Agenda item

MHCLG Supporting Families Against Youth Crime

To apprise the Committee of the KCC led successful bid to the Government’s Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund which as secured £1.3m for work to prevent young people from becoming involved in gangs and youth violence as part of a 2 year project. Colin Green - District Partnership Manager, Kent County Council will be attending the meeting.


The Committee was apprised of the Kent County Council (KCC) led successful bid to the Government’s Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund which had secured £1.3m for work to prevent young people becoming involved in gangs and youth violence as part of a two year project.

The Chair welcomed Colin Green, District Partnership Manager – KCC to the meeting.

The District Partnership Manager explained that he worked as part of the Troubled Families Programme (North Kent) team which had noticed an increase in cases of child exploitation. For example, nine children had been excluded from their school as they had been suspected of money laundering for a criminal group in North Kent and research had been undertaken which showed the need for more work in this area. KCC had given permission to submit a bid for funding from the £5m Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund made available by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG). Initially it had been suggested that a bid for £2.1m be made which would have included direct partnership working with a number of London Boroughs. However, due to an imminent restructure of the team at KCC and the opinion that the inclusion in the initial bid of four London Boroughs as strategic partners would complicate matters, it had been requested that the bid be reduced to £1.3m. This bid would include collaboration with Medway Council, Kent Police, the Metropolitan Police and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

The funding would be used in the coming two years to develop a service specification which would include two elements. The first was the development of a care team which would include a project manager, a support officer and an analyst. The second element would be a new commissioning service which would deliver in North Kent and Medway and four mentors and four trained community workers whom the project manager would oversee. Additionally there would also be two youth workers. It was also hoped to have a “community chest” of funding which appropriate community groups would be able to bid for. The District Partnership Manager was also keen to afford an out of hours telephone project. If additional funding could be accessed then a face to face service would be also considered.

The Committee was advised that the new service would be committed to helping 50 families in the coming two years and would also include outreach sessions in schools and to other appropriate groups. A study would also be commissioned to investigate the efficiency of the work being undertaken by the service. It was hoped that the prevention and support work would in turn result in a positive outcome for these young people and their families. 

The Chair congratulated KCC on an outstanding project and thanked the District Partnership Manager for the initiative. This sentiment was echoed by the Committee.

The District Partnership Manager fielded questions from the Committee and the following was highlighted:

·         The London Boroughs involved as informal partners were Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley and Southwark. These London Boroughs relocated families at risk from youth crime into North Kent and when this type of move took place it happened immediately and KCC was not always kept informed. It was intended to formalise this process with a protocol as KCC would like to support these families with advice with regards to schooling and housing etc from day one.

·         The proximity of the relocated families to London had been raised but it was recognised that trying to manage and mitigate the risk to these families was the most important factor to be taken into account.

·         To enable the service to be commissioned, KCC had been in discussion with potential providers. However, one of the risks of more of the government funding being accessed by London Boroughs was that this would attract the attention of the larger national organisations. The District Partnership Manager was not aware of any Kent organisations with the skills or scale-ability to deliver at the pace required by the Government. The Project Manager had been seconded into the team and a short procurement route introduced so KCC could get up to speed quickly and it was intended that the project would go live in July or August 2019.

·         It was noted that there would be a preventative element and it was hoped that 25 training sessions would be delivered by April 2020.

·         The Community Chest initiative would also go live in July or August 2019.

·         It was hoped that the project team would not have to set targets for specific areas of North Kent as this might curtail help and support being given to the most at risk families. It was also hoped that a case length need not be applied although it was recognised that the team would probably be able to work with families for up to 12 months.

·         It was intended to undertake a mapping and profiling exercise with Kent Police. The analyst would also develop a risk logic profile for high risk families which would be criteria and point weighted.

·         Partnership working between Dartford and Gravesham was considered to be strong. Councillor Paul Carter – Leader of the County Council and Cabinet Member for Health Reform wanted to establish select committee and Public Health was already on board and the District Partnership Manager was confident that it would get the support it needs. A statutory duty for schools to report youth violence was also being introduced.

·         Following a question on sustainability, it was explained that the original project had included four London Boroughs and had been favourably looked upon and the £5m pot had been doubled to £10m by the Government in recognition of the scale of the problem. Full advantage would be taken of future funding opportunities and there was a reasonable likelihood that these would arise.

·         Members were advised that collaboration with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioners was yet to be explored and was an outstanding action.

The Chair thanked the District Partnership Manager for a fascinating and comprehensive presentation and requested that the subject be revisited by the Committee in a year.

The Committee was asked to note the contents of the briefing document.

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