A User Perspective on Service Provision for Young Offenders in Manchester

A User Perspective on Service Provision for Young Offenders in Manchester

This report outlined the findings from four focus groups held with service users of Manchester Youth Offending Service (YOS).

The consultations were designed and facilitated by User Voice with the aim of seeking the views of young people on the services they receive from Manchester YOS in order to inform and assist the YOS in developing and planning future service delivery.

32 young people between the ages of 12 and 25 took part: all were either current or previous users of the services provided by Manchester YOS.

Focus groups were arranged in order to engage the 3 distinct groups of those who:

  1. Don’t engage with services:
    17 and 18 year olds at HMYOI Hindley, some of whom were serving a custodial sentence for breach of a community order.
  2. Do engage with services:
    a) 12 to 17 year olds who were all on current community based court orders supervised by the YOS.
    b) 15 to 18 year olds who were also on current community based orders, mostly Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Orders (ISSP).
  3. Have engaged with services:
    18 to 25 year olds who had previously used services provided by Manchester YOS and who were now mostly living successfully. This group was specifically held to allow participation by those who had no current engagement with services or opportunities to be heard.

Recommendations focused on:

  • Relationships: Active listening skills, empathy, a non-judgemental attitude and honesty about the nature of the relationship between worker and young person should be the basis for the supervision of orders. Young people also need to feel that those they are engaging with understand the realities of their lives.

Obviously they don’t know what you’ve been through and that.

  • Interventions: They need to be seen by the young person as relevant and part of an overall plan with worked-out short and longer term realistic targets and individual goals.

The offences they’ve committed, I’d make sure there was programmes put in place for that person around the crime that they have committed so that they can learn about the consequences.

  • Communication & Expectations: The relationship of the YOS to individual young people is one of power and authority and it may be difficult for young people to understand where this power originates. There needs to be clarity about which requirements are those absolutely imposed by the order and those where the YOS may exercise some discretion.

My YOS workers are both alright, they try to be a bit flexible.