Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


45.  Second supplementary memorandum submitted by the Youth Justice Board

  1. At the recent evidence session with the Youth Justice Board we undertook to provide any further information we had in relation to Referral Orders and the membership Youth Offender Panels.

  2. Regarding membership of Youth Offender Panels, we do not collect regular data on the ethnicity of panel members specifically. A Home Office report published in September 2003 summarised the results of survey work with Youth Offender Panel volunteers during 2002. This survey reported that 86% of volunteers were White, 7% Black and 3% Asian. The report concluded that compared with the general population White people on the panels were underrepresented whereas Black people were slightly overrepresented. The report noted that the findings were in line with a Home Office Citizenship Survey in 2001 that found that Black people were more likely to formally volunteer than other groups. The report also noted that while Asian people were relatively well represented and Black people were slightly overrepresented individual YOTs did report that they felt minority groups were underrepresented on their panels and several expressed a committed to target groups within future recruitment processes. Guidance issued by government departments and the YJB has emphasised that local recruitment strategies should be based on the demographic profile of the local population to ensure they are representative of the local community and advocates targeted advertising and publicity where needed. The survey concluded that in general Youth Offender Panel volunteers were fairly representative of the population in most respects. The notable exception was that two-thirds were female. The report also noted that many volunteers, approximately one-third, were new to volunteering altogether. The report can be found at:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/rdsolr3403.pdf

  3. While YJB does not hold further data specifically on Youth Offender Panel members we do collect data covering the broad range of volunteers involved in work with Youth Offending Teams including panel members. The data for the last two workforce surveys on volunteers is given below. A more detailed breakdown is given also for 2006-07 below. While the data does show relatively high representation of BME groups as volunteers, the data again shows that in general there is overrepresentation of females compared to males.


2005-06
  

White Male
25.8%
BME Male
5.2%
White Female
58.2%
BME Female
10.9%

  
  
2006-07
  

White Male
24.1%
BME Male
5.7%
White Female
58.8%
BME Female
11.4%

  
  
2006-07
  

White Male
2,027
Black Male
309
Asian Male
125
Mixed Race Male
32
Chinese/Other Male
15
White Female
4,941
Black Female
596
Asian Female
213
Mixed Race Female
105
Chinese/Other Female
44

  
Total
8,407


  4. In terms of the operation of referral orders with different ethnicities, in general the statistics indicate that the level of Referral Order use broadly follows the general pattern of use of different types of disposals. YOT data provided to YJB for 2005-06 indicates that young Black people received 5.7% of all disposals. As indicated by Ellie Roy at the evidence session, in general terms the higher up the sentencing framework, the higher the proportion of disposals are accounted for by young Black people, so whereas 4.2% of pre-court disposals are with Black young people, the figure for court community penalties is 7.7% and for custodial sentences is 11.2%. Young Black people accounted for 6.7% of Referral Orders in 2005-06 according to YOT data—this is slightly higher than the average for other "first tier" penalties at 6.1%. This proportion has been consistent over the last few years since 2003-04 at 6.6% or 6.7%.

  5. I would like to make one point of clarification in relation to my answer at Q581 on the evaluation of parenting programmes. While the evaluation I referred to did include an analysis of reoffending, to clarify, the analysis was not with a formal comparison group but a comparison of conviction and offending rates before and after involvement in the programme. The evaluation, as noted in the evidence session, was positive on several aspects of the programmes and noted a reduction in both the reconviction rate and average number of offences. However, without a rigorously matched comparison group it is not possible to directly attribute positive impacts. (Since the evaluation was published, the YJB has adopted more stringent research standards and would not now commission an impact evaluation with this design). In terms of further research about parenting interventions aimed at reducing youth offending and anti-social behaviour, the YJB will be interested to see what can be learned from the evaluation of the DfES-funded Parenting Early Intervention Pathfinders (which work with the parents of eight to 13 year olds at risk of anti-social behaviour) and the Prevention Cohort Study which we have commissioned the University of York to undertake, which will look at parenting provision, as well as other preventive interventions funded by the YJB. We are also involved in the development of the new National Academy for Parenting Practitioners which will act as a national centre and source of advice on high-quality academic research evidence on parenting and parenting support.

  6. Finally, I would like to confirm the position in relation to spending on parenting interventions and prevention funding (Q579). The parenting figure is expected to be closer to £4 million this year, rising to £5.5 million next year. The total for new prevention funding overall is that of £45 million that I gave at Q579 as opposed to £43 million at Q575.

Chris Hume

Director of Practice and Performance

12 March 2007





 
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