Report of Team Manager, Youth Justice and Specialist Support Team
The Board received an update on the Youth Justice Service performance and the key priorities for 2021-23.
It was noted that the Chair of the Youth Justice Board is currently Caroline O’Neill and that this will pass to Andrea Houlahan in the next few weeks.
Last year the Youth Justice Board decided on a two year reporting period and agreed nine key priorities;
1. Ensure our young people are children first and offenders second – a young advocate role is in place to critically look at the work of the service.
2. Ensure looked after children are not overrepresented in the Criminal Justice Service – a Decriminalisation of LAC group has been set up and takes place bimonthly, this has led to more information sharing and joint working to divert LAC from charge.
3. Identify and intervene early with young people to address behaviour that could lead a young person into the Criminal Justice System – to highlight what is available for young people on the fringe of ASB and offending.
4. Ensure education teams effectively meet the needs of young people within the criminal justice system
5. Promote the health and wellbeing of young people in the Youth Justice System
6. Support young people transitioning between Children’s and Adult’s services
7. Understand and intervene with young people experiencing criminal exploitation
8. Understand serious youth violence in Gateshead and what can be done to reduce harm to the public and manage the risk
9. Build our understanding of the specific problems faced by young people in Gateshead.
It was questioned why 18 applications for Divert from Charge have been returned to the Officer in charge of the case. It was confirmed that unless the cases in question warrant remand they will go through Divert from Charge route, otherwise they will be returned to the officer in charge to review. It was agreed that data in around this in terms of care leavers and looked after children could be provided to the Board.
The Board was keen to support the Youth Justice agenda particularly in terms of looked after children and welcomed ideas to be fed in from other organisations. It was suggested that further links could be made with the LAC Health Team around information sharing outside of the meeting.
It was questioned where targeted intervention work is taking place and how Ward Councillors would be made aware of this. It was confirmed that this is linked to the Community Safety Team and neighbourhood Police which has helped fund outreach work where tasking has identified hotspots, for example in Birtley, Saltwell Park and Gateshead Interchange. It was agreed that the Neighbourhood Management Teams would be asked to inform Councillors of any outreach work taking place in their areas.
RESOLVED - (i) That the Board continues to receive updates on the key
(ii) That the Corporate Parenting Board consider how it
can support the Youth Justice Board.
(iii) That the contents of the report be noted.
(iv) That the Board would be interested in receiving
updates about Divert from Charge in relation to LAC and Care Leavers.