criminal justice
local government
primary & secondary education

Improving Outcomes Across the Youth Justice Sector

criminal justice

local government

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:40

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Central London

This Forum provides an opportunity to consider the current state of the youth justice system, evaluate recent improvement efforts, and consider what more can be done by all stakeholders to improve support for young offenders. Sector leaders will share updates on the new guidelines developed for children in the system. Best practice local authority, young offender institutes and voluntary sector case studies will offer successful strategies for, and lessons from, improving behaviour among young offenders, supporting their mental and physical health, and ultimately reducing offending and reoffending rates by working together more effectively.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Criminal Justice Sector and Local Government. Typical job titles include:

  • Youth Prison Support Officers
  • Youth Prison Managers
  • Youth Engagement Officers
  • Neighbourhood Services Officers
  • Case Managers
  • Commissioning Leads
  • Liaison Managers
  • Employment Managers
  • Heads of Community Services
  • Youth Offending Managers
  • Probation Officers
  • Heads of Prison Healthcare
  • Heads of Prison Education
  • School Coordinators
  • Social Workers

This Forum is also open to Central Government, the Police, Education, Housing, Voluntary and Private Sectors to encourage discussion and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Phil Douglas, Director, Youth Justice and Offender Policy, Ministry of Justice 
  • Charlie Taylor, Chair, Youth Justice Board
  • Alan MacDonald, Head of YOT Inspections, HMI Probation
  • Maria Navarro HMI, National Lead for Offender Learning, Ofsted
  • Professor Rosie Meek, Professor of Law, Chartered Psychologist and Prison Researcher, Royal Holloway University of London and Author, A Sporting Chance: An Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons 
  • Emily Martin, Governor, HM Prison Feltham
  • Sheldon Thomas, Founder and Chief Executive, Gangsline
  • Pippa Goodfellow, Director, The Standing Committee for Youth Justice
View the agenda and additional speakers

In the year up to March 2018, statistics from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) showed that 26,700 children and young people aged 10-17 received a caution or sentence. While this was a decrease of 6% on the previous year, this in fact was the smallest year-on-year fall in a decade. At the same time, the number of knife and offensive weapon crimes committed by children rose by 7% to reach 4,500, while custodial sentence-lengths have increased, as have the number of behaviour management incidents, with self-harm increasing by 40%. Reoffending rates, while they had decreased on the previous year, are still 2.8% higher than a decade ago. The 2017 Lammy Review found the BAME proportion of these offenders has risen to 19% and called for action to be taken that addresses this disproportionality.

There have been a number of initiatives introduced in recent years to better tackle the issues of youth offending and reoffending. With the role of the YJB slightly shifting to reaggregate some work to the MoJ and Youth Custody Service (YCS), the YJB has developed revised National Standards for children in the youth justice system. The new child first, outcome-focused approach of the standards take effect from April 1st 2019, aiming to allow for more innovation across the youth justice sector while ensuring effective safeguarding.

Joint Targeted Area Inspections are also in place to improve the assessments made of how local authorities, police, health, probation and youth offending services are collaborating to support and protect vulnerable young people, including offenders. The sector is also experiencing widespread calls for an approach to young offenders that is more encompassing of their overall wellbeing. This means considering how mental and physical health, as well as life chances, affect behaviour, outcomes and chances of reoffending. This is vital, particularly as young people transition from secure training centres to prison.

As the rates of children and young people being taken into custody have decreased, the complex mental health and learning needs of those being taken in has become concentrated, with 1 in 3 having a mental health issue and 50% of 15-17 year olds having the numeracy and literacy skills of a 7-11 year old. As such, more must be done to address and support these needs and development opportunities, especially in secure children’s centres. The establishment of Secure Schools may go some way in addressing these issues, with applications to open the first one closing in March 2019.

The onus is now on youth offending teams across England and Wales to strengthen relationships and collaboration opportunities with sector partners across issues of education, healthcare and employment to tackle the causes of offending and barriers to breaking the cycle of reoffending. A holistic, wrap-around system of support for children and young people is needed if this behaviour is going to end, and if they are to reach their full potential in life.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Professor Rosie Meek, Professor of Law, Chartered Psychologist and Prison Researcher, Royal Holloway University of London and Author, A Sporting Chance: An Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Government's Vision for the Future of Youth Justice

Phil Douglas, Director, Youth Justice and Offender Policy, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Improving Standards Across the Youth Justice Sector

  • Three years on from the Taylor Review: Has the pace of change been enough?
  • Discussing what the statistics are telling us about youth justice and what more we need to do
  • Outlining the six priorities of the Youth Justice Board
  • Examining the new 2019 National Standards for children in the youth justice system, effective since April 1st 

Charlie Taylor, Chair, Youth Justice Board (YJB) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Raising Standards Across Youth Offending Services Through Inspections

  • Outlining the three key domains of inspections, and how information about each area is gathered through evidence submission and focus groups: Organisational delivery, court disposals and out-of-court disposals
  • Understanding how HMIP works with Ofsted on Joint Targeted Area Inspections to assess how well local authorities, police, health, probation and youth offending services are collaborating to support young offenders
  • Detailing the selection process for conducting inspections, and the risk-based factors involved, including volume and nature of a YoT’s casework, previous results and intelligence received
  • Sharing examples of best practice among youth offender service providers, including ensuring adequate staff support, and sensitively delivering in-court and out-of-court assessments and reviews to children and young people

Alan MacDonald, Head of YOT Inspections, HMI Probation (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Driving Educational Excellence Across Youth Custody Institutions Through Inspections

  • Outlining the implications of the ‘Handbook for the Inspection of Education, Skills and Work Activities in Prisons and Young Offender Institutions’
  • Reflecting on the 2018 Ofsted annual report and how to address the challenges of improving prison education including declining grades and decreasing uptake of Level 3 qualifications
  • Ensuring that youth custody institutions are held accountable to the same standard of performance as further education colleges in the community, through explicit adoption of the common inspection framework
  • Underlining the importance of youth custody officer training to embed a workforce wide understanding of their role in driving up prison education standards

Maria Navarro HMI, National Lead for Offender Learning, Ofsted (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Improving Behaviour Among Young Offenders Through a Reward System

  • Successfully reducing assaults on staff by 80% over the course of a year through a reward system for good behaviour, moving away from an ‘unsafe’ judgement
  • Discussing the downfalls of the previous cycle of sanctions and regimes restrictions in response to violence, and strategies for breaking this cycle for more positive responses
  • Introducing a motivational merit scheme, where points earned for good behaviour can be exchanged for treats such as confectionary at a ‘merit shop’
  • Encouraging more social time between young offenders, for example time spent eating meals together, because of the negative effects of them spending up to 20 hours a day, on average, alone in a cell
  • Sharing lessons from engaging in a partnership with the Saracens rugby team to offer sporting opportunities and coaching qualifications to young offenders
  • Working on debt culture among offenders to tackle issues relating to this incurred on their release

Emily Martin, Governor, HM Prison Feltham (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Offering a Tailored Custodial Experience for Young Offenders

  • Outlining the process of placing young people in custody, and offering guidance for youth justice practitioners: Deciding when a secure training centre, children’s home or U18 institute is most appropriate
  • Investing across strategic themes including health and wellbeing, education and the workforce, to better meet young offenders’ needs through vocational training, introducing more therapeutic units, and working to improve relations between staff and young people
  • Discussing ways to improve the process for re-placing young people aged 14-17 in breach of civil conjunction, and how to avoid this breach in the first place
  • Considering the future of the youth custody estate and how to make facilities better adapted to the needs of children and young people

Helga Swinenbank, Executive Director, Youth Custody Service, HMPPS  (invited)


Special Keynote: Successfully Advocating for a Child-Focused Youth Justice System

  • Understanding the role of the Committee in pooling member expertise to address issues around youth offending, including policies and practices around policing and resettlement
  • Discussing how to effectively integrate young offenders into society and tackle the underlying causes of their illegal actions, including by redefining the purpose of the youth justice system as rehabilitation
  • Highlighting the barriers to progression for young offenders, including how a childhood criminal record affects future education, employment and housing opportunities, and how to break these down to improve life chances
  • Sharing potential amendments for future practice to make the system work more to benefit the child, including not disclosing under-18 police intelligence and reducing the time it takes to filter offences
  • Responding to the YJB’s consultation of the National Standards for children in the youth justice system including how to update the Key Elements of Effective Practice to improve monitoring strategies

Pippa Goodfellow, Director, The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Tackling Gang Culture to Reduce Offending and Reoffending Among Young People

  • Considering the pathway into gang culture for young people, such as how emotional trauma, rejection, disillusionment and social media can encourage them to seek solace with a seemingly like-minded group
  • Looking at what makes gang culture attractive, and how to steer young people towards gaining perceived status through money and power via different means such as education and employment
  • Recognising the signs and key indicators of a young person’s involvement in violence or gang-related activity, and exploring gang-mentality to understand how best to communicate with such groups
  • Effectively addressing the issue of county lines in tackling young people’s involvement in gangs
  • Offering workshops in young offender institutes to facilitate reflection on their relationships with gang members, how they directly impact the pattern of re-offending, and ultimately leave young people better equipped to leave gang life
  • Working with young offenders to help them understand the impact of their crimes on victims, and the success of this in reducing reoffending

Sheldon Thomas, Founder and Chief Executive, Gangsline (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Delivering Outstanding Youth Offending Services Through Partnership-Working

  • Outlining key factors of the latest Outstanding rating achieved by the YoT, including an active and representative management board, a skilled workforce and effective relationships with partner agencies
  • Understanding how the YOS deals with the second-highest volume of cases of any service, based within the targeted youth support service dealing with offenders and those at risk but who have not offended
  • Sharing best practice in developing and implementing a cross-service vision and strategy that considered the need of all local children and young people, subsequently strengthening YOSs
  • Discussing the range of interventions delivered as a result of court disposals, and how they have reduced reoffending, including community resolution, youth conditional caution, and exit strategies involving education specialists
  • Exploring opportunities for restorative justice, having been identified as a weak area in out-of-court disposals, to better address the needs and concerns of victims

Nick Smith, Youth Justice Service Manager, Youth Offending Team, Hertfordshire County Council (invited)


Case Study: Tackling Disproportionality of Looked After Children in the Youth Justice System

  • Sharing research around the disproportionate numbers of care leavers and looked after children in the youth justice system, and exploring how and why criminalisation of these children exist
  • Discussing the experiences of these children across all age groups, highlighting findings from user-led work across YOIs, CRCs, NPS, YOTs and custody based in the adult secure state
  • Collaborating with Police and Crime Commissioners to influence policy and practice locally and regionally, working with the National Protocol published by the Department for Education to address this disproportionality
  • Evaluating the responses from practitioners to this over represented group
  • Exploring the next steps for tackling this disproportionality, including by considering the wider factors affecting looked after children such as mental health concerns and inconsistent education settings

Darren Coyne, Project Manager, The Care Leavers’ Association (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Reducing Youth Reoffending Through Sporting Opportunities

  • Summarising the key findings of the Review, specifically those relating to young offender institutions and secure children’s homes: Highlighting the untapped potential of sport in helping young offenders
  • Discussing the current success of organisations such as Parkrun UK, the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and Fight for Peace in helping young people turn their lives around within the youth justice system, through sport
  • Sharing recommendations for an integrated physical activity and wellbeing strategy, and how institution staff must collaborate with gyms, healthcare and education staff as well as community groups to give young children and young people the best chance
  • Understanding the gender gap in sporting engagements in prison, and how to ensure girls and young women benefit equally from the social and emotional experiences sport can offer
  • Looking to the future of sport across youth custody, including how the MoJ will fund more opportunities and staff training with up to £1.8 million per year, and pilots set to take place in 2019 with private sector physical activity leaders

Professor Rosie Meek, Professor of Law, Chartered Psychologist and Prison Researcher, Royal Holloway University of London and Author, A Sporting Chance: An Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

You May Also Like