University youth justice project recognised

A youth justice project involving the University has been named runner-up for the ‘Organisation of the Year’ category in the Howard League for Penal Reform’s 2017 Community Awards.

The Manchester Centre for Youth Studies and the Education and Social Research Institute joined the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers, led by Achievement for All, to improve outcomes for young people in the youth justice system in England who have SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities).

The partnership has had a significant impact on the way YOTs (Youth Offending Teams) understand, assess and support SEND by improving links between local health, education and custody services. The project:

  •   Surveyed over 80 area partnerships
  •   Facilitated 11 practitioner workshops for over 400 youth justice staff, local authority SEND specialists, health managers
  •   Undertook research with young people in custody
  • Created a contact book of nearly 2,000 professionals
  • Rolled out a bespoke free-to-view online platform, the Youth Justice SEND Bubble, which contains SEND guidance, access to research, materials and case studies.
  • Provided materials for a successful pilot of a peer review process and supported their reporting back to local management boards and
  • Reported to policy makers on the emerging findings, making recommendations to secure further progress

This successful DfE-funded project continues to develop, with over 50 area partnerships committing to improvement activity, working towards AfA’s newly created ‘Quality Mark for work with young people in the justice system with SEND’.