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Will sanctions or support ward off trouble?

One element of the "triple track" response in the new Youth Taskforce Action Plan is the idea of non-negotiable support. Some will immediately baulk at the concept: surely support has to be wanted to be effective?

Break the cycle of neglect and reoffending

Media portrayals of "hoodies" and concerns that antisocial behaviour orders are seen as badges of honour have strengthened the perception that young people and crime are inextricably linked.

Custody staff need crisis communication training

The Independent review of the use of pain-inducing techniques – published over the summer – in short hasn’t told us anything we didn’t know before and the heart of the recommendations are simply echoes of previous reports that still haven’t been enacted.

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.

Hidden costs of payment-by-results

We are in an age of austerity where outcomes are critical. So it is difficult to take issue in raw principle with the government's desire to commission more public services on a payment-by-results basis.

It's time to respect children's rights

You wait ages for one 20th anniversary, then three come along at once. We've just marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 Children Act. And this week it is 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence.

The next commissioner needs bite

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has fired the starting gun to recruit a children's commissioner for England to succeed Sir Al Aynsley-Green early next year.

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