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Councils 'ignored' over youth offending

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Ministers have been accused of sidelining councils before unveiling proposals to intervene in under-performing Youth Offending Teams (YOTs).

Les Lawrence (Con), chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people’s board, said it was disappointing that justice minister Jack Straw, children’s secretary Ed Balls, and home secretary Alan Johnson had not consulted the sector.

Cllr Lawrence said the announcement, which was part of a first-anniversary update of the Youth Crime Action Plan, was “in breach of the spirit of the concordat between central and local government”.

“YOTs are doing crucial work preventing and dealing with crime carried out by children,” he said.

“Proposed changes to give intervention powers to national government are completely unnecessary.

“It is scare-mongering to give the public the idea there is a problem without a proper explanation and where, as is acknowledged, the vast majority are actually doing excellent work in very difficult circumstances.”

England and Wales have 157 YOTs, mostly set up along local authority boundaries.

Sefton was one YOT named where intervention was deemed necessary.

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