Agenda item

Restorative Practice - Lincolnshire Joint Diversionary Panels (JDP)

(To receive a report from Andy Cook, Youth Offending Manager, which provides the Committee with an update and overview of the impact of the Lincolnshire Joint Diversionary Panel since it was introduced in June 2017)


The Chairman welcomed to the meeting the following presenters:-


·         Stacey Waller, Area Manager, South;

·         Jo Kavanagh, Assistant Director Children's – Lead Early Help;

·         Peter Grayson, Chief Superintendent – Lincolnshire Police; and

·         Tony Pryce, Joint Diversionary Panel Co-ordinator.


The Committee gave consideration to a report which provided the Committee with an update and overview of the impact of the Lincolnshire Joint Diversionary Panel since it had been introduced in June 2017.


It was reported that under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, the Police had been given a range of options of how to deal with a person under the age of 18.  The change in legislation provided agencies with greater scope to introduce the most appropriate outcome for criminal offences which could be based on the seriousness and circumstances of the offence but also consider the background of the child or your person.


It was noted that Joint Diversionary Panels in Lincolnshire had been primarily established following detailed analysis of criminal justice disposals for children and young people.  The analysis has shown there had been inappropriate use of Police cautions against children and young people.  It was therefore highlighted that without significant change in practice, there was a clear potential for increased criminalisation of children in Lincolnshire, especially Looked After Children.  The Committee was advised that the use of Youth Cautions without meaningful support or intervention could often represent an essentially administrative process and achieve limited impact.


The Committee was advised that the Joint Diversionary Panel met on a weekly basis to review the cases of children and young people in Lincolnshire who had committed and admitted to a criminal offence.  The Committee was advised that prior to the Panel sitting all the relevant information was obtained regarding the child or young person.  The Committee was advised further that the voice of the young person and views of victims of crime were also sought to generate a full understanding and picture to inform holistic decision making.  It was noted that the Panel was chaired by the Youth Offending Service, but had representation from Lincolnshire Police, Early Help and Team Around the Child Co-ordinators to provide a partnership approach and specialist input.


Details of the formal outcomes where shown on page 107 of the report along with examples of youth restorative intervention outcomes.  It was highlighted that the Youth Restorative Intervention outcomes did not criminalise but had a restorative focus for both the victim and the young person.


It was reported that it was highly encouraging that the most recent national performance data indicated that the rate of first time entrants in Lincolnshire had dropped by approximately 22% since the diversionary panels had come into operation.  It was reported further that more than 350 cases had been reviewed by the Panel, (details of which were shown on page 110 of the report) a youth restorative option had been used in 82% of all cases.  The Committee was advised that early indications suggested a positive impact both in respect of young people not returning to the Panel, but also the absence of further offences post Panel intervention.  The Committee was advised further that discussion had been undertaken with the University of Lincoln to secure funding to complete a longitudinal academic evaluation to understand the longer impact of the diversionary interventions.


During discussion, the Committee raised the following issues:-


·         Some members of the Committee welcomed the report and the restorative practice options.  One member highlighted the need for integration with other areas such as school exclusions, and the Behaviour Outreach Support Service (BOSS) Strategy.  Officers confirmed that there was definitely a correlation with school exclusions and BOSS.  The Committee was also advised that as there was a lot more options for support, there was the ability to bespoke the support to the young person's needs, where as previously the no follow up support was provided where a caution was given been given;

·         One member enquired whether members of the public were being put at risk, particularly when looking at the Tier 3 example for youth restorative intervention outcomes.  The Committee was reassured by Chief Superintendent that for serious offences, the Panel would the set the appropriate interventions due to the broad range of skills on the Panel.  The Committee was also advised that the Tier 3 outcome was successful, although the programme would be subject to evaluation;

·         The Committee was advised that the last column on the table on page 108 of the report should have the title of 'Other';

·         One member enquired that when the performance figures were reported, the number of juvenile first time offenders had been increasing.  The Committee was advised that the next performance report should see a decrease in the number of juvenile first time offenders; as there was a time lag with the data provided;

·         One member asked whether frontline police officers had access to accurate data when making an arrest.  Confirmation was given to the Committee that frontline officers did have access to current information and data;

·         One member highlighted the positive input PCSOs had in the community.  Officers concurred that PSCOs were very instrumental in strengthening links in the community;

·         One member requested the longitudinal academic evaluation being presented to a future meeting of the Committee.  Officers provided assurance that this would be subject to evaluation;

·         A question was raised as to whether a common language was used between all the different organisations.  The Committee was advised that Signs of Safety was the common language used;

·         The Committee was advised that if a young person refused to engage there were other options available to try.  All actions were assured by the Panel; and

·         Some concern was expressed with regard to knife crime.  The Committee was advised that any knife offences taken to the Panel always contained the Behind the Blade 1.1 as being at the top of the list.  Officers confirmed that Lincolnshire was not experiencing the increased knife incidents that were happening elsewhere in the country.  The Committee noted that knife incidents were rare in Lincolnshire.


The Chairman on behalf of the Committee extended thanks to the presenters.




1.    That the Restorative Practice – Lincolnshire Diversionary Panels report be received.


2.    That the longitudinal academic evaluation information (from Lincoln University) be received at a future Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.

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