Youth justice convention comes to MK

    MK's positive work on youth justice was showcased last week when the national Youth Justice Convention came to ArenaMK last Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The prestigious convention was attended by more than 600 delegates, including government ministers Dr Phillip Lee and Lord Tom McNally, Chair of the Youth Justice Board.  

    Among a raft of influential key note speakers, the convention was also used to launch a ground-breaking new online training programme which aims to provide the essential support to the many young people with special educational needs (SEN) who are in custody or at risk of offending. The online platform, known as the ‘Youth Justice SEND Bubble’, will help them achieve better outcomes and substantially reduce their risk of offending or reoffending. The project is funded by DfE and Milton Keynes Council’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) has been part of the Advisory Board that has made it a reality.

    The city was also highlighted in a case study of effective practice, specifically for work using Speech and Language Therapists to assess all young people attending the YOT. The team’s work has been linked to the city achieving one of the lowest reoffending rates in the country at 26.2%, the third lowest out of 143 YOTs in England.

    Diz Minnitt, Operational Manager at the Milton Keynes Youth Offending Team, said: “It’s a real honour for Milton Keynes to have been chosen to host such a prestigious event on youth justice. We are extremely proud of the work we do here, and that it has been recognised nationally."

    “The Bubble will be a real asset to all of us who work in youth justice and special educational needs and disability and I am delighted that MK has been part of its creation and that our work on speech and language assessment has been identified as a model of effective practice.”

    The event was opened by Director of Children’s Services, Michael Bracey, and Diz and colleague Lee Westlake, Youth Offending Team Manager, led seminars. Young people who have been involved with the YOT also got to be part of the convention by having photographs they had taken depicting their views of the city displayed. A video made by a former young offender called Custody to Freedom about his journey, was also shown.

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