Youth Justice Division to replace YJB in April 2012

Neil Puffett
Friday, July 15, 2011

A date of April 2012 has been pencilled in for the abolition of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), to be replaced by a Youth Justice Division, it has emerged.

Youth Justice Division to be headed up at the Ministry of Justice by current YJB chief John Drew. Image: Ian Bottle
Youth Justice Division to be headed up at the Ministry of Justice by current YJB chief John Drew. Image: Ian Bottle

Plans to axe the quango are currently going through parliament and despite opposition to the move in the House of Lords, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is intent on incorporating the YJB’s remit into his department.

The decision to abolish the YJB was announced in October last year as part of the government's drive to reduce the number of quangos although an exact date was not fixed.

However, a government impact assessment, published this week, lists April next year as the planned "implementation date".

The document also reveals that the move will eventually save around £250,000 a year for the department although the transition will involve costs that are yet to be fully identified.

"We have estimated that this saving comes from the direct cost of the board and board members. [The] YJB’s main SR [spending review] savings are predicated on being realised regardless of the abolition.

"The YJB anticipates saving approx £6m operating costs by 2014/15 as part of its planning assumptions."

The document states that the move to give ministers direct accountability for youth justice will "support better delivery of outcomes" and "better value for money".

"We are aware of concerns about safeguarding the distinct focus on youth justice so that it is not subsumed into the adult justice system," it adds. "We are also aware of concerns around leadership of the new arrangements and the maintenance of the skills and expertise of the YJB."

Describing how the new unit will work, the assessment says: "The Youth Justice Division will continue this government’s focus on meeting the needs of children and young people in the youth justice system and will deliver the main functions of the YJB. [The division] will create a powerful central impetus behind future improvement."

Current YJB chief John Drew is to head up the new unit within the Ministry of Justice.

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