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Agenda item

County Durham Youth Offending Service - Youth Justice Plan 2018/19

Report of the Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services.



The Chairman introduced the Youth Offending Manager, CDYOS, Dave Summers to give report on the Youth Justice Plan 2018/19 (for copy see file of minutes).


The Youth Offending Manager reminded Members of the requirement to produce a Youth Justice Plan under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and to have consultation with partner agencies upon the Plan.  He noted key achievements from 2017/19, including relating to: the reduction in the number of first time entrants (FTE) to the youth justice system; reduced reoffending; reduction in remand bed nights and being on par with England and the North East region in terms of custodial sentences.


Members noted that there had been work carried out by Public Health in terms of a co-commissioned multi-skilled health team based within the CDYOS, including a school nurse, clinical phycologist, speech and language therapists, substance misuse specialists, liaison and diversion specialists and mental health specialists.  It was noted this helped to meet the needs of a diverse cohort of young people that often had a number of complex issues, supporting good health outcomes.


The Committee were reminded of the additional funding provided by the PCVC in relation to victims, including young victims and looking to target the most prolific reoffenders as the number of FTE had reduced by 85 percent in the last 10 years and therefore there was a need to tackle the smaller more persistent cohort.


The Youth Offending Manager noted that more up-to-date information than contained within the report, information at December 2018 was: FTE rate, 250, less than the regional and national averages; reoffending rate, 41.6 percent less than the regional and national averages; and custodial sentences, 0.28, less than England and equal to that of the region.  He added that this highlighted improving performance from an already strong position.  The Youth Offending Manager explained he was proud of the work of volunteer young people in their role as mentors, and the co-commissioned service had been shortlisted for an award.  He noted that the issue of young people’s education and progression was important and that resources and interventions in respect of speech, language and communication needs had been developed as well as looking to help develop young people that were often very far from the job market through the Skill Mill, a CIC implemented by the Service.


The Chairman thanked Youth Offending Manager for his report and asked Members for their comments and questions.



Councillor K Thompson asked what the 85 percent reduction could be attributed to.  The Youth Offending Manager noted there was no individual reason, with lots of work having been undertaken.  He noted the hard work of the service and the Police in terms of restorative approaches and the strong partnership arrangements that had developed over the years.  The Youth Offending Manager noted there had been a lot of work within schools in addition and he noted that young people themselves should also be credited in terms of a general improvement in behaviour.


Councillor J Considine asked as regards the Skill Mill, noting the good work already.  The Youth Offending Manager noted it was a national CIC, based in Newcastle, and there could be potential for the future to develop a CIC as this would allow for grant applications.


The Chairman noted the comments in relation to targeting prolific offenders and asked how this was being attempted.  The Youth Offending Manager noted there was a range of agencies involved and it many cases it takes a number of partners working together to be able to make progress.  He added that in many cases health issues compound problems and he stressed that the CDYOS never gave up, although there was always the threat of the option of custody as another way to try to motivate.  He explained that the CDYOS believed that young people can change and would always look to help individuals and address their needs.


Mr D Balls commented that the appendix setting out the commonly used acronyms had proved to be very useful and encouraged this be mirrored by other Officers in their reports.




That the report be noted.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714