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eYPU Issue 309, 30 June 2010

30 June 2010

Youth justice

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has published an analysis of youth offending teams' inspection reports in England and Wales.  The report found that YOTs scored most highly in relation to courts and custody, and management had the highest proportion of ‘excellent’ scores.  However, it found that youth offending teams scored most poorly in respect of victims and calls for a better focus on supporting young victims of crime.

NFER has also published Positivity in practice: approaches to improving perceptions of young people and their involvement in crime and anti-social behaviourThe study highlights the range of approaches that local authorities and their partners are undertaking to improve how young people are perceived in their communities, especially in relation to crime and anti-social behaviour. It also describes the methods used to measure the impact of activities on perceptions.  The study raised a number of issues including the need to undertake a local audit of current activities designed to impact positively on perceptions, and ensure systematic and ongoing communication of positive activities involving young people and the impacts achieved.

The Home Office has launched a fact-finding mission headed by former Eastenders star Brooke Kinsella, to assess the effectiveness of current work designed to keep young people away from violent crime.  The inquiry will visit projects across the country that work to prevent young people from getting involved in gun and knife crime.  The findings will be presented to the Home Secretary later this year to help shape the government's work in tackling knife crime and serious violence among young people.

DfE has published Youth Taskforce study of perceptions in Youth Crime Action Plan areasYoung people ‘hanging around’ was seen by residents as the biggest anti-social behaviour (ASB) problem, along with litter. The two most common causes cited by respondents for crime/ASB by young people were a lack of things for them to do and poor parenting.

Youth services

The DfE has published Aiming High for Young People: evaluation feasibility study.  DFE (then DCSF) commissioned NatCen and Bryson Purdon Social Research, in collaboration with the National Youth Agency and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, to carry out a feasibility study to produce a set of recommendations for an evaluation of the Aiming High for Young People strategy.  The new coalition government has not yet made a decision about whether a full evaluation of Aiming High will be commissioned.

Education, employment and training

DfE has published Barriers to participation in education and trainingThe report presents key findings from research commissioned by the then DCSF aimed at exploring the barriers and constraints young people currently face when deciding what to do at the end of their compulsory schooling in Year 11.

The study shows that the majority of young people (86 per cent) do not experience any barriers that stop them from participating in their choice of learning post-16.  O the remaining 24 per cent, the main barriers and constraints young people experience relate to finance, transport, availability of provision and their knowledge and awareness of the post-16 options available to them.

The Young Foundation has published Opening Doors to Apprenticeships: Paper 2 Reflecting on ways forward.  Following on from the first paper which looked at the issues faced by young people who are disadvantaged and disengaged from apprenticeships, this paper considers the next steps that need to be taken in order to better understand disadvantage and/or disengagement from apprenticeships, to raise awareness, to create more effective pre-apprenticeship routes, and to improve employer engagement.

Health

DfE has published qualitative research which involved interviews with members of the young people's workforce to better understand their views on teenage pregnancy and young people’s sexual health.  Youth workers said they often felt that they come into contact with young people when it is too late for intervention, picking them up only after pregnancy or at crisis-point.  They also cited funding and better ways of meeting the needs of young people, beyond the help youth workers themselves can offer, as the main challenges to improving the sexual health of young people and reducing teenage pregnancy.

DfE has also published Young people’s alcohol consumption and its relationship to other outcomes and behaviourIt found that around 55 per cent of young people had tried alcohol at age 14, rising to around 85 per cent by the age of 17. The report also found that a number of other behaviours predicted trying alcohol for the first time among young people who had not previously tried alcohol at ages 14 or 15. These included playing truant, shoplifting, going to parties or pubs and hanging around near home or in town, but especially smoking and trying cannabis.

Children and young people’s services

A Demos report commissioned by Barnardo’s has looked at the costs associated with good and poor journeys for young people in the care system.  In loco parentis presents a review of existing data and research which found that looked after children who have a poor quality of care – characterised by delay, instability and abrupt transitions – can cost children’s services up to £32,755 per child each year more than a positive care experience.  It found that there were considerable emotional and financial savings to be made if the care system was more proactive.

Local authorities

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has written to council leaders to tell them that he has instructed the Audit Commission and five other local inspectorates to stop Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA) reports.  The government believes ending CAA will save the Audit Commission £10m and cut significant inspection costs for councils.

Intergenerational practice

NFER has published Intergenerational practice: outcomes and effectivenessNFER along with the National Youth Agency, undertook research funded by the Local Government Association to examine what works in intergenerational practice.  The report found that the most fundamental outcome for all participants is that they enjoy the activities.  Specific benefits for young people include positive benefits for academic work and improved relationships with grandparents.  A range of key factors of effective intergenerational practice were also identified.

Young people’s rights

A ban on the controversial mosquito device, used to disperse young people hanging around in public places, has received backing from the Council of Europe.  The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly met on 25 June and unanimously agreed that governments and local authorities in member states should ban the device, which emits painful high-frequency sounds, audible only to children and young adults. However, police minister Nick Herbert has ruled out a ban, saying it was up to councils dealing with anti-social behaviour to decide whether or not to use the Mosquito. He did say the government may reconsider its position if there was evidence young people's health was being damaged.

Participation

Research, commissioned by Catch22 into young people’s perceptions of the Budget and the ‘Big Society’ has found that almost three quarters (71 per cent) of young people between 16 and 25 do not know that the ‘Big Society’ is a government initiative.  The research shows how young people would prioritise government spending to help them most. Almost 30 per cent of young people surveyed cite providing affordable housing as a priority and around a quarter (23 per cent) want to see more training opportunities and apprenticeships. The research also shows that over a third (34 per cent) believe that avoiding making cuts to services that support 16 to 25s is the most positive way of helping young people as they become adults.

NFER has published research into young people’s views about web 2.0 technologies.  The research explored young people’s personal use of social media, but also looked at how they might use these tools in a community or local authority context, for example, to communicate with other young people, organise meetings and events, express their views, or take part in a youth cabinet or similar representative group.  The report found that there is enormous potential for using web 2.0 technologies to collect the views of young people and therefore involve them in civic duties and local and national democracy.

NYA Young Researcher Network grants

Early announcement: The NYA will shortly be opening the Young Researcher Network (YRN) grants programme for 2010/11. The Network is run by the National Youth Agency as part of its work with the Local Government Association, supported through topsliced funding for local authorities. The mission of the YRN is to value, support and encourage research led by young people. The grant programme is designed to enable organisations working with young people to complete a short research project, funded and supported by the YRN. Small grants will be available for local authorities and youth sector organisations who are interested in youth-led research, to undertake projects exploring issues which affect young people's lives. Grants will be awarded in September, to support projects up to the end of March 2011. For more information on the YRN, please visit our website.  More details on the research grant awards will also be included in next week's eYPU.

Events

The Confederation for British Teachers (CfBT) is running a one-day seminar on 15 July 2010 entitled Integrated services for children & young people: What have we learnt?  The seminar will focus on two projects from the CfBT Evidence for Education research programme.  Both are on the topic of integration and aim to help local authorities consider the options around the organisation of children's and young peoples' services.  The NYA will also be presenting interim findings on integrated youth support services research at this event.  For more information contact: Research@cfbt.com

Public Policy Exchange is running a national one-day conference Guns, Knives and Beyond: Tackling Dangerous New Trends in Gang and Street Weapon Culture on 8 July 2010.  The conference will consider how a ‘triple track’ approach of prevention, enforcement and punishment and can be implemented fully and effectively at the local level, bringing closer together the work of police, probation, local authorities, health services and education authorities.