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As many of us look forward to spending time with family, friends and little ones over the festive break, now’s a good time to reflect on the progress of youth justice over the last 12 months. 

During the first two years of the reducing reoffending project, 69 Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) have been working hard to achieve their objectives. The majority of teams are now using the reducing reoffending toolkit allowing approaches to be tailored to individual needs. 

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has seen a sharp increase in the number of teams using the Live Tracking Tool too. This has reportedly enabled real-time immediate and focused action to stop young people from reoffending. 

At the beginning of the year, the YJB published guidance to management boards based on findings from the first year of the reoffending project; in much the same way as communications on the probation restructure. The aim of course, is to be as open as possible about the challenges for management and staff on the ground. 

Resettlement and Unpaid Work

There has been a renewed focus on resettlement. Four new strategic resettlement consortia were launched last month in areas with high custodial numbers. The aim of these consortia, as we understand it, is to bring parties together to improve support services for young people leaving custody. 

The Transforming Youth Custody programme is also helping to inform those working in resettlement, with a much greater emphasis on establishing sustainable prospects for those leaving custody. 

Since the transfer of unpaid work from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to the YJB, it has been reported that there are no longer any girls in young offender institutes. Instead, there appears to be a concentration on providing young people with opportunities.

Exchanging information between YOTs and Probation

November saw the launch of the eagerly anticipated Youth to Adult Portal in London and Manchester. The software enables the secure exchange of information between YOTs and Probation and if successful it will be gradually rolled-out across all areas. 

YOTs have also recently received a revised ‘Case Management Guidance’ from the Youth Justice Board. It covers practical guidance and the implications of recent legislative changes for the sector, with further advice on tailoring services and sharing best practice. 

We must say, whilst the initial implementation of the reducing reoffending project saw many employees feel the strain, there appears to be a concerted effort by the YJB to deliver projects that not only make difference but are deliverable. This can only be a positive step forward, building on the knowledge that many of the people we recruit spend years acquiring. 

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