Troubleshooters may run failing youth offender teams

Expert troubleshooters could be sent in to run failing youth offending teams, which might have staff removed and targets imposed.

The measures were included in the government’s response to the Youth Crime Action Plan, which also stopped short of taking forward a proposal to devolve the youth custody budget to councils.

The idea was floated in the draft Youth Crime Action Plan, published for consultation last July, but council opposition is understood to have convinced ministers to think again.

Alternatives to custody

However, in an interview with Community Care last month, Youth Justice Board boss John Drew said the idea was still on the table and the board was waiting for the “green light” from ministers to pilot it.

Following its consultation on the Youth Crime Action Plan, the government’s response yesterday did not include the proposal, but said the YJB was “exploring potential options for incentivising local authorities” to provide alternatives to custody.

Home secretary Alan Johnson and children’s secretary Ed Balls said they would ask all councils in England to provide more Family Intervention Projects, which in the past year have supported more than 2,300 families.

Risk losing home

The Department of Health will provide an additional £6m to fund dedicated health workers to work alongside every FIP over the next two years, it was announced.

“Family Intervention Projects constantly confront and challenge the parents and children they work with to change their behaviour,” Balls said. 

“The families know that if they don’t use this support they could risk losing their home, go to prison or youth custody. That’s why the home secretary and I are writing to all local authorities to get them to step up their actions by expanding and accelerating FIPs in their areas.” 

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