A plan highlighting Birmingham's achievements in helping prevent children and young people from offending over the past 12 months and setting out its goals for the year ahead is set to be approved by the city council's cabinet.
The Birmingham Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2014/15, which sets out how local youth justice services will be provided and funded, reveals that out of England's eight largest cities, known as 'core cities', Birmingham has maintained one of the lowest re-offending rates among young people with a figure of 0.93 per 100,000 people. This falls below the national average of 1.02.
This consistent success has led to Birmingham becoming one of a core group of Youth Offending Teams invited by the Youth Justice Board to be part of a three-year project to reduce re-offending which will see best practice shared nationally.
Meanwhile, the number of young people in Birmingham entering the youth justice system for the first time continues to fall year-on-year, with the city in the top quarter when ranked alongside other core cities, while the number of young people receiving a custodial sentence has also fallen.
Other key findings include:
- A 16.10 per cent reduction in the number of young offenders in Birmingham in 2013/14, compared the previous year.
- A 16.97 reduction in the number of young people in Birmingham on court ordered and preventative programmes.
- The number of young offenders in full time education, training and employment at the end of a court order was 74.72 per cent in 2013/14, down from the previous year's figure of 82.98 per cent.
- While the overall number of young people coming to the attention of the youth offending system has fallen, the proportion of those with complex needs and high risk behaviours has increased by 15.9 per cent.
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, Equalities and Community Safety, said: “Birmingham Youth Offending Service is the largest of its kind in the country and also one of the most complex, given its urban context.
“We're making excellent progress, with re-offending figures below the national average, but we can't sit back now. We know we can get even better, and the new strategic plan will make sure we do.”
Cllr Brigid Jones, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “The aim of the Youth Justice Strategic Plan is to not only prevent children and young people from re-offending but also to ensure that they do not find themselves in the youth justice system in the first place.
“The Youth Justice Strategic Plan will enable us to ensure that young people, including those assessed as being particularly vulnerable, receive the support they need to avoid the youth justice system and where they are already in the system, have access to the most appropriate rehabilitation and opportunities to turn their lives around.”
Councillors will discuss the report and strategy on Monday, 15 September.