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The Michael Sieff Foundation Conference 2016

Developments and Research Needs in Youth Justice

Tuesday 3rd May 2016
The Nuffield Foundation, 28 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JS

An Inquiry by Parliamentarians into the operation and effectiveness of the youth justice system

The Inquiry reported on 19 June 2014

  • The Update on Outcomes from the Carlile Inquiry published September 2015 can be viewed here
  • The Update on Outcomes from the Carlile Inquiry published March 2015 can be viewed here
  • The full Carlile Inquiry Report can be found here
  • The Full Press Release and Recommendations can be viewed online here

The Foundation continues to work to ensure the recommendations are implemented

Working with Lord Carlile and the National Children’s Bureau the Foundation has sought to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, briefing the Government and other political parties and working with agencies. The Foundation has been working with the Courts at every level of the system. The Foundation has met with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, the Magistrates’ Association, the Youth Justice Board and in conjunction with Lord Carlile with a Justice Minister, the Chief Social Worker, the Director General of the Bar Standards Board, the (incoming) Chief Executive of the Law Society and the Probation Inspectorate. All are committed to looking at the recommendations. The Bar Standards Board has set up a study to consider the question of competence for advocates.

One of the central recommendations was to explore the use of the concept of a problem solving court to tackle the difficult cases still coming before the Youth Court, where it might be that the young offender would be at risk of a custodial sentence. Successful diversion of some away from the courts has meant that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children remain the principal defendants before the Youth Court, at substantial risk of custodial sentences and perpetuation of a cycle of disadvantage and poor outcomes for both the child and society. In order to take this problem solving concept further the Foundation set up a Working Group comprising representatives from the Magistrates’ Association, the Justices’ Clerks Society, District Judges, the Youth Justice Board, the Judicial College, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court and the Centre for Justice Innovation.

We anticipate that feasibility studies in courts will be set up to examine how to take this work further, prior to piloting of specific projects, and separate funding applications will be made for these purposes. The Foundation’s work in overseeing the implementation of this work and coordinating the various interests will remain important and needs to be separately funded.

Further achievements resulting from the Carlile Report

  • Another recommendation was that there should be a senior judge appointed with overall responsibility for Youth Courts. We are pleased to note that this recommendation has already been accepted, with the appointment of Mr Justice William Davis (see the Announcement on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website here.
  • A further important development has been the launch of support for youth court advocates which can be found on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website here.

If you want to know more please contact the Secretary at: richard@michaelsieff-foundation.org.uk

Improving policy and practice for the well-being of children and young people

The Michael Sieff Foundation is a registered charity which has been at work since 1987. The Foundation is dedicated to improving policy and practice for the well-being of children and young people.

The Foundation achieves these objectives by bringing together people with wide ranging responsibilities for vulnerable children and young people, resulting in action being taken in practical ways. Since research shows the best outcomes for children depends on multi-disciplinary work, the Foundation encourages multi-agency collaboration. The website provides a resource for the holding of material presented at its conferences and seminars, with links to other like-minded organisations.

Since 1987 the Foundation has made a significant contribution to policy and practice in the sphere of child protection, the social re-integration of young offenders, combating cross border paedophile activity, improving the conditions for children giving evidence in court, work with early years’ children and the welfare of children in primary schools. Currently the Foundation is seeking to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentarians’ Inquiry into the Youth Justice system.

The Foundation’s achievements are often the successful adoption by others, both central and local government, of new initiatives arising from our conferences and seminars.

The Foundation will consider promoting and sponsoring with other funding bodies collaboration on matters of policy development and implementation of issues relating to children and young people. It is not a grant making body.

November 2016