Robert Smith, Kerry Martin, Palak Mehta, Ben Durbin, Liz Phillips
04 September 2012
The NFER was jointly commissioned in October 2009 by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the Social Research Division of the Welsh Government to undertake an evaluation of the YJB Pilot Resettlement Schemes. The evaluation was completed in August 2011.
The YJB funded six Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) in Wales to expand resettlement for young people aged 12 to 17 who were leaving custody. Under the pilot scheme, Resettlement Support Panels (RSPs) were established to facilitate the use of a multi-agency approach to support resettlement and to prevent young people from entering custody. This included addressing substance misuse, accommodation problems, mental health issues, and education or employment needs as well as mediating with families and peers, and encouraging more appropriate use of leisure time.
- Different operational models were adopted in the six YOTs to meet young people’s needs. Panels typically included YOT staff, police, housing representatives, CAMHS, community safety organisations and education and training providers. Generally, panels were effective but the engagement of different agencies varied.
- The work delivered through the pilot schemes varied throughout the YOTs. Its main focus was on brokering support from different agencies, including accessing benefits, appropriate accommodation, education, training and employment (ETE) opportunities, and mediating with families and friends. Some YOTs also delivered diversionary activities and bought items to support living in the community.
- To be successful, resettlement work should be distinct from sentence requirements, and complement other resettlement activities.
- Custody rates dropped in each case study area, and more young people had received reduced or community sentences than in previous years. There was anecdotal evidence of reduced and less serious offending.
- Other impacts included improved self-esteem and confidence, reduced substance misuse, greater engagement with ETE, and better relationships with families and friends. It was not possible to fully attribute these impacts to the pilot schemes in each area, but stakeholders felt that the schemes contributed.