“The shocking surge in children and young people tragically involved in knife crime and gang activity only reinforces the need to invest in local services to support and work with children and young people to help them stay safe."
Responding to an APPG report on knife crime and youth services, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“The shocking surge in children and young people tragically involved in knife crime and gang activity only reinforces the need to invest in local services to support and work with children and young people to help them stay safe.
“Councils’ youth offending teams (YOTs) have an outstanding track record in working with children and young people to stop them coming into the youth justice system, but they’ve been victims of their own success. As the numbers of young offenders has fallen, so has the grant from central government to continue the preventative work that caused the fall in the first place.
“In addition, as a result of reductions in government funding, council-run youth services have seen funding more than halved in real terms since 2010.
“Faced with significant rises in demand for urgent child protection work and a £3.1 billion funding gap facing children’s services by 2025, councils are being forced to divert the limited funding they have left away from preventative work, including YOTs and youth work, into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.
“Councils must be given the resources they need to work with young people and prevent their involvement in crime in the first place, rather than simply picking up the pieces after offences have been committed. Government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review.”
Notes to editors
- Government funding for youth offending teams (YOTs) has more than halved in recent years, from £145 million in 2010/11 to just £72 million in 2017/18.
- Council YOTs have achieved huge success in working with and supporting young people to prevent them getting involved in youth crime, with an 85 per cent drop in First Time Entrants to the youth justice system and 74 per cent fewer young people in the average custodial population over the last decade.
- The number of youth cautions handed out dropped by more than 100,000, or 90 per cent, in the same period.
- Cuts to the Government’s youth justice grant mean councils are having to make up more of the funding for YOTs from their own budgets. The youth justice grant now makes up only around a third of funding for YOTs.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.