Westminster Legal Policy Forum

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Next steps for youth justice in England and Wales - NPCC Child Gravity Matrix framework | prevention & diversion initiatives | youth detention & custody | secure schools | transitioning to the adult CJS | multi-agency coordination

July 2024

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference discussed next steps for youth justice in England and Wales.

With youth justice being highlighted as a focus in general election campaigning, the conference was a timely opportunity for delegates to discuss priorities for policy in the new parliament.

Delegates assessed the implementation and effectiveness of the NPCC Child Gravity Matrix Framework published last year, the tool used to assist in decisions for the most appropriate outcome for children, taking into account the offence committed and mitigating circumstances.

Further sessions included discussion on strategies for prevention and diversion away from the youth justice system, including improving attainment and access to education, supporting SEND provision, developing multi-agency coordination, and priorities for safeguarding and supporting vulnerable groups. It came with heightened concerns from some stakeholders on the availability of support facilities such as youth clubs or wider diversion schemes.

The conference followed the publication of the Youth Justice Board’s Strategic Plan 2024-2027 which sets out the Board’s vision for a Child First youth justice system. We expected discussion to bring out latest thinking on approaches for addressing challenges identified in the plan, including changes to society brought about by the pandemic, increased use and misuse of technology, a rise in inequalities, and cost of living pressures, as well as priorities for reducing inequalities, supporting victims of crime, and meeting children’s unmet needs. We also expected discussion on priorities for the YJB, with a planned review by the Cabinet Office of its role.

Further sessions examined the conditions and outcomes of youth custody. Areas for discussion included priorities for the opening of new secure schools, following the joint thematic inspection of work with children subject to remand in youth detention from the HM Inspectorate of Probation, which found that three quarters of young people awaiting sentence are remanded in custody, and the subsequent publication of the Government’s Action Plan.

Keynote speakers who have agreed to take part include: Helen Davies, Head, Thematic and Joint Inspection, HM Inspectorate of Probation; Steve Chalke MBE, Founder, Oasis UK; and Professor Neal Hazel, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Salford. We are re-confirming the availability of speakers in the pre-election period.

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues in the presence of key policy officials who attended from CPS; YJB; DfE; MOJ; GLD; HMPPS; Judicial Office; Home Office; DWP; NAO; Ofsted; and the Welsh Government.

The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Parliamentarians, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.  

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materialfs, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda