Youth Offending Service to Transfer to PCC
A groundbreaking new approach will be adopted in West Mercia next month, as the area’s youth offending service (YOS) is transferred to the Police & Crime Commissioner.
Local authorities in Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire have all approved the plans, which are the first of their kind in the UK.
In 2012 the local authorities merged two separate Youth Offending Services into a single West Mercia service, which has saved considerable amounts of public money. This latest step builds on that collaborative approach, by giving the new, larger service a permanent ‘home’.
The decision should help provide a better, more responsive service to the public across West Mercia, as the YOS will have a more solid platform for future development, and closer ties to relevant parts of the PCC’s portfolio – such as policing and criminal justice.
West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore said: “We have already seen a good collaborative approach to youth offending in recent years, but this direct input from the PCC is another very positive step for everyone. The Councils will achieve better efficiency, the YOS and its staff will have more stability, and the public will see even better results around youth offending”.
Cllr Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “Since 2012 we have set about providing a more effective Youth Offending Service and we’re seeing improvements in performance such as a significant reduction in first time entrants to the criminal justice system by bringing services together across the West Mercia area.
“Putting the Police & Crime Commissioner at the heart of the new arrangement can help us to build on this progress and make further improvements for young people who use the service.”
John Campion, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for Children and Families added: "The County Council is committed to supporting young people and helping them break cycle of crime that can often blight their prospects. By transferring the service, the County Council will be leading the way by working together and will reap the benefits from closer ties with partners, as well as achieving better results for the public and ultimately young people."
The YOS will continue to be funded by a combination of a central government grant and the local authorities. The local authorities will still ultimately have legal responsibility to make sure the service is delivered, and they will retain the same level of control they have had up to now. Other areas have already expressed interest in the model and are looking into copying it.