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Following the release of The Youth Justice Annual Statistics 2013/14, the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) proposed stocktaking visits at Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) couldn’t be timelier. 

Focusing on the period from 1 April 2013 until 31 March 2014, the report looks at the flow of children and young people through the youth justice system during that period. 

Overall, the figures are quite impressive and show a clear trend towards tackling youth offending, highlighting the positive impact YOTs and partner agencies are having across the UK. 

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) notes that, compared with 2012/13, there are less:

young people coming into the system – down by 20%
young people being sentenced – down by 23%
youth cautions – down by 17%
proven offences - down by 8%
young people in custody - down by 21%

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) also reports that there has been a decrease in the number of young people in the reoffending cohort, which we’ll all agree is a welcome figure. 

There are however, some early indications that the fall in the number of young people in custody is plateauing. The reoffending rate for this particular group remains relatively high at 36.1%.

Overall though, the picture is very much a positive one. The release of the data is timely too as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now written to all local areas with further information on the stocktake of YOTs, which was first announced last November.

In the YJB’s recent e-newsletter, it makes it clear that the aim of the stocktake is to better understand how YOTs have evolved over the years; to learn from examples of good practice and consider where improvements could be made. 

That’s a huge exercise though and any stocktake will need to take into account the complexities of dealing not just with cohorts of people, but individuals. This is particularly true for the smaller cohort where reoffending remains fairly high. 

We’ll have to wait and see what form the stocktake report will take. Hopefully it will highlight some of the most successful schemes and partnership work across the country that addresses specific challenges young people face. 

Recruiting Youth Offending professionals across the UK, we hear first-hand about some of the most innovative programmes and services being offered to young offenders. 

It would be particularly productive if the stocktake allows for best practice to be shared between YOTs where the young people they are working with share similar challenges. 

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