Youth Justice Board confirms £9m cuts plan

5 Nov 15

The Youth Justice Board has confirmed it will cut funding to youth offending teams by £9m before April in an attempt to make £13.5m in budget savings.

Following the announcement of the need for extra spending cuts by Chancellor George Osborne in June, the YJB launched a consultation seeking views on how to make the reductions, made up of £12m in additional savings coupled with the agency’s pre-existing £1.5m deficit.

Groups including the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers warned the £9m cut could result in an increase in the number of young people in custody.

However, the board said today it would go ahead with the reduction after the consultation confirmed “the limited options open to the organisation, as a result of efforts in recent years to protect the Youth Justice Grant by making reductions in spend to other areas of the system”.

The remainder of funding gap will be closed by not filling staff vacancies and pausing a staff training programme.

Chief executive Lin Hinnigan said it had been “an exceedingly difficult decision” and the board shared concerns that reductions to the grant would put the successes in the system at risk.

“We also recognise that these budget reductions falling as they do in-year are going to be particularly difficult for the YOTs locally to manage and will ultimately impact on outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children in our society,” she added.

“We are acutely aware of the impact these reductions are going to have on YOTs and in response to the requests made through the consultation will support them to minimise the impact.”

The board is now set to issue guidance to YOTs on possible mergers to make savings, and has agreed to consider removing ringfences from existing grants to increase spending flexibility.

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