Association of YOT Managers chair Gareth Jones is concerned that the attempts to improve transfer of cases from youth to adult services will fail due to long-standing suspicions among youth justice workers of the quality of care community rehabilitation companies can provide to young offenders.
The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is working with the National Probation Service, YOTs and community rehabilitation companies (delivering adult probation services) to develop a joint protocol around the transition between youth and adult support when a young offender reaches 18 but he says that YOTS are so concerned that this will not work that they plan to continue supporting young offenders when they reach 18 even if they do not receive payment.
Gareth Jones also said:
What we want the protocol to achieve is an appropriate transfer of responsibilities from youth to adult services that avoids what happens now in that young people fall off the precipice between services. But in reality an awful lot of YOTs will not transfer them over. Instead they will keep hold of cases that they will not be getting funded for because there are concerns around safeguarding issues in transferring to the community rehabilitation companies. YOTs will be looking at what is right for the young person. In an ideal world the protocol should allay those fears but in reality YOTs will still not have the confidence that the needs of the young person will be met in the adult system.
He is also calling for 18- to 21-year-old young offenders to be treated in a similar way as those who are under 18, through a YOT model.