Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
In March I provided Members with an update on the delivery of the Blueprints for Youth Justice and Female Offending, which included the publication of updated implementation plans which highlighted progress to date and our future work programme.
Since March there has been considerable progress with the Blueprints programme. These include:
- A pan Wales training needs analysis undertaken across statutory and non-statutory services working with women involved in the criminal justice. This has informed the development of a training framework and bespoke gender-responsive practice and trauma-informed skills training package which will be piloted by the end of the year.
- The ‘Visiting Mums’ service has gone live at HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Styal, which will help pave the way for Welsh mothers to maintain positive relationships with their children throughout their prison sentence. The Visiting Mum project is jointly funded by Welsh Government and HM Prison and Probation Service.
- Development of a revised service specification for the Forensic Consultation and Treatment Service (FACTS) with the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee, Cwm Taf Health Authority and the Youth Justice Board, which will provide the delivery of a pan-Wales psychology-led trauma-informed model to Youth Offending teams.
- Youth Justice Board has commissioned an Effective Practice Award on trauma-informed practice which includes subsidised places made available to all Youth Offending Teams in Wales.
In addition to this the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services and I have agreed with the Ministry of Justice to work together to deliver an outcome that will see Welsh children in the welfare and justice systems in Wales fully co-located in the same building / site enabling them to remain close to their communities. Officials are working with the Ministry of Justice to develop options for future provision and how the shared vision for the secure care of Welsh children can be realised.
The proposed Residential Women’s Centre is also a core element of the Female Offender Blueprint. We are continuing to engage closely with the Ministry of Justice, who are responsible for identifying potential sites, on this important programme of work. An Involvement Model for engaging women with lived experience of the criminal justice system has also been developed which will help support the design and delivery of key Blueprint deliverables.
All of this work supports the Welsh Government’s commitment to making our communities safer through reductions in anti-social behaviour, crime and the fear of crime. One of our Programme for Government commitments is to increase the number of Police and Community Support Officers from the current 500 to 600. PCSOs are the eyes and ears of their communities and they take a problem solving preventative approach to addressing issues within their local areas, including knife crime. We have provided the extra funding to the 4 Welsh police forces and recruitment activity is underway with the aim that the additional officers will be deployed by the end of this financial year.
Although responsibility for policies on crime is not devolved to the Welsh Government, several areas of devolved responsibility can impact on community safety and anti-social behaviour. I work closely with, Police and Crime Commissioners, the Police, Local Authorities, and other partner organisations to improve community safety across Wales. Every quarter either I, or the First Minister chairs the Policing Partnership Board for Wales which provides an opportunity for all parties to come together to discuss emerging and ongoing issues.
Over the last 12 months we have worked in partnership with Policing in Wales and other criminal justice agencies through Criminal Justice in Wales to develop the Race Equality Action Plan. Our collective aim is that everyone who comes into contact with the criminal justice system will receive equal treatment and equal outcomes, whatever their ethnicity. We continue to use our influence wherever we can to enact systemic change and improve outcomes for the people of Wales.
Relationships with our key justice partners and key service providers in Wales have been strengthened further during the pandemic. Whilst justice is currently a reserved matter, our continued collaborative approach is essential if we are to progress our commitments to reducing crime and reduce reoffending. We have welcomed the reunification of the probation service in Wales and are exploring options for working in partnership with the Probation Service and the third sector to achieve and progress some of our policy commitments in Wales through the community and unpaid work schemes.
I will continue to meet with UK Justice Ministers, to discuss and progress the work that is being undertaking in relation to the blueprints and wider justice matters and I will keep Members informed of progress.