Youth Offending Service braced for major cuts

St Helens Council’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) is bracing itself for
sudden cuts that could total more than £40,000 – following the Youth
Justice Board’s decision to pull the plug on £9 million worth of grants
nationally.

The St Helens service now faces staff cuts at a time when its work is
making a real difference in cutting the number of young people committing
offences locally and helping to reduce the youth custody population – a key
Government goal.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Young People, Councillor Andy Bowden said: “The Ministry of Justice decision to cut this funding will inflict a great deal of damage on the youth justice system.

“Youth offending services have played a significant role in both preventing
offending and supervising young offenders in the community. Their work has also helped our local partners to focus attention on the needs and risks of young people who offend.

“Without this focus, and without local multi-disciplinary teams of police
officers, probation staff, social workers, education and health specialists
working together the system will lose much of its effectiveness.”

The latest blow will be felt more acutely than ongoing, planned
efficiencies already being carried out by the council. The YJB cut will
have a major impact – coming suddenly and with five months of the financial year remaining.

“It will be highly disruptive,” said Councillor Bowden, “coming after all
our local partners have set their budgets for the year.”

The decision to cut funding came despite pleas from the Association of
Youth Offending Team Managers to delay their implementation.