The Youth Justice Board and councils heads have split over government proposals to increase local authorities’ justice role outlined in its Youth Crime Action Plan.
In its response to the plan, the board called for the government to legislate on its proposals for councils to appoint a senior official for resettlement, review cases where young people enter custody for the first time and pay the full cost of court-ordered secure remand places.
The YJB said these were among proposals in the action plan that would be strengthened by legislative backing.
Children’s directors reject proposals
But following the board’s call, Andrew Webb, youth crime lead for the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, rejected the proposals, warning against more legislation if it was “not absolutely necessary” or led to further fragmentation of services.
“Any changes to structures we would support wholeheartedly would be those designed to strengthen the role of children’s trusts in respect of youth offending services. Local accountability arrangements will all differ, and it is the children’s trust which should be required to deliver improved outcomes through improved throughcare and resettlement rather than a named individual,” he added.
Webb said that the ADCS and the YJB were in agreement about what they wanted to achieve for young people, but “would appear to differ a little on the means to this end”.
Radical rethink needed say directors
ADCS will soon be giving the government its own response to the Youth Crime Action Plan, calling for a review of the whole system.
“We believe this needs a radical rethink rather than tinkering around the edges,” Webb said.
Publishing the Youth Justice Board’s response to the plan last week, board chair Frances Done said the plan “moved on from the unhelpful debate about welfare versus justice.”.
The consultation on the Youth Crime Action Plan closes on October 17.