Youth Justice Standards

Closed 23 Jan 2020

Opened 31 Oct 2019

Feedback Updated 12 Nov 2020

We Asked

We sought your views on the proposed updated Youth Justice Standards.

In 2018 the National Youth Justice Advisory Group (NYJAG) highlighted the need for updated Youth Justice Standards, which provide a framework for the audit of services which support children involved in offending behaviour. The Standards had previously been updated in 2002 and 2012. It was identified that the Standards should include core principles and data sets which support local and national data collection to help monitor progress, service improvement and evidence improved outcomes for children.

A consultation took place between November 2019 and February 2020.

You Said

We received 30 responses to the consultation. Responses came from National Public Bodies, Local Authorities and Health and Social Care Partnerships, Third Sector and other organisations and from individuals. Responses were received either via the Citizen Space site or submitted directly to the Scottish Government Youth Justice Team in writing.

Overall the Standards were welcomed and believed to adopt the correct tone and align well with national youth justice priorities. However, the most common theme which emerged from the consultation was that the Standards should be further clarified or expanded. The responses also highlighted a desire for a robust evidence base, and a greater emphasis on areas such as Corporate Parenting, links with the UNCRC, workforce development and alignment with the Care Review.

We Did

The consultation closed officially on 23 January 2020. An independent analysis of the responses was produced by the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and can be viewed here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/youth-justice-standards-scottish-government-consultation-analysis/pages/1/.

We have established a working group which will consider the responses to the consultation and whether any changes are required to the Standards ahead of their publication. The group will comprise members from Police Scotland, CYCJ, Local Authority, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration

We will ensure that the working group will consider fully the consultation responses and any potential changes to the Standards prior to publication in 2021. 

Overview

Preventing offending is integral to our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up – Getting it Right for Every Child in Scotland. Our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up extends to all of our children. A preventative approach has the best chance of reducing crime, improving life chances and making good use of public resources. Timely, appropriate and effective interventions are necessary to address offending and harmful behaviour and ensure communities and children stay safe from crime.

In Scotland, we have a proud record of taking a holistic approach to the needs of our children. For those involved in offending behaviour we remain committed to tackling the causes and impact of offending behaviour together with addressing wider needs. As far as possible children should be kept out of formal measures, whether that be through the Children’s Hearings System or the Criminal Justice System, with proven alternative interventions utilised to address the behaviour and its causes. Interventions must be timely, proportionate and credible to ensure victims and communities have confidence that unacceptable and harmful behaviour is being challenged.

The Youth Justice Standards are aimed to complement the Health and Social Care Standards which came into effect on 1 April 2018. The Health and Social care Standards are underpinned by five principles: dignity and respect, compassion, be included, responsive care, and support and wellbeing. They are for everyone, irrespective of age or ability. The Care Inspectorate take into account the Health and Social Care Standards when carrying out their inspections and quality assurance functions, and when making decisions about care and health services which are, or are applying to be, registered.

The standards outline the minimum expectations for all strategic and operational services delivering youth justice in the community, secure care and young offender’s institutions (YOI). The standards will influence how services are designed and delivered and will focus on the functions of youth justice rather than processes, thus offering the opportunity for flexibility to meet local needs. These standards are recognised by the Scottish Government, National Youth Justice Advisory Group (NYJAG), Youth Justice Improvement Board (YJIB) and Justice Board and they are to be followed by those to whom they relate.

Why We Are Consulting

The first national standards for Scotland’s Youth Justice Services were published in 2002. In 2007 Audit Scotland published a performance update report which recommended that the Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government) should develop measures that capture performance and outcomes across the youth justice system. In 2012 the national standards for Youth Justice Services were updated and formed the basis of the National Youth Justice Practice Guide, published and up-dated annually by the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ).

In 2018 the National Youth Justice Advisory Group (NYJAG) highlighted the need for updated standards which provide a framework for the audit of services which support children involved in offending behaviour. It was identified that the standards should include core principles and data sets which support local and national data collection to help monitor progress, service improvement and evidence improved outcomes for children.

Read the consultation paper. 

Interests

  • Children and Families
  • Education
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Health and Social Care