Southwark Youth Offending Service
Since 2012, User Voice have been engaging with young people from Southwark and speaking to them about their experiences of youth justice in their local area.
Following a number of focus groups facilitated by ex-offenders, four young people were elected by their peers to represent their views at the Southwark YOS Open Day on 21st March 2012, entitled Journey Through Youth Justice.
The Open Day was well attended by multiple agencies, Senior Council Members, Children’s Services, Magistrates and a District Judge. The 4 User Voice Youth Reps engaged with attendees on a range of issues including:
- considerations when sentencing young people;
- the August 2011 civil disturbances;
- serious and violent crime;
- court procedures; and
- youth justice work with families.
Since 2013, a group of young people elected to volunteer for User Voice as a Youth Advisory Group have supported the implementation of a Youth Council for Southwark YOS.
Over the year, the Youth Council has engaged 120 young service users, including 30 who have been through the council training, and currently has a regular group of 17-20 attendees each week.
Regular co-production events are held with YOS staff and children’s services senior managers.
Year 2 of the User Voice YOS Council will involve Youth Reps from Year 1 being OCN- trained peer mentors to support engagement of the next cohort.
Youth reps who have successfully completed their YOT orders and continue to volunteer with the Youth Council will begin formal training as Peer Mentors in June.