YOUTH JUSTICE BOARD UNDER THREAT

YOUTH JUSTICE BOARD ON THE ROPES?

 Comment

Recent negative media coverage of the Youth Justice Board seems to have had an effect. The Commons Public Accounts Committee is beginning to take an interest in the YJB and a separate consultation on its future has just been launched.

A leading prison reform campaigner has called for the Youth Justice Board to be split up. The call by Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, comes after the Conservative shadow minister for children Tim Loughton highlighted the potential for axing quangos. Crook told Children and Young People Now: “We would certainly be in favour of splitting up the YJB. It should be a body similar to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence that looks at what works effectively.”

Youth reoffending last year was at record levels, at 75%,which doesnt help the YJBs case.

 Meanwhile it has emerged that the youth offending information system (YOIS), used by 110 of the 152 youth offending teams (YOTs) in England and Wales, was “transposing” information incorrectly. The fault meant incorrect information on a young person, such as the risk of them causing serious harm in the community, was stored on an assessment tool that can influence the sentence imposed by a court. Given these IT problems it is worth recalling that the YJB is paying Mike Mackay, its IT manager, £336,000 a year and many of its IT staff are on over £100,000. In the upside down world that characterises the quangocracy, would one be surprised if the YJB awarded its IT staff bonuses this year? We shall see, but one thing is for sure the YJB is fighting for its longer term survival.

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