To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which presents the new Leeds Youth Justice Plan 2021 – 24 for the Board’s consideration.
The Director of Children and Families submitted a report that presented the new Leeds Youth Justice Plan 2021 – 24 for the Board’s consideration.
The following were in attendance:
- Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
- Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
- Sal Tariq, Director of Children and Families
- Ruth Terry, Chief Officer for Social Work
The Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships introduced the report, drawing attention to the outcomes of a recent inspection which largely supported the preventative approach and practice in Leeds to reduce youth offending, but also found that black and minority ethnic (BAME) boys and young men in custody often have had no contact with services prior to sentencing.
Members discussed a number of matters, including:
· Identification of at-risk young people. In recognition of the need to target at-risk groups of young people, such as BAME boys and children looked after, Members queried the methods in place to identify at-risk young people at the earliest opportunity. Members were advised that early help teams help to identify children at risk, and strong links exist between the Youth Justice Board and schools. Members were advised that the Equality and Diversity Strategic Group is also focusing on the steps to be taken to ensure that systemic disproportionality is addressed across the system. It was also confirmed that the Corporate Parenting Board includes police representation to support early identification and support for children looked after at risk of youth offending.
· Consulting the views of the Corporate Parenting Board. The Scrutiny Board suggested that the Corporate Parenting Board be given the opportunity to consider and also provide comment on the new Youth Justice Plan. In response, the Director of Children and Families agreed to ensure that the Plan be submitted to the Corporate Parenting Board following consideration at Executive Board, with flexibility to adapt the plan accordingly following its input.
· Delays within the criminal justice system. In response to a query, Members were advised that court backlogs are impacting youth cases. It was also noted that delays can also result in children becoming adults and being sentenced as such.
· Timeframes for support following custodial sentences. In response to a query, members were advised that support following custody is determined on an individual basis with early help/social work teams as part of the resettlement programme to support the child and their family. It was noted that resettlement services nationally require more resource.
· Support for individuals with poor social and emotional mental health. It was confirmed that additional resource has been introduced in the form of life coaches in the youth services, which will help to identify young people at risk of offending.
· Support for third sector projects. Members recognised the value of preventative and restorative projects delivered by the third sector, and the need to include support to third sector organisations as part of the plan.
The Chair suggested that the Board maintains a watching brief surrounding the implementation of the Plan. It was therefore proposed that a formal update be brought back to Scrutiny within 12 months and that the Board hears directly from relevant local community groups and services as part of the next update.
a) That the contents of the report, along with Members comments, be noted.
b) To note that, subject to any further feedback arising from the consultation with the Corporate Parenting Board, the Scrutiny Board (Children and Families) collectively endorse the Youth Justice Plan 2021-24.
c) That an update on the Youth Justice Plan 2021-24 is brought back to Scrutiny within the next 12 months.