The MA has submitted a response to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) consultation on the development of revised national standards for youth justice services.
The standards seek to provide a national framework of minimum requirements for the delivery of services for children in the youth justice system, and are intended for use by youth offending teams and other professionals working with children in the justice system.
In their introduction to the document, the YJB state that they have sought to rationalise the existing 2013 standards into a condensed set of functions, demonstrating a move away from process-driven requirements. They explain that the new format reflects the 'maturity of the youth justice system', as well as the YJB's move to 'outcome focused oversight'.
In the MA's response we welcomed the opportunity to comment on the standards, given the crucial role that they will play in ensuring effective outcomes for children, as well as in promoting confidence among sentencers.
The response set out two specific recommendations, calling for:
- Further detail within the guidance on parenting orders, in light of the court's duty to consider such orders as part of the sentencing exercise.
- The use of more reflective terminology when referring to children within the document, suggesting the more widely recognised 'child or young person'.
Finally, the MA raised concerns around the overall approach taken by the YJB to revise the existing standards into a more condensed format. While acknowledging the benefits that a more concise overview can provide for practitioners in some instances, we expressed concerns that this could allow for a much broader interpretation of requirements, possibly resulting in inconsistent provision. In light of this, we suggested that the new document could have been provided alongside a fuller guideline with more detail, in a similar format as the existing 2013 standards.
Full details on the YJB consultation can be found here.