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Written Statement - Update on the Prevention of Offending by Young People Bill

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Local Government and Government Business

  In March 2011, the Welsh Government agreed to consider what more could be done to strengthen the policies for which the Welsh Government has responsibility to ensure greater accountability of all partners for children and young people at risk of entering, or are already in, the youth justice system. This was outlined in our Programme for Government.

A Green Paper consultation on proposals to improve services to better meet the needs of children and young people who are at risk of entering, or are already in, the youth justice system was carried out in autumn 2012.  In October 2013, I announced my intention to bring forward legislation to ensure effective reintegration and resettlement of children and young people following a community or custodial sentence. A White Paper consultation was launched on 5 February 2014 and closed on 30 April 2014. The responses to the White Paper consultation will be published in due course.

Whilst I remain committed to improving arrangements and services for this group of young people, to help them break the cycle of reoffending, the Welsh Government has decided not to introduce the Bill in this Assembly. This decision has been made to create the opportunity to reflect and align future plans with the wider consideration of the Report on the Commission on Devolution in Wales, Empowerment and Responsibility: Legislative Powers to Strengthen Wales and the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery.

I will continue to work closely with the Youth Justice Board to ensure improvement of services, including resettlement, to better meet the needs of children and young people who are at risk of entering, or who are already in, the youth justice system. We will launch a joint Welsh Government and Youth Justice Board Strategy shortly, which will focus on delivering improved support and partnership working for young people and children within the youth justice system. I am also continuing to support local partnership arrangements through the Youth Crime Prevention Fund, providing £4.9 million in 2014-15 to support the delivery of projects identified by partners in their Regional Business Plans.  

The Welsh Government will monitor the impact of these arrangements and keep under review the need for future legislation.