Skip to content

Agenda item

Youth Justice Service / Youth Justice Plan


Officers delivered an overview of the plan to the Committee. In the discussion, the following points were raised:

·         Officers apologised for typos in the report and acknowledged that the version put before members was in draft form. A final version would be put forward to the Youth Justice Board in November, incorporating feedback from both the Committee and other partners.

·         The report was a statutory requirement and the Youth Justice Service itself was a statutory service under the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

·         The numbers of young people being supported by the Youth Justice Service had been curtailed over the last five years, which was good. There had been just thirty-seven first time entrants into the service which was an improvement on a peak in 2014.

·         Officers were pleased with the performance on custodial sentences and the reduction in the reoffending rate to date.

·         There had been an increase in female offenders and officers were investigating the reasons behind this as well as responding to this change.

·         There continued to be an overrepresentation of Black Caribbean boys although on average their offences were mostly of a lower gravity.

·         The most common types of offences perpetrated by young people in 2022-23, included violence against a person, robbery drug offences and motoring offences. Highbury and Archway generally saw a higher concentration of offences committed.

·         A major protective factor to young people was involvement in education, employment and/or training, as well as supportive and nurturing families.

·         Officers noted that groups of concern/priority included white working-class boys and looked after children, who were said to be more vulnerable to exploitation.

·         Members advised that officers should consider the primary audience of the plan, with specific reference to the length of the document, use of acronyms and what was said to be a retrospective focus; suggesting to officers that the density of the text is broken down and the prospective elements given more weight. Officers responded, highlighting that the plan was an annual, statutory document with at least five different audiences, with the Youth Justice Board mandating what needed to be included. Officers told the Committee that the plan intended to highlight achievements as well as ambitions, and agreed with members that the plan could be strengthened by adding case studies.

·         Members stressed that where the plan references the vicinity of Highbury Grove School as a hotspot for offences, it should be made clear that it is the area surrounding the school, and not students at the school itself.

·         In response to questions from the Committee, officers noted that in terms of the universal offer, there was more work to be done and improvements to be made.

·         The Committee were told that the means in which young people were represented at court was important. Officers would often give background to officials on a young person’s circumstances, trauma and educational needs and would often advise court officials, including judges, to adapt their language in a way that the young person can understand. Officers based at Highbury Corner assist with this.

·         In addition of a report on disproportionality there was an evaluation report funded by MOPAC in the works.

·         Officers were making active efforts to hold partners to account. Parent Champions and Youth Justice staff had also participated in training/recruitment of police staff, in teaching them about early age trauma and the experience of a young person who has been stopped and searched. Officers had also delivered training to magistrates, district judges and lay benches about disproportionality.

·         Safer Neighbourhood Boards hold the police to account on stop and search, behaviours, and practices, and have representatives of the youth justice service and young people, on the board.

·         In response to questions from the Committee, officers highlighted that they do take onboard learning from neighbouring local authorities, such as Haringey, Hackney, and Camden, as well as other authorities further afield.

·         Officers acknowledged that not all of the work and achievements undertaken would have been captured in the document, and some had to be edited out to avoid it being excessively long, however if members felt there was something missing that should be added back in, officers would consider it.


The Executive Member for Children, Young People & Families will invite members of the Committee to any sessions that is felt would benefit the work of the Committee / support the Scrutiny Review. This includes visits to Highbury Corner Magistrates Court and a practice fortnight of events promoting Islington’s offer to children, young people, and families.



Officers to invite the Committee to the Practice Fortnight in March 2024 for the Youth Justice Service and arrange for members to also attend a Practice Fortnight for Children’s Social Care.



Officers to provide members with further information on what the service is doing to tackle disproportionality.


Supporting documents: