St Helens Council’s Youth Offending Service is bracing itself for sudden cuts that could total more than £40,000.
As the Youth Justice Board’s announced it would pull the plug on £9m worth of grants nationally, the St Helens service now faces staff cuts at a time when its work is making a real difference in cutting the number of young people committing offences locally and helping to reduce the youth custody population – a key Government goal.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Young People, Coun Andy Bowden said: “The Ministry of Justice decision to cut this funding will inflict a great deal of damage on the youth justice system.
“Youth offending services have played a significant role in both preventing offending and supervising young offenders in the community. Their work has also helped our local partners to focus attention on the needs and risks of young people who offend.
“Without this focus, and without local multi-disciplinary teams of police officers, probation staff, social workers, education and health specialists working together the system will lose much of its effectiveness.”
The latest blow will be felt more acutely than ongoing, planned efficiencies already being carried out by the council. The YJB cut will have a major impact – coming suddenly and with five months of the financial
Coun Bowden added: “It will be highly disruptive, coming after all our local partners have set their budgets for the year.”
The decision to cut funding came despite pleas from the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers to delay their implementation.