How to reduce reoffending by children and young people

Information and material from the Youth Justice Board’s (YJB) reducing reoffending project 2013/15. Guide for youth offending teams (YOT).

This guidance was withdrawn on

The four year YJB reducing reoffending Programme closed in March 2017. Visit the Youth Justice Resource Hub for more information.


Reducing reoffending is a priority for government. In its corporate plan for 2014-17 the YJB has the following strategic objective:

We will work in partnership across community and commission the secure estate to reduce reoffending.

The reducing reoffending project contributes to the YJBs response to this objective. It aims to help you reduce youth reoffending and the following will happen during each of the 3 years the project runs.

The report Reducing reoffending: furthering our understanding (PDF, 300KB, 31 pages) provides an update on progress. It also contains summaries of learning from local and national data, practice and research.

Work with children and young people who reoffend

Year 1 (2013/14)

  • the likely causes and characteristics of high reoffending rates were studied
  • effective practice and the characteristics of areas with low reoffending rates were explored
  • the reducing reoffending toolkit was piloted with 25 YOTs
  • the available national data was analysed and the pilot YOTs were engaged with to identify the most effective ways to reduce local reoffending

Year 2 (2014/15)

Building on the momentum from the first year we:

  • improved the reoffending toolkit and added the live tracking tool
  • expanded its work to include over 70 YOTs
  • published the YOT Management Board guidance to share what was learnt from year 1
  • carried out further analysis to help understand the changing nature of the cohort

Year 3 (2015/16)

  • review, revise and publish the third iteration of the reoffending toolkit
  • continue to help YOTs use the toolkit and implement actions to improve reoffending performance
  • develop work on reoffending with the secure estate
  • publish a report to summarise what is learnt from years 1 and 2
  • carry out further analysis

How to analyse your local reoffending data

On 20 May 2015 the YJB published its revised reducing reoffending toolkit. Further information and updates are provided through the YJBulletin.

The toolkit contains:

  • the assess and improve document (AID)
  • the Police National Computer (PNC) reoffending data tool
  • the local pre-populated tool
  • a guide on how to access the local pre-populated tool
  • the live tracking tool
  • AssetPlus live tracking tool
  • the summary disproportionality tool


This document explains how the tools work and how they relate to the rest of the contents of the toolkit

Read the Assess and improve document (AID) (PDF, 164KB, 21 pages) for more information, including useful tips.

PNC reoffending data tool

This tool shows the reoffending rates of all young people across England and Wales.

You can access the PNC data tool through YJMIS or by contacting, this is to comply with data security standards.

The local pre-populated tool

This tool contains the 2012/13 cohort and allows for a retrospective view of 2012/13 reoffending performance. You should add the reoffending data for young people aged 17 years and over, that you will have got through local arrangements with police.

Read the guide on How to use the reoffending live tracking tool (PDF, 77.7KB, 2 pages) .

You can only access the local populated tool through YJMIS and will need a password to comply with data security standards.

The live tracking tool

Feedback from YOTs helped to create this tool. It allows you to:

  • track individual young people in the cohort and any changes in their circumstances so that the right young people can get the right type of support at the right time (i.e. as a case management tool)
  • identify trends in the overall cohort so that strategic decisions can be made in terms of commissioning, design of interventions, use of resources to improve performance
  • get local reoffending performance data ahead of official PNC data publications to allow management teams / boards early sight of their performance trend

Please note that the live tracking tool is blank. It contains no data on young people and is for your internal use only. If you download the tool and put young people’s data into it then you should not email it outside of your YOT.

The YJB has developed a live tracking tool which is compatible with Asset Plus. It enables the Youth Offender Group Reconviction Scale (YOGRS) score and the indicative likelihood of reoffending band to be recorded.

You must adhere to the Data Protection Act 1998 at all times.

Read the guide on The live tracking tool (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 1.77MB) . Access The disproportionality tool (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 133KB) . Access the Reducing reoffending: furthering our understanding (PDF, 300KB, 31 pages) .

Watch this video on how to use the live tracking tool

The live tracking tool

The summary disproportionality tool

This tool enables you to see at a glance the level of any over-representation of any of the five main ethnic groups in the local youth justice system. It contains pie charts to illustrate the ethnicity profile of the general 10 to 17-year-old population for each YOT area and the local youth justice population. It provides context for the ethnicity graphs in the reducing reoffending tool. The YJB is developing a pre-populated case-level disproportionality tool, based on the pre-populated reoffending tool, which you will be able to use for deeper analysis if there is disproportionality in your local youth justice system.

Access AssetPlus live tracking tool (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 3.34MB) .

The process

It is recommended that you first complete a local retrospective analysis and draw up an action plan to address the issues identified.

You may want to use live tracking. However it is unlikely that you will be able to track all young people in your cohort every month throughout the year. This is why it is recommended that a retrospective analysis is carried out first. The retrospective analysis will show you the particular issues and types of case which have previously been problematic in terms of reoffending performance.

For example the retrospective analysis might show that it is 17-year-olds, looked after children and those in the first 3 months of entering the cohort who are most likely to reoffend. You can then focus on these cases through the case management live tracking, using the filters in the tool.

Make an impact

The tools provided above are designed to help you get a sound understanding of your local cohorts and to identify areas where improvement can be made. It is critical that analysis is followed by action planning and a focus on embedding actions which can improve delivery. If you need advice or help with any aspect of implementing reoffending change please contact us on the project email address below.

The reducing reoffending project aligns with the YJB and Ministry of Justice’s wider work on improving resettlement outcomes for young people leaving custody.

To inform the resettlement work, and to understand reoffending rates for young people leaving custody across England and Wales, the YJB will use learning from the following sources:

  • data analysis
  • literature review
  • work with YOTs

Email the project at

For more information, read:

The YOT Management Board guidance reoffending: developing a local understanding

This describes how the performanace of the whole cohort can have a major impact on your reoffending performance. It includes steps to improve your management of this.

National analysis of re-offending data, for those aged 10-17

Published 19 November 2013
Last updated 20 May 2015 + show all updates
  1. It contains the revised reoffending toolkit.
  2. First published.