In June 2016 a new targeted youth service (TYS) was launched in Bexley. The requirements of the new service were clear; to provide short term, focused support for any of the following worries facing young people (aged 12-17):
- at risk of involvement in crime;
- at risk of school exclusion;
- living with family domestic abuse, drugs and alcohol and/or mental ill-health or;
- vulnerable teenagers involved with statutory services or going missing from home.
Pathways to TYS support can be from a range of agencies including the Police, Schools, Education (e.g. Inclusion and Education Welfare), Family Wellbeing Service, Youth Offending Team, Children’s Social Care; Specialist Services (e.g. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Substance Misuse Treatment Service, Voluntary Sector) and Self-Referrals.
The service offers bespoke, flexible and adaptable support which can be tailored to individual needs and peer groups. It has been informed and configured through consultation and feedback from children and young people, parents, youth workers and the voluntary sector. From this the model was created in partnership between the local authority and young people.
Key data points
Youth Offending Reporting in Bexley (12 month rolling to March 2015)
Data source: MOPAC
- Bexley’s average number of offences per offender is at 3 in comparison to the London average of 3.4.
- Bexley has 164 offenders and 4 re-offenders.
- Bexley’s average number of re-offences per offender is at 1.8 in comparison to the London average of 1.6.
- Bexley proportion of offenders who re-offend is at 51.2% in comparison London has 47.5%
- Bexley’s and London’s average number of re-offences per re-offender is at 3.4.
- There were 288 re-offences during this period.
First Time Entrants
Data source: Local Youth Offending Team
For the period Oct 16 to Sep17 (latest period) there were 50 first time entrants to the criminal justice system (10-17 years) in Bexley. This is a -43.2% reduction on the same period the previous year of 88 children.
Use of Custody
For the period January 17 to December 17 (latest period), there were eight children who received a custodial sentence compared to no children sentenced to custody for the same period the previous year.
There were 49 young people in the monitoring cohort with (28.6%) 14 reoffenders. This is a reduction compared with the previous cohort of 37 young people in the offender monitoring group and 25 re-offenders for the same quarter the previous year. Current reoffending is lower than the 42.1% reported nationally and 48.1% reported for London. There were 59 re-offences, lower than the 70 reported for the previous year’s offender monitoring group. In terms of the rate of re-offences per reoffender; this was 4.21, higher than the national (3.85) and London (3.66). The frequency rate was 1.2, lower than National (1.6) and London (1.76).
- The YOT have reported that the number of motoring offences going to court has increased by 93% from the previous financial year.
- The number of Youth Rehabilitation Orders have increased by 110%.
- Other category consisting of Reparation Orders, Community Sentences, Compensation Orders, Suspended Sentences increased by 142%.
In 2018, the YJB reported ‘demands on the youth justice system have changed significantly compared to ten years ago. There are far fewer children in the system, including those entering for the first time and those in custody. This is a great success; however new challenges have emerged. As the cohort gets smaller it becomes more concentrated with children who have the most complex needs (including health and education needs) and challenging behaviours. This is evident by the high reoffending rate, especially for those leaving custody; some children are placed further away from home [when in custody] which causes difficulties for families and services trying to resettle children when they are released. Whilst we have seen such large reductions in the number of children entering the system, the rate of those children from some black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds is not falling at the same pace compared to white children. This means that the proportion of BAME children in the youth justice system is increasing. Those children who have been in local authority care are also over represented in the system.’ (YJB Strategic Plan 2018-21: p4)
Bexley Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2015-18 and Review 2016/17
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 required a multi-agency Youth Offending Team (YOT) to be established in every area of England and Wales.
The Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales is a non-departmental public body established by the Crime and Disorder Act (1998). It monitors the operation of the youth justice system and the provision of youth justice services. It advises the Secretary of State on matters relating to the youth justice system identifies and shares examples of good practice and publishes information about the system: reporting on how it is operating and how the statutory aim of the system (‘to prevent offending by children and young people’) can best be achieved.
The YJB’s Vision:
- Every child should live a safe and crime-free life and make a positive contribution to society
The Youth Justice System Aims are to:
- Reduce the number of children in the youth justice system
- Reduce reoffending by children in the youth justice system
- Improve the safety and wellbeing of children in the youth justice system
- Improve outcomes for children in the youth justice system
2015-18 Bexley’s Youth Offending Team service objectives were to:
- Prevent Offending and Reduce Re-offending
- Keep Young People Safe and Promote the Welfare of Young People in the Criminal Justice System
- Protect People, Communities and Support Victims
Bexley YOT Management Board (YMB) meets quarterly. Board membership consists of senior managers from all statutory partners i.e. council, police, health, probation and victim support. The YOT is financially supported across all statutory partners who make either financial or in-kind contributions, such as secondments, into the YOT.
One of the roles of the YMB is to receive and review financial records and YOT data relating to current and projected forecasts of budget spend and service needs in line with National Standards for Youth Justice. Where data informs the YMB of additional service pressures, or projected pressures, the YMB has responsibility for ensuring that the YOT has sufficient resources and infrastructure to deliver youth justice services in line with National Standards.
YMB receives quarterly, six monthly or yearly analysis of YOT data including re-offending rates, first time entrants, use of custody and remands, risk levels and aggregated assessment data, triage prevention reports and feedback from service users.
These reports help to identify trends and ensure that the deployment of resources is effective and efficient.
In 2017/18, the YOT’s total budget including in-kind contributions provided:
- Local Authority YOT prevention – Targeted Youth Support
- Probation 0.5 x officer
- Police 2 x officers
- Health – Bexley CCG 1 x nurse
- Local Authority/PHE Substance Misuse 1 x nurse
- Liaison and Diversion Services (NHS E)
- Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
Bexley’s Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2015-18 is currently being reviewed and the forward plan for the next 3-year period is to be finalised by the end July 2018.