Councillor Jeff Morgan introduced the report and moved the recommendation. In doing so he stated that he is very proud of the Youth Justice Service in Warwickshire. He had been impressed with the professionalism of the staff when he had met them. The Strategy, he stated, is written in a style and format that is prescribed by the Youth Justice Board. It is required as part of the funding process. Council was informed that performance is generally good although the rate of first time entrances to the system requires close monitoring. In addition, NEETS performance is not as good as it might be and there has been a noticeable increase in serious violent crime reflecting the national picture.
The recommendation was seconded by Councillor Penny-Anne O’Donnell.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse commended the Youth Justice Service adding that it requires more investment. Referencing paragraph 6.8 of the strategy Councillor Roodhouse noted the challenge around “county-lines” and cross boundary information sharing. Whilst agreements are in place these, he suggested, should be more comprehensive. In addition, more investment is required around victims and victim support.
Councillor John Holland supported the strategy. He emphasised the importance of remembering that over time protection of the public has moved away from the Council to the Ministry of Justice.
Councillor Justin Kerridge commended the Youth Justice Service. The strategy, he observed, is difficult to understand. Plans are unclear and the words and aspirations in the document are not backed up by any measures.
Councillor Penny-Anne O’Donnell stated that that there is a need to focus on the victim. Demand for the service is unprecedented. She welcomed input to the plan from the Police and Crime Commissioner and that it had been shared with the Chief Officer Board. She observed that young people benefit from speech and language support.
Councillor Jeff Morgan welcomed the support expressed in the chamber. He agreed with comments concerning “county-lines” and with those regarding the style and format of the strategy. There is, he suggested, a need to abolish the passive voice. Performance data is presented to the Chief Officer Board. Consideration will be given to whether it can be incorporated in the annual report.
A vote was held. The recommendation was agreed unanimously.
That Council approves the Warwickshire Youth Justice Plan 2021/22