A project working with young people in Gloucestershire to divert them away from crime has been shortlisted for a Howard League for Penal Reform award. The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team (YST) which is provided by Prospects – the education, employment, skills and care company – on behalf of the County Council, has been nominated in the policing and children category.
The fast track team, part of YST, works with all young people (10-17 years) that come to the attention of the police as the result of offending and/or antisocial behaviour in Gloucestershire.
The officer in charge notifies the project co-ordinator of the arrest who then reviews the notification and allocates a programme officer, tasking them with contacting the young person and their family to offer an appointment within five days. If accepted the programme officer will meet the young person and family, ideally in the family home, to undertake a triage, during which needs such as health, substance misuse and communication along with whether the young person is not in education, employment and training (NEET) are identified.
An initial plan of action is agreed with the young person, including sign posting and/or brokering into the wider integrated YST including access to specialist services such as substance misuse, mental health, teenage pregnancy and NEET workers. The programme officer will liaise with any other professionals working with the young person. The outcome of the triage is also fed-back to the officer in charge to assist the Police in making an appropriate decision, ideally diverting the young person away from the criminal justice system.
In the last year the team have received 700 notifications and the completely voluntary programme, worked with 56% of these. Figures show that reoffending rates have decreased in the county by 2.6%.
Alison Williams of Prospects, said:
“It is great news that the fast track team have been shortlisted for this award with the Howard League. They have achieved fantastic results and should be proud of the contribution they are making to reducing antisocial behaviour and offending in the County, not to mention the difference they are making to individual young people and their families. It is a great testament to their work that they have been nominated for this award.”
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “In Gloucestershire we always look for innovative ways to overcome issues we face. Our work with Prospects on the Youth Support Team is one example of this as the first integrated service of its kind in the country.
“I’m delighted that this approach has been recognised by the Howard League as an outstanding example of diversionary work, and credit must go to those involved.”
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Notes to Editor
The Prospects Group provides tailored education, employment, training and care products and services for people at all stages of life. Each year Prospects inspires more than 500,000 people to develop their potential and transform their lives. More than 1,400 professional and skilled colleagues provide practical support to the local communities they are based in across the UK and internationally. Prospects is one of the largest employee owned companies in the UK. It is also a Leader in Diversity and ranked in the top 100 index by the National Centre for Diversity.
Alona de Havilland
07790 803882 or 01823 362804
Senior Communications Manager
020 8315 1023 or 07901 922211