LGA warns against further cuts to council Youth Offending Teams

LGA warns against further cuts to council Youth Offending Teams

The Local Government Association has warned that efforts to stop children getting involved in violent crime will be undermined if the Government makes further cuts to the money councils receive to tackle youth offending.

The LGA says that funding for youth offending teams (YOTs) within councils has been halved from £145 million in 2010/11 to £71.5 million in 2018/19.

Councils are currently waiting to find out their youth justice grant allocations for 2019/20. The LGA says that until councils know how much funding they will receive, it makes planning services to support young people and help keep them out of the youth justice system extremely difficult.

YOTs have been successful in working with and supporting young people to prevent them getting involved in youth crime, with an 86 per cent drop in First Time Entrants to the youth justice system and a 78 per cent drop in arrests over the last decade. The number of youth cautions handed out dropped by more than 100,000, or 91 per cent, in the same period.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“The recent spate of tragic violence across the country underlines the importance of investing in services which protect and support young people, keeping them safe from the lure of gangs or from becoming involved in serious crime.

“Youth offending teams within local authorities have an outstanding record of reducing youth crime and making a real difference to young people’s lives, but they are under huge pressure after seeing their government funding halved.

“We share the Government’s determination to tackle youth crime, but it needs to properly fund the services that work most closely with young people at risk of offending.

“It is also important that there isk no delay in councils finding out how much funding they will be allocated, so they can effectively plan services to support young people.”

The LGA's new report, Breaking the cycle of youth violence, shows how councils are stepping up to the challenge of tackling youth violence, and calls for a “public health” approach.

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