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Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice

E-bulletin, Issue 6, August 2013

Welcome Message

The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, formerly known as the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre (CJSW), is now firmly established within the School of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.

The work of the Youth Justice National Development Team (NDT) will continue, however we will no longer use this name and instead use the new name of our Centre.

We were delighted to be able to welcome so many of you to the 6th Annual National Youth Practitioners Conference in July. ”Excellence in Youth Justice: Creating a Fair and Safe Scotland”. An informative and enjoyable event with key speakers including Kenny MacAskill, many delegates found it helpful to be among so many key people involved in shaping and delivering youth justice services in Scotland. We were grateful to Beatroute Arts for documenting the conference and capturing some of the hard work that went on over the course of the two days. (Watch the video now)

The second half of 2013 promises to be as exciting as the first, as the Centre recruits for a new Director, Research Fellow, National Development Consultant, Communications Assistant and Administrator. These posts will be in place very soon and we look forward to welcoming new members to the team.  

The team have been working hard undertaking a mapping of services within secure units and those available to young people leaving custody which is now in its final stages and will be completed in August.

Dates have now been set for the roll out of a High Risk Clinic from September 2013 onwards which will meet fortnightly. Each clinic will provide advice and support in relation to 2 cases. The Centre will also be appointing a full time clinical/ forensic psychologist to assist with psychological assessments and an administration post.

An Erasmus probation programme is being piloted in September/October with the support of the Centre.

Fiona Dyer, Strategic Manager.


We are very pleased to welcome Dr Graham Connolly, who is joining the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice as the research lead. 

Graham will work with us two days a week to oversee all research related work. 

We have also successfully recruited in other posts and look forward to introducing our new colleagues and sharing more news about project developments soon.

Managing High Risk Clinic

The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice is launching a pilot project aimed at promoting best practice in forensic mental health risk assessment and management for young offenders.

Young offenders can present with an array of emotional, behavioural and interpersonal problems and are often unwilling or unable to access typical mainstream resources. 

The Centre aims to reduce the need for local authorities to outsource specialist forensic mental health assessments and opinions and improved the quality of services available to what is at large a marginalised group in society.

The project team, which includes a lead clinician (a consultant clinical and forensic psychologist), a clinical psychologist and senior social workers, will support social work assessments and interventions with young people in line with GIRFEC. Depending on the case presentation and needs, three different levels of intervention will be offered.

The Managing High Risk Youth Project will be officially launched on 2nd September 2013. Whilst located in Glasgow, the overarching aim of the project is to ensure all high risk young people and families, regardless of where they live, have access to best advice, practice assessment and interventions addressing their mental health, psychological and forensic risk and needs across Scotland.

Referrals for the projects are being taken now.

National Training Programme

The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice were asked at the Scottish Government Strategic group to lead on assessing the potential for training strategy across Scotland in relation to youth justice work. 

All local authorities were asked to contribute to a training analysis for their teams. 

The outcome and recommendation from this feedback will be presented to the National Youth Justice Advisory Group at the end of August and strategic group at the start of September. 

A further up-date will be provided in the next e-bulletin.

Erasmus Training Course

The University of Strathclyde is offering Masters Level Criminal Justice Social Work training.

The training is a pilot project to be delivered by the Centre for Law, Crime and Justice and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice as part of a European Erasmus programme.

The sessions will be delivered to criminal justice social work staff in September and October and will cover:

  • Social capital and social networks
  • Perspectives and legal contexts of criminal justice social work and probation
  • Working alliances (or partnership working).

These modules are developed by European CJSW and probation academics, including Fergus McNeill and Beth Weaver, using a range of participatory and multi-media learning techniques.

They will address critical and contemporary themes and issues in CJSW across Europe.

For further information, please contact CYCJ on 0141 444 8700

CYCJ Update

2013 Annual Practitioners Conference report

The National Youth Justice Practitioners’ Conference was held in Dundee on 12th and 13th June and saw record attendance on both days.

Over 180 delegates engaged with discussion and debate over the two days and heard a range of keynote speakers and workshop presenters focussing on the themes of desistence and reintegration.

The event was considerably oversubscribed, which speaks to how important this event is for practitioners in the field. Feedback from the event was extremely positive; as one delegate put it “once again another fantastic event. Each time I attend I take something positive from it and on this occasion multiple times”.

Delegates commented that the conference was extremely relevant to their client groups and when asked whether the conference was helpful to their work 100% of participants either Strongly Agreed (81.25%) or Agreed (18.75%) and felt they would be able to use what they had learned in their work.

Plans are in place for next year’s conference which will be on 4th and 5th June 2014.

Briefing papers

The CYCJ are planning to start a new series of briefing papers.  If you have any research that you would like peer reviewed or published by the Centre or any themes you would like to see briefing on, we would like to hear from you.

NYJAG Update

Since the introduction of the Concordat Agreement, there have been a number of significant achievements in relation to Youth Justice in Scotland.  The Concordat allowed Local Authority Areas and key partner agencies to develop their services for children and young people to meet their emerging needs. Early examples of a change in practice was the emergence of Early and Effective Intervention processes in a number of areas, and the development of services for children in transition between Children’s Hearing System and Criminal Justice system.

Wholes Systems Approach (WSA) continued these developments and built a structure for developing Youth Justice practices nationally.

It is worth noting the significant successes that have been achieved in the field of Youth Justice these past five years:

• Youth crime has fallen nationally from 13,888 recorded youth crimes in 2008/09 to 7,672 in 2011/12 (Scottish Police Performance Framework)
• The number of children being referred to SCRA for compulsory measures has reduced by 68% between 2005/06 and 2011/12 (SCRA Online Dashboard)
• The number of offence referrals submitted to SCRA has reduced by 66% between 2005/06 and 2011/12 (SCRA Online Dashboard)
• The number of custody referrals made to SCRA reduced by 73% between 2005/07 and 2011/12 (SCRA Online Dashboard)
Last year’s figures are not yet available, but the overall trend for the past 5 or so years has been sustained reduction in youth crime and young people being referred to SCRA on offence grounds.

These achievements are striking and, given the year on year reduction in youth crime figures, appear to be making a significant moderate term impact on youth crime.

One key aspect of these developments has been appropriately removing children from statutory systems, allowing services to focus on those young people who have higher needs and whose offending is more problematic.

There are 2 questions emerging from this;

1. How do we nationally capture and communicate our successes?
2. What other good practices exist in local areas that others would benefit from hearing about?

NYJAG would like to develop our communication strategy in relation to our outcomes and we are working with CYCJ to develop a framework for recording and publicising these outcomes.  If you have any achievements or models of best practice you think others may benefit from, please contact CYCJ at the address on page 1 or contact me on Steve.harte@edinburgh.gsx.gov.uk

Champions Groups Update

Reintegration Champions Group

The Reintegration and Transitions Champions group has been focusing on various deliverables including mapping of the secure estate and services as part of throughcare for young people leaving custody.

Voluntary sector service providers have been approached with a request to supply information about the breadth and depth of the throughcare services they provide to children and young people across Scotland leaving HMYOI Polmont as they endeavour to reintegrate into their respective communities.

It is anticipated that a Scottish throughcare map will be created once information is collated.

The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice is also undertaking an exercise to examine the use of Intensive Support and Monitoring Services as an alternative to secure care and custody. Local Authorities have been contacted through NYJAG and asked to complete a questionnaire. From this exercise, a report will be written and reported on within the next activity report.

Another deliverable that the group is focusing on is examining the pathways for young people in HMYOI Polmont, to look at why the decision for custody was taken, what other options were explored and how improvements can be made in the future. A proposal and information sharing protocol has been written and submitted to HMYOI Polmont to allow this work to be started.

The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice is also a member of the SPS throughcare board and anti-violence group based in HMYOI Polmont.

Managing High Risk Champions Group

The summer has been a busy period in relation to work arising from the Managing High Risk Champions Group’s Action Plan.

The draft Care and Risk Management (CARM) document is now in the last stages of the consultation process and it is hoped by the time of the next MHR Champions Group meeting on 5th September 2013 it will be ready for final “sign-off”.

After that the onus will shift to local authorities to make decisions as to what steps they may wish to take to ensure best practice in risk assessment and risk management.

Plans are also underway for an IRISS FM broadcast exploring the theme of risk (assessment, management and formulation)in more depth and some of the challenges and dilemmas faced by practitioners in this field.

These themes will be further developed during the MHR Network Events in September and October 2013. Additionally the High Risk Clinic is now accepting referrals in advance of its formal launch in September 2013.

Vulnerable Girls and Young Women

Both the Champions Group and the Practitioners Group are working on initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness of and improve services for our most vulnerable girls and young women in our society.

We are awaiting the outcome of a funding application for a media project with young women in secure care which will be developed into training materials for use across a whole range of practitioners and managers delivering services to vulnerable girls.

Early and Effective Interventions

The EEI champions group held a practitioner development day in January 2013 in Stirling. Feedback from practitioners was collated into a report with several recommendations to improve practice and delivery of EEI.

In response to this the champions group has set up 3 short life working groups to focus on 1) training for EEI practitioners, 2) Core elements for minimum standards in EEI, 3) Menu of disposals for EEI.

The work of these groups is expected to conclude in February 2013 and will inform a refresh of the current EEI practice guidance which can be found on our website (Elaine can you add our web address).

The champions group is also organising a second practitioner development day on the 8th October 2013 which will look at the themes of the short life working groups and Diversion from prosecution for 16 & 17 year olds.

Dates for the EEI network events will be in February 2014 and suggestions for themes for these events can be forwarded to jill.mcafee@strath.ac.uk.


Stuart Allardyce, National Development Consultant with CYCJ alongside Peter Yates published Assessing Risk of Victim Crossover with Children and Young People who Display Harmful Sexual Behaviours. Child Abuse Review. doi: 10.1002/car.2277 online in June 2013.

Stuart Allardyce and Peter Yates submitted ‘Sibling Sexual Abuse: Research, Theory and Practice’ a draft book chapter, to Martin Calder for inclusion in 2014 publication on Adolescent Harmful Sexual Behaviour.

Linda Robb, National Development Consultant with CYCJ produced a paper for SASO magazine:  “So, What ARE We Doing About Girls?” The article reports on the “Taking Stock” study undertaken in 2012 which looked at alternatives to secure care and custody for girls and young women in Scotland.

The paper highlights some of the concerns about the difficulties experienced by young women and the lack of appropriate services to deal with high levels of risks and needs. It also questions the disconnect between youth and adult services for young women involved in offending behaviour.

Youth Photography Competition

Do you work with imaginative and creative Young People? CYCJ is launching a Youth Photography Competition with 5 great categories to choose from. The selected images will be used for the new CYCJ website and each successful entry used will be awarded with £10 Amazon vouchers and the prestige of having their images on the web.

Competition guidelines and entry forms for the 2013 competition are available at www.cjsw.ac.uk. Restrictions apply.

Dates for the diary


17th,  Managing High Risk Network Event- Edinburgh


3rd,  Managing High Risk Network Event- Aberdeen
8th,   EEI Development Day
15th, Managing High Risk Network Event- Glasgow
24th & 25th, Core Skills Training- Ayr
24th & 25th, ADSW Conference
28th & 29th, Core Skills Training- Perth


4th & 5th, Core Skills Training- Inverness
26th, Trauma Seminar

Managing High Risk Network Event

‘Risky Business:  A risk formulation master-class for frontline youth justice practitioners and managers’

Our free networking events are designed for social workers and allied professionals – along with their managers - who are involved in the preparation of assessment reports for court and children’s hearings in relation to young people under the age of 18.

'Risky Business' will outline some of the key theoretical debates and developments in the field of risk assessment and risk management over the last 10 years and, through use of case material, will explore the application of structured professional judgement approaches, case formulation and risk scenario planning in practice settings.

Each event will be facilitated by Lorraine Johnstone, Clinincal lead at F-CAMHS and David Orr and Stuart Allardyce, Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice.

Numbers will be limited to 60 at each event.

Our next Practitioner Network Events are taking place on the following dates:

Edinburgh: Tuesday 17th September 2013 

Aberdeen: Thursday 3rd October 2013

Glasgow: Tuesday 15th October 2013

For further information and to apply to one of the events please visit our website www.cjsw@strath.ac.uk or email cjsw@strath.ac.uk.