Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

46.  Third supplementary memorandum submitted by the Youth Justice Board

  I am pleased to provide some additional information that I understand the Committee would like in relation to the above inquiry.

  Regarding whether the Youth Offending Team (YOT) race audit and action planning process was intended as a one-off or regular process, the position is that for future years we have incorporated the elements of the race action planning within the annual YOT youth justice plan process. This is the main planning process set out by YJB for YOTs. The templates for the annual youth justice plan now include a review of the previous year's actions, performance against last year's race action plan and setting out actions for the coming year on race. It should be noted that due to Freedoms and Flexibilities for English local authorities some authorities are exempt from the statutory requirement to submit a youth justice plan to us for consideration. The Government has set out its intention to extend this freedom to all local authorities in England rated 3* or 4*. However, we are in general encouraging YOTs to use the templates we have issued for their local planning processes whether or not they are under the statutory requirement, and encouraging YOTs in the relevant authorities to submit their plans on a voluntary basis. The Key Performance Indicator we have set for YOTs remains part of the overall YOT performance framework set out by YJB, and we are clear that good local analysis and planning is central to achieving improvements in performance. In the coming year we will continue to monitor progress closely, provide support, disseminate practice and intervene in areas where it is our judgement that these issues are not adequately being considered. YOTs are locally managed partnerships and we believe that this is one of their assets, not least as it means they are well placed to respond to local needs and develop local responses. However, this is done within a framework set by the YJB and I can assure the Committee that this issue will remain a priority for the YJB and we will use the levers available to us.

  Regarding whether individual Youth Offending Teams agreed targets for reducing overrepresentation in their area as part of the action planning process the Key Performance Indicator referred to above requires each YOT to take action to reduce, year on year, local differences based on local populations.

  In terms of the future, and the role of wider local services supporting the YOT partnership to deliver on this agenda, we would see benefits in an indicator on these issues being included within the proposed new overarching performance framework for local government and its partners being developed in England.

  Regarding whether the YJB has any statistics which are disaggregated by both gender and ethnicity to allow comparisons of the representation of males and females in the youth justice system within and between different ethnic groups, the position is that our data from YOT returns in general cannot be disaggregated for both gender and ethnicity simultaneously. At present, this would require a change in YOT recording requirements. As noted in my letter of 29 January we are able to provide this type of breakdown for secure placements which is recorded via a separate case level system to monitor placements in the secure estate. The quarterly snapshots we provided between April 2005 and March 2006 for the custodial population includes a breakdown by age and gender as well as ethnicity. If it would be helpful to the Committee we would be happy to provide further periods of data that are available.

  I wanted to take this opportunity to inform the Committee that the YJB expects to soon be in a position to publish a commissioned research report on young people and group offending, gangs and weapons. There have been some problems in finalising this research because of contractual issues beyond our control, but they are resolved and we expect to publish later in the spring. The research was not commissioned specifically to look at the issue of ethnicity in relation to these matters but given the recent tragic events and the Committee's interest in these issues I wanted to bring this to your attention. There are not conclusions in the report specifically in relation to young Black people and the report identifies the range of ethnicities that can be involved in group and gang offending. The literature review for the report does give some consideration of the relationship between different ethnicities and gangs and there is within the report some consideration from interviews with professionals and young people of the relevance of ethnicity, including in some areas the potential for ethnicity to prove a basis for allegiances and patterns of conflict adding to the more traditional and common "territorial" aspect of group allegiances. That in some areas there can be inter-group conflict, including conflict between different minority groups, is also noted. While we appreciate the Committee's inquiry is at a relatively late stage we would be happy to discuss this further with you.

Ellie Roy

Chief Executive

April 2007

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 15 June 2007