Young people supervised by YOTs four times more likely to be Neet

Neil Puffett
Monday, March 29, 2010

Young people supervised by youth offending teams (YOTs) are four times more likely to be out of education, employment or training than those in the general population, figures have revealed.

The statistics, placed in the House of Commons library, show that 32.9 per cent of 16- and 17-year-olds under YOT supervision in 2008/09 were classed as not in education, employment or training (Neet), compared with 8.3 per cent for the age group overall.

Broken down for each YOT area in England, the figures reveal a huge variance in proportions of young people classed as Neet across the country.

Areas with the lowest percentage of Neets under YOT supervision included Hillingdon, Sefton, St Helens, Sunderland, and Windsor and Maidenhead, with proportions ranging from 13.7 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

Those with the greatest proportion included Bournemouth (58.9 per cent), Wakefield (51.9 per cent), and Brighton and Hove (48.6 per cent).

Rob Allen, director at the International Centre for Prison Studies and former board member of the Youth Justice Board, said it is a widely held belief in the youth justice sector that getting young people involved with work, training or education can help steer them away from crime.

He said YOTs should have better relationships with local agencies to help get young people into education or employment.

"Hopefully YOTs will have a relationship with colleges and local employers willing to take on people who have had some troubles.

"Good YOTs tend to try to develop networks of agencies that provide opportunities for young people."

However, he added that the varying proportions of Neets across different areas can be the result of local factors affecting the young person before they come into contact with the youth justice system.

The figures showed that the proportion of 16- and 17-year-old Neets supervised by YOTs has fallen for the past two years.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Young people under YOT supervision are some of the most vulnerable in our society and many will come from a disadvantaged background. Therefore a higher proportion will be Neet compared with the entire population of 16- to 17-year-olds."

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