General enquiries :
+44 (0)20 7602 6000

Youth justice in 2020 – adopting a multi-agency approach

Monday 30 March 2020 Data Insight & AnalyticsYouth Justice

By Miles Reucroft

Multi-agency collaboration has been a key theme of youth services’ approach to tackling serious youth violence and key issues such as county lines drug dealing operations over the past year. In the face of continuing budget cuts, reducing resources and dwindling police numbers, it is increasingly important that those operating in the fields around these social issues adopt an aligned approach in order to better understand and deal with the issues they are facing.

Temi Mwale from 4FrontProject opened December’s Youth Justice Convention with a sobering statistic: 186 young people aged under 19 from London alone have died in the last decade as a result of serious youth violence. The numbers don’t make for much reading across the rest of the UK, either.

Collaboration and cooperation

The 2019 Youth Justice Convention was an opportunity for the domain to focus on the trauma, fear and anxiety that youth violence causes, as well as the role that youth justice teams can play in adopting a multi-agency collaboration to shape and deliver effective responses and prevention.

The speakers and breakout sessions articulated strong themes about co-production, communication and engagement with young people at source. Presenters espoused the need for those involved to be trauma-aware and to work better with the available evidence and information to improve prevention and early intervention. Further insight was also offered into adolescent contextual safeguarding, research into the effects of social media and wider developments regarding trauma-informed practice developments.

This expanded upon the general themes that we saw throughout 2019. A few months ago, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) addressed the issue of serious youth violence, discussing similar approaches in its paper, A discussion paper on serious youth violence and knife crime by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

The key messaging has centred on the need for a multi-agency approach to discover new thinking and energy as regards tackling the issue of serious youth violence. There are no easy or quick fixes available, so collaboration is hugely important, a theme that was backed up across the sessions at the Youth Justice Convention.

The lack of strategic coordination at present is resulting in missed opportunities, huge inefficiencies in approach and in some cases, duplication of work across agencies.

Delivering a multi-agency approach

So, discussing multi-agency collaboration and cooperation is one thing, but how can this be delivered? Each agency involved in this sensitive area has its own work to conduct, from social workers and youth justice practitioners to the police force and those charities which aim to help, rehabilitate and prevent these issues. Taking a step back and working to fit into a bigger picture isn’t always easy.

Technology is going to play an increasingly prevalent role in the battle against these social issues. The software is available today which empowers agencies to complete their own work whilst also making it available to external agencies in order to better inform them of the important details of a young person’s journey.

If practitioners can compile data-rich life journey representations and experiences of the young people under their purview, the software is available to provide leaders with better information and analysis to inform multi-agency decision making. The principle is to use the available information and tools to easily generate improved tracking of service investments and evidence of effective practice and targeting prevention. 

Each agency has so much valuable information and so many vital insights into the issues around youth violence. Opening these up to one another has been a theme of 2019 and can be a reality of 2020.

For more information on the technology that can be used to compile and share information on youth violence, please click below.

Multi-agency collaboration has been a key theme of youth services’ approach to tackling serious youth violence and key issues such as county lines drug dealing operations over the past year. In the face of continuing budget cuts, reducing resources and dwindling police numbers, it is increasingly important that those operating in the fields around these social issues adopt an aligned approach in order to better understand and deal with the issues they are facing.

Youth justice in 2020 – adopting a multi-agency approach