Headlines: January 9th, 2013

Almost 59 per cent of youth justice staff working with young people say that their current IT system does not enable them to identify which services are having the biggest impact on improving outcomes.

The survey by Capita One also found that 48 per cent do not have access to technology which allows them to identify changes in a young person’s circumstances to support early intervention and prevention and that 1 in 3 staff are not able to easily provide evidence about the results from services.

These finding threaten to undermine the announcement that it is planned to let security firms and voluntary groups manage probation on a “payment by results” basis and to devolve youth remand services to local councils.

Most released prisoners and people serving community sentences are managed by the public sector probation service which is organised into 35 trusts across England and Wales.

Under the proposals responsibility for monitoring some 200,000 medium- and low-risk offenders will transfer to the private sector. Private companies and charitable bodies successfully bidding for contracts will be paid according to their results in cutting re-offending.

Phil Neal, managing director of Capita One, said: “It is essential for teams working in the youth justice arena to be able to target their precious resources where they will have the greatest impact on improving lives.Whether this is investment in early intervention schemes to reduce the
number of first time young offenders or programmes to cut recidivism, knowing what services are most effective is mission critical to achieving the desired outcome.

“The survey results suggest that more needs to be done to ensure that the information being recorded by teams on the ground is used to inform the process of planning and delivering services. This is essential to helping
young people who have found themselves entering the criminal justice system to get their lives back on track.”