Youth Justice Board unveils Frances Done as new chair

Children’s secretary Ed Balls and justice secretary Jack Straw have appointed a new chair for the Youth Justice Board, almost a year after the resignation of Rod Morgan.

Frances Done will take over at the helm of the YJB on 1 February, ending 12 months under the interim leadership of Graham Robb.

It is Done’s first job in youth justice, following a career which has largely been spent in local government. She is a former chief executive of Rochdale Council, and was, from 2003-6, managing director for local government at the Audit Commission, in charge of the regulator’s auditing and inspection of councils.

Her appointment comes at a crucial time for the YJB, six months after it came under the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, signalling a more preventive and child-centred government approach to youth justice.

During a turbulent 2007, the Youth Justice Board was criticised for its record on monitoring restraint in the inquests into the deaths of Adam Rickwood and Gareth Myatt, while its annual report revealed it was likely to fail five of its six key targets. Ed Balls and Jack Straw were also alleged to be engaged in a tug-of-war over the YJB’s future.

The appointment was made by Balls and Straw on the recommendation of National Offender Management Service chief executive Helen Edwards and Lesley Longstone, director general of the DCSF’s young people directorate.

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