Inspectorate finds further effort required to implement Youth Justice Review recommendations
An independent inspection report has highlighted the need for greater commitment, ambition and creativity to be applied if current Department of Justice plans to implement 90% of the recommendations of the Youth Justice Review are to be met in 2014.
The report published today (17 December 2013) by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) is the first of two reports by the Inspectorate reviewing progress towards the implementation of the 2011 Youth Justice Review recommendations.
"The Youth Justice Review was one of a number of reviews commissioned by the Department of Justice (DoJ) after justice matters were devolved in 2010. It focused on those areas which would make the greatest difference to the lives of children, victims and communities," said Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
"After the Minister of Justice accepted the overwhelming majority of the Youth Justice Review recommendations in June 2012, he requested CJI to conduct this review to provide an independent assessment of progress made against the accepted recommendations."
Mr McGuigan said Inspectors found varying degrees of progress when carrying out their review in relation to the 45 recommendations and sub recommendations accepted by the DoJ.
A total of 19% of sub recommendations were found to be achieved with a further 31% showing substantial progress. Of the remaining 50%, Inspectors found 12% of sub recommendations showed no progress with the remaining 38% indicating only limited progress.
"On that basis half of recommendations require significant progress to be made in this second year of work, in order to achieve the desired levels of implementation within the timescales that have been set," said Mr McGuigan.
The Chief Inspector indicated the Delivering Social Change initiative - spearheaded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister - which incorporates a number of Youth Justice Review recommendations, had the potential to deliver the cross-Governmental response and transformational change needed to deal with the underlying causes of crime.
"The aim of the Delivering Social Change programme is ambitious. However maintaining the required level of cross-departmental support may prove to be more difficult in the context of continued public expenditure cuts, particularly as this is a generational project that is unlikely to deliver any short term change," concluded the Chief Inspector.