Agenda item

Annual Youth Justice Plan 2021-2022

To consider and comment upon the Annual Youth Justice Plan for 2021-22.


Jackie Difolco, Assistant Director – Early Help, Prevention and SEND, reported on the Annual Youth Justice Plan for 2021/22.  It was the duty of each local authority to develop such a plan and it had already been approved by the Haringey Youth Justice Partnership Board and submitted to the national Youth Justice Board (YJB).


The Panel noted that the Youth Offending Service was subject to inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP). The most recent inspection had taken place in 2012 but the service had undergone a thematic inspection in May 2021 on the support and supervision provided for black and mixed heritage boys and young men. Haringey had been one of nine local authorities selected from across the country and one of three London boroughs. The inspection had taken place from the 17th to 21st May and involved interviews with staff, young people and partners as well as a review of cases. Findings from the inspection were expected to be published later in the year.


The plan covered what had happened in 2021 and what the service intended to do in 2022.  In 2021, the cohort of young people who were supported by the service represented less than 1% of their local population.  There had been 232 young people who had come into contact with the service, including 86 first time entrants and 10 who had received custodial sentences.  The figures were lower than previous years but higher than the borough’s family group of comparable authorities and neighbouring boroughs.  There had been a 12% reduction in offending, which equated to 58 fewer offences. 


Key priorities and outcomes were outlined in the Plan.  Good progress had been achieved so far in respect of a number of priorities, although this may have been influenced by the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic.  There was a projected reduction of 6% in young people becoming first time entrants to the criminal justice system, equating to 81 young people.  The reoffending rate had gone down to 24%, which was the lowest on record and below the target of 40%.  There was also predicted to be a reduction of young in custody of 30% or 14 young people, compared with a target of 16 and 20 for the previous year. 


The service was undertaking a more systemic approach to youth justice practice and adopting a “whole family” approach.  A parents “Think Space” had been developed and they were currently looking at pathways within Family Support and Youth Services to provide a more joined up approach to family work and targeting the needs of siblings of young people who offended.  Work was also taking place to develop a process for involving fathers or father figures of young people who offended.  In addition, the service had been chosen for a pilot project that focused on its link with Alternative Provision and how young people could be supported better in getting back into mainstream education.  The service was also represented on a newly formed education focus group looking at reducing exclusions of young people in Haringey.


In answer to a question, Ms Difolco reported that children and young people with SEND who were known to the Youth Offending Service were offered a range of interventions and assessments.  Those with SEND who had not offended but were considered to be at risk were supported through targeted work by the Youth Service and Haringey Community Gold.   In answer to another question, she stated that she would be happy to submit the report of the thematic inspection of the service to a future meeting of the Panel.  In respect of disproportionality, the Partnership Board shared a range of data on trends and this included details of ethnicity.  Robust action was already taking place to address the issue and this included highlighting diversity issues in youth court reports.


In answer to another question regarding unconscious bias training for magistrates, Ms Difolco agreed to check to see whether this had been provided. However, she could confirm that it had been proved for all staff in the Youth Offending Service and social workers in schools.   In answer to a question regarding whether training could be extended to cover the impact of being a looked after child on offending, she agreed to consider this further and report back.  


Panel Members commented that, whilst the reported stated that black young people were over represented in the youth justice system, every other minority ethnic group was under represented.  It was felt that socio-economic factors were a significant influence on offending levels and the drivers of disproportionality were more complex than they might appear to be. 




1.    That the report of the thematic inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation on the support and supervision provided for black and mixed heritage boys and young men by the Youth Offending Service be submitted to a future meeting of the Panel; and


2.    That the Assistant Director (Early Help, Prevention and SEND) be requested to further information to the Panel on;

·      The provision of unconscious bias training for local magistrates; and

·      The extension of training for relevant professionals to cover the impact of being a looked after child on offending.

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