Plan to reduce youth offending in Westmorland and Furness approved

A girl sitting on a bus

Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet have approved a plan to reduce the number of children and young people entering the youth justice system.

The Westmorland and Furness Council Youth Justice Plan sets out how the council intends to reduce First Time Entrants (FTE) into the justice system, as well as reoffending rates.

They council’s Youth Justice Team will:

  • Provide effective interventions that enable them to reach children and young people before they enter the formal criminal justice system and for those already in the system.
  • Aim to reduce reoffending by targeting hard-to-reach groups of young people whose families are entrenched in criminal behaviour, breaking the cycle of offending and adverse childhood experiences.
  • Ensure there’s a clear pathway for mental health support for all young people.
  • Improve outcomes for children, young people and their families by providing comprehensive support and helping them develop the skills they need to reintegrate into society, focus on employment and lead healthy and safe lives.

The plan also intends to put children and young people at the heart of the service, with their experiences helping drive improvement and develop further understanding of the causes of offending to prevent children entering the criminal justice system in the first place.

Data shows the overall reoffending rate amongst those who have already received an intervention from the council’s Youth Justice Service has fallen from 19% to 13.8% in the last 12 months.

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “I’m delighted to present the first Westmorland and Furness Youth Justice Plan for the year ahead.

“Following a period of intense change for the service and the council following local government reorganisation, I’m pleased to say that we continue to achieve successful outcomes for our young people and have retained many of the excellent practitioners who work in our Youth Justice Service.

“We will continue to listen to our practitioners and the young people we support to understand first-hand what it is like to receive our services whilst celebrating our successes and building upon what works.”

Milorad Vasic, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Director of Children’s Services, said:

“It is great that the plan has been approved and the team can continue to make a difference and give our young people a second chance at a successful, happy life.

“We’re committed to developing a “Child First” approach, ensuring our children and young people are the golden thread underpinning everything we do.

“It’s undoubtedly going to be a challenging year ahead as we expect more children with complex needs requiring our support, but this plan will ensure we have the right interventions and support in place for them.”

The Westmorland and Furness Council Youth Justice Plan can be read in full on the council’s website.