Youth offending teams are not involved sufficiently with children’s trusts despite being one of the statutory partners, according to the chair of the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers.
Mike Thomas said Yots were “on the periphary” of trusts in many areas and claimed practice in joining up services was “patchy.” He blamed this on a wider failure by children’s services to take responsibility for adolescents in trouble.
“In the move to child protection in children’s services adolescents have slipped off the agenda,” Thomas told youth justice professionals at a conference in London yesterday. He added that he had not come across any exemplary practice in integrating Yots and children’s trusts.
Thomas called for greater incentives for children’s services to take responsibility for young offenders and said the custody budget should be transferred to local authorities.
June Thoburn, professor of social work at the University of East Anglia, argued that control of the budget should be given to children’s directors. She said this would ensure clear accountability for young offenders and suggested that judicial review proceedings could be brought if money was not being spent effectively.
Campaigners previously pushed for a proposal for councils to gain control of the custody budget to be included in the government’s Youth Crime Action Plan but it was dropped after children’s directors rejected it.