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Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee Inquiry into youth justice report, 06/06/05 [S]

This report details findings from the Justice 2 Committee's inquiry into youth justice. The report expresses ""profound concerns"" over a lack of stability in funding for support services to young offenders. The report also highlights gaps in crucial services, in particular mental health services, calling on the Executive to address the inadequate provision of services for children and young people with urgency.

The report emphasises that the Committee welcomes the Scottish Executive's national strategy for youth justice, while making the following recommendations:

On multi-agency working:

  • to sustain effective services, agencies need more clarity about the sources of funding and more stability about continuity of funding. There is too much short term initiative-based funding, and single projects are funded from a confusing variety of sources

  • the Executive should consider putting a stronger legal duty on local authorities to take corporate responsibility for young offenders

  • local authority youth justice strategy groups need clearer direction about their membership, role and remit

  • education services are not sufficiently aware of the importance of their contribution, nor effective in delivering it and clearer guidance from the Executive is needed

  • agencies are struggling to achieve effective data sharing and a new statutory duty to share information between agencies should be considered

On gaps in services:
  • diversionary services which can prevent youth crime at an early stage, appear patchy and under-developed. The Executive should audit and evaluate current services and provide guidance on the minimum acceptable provision

  • the availability of substance misuse services for young offenders appears very variable and needs to be addressed

  • the Committee has serious doubts about the adequacy of mental health services for children and adolescents and urges the Executive to continue to pursue this as a matter of urgency

  • the Committee calls for a national strategy covering residential/secure placements to ensure that secure places are not used when they are not appropriate

  • the increased attention for throughcare during and after residential/secure placements is welcomed but the Committee calls for the national standards on throughcare to be audited and enforced to the same extent as other standards for youth justice

Other issues

The Committee heard evidence about the availability of social workers, rural services and services for under 12s and considered evidence about what does and does not work in developing programmes to address reoffending. This emphasised the importance of robust evaluation and effective networks to share best practice.


The remit of the inquiry was to include children and young people aged 8 to 18 to:

  • review the effectiveness of multi-agency working

  • assess the impact of gaps in service provision

The Executive Summary and full report can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

  1. Justice 2 Committee Report Inquiry into Youth Justice