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Tragic deaths in custody point to a system in need of reform

Five young people in custody died in the space of just 33 days during March and April. The tragedies mark an exceptionally horrific spell in the youth prison system. To put it in context, no more than five teenagers have died in custody during any entire year since 2005, when the figure was nine.

Progress in joint working must go on

The decision last week to strip the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) of government funding will inevitably raise concerns that any genuine "development" of the workforce will stall. A plan for how the Department for Education intends to take forward the quango's work is yet to be articulated.

Sir Philip Green right to propose centralised approach

Sir Philip Green has spotted that the government is inefficient. It buys laptops and paper for wildly different and inflated prices, and manages its property portfolio appallingly. He proposes centralisation, and who could argue against that? A central agency could distribute supplies much more cheaply than every business unit buying their own.

Abolition of YJB is difficult to justify

The government's decision to scrap the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in last week's "bonfire of the quangos" is bewildering. In recent years, since the welcome demise of New Labour's Respect agenda, the YJB has helped to reduce first-time entrants to the criminal justice system and the youth custody population has come down.

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