Youth Offending Team health service evaluation

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Purpose The Lancashire Youth Offending Team (YOT) works with young people from the age of 10-17 who have either become involved in offending or are at risk of offending.

The North West Regional Offender Health Team, in partnership with the North West Regional Youth Justice Board (YJB), developed a Youth Justice (YJ) Health Audit tool to examine the quality of health provision. The Regional Offender Health Team undertook Lancashire YOT's YJ Health Audit in January 2011.

Lancashire Youth Offending Team commissioned the Corporate Research and Intelligence Team to work with it on a qualitative evaluation of YOT's assessment of the health needs of young people who offend, looking in particular at issues that were highlighted by the YJ Health Audit. This work was part of a wider project to look at how YOT deals with the health needs of young people who offend.
Subject Young offenders
Commissioned by Lancashire Youth Offending Team
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Focus group
In-depth interview
Consultation with Staff
Young and adult offenders
Date 16/10/2011 - 01/12/2011
Undertaken by Corporate Research and Intelligence Team


Key findings Interviews:
- Responses to the interviews indicated that there are some health areas that YOT covers very well, for example substance misuse, and others that are more overlooked.
- A common theme with the health areas that were asked about was that interviewees said they haven't, or wouldn't, think to discuss it with YOT, but they would discuss it if they were asked directly.
- Building up trust between the YOT worker and the young person is also seen to be important - the young people may not always be willing to discuss a health need in their first YOT session.
- Interviewees were more comfortable discussing certain health needs directly with the health workers.
- Where issues were identified and had been discussed with the YOT worker, in most cases support had been offered and the interviewees were happy with how YOT had dealt with their issues.

Staff discussion group:
- ASSET is the main tool used to assess the health needs of young people in YOT. Participants feel that this is not ideal as it is a tool designed to assess risk of reoffending and not specifically to identify health needs.
- Participants feel that neither YOT workers nor health workers have the capacity to fully address the health needs of young people in YOT.
- Participants feel that the health service that young people in YOT receive is a 'lottery' depending on which health worker is associated with their YOT and which YOT worker they have.
- YOT workers feel there are clear pathways for dealing with substance misuse issues but not all workers are sure how to deal with other issues.
- Participants feel there is a lack of understanding of the needs of young people who offend by universal services such as GPs and dentists, which makes it difficult for the young people to access these services.
- In general, participants feel that YOT does the best it can with what is available, but that it could deal with health needs more effectively.
- Possible improvements that could be made that the group identified are introducing a more effective tool for assessing health needs, improving the pathways for dealing with identified health needs, working more effectively with external services and increasing the resources available to each team.

Project document(s)


Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

Rebecca Robinson
01772 537787

Mick Edwardson
01772 530290