being carried out by Charlie Taylor.
YJB’s Chair, Lord McNally said:
This report includes many of the reforms the YJB advocates, including the creation of small, locally delivered custodial establishments, which focus on education. We want to see the required investment, a dedicated workforce and the right leadership and oversight to realise these ambitions.
We must also take care not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ - the reduction in the number of children in custody has been achieved as a result of 15 years of investment in community-based intervention and this must be sustained.
- This report reflects the comprehensive engagement of Charlie Taylor with the youth justice sector over the past six months. This is an interim report, and therefore a work in progress. We look forward to continued engagement with Charlie Taylor as he completes his task.
- The YJB is delighted to see recognition of the need to invest in a distinct youth justice system, which appreciates that children need to be treated differently to adults.
- The reduction of the number of children and young people in custody has presented real opportunities for reform. But in urging radical change we must remember that reductions in custody have been possible thanks to investment over the last 15 years in community-based intervention. The YJB supports the opportunities to achieve greater integration between custody and community intervention through devolution, but the successful multi-agency approach delivered through the YOT model needs to be sustained in any new settlement. The YJB will work closely with government to ensure there remains continued investment in community intervention so that these proposals can be delivered.
- Reforms on the scale envisaged will require not only investment in capital but also in providing a dedicated workforce, capable of working across community and custody settings, to deliver the responses needed to help turn around the lives of the young people in our care. There will also be a need to put in place the right governance, leadership and oversight to achieve these ambitious proposals. This is crucial to ensuring that the youth justice system does not return to its pre-YJB state of being the responsibility of many but the priority of none.
- The decision to widen the scope of the review to include sentencing and the role of the courts is also welcome and necessary if this programme of reform is to be both comprehensive and successful.
- The YJB will ensure that these proposals are now tested with children and young people. We feel it is essential that those who the system aims to rehabilitate, play an active part in informing the system of the future.
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Published: 9 February 2016