Governance and sustainability

Engaging with key partners

Working together on outcomes held in common

To ensure the best chance of keeping local Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) scheme going, it will be vitally important that partner agencies and wider stakeholders understand what the scheme is about and what impact it can have on children, young people and families.

Agencies also need to be clear about how the outcomes that the YJLD scheme achieves for individual families link with the outcomes they are working towards, as well as supporting the broader strategic outcomes that they and other agencies are signed up to.

In effect, it is important for local partners to support and invest in the scheme in the future because they are confident that the work is making an important contribution to the strategic vision for the area. Hence the importance of focusing on outcomes, including setting ones that are realistic and being able to measure progress towards achieving them.

Getting structures in place

Having the right partnership and governance structures in place will help support practice as well as strengthen the strategic vision. Establishing and working with the local steering group is the place to start with this.

  • Include representatives from a range of relevant agencies who will assume overall responsibility for the local YJLD scheme.

  • The terms of reference will need to provide for clear accountability, reporting arrangements, and aims and objectives. The accountability is about ensuring that there is compliance with the agreed development plan and the need to trouble shoot, as necessary, and to submit regular data reports to the Department of Health.

  • Keep the steering group updated on the progress being made with YJLD pathfinder development plan, and agree a timetable for discussing and sharing progress at agreed regular intervals throughout the year. Describe the good progress and what has helped achieve this, using case studies to ‘bring the story to life’ and help people understand the difference being made to young people’s life. Highlight, too, the areas of more limited progress and the help being sought to overcome these barriers.

  • Find ways of strengthening communication between and across different levels. For example, make sure that the steering group develops links with key strategic boards and forums, and find ways of enabling group members to keep in close touch with YJLD workers.

Keeping in touch with local partners

Try and identify a local champion for the scheme from one or more of the key strategic forums. It might be a commissioner, or an elected member, or someone with a strong personal interest in supporting the work. Whatever their role and status, the scheme will benefit from YJLD schemes giving due attention to updating them regularly on the work.

It will be helpful, too (generally, as well as for deciding steering group membership and terms of reference), to identify the key decision makers in the locality and understand why they might want to keep in touch and what they might have to offer.

PCT and local authority commissioners will be key partners in securing the continuation of the scheme. YJLD schemes should work with them to give them the data they need from the scheme, to draw up a plan for sustainability, and to decide when to feed this into the commissioning cycle.

Public Health colleagues will be able to alert and advise YJLD schemes about the broader strategic outcomes that are priorities in the local area. They will be responsible for developing the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and it will be vital to help them include all that is relevant about the vulnerable children and families YJLD schemes are working with. They can also help schemes to think about ways of monitoring the service and evaluating progress against desired outcomes. The Director of Public Health will be a key member of the Health and Well-Being Board and is likely to be a key contact to help spread the word about the rationale and activity. All the better if the Director is one of the champions!

Youth Offending colleagues will clearly be important. In particular, those who attend Youth Offending Partnerships can play an important role in raising the profile of YJLD and harnessing support for the work.

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