Monday, September 04, 2006


Meeting the Youth Offending Team

I had a meeting today with some members of Oldham’s Youth Offending Team (YOT), which was both inspiring and depressing at the same time! I was there due to my job – finding out how the Council is performing in the areas relevant to Comprehensive Performance Assessment – and now the work of the YOT will form part of the assessment. So I got to learn all about how the service is performing and what some of the key issues are.

It was a real learning experience, as I discovered the scale of the work done by the team, as well as the effects of youth offending on the community at large – this year’s young shoplifter may well become next year’s older violent offender, and we need to do our utmost to stop this happening. I also found out about some of the fantastic schemes in place, partnership working with organisations like Connexions.

But I also heard about the awful re-offending rates, and the dilemma about what to do with young people with criminal records – how can they leave criminality behind when schools won’t teach them and employers won’t give them a job?

It is certainly a hugely difficult, complex and important issue, and one which taxes minds more capable than mine. But it is something which effects people far outside of my comfortable office, making a difference to people’s lives in communities like Prestwich. It really did bring home some of the complexities behind residents’ issues like anti-social behaviour.

It’s meetings like this one which make me more determined than ever to become more involved in local issues, trying to bring all sides together and find workable and successful solutions to problems like these.


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