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Chapter 4 examines youth justice policy development from 2010 (post-Labour government) under the Coalition and then Conservative governments during a period shaped by significant socio-economic austerity and socio-political insecurities that rendered the expansionist ‘new youth justice’ approach to prevention increasingly infeasible – financially, politically, practically and evidentially. It argues that socio-economic austerity and socio-political insecurity have exerted a reconstructive influence on youth justice policy making since 2010 by motivating a more pragmatic retraction and retrenchment of policy and practice, supported by the reimagining of alternative, evidence-based, principled youth justice approaches. The chapter charts the evolution of youth justice policy since 2010, from a consolidated, rebranded ‘new youth justice’ into a more explicit strategic focus on integrating progressive ‘Child First’ principles to meet prevention goals. It concludes by asserting that the ‘3Es’ of expansionist youth justice policy, be they ‘effectiveness, efficiency and economy’ (Home Office, 1998) or ‘expedience, evidence and experience’ (Smith, 2014), have been tentatively replaced by the ‘3Ps’ of austerity youth justice: politics (change), pragmatism (necessity, rationality) and principle (Child First).

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Chapter 7 extrapolates previous findings by scrutinising the constructive influence of relationships in shaping dynamic policy-making identities in different contexts. It begins with a discussion of the power dynamics shaped by organisational and individual identity and agenda as influencing the nature of relational policy making, thereafter focusing on the relational contexts occupied by the Youth Justice Board in their policy-making relationships with governmental actors (UK and Welsh Governments, ministers, civil servants) and non-governmental actors (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, Welsh professionals, practitioners). What follows is a detailed exploration of the relational (relationship-based) contexts and mechanisms that are seen to shape collaborative policy making, particularly through power dynamics within and between governmental and non-governmental policy-making organisations in the Youth Justice System seeking common ground within collaborative policy-making relationships, utilising communication to build collaborative relationships and relational reciprocity promoting equitable, supportive policy-making relationships.

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The opening chapter explores the extent and nature to which youth justice policy can be understood as ‘made’ through complex processes of social construction within and between different policy-making contexts. It asks what makes youth justice, outlining the complex, constructed and contextualised nature of youth justice policy making across its socio-historical trajectories. This leads into discussion of the nature of policy principles, which implicates a degree of coherence and order across ostensibly random and chaotic youth justice policy trajectories. There follows a critical discussion of what is understood by youth justice ‘policy’. The analysis then turns to who are the ‘makers’ of youth justice policy – the key stakeholder groups or ‘policy actors’ operating in governmental and non-governmental contexts in England and Wales. This is followed by an exploration of how youth justice policy is made, evaluating the ‘Policy Cycle Model’ through a lens of necessary complexity, focusing on the competing discourses and rationales that have shaped socio-historical trajectories of youth justice policy making. The chapter concludes by exploring power as an influence on policy-making relationships within and between youth justice contexts and stakeholder groups, with a particular focus on the exercising of power to govern, the power of experts and the generation of evidence.

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The final chapter, coalesces the project findings into a central argument for improved understandings of policy making that move beyond reductionist, linear frameworks by examining youth justice ‘policy’ and its ‘makers’ and ‘making’ through a lens of necessary complexity. This leads into a discussion of youth justice policy making as a series of dynamic constructive influences/mechanisms, trajectories, processes, relationships and interactions that are constantly re/constructed by a range of governmental and non-governmental policy actors in relational contexts. It is concluded that while these contacts present as ostensibly chaotic, random and unpredictable, suggesting it is impossible to discern a degree of ‘coherence from chaos’, consistency and predictability or ‘patterns in the noise’ can explain and enhance the effectiveness of policy making in terms of sustainability, coherence, validity, and the faithfulness of its transfer into practice. The chapter then outlines and explores a tentative selection of lessons learned and recommendations for enhanced policy making, which cohere around: rejecting reductionism - embracing complexity, rejecting fear - embracing challenges and rejecting power - embracing expertise, experience and evidence in the youth justice sector.

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This chapter explores the nature and extent of the revolutionary youth justice reforms under the Labour government and the ideas that influenced them (1997–2010). This socio-historical period is presented as being underpinned by an expansionist approach to youth justice, with large amounts of money, resources and time invested into sweeping policy reform, mobilised by the construction of a plethora of youth justice systems, structures, laws, sentences, strategies and practices. The chapter begins by tracing the emergence of Labour’s radically new youth justice policies, strategies and practices. It outlines the recommendations from the Audit Commission’s ‘Misspent youth’ review of youth justice in the United Kingdom (1996) and the subsequent ‘No more excuses’ government White Paper (1997), which formalised a set of strategies that coalesced to form the ‘new youth justice’. There follows a detailed discussion of the radical reconstruction of youth justice through the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, most notably the creation of the Youth Justice System of England and Wales, with its central aim/policy of prevention. The chapter concludes with an investigation of youth justice developments in the two years following the first decade of ‘new youth justice’ under Labour (2008–10), evaluating the extent to which these developments evidenced an extension of and progression from ‘new youth justice’.

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Chapter 5 begins the analysis of the semi-structured interview data that affords more situated and privileged insight into the constructed, dynamic nature of policy making by eliciting the perspectives and experiences of expert stakeholders actively involved in youth justice contexts that shape the mechanisms of policy making. The chapter begins by asking ‘What is youth justice policy making?’, analysing interview data to identify expert stakeholder perceptions of the complexity and lack of consensus around understandings of policy and policy making. The following section, ‘Who makes policy?’, identifies the broad contexts of youth justice policy making and focuses on the key governmental and non-governmental stakeholder policy makers across the Youth Justice System. The third thematic section asks ‘HOW does youth justice policy making happen?’, framing its analysis in terms of the stability and change discernible in policy making since 1996, which can be understood as indicative of the messy complexities and conflict and ambivalence of the social construction of youth justice. The chapter ends with a general overview of the implementational ‘mode’ of policy making and the role of managers and practitioners in policy-making contexts, including their responsibility and culpability (relative to governmental actors) for policy implementation failures/gaps, which are discussed further in subsequent chapters.

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Policy development and implementation has a pivotal role in the youth justice system, profoundly impacting professionals and the children they work with. This imaginative book challenges limited explanations of policy-making as linear and government-dominated through original research into the practices, identities and relationships of a wide range of stakeholders working in multiple policy- making contexts in England and Wales.

The result is a detailed expert analysis of the contexts and mechanisms of youth justice policy-making. This book is key reading for researchers, professionals and students seeking effective understandings and responses to the long term social problem of youth offending.

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The methodology chapter outlines how the overarching project aims are pursued through a series of objectives, framed as targeted research questions unpacking how youth justice ‘policy’ and policy making is understood, re/constructed, experienced and made meaningful by policy makers working in different contexts. The questions also explore the barriers, challenges, enablers and opportunities for youth justice policy making and how youth justice policy making could be improved. The chapter explores how the research methodology and analyses adopted are necessarily qualitative, contextualised and ethnomethodological to enable examination of how policy is produced through processes of social interaction. The two-track methodology of qualitative documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews is then presented, alongside the central inclusion criterion of relevance to the political/policy and legislative period from 1996 to the present. Policy literature is broadly defined in this project as government legislation/policy and grey and non-governmental literature, while the interview sample consists of key stakeholders from the youth justice sector who are ‘experts by experience’ due to working in professional policy-making contexts during the analysis period.

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Chapter 6 explores the contexts and mechanisms of youth justice policy making in more detail by focusing on the relational nature of contextualised policy making. It focuses on how relational contexts influence the identities of policy-making organisations and professionals, including the expert identities often prioritised when soliciting and generating evidence and implementing evidence-based policy/practice. The chapter identifies macro-level policy discourses as representing the identity of governments, for example, contrasting populist punitiveness with the prevention–support–diversion discourse and the distinct ‘dragonised’ identity of youth justice policy in Wales. There follows discussion of governmental open-mindedness and receptiveness to civil servant influence in meso-level relational contexts when making youth justice policy, which challenges dominant discourses of governmental prescriptiveness and agenda as shaping policy. The chapter then explores the policy-making identity, role, status and influence of the Youth Justice Board as a policy influencer, as a strategic influencer and in empowering practitioners as experts. The penultimate thematic section explores the policy-making role of practitioners as experts by experience in the youth justice sector and as ‘street-level bureaucrats’ engaged in bottom-up policy making through the localised mediation and moderation of government policy. Finally, there is an exposition of the broader role of experts, expertise, experience and evidence in youth justice policy making.

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Towards a Contextualised Understanding of Policy Making
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Policy development and implementation has a pivotal role in the youth justice system, profoundly impacting professionals and the children they work with. This imaginative book challenges limited explanations of policy-making as linear and government-dominated through original research into the practices, identities and relationships of a wide range of stakeholders working in multiple policy- making contexts in England and Wales.

The result is a detailed expert analysis of the contexts and mechanisms of youth justice policy-making. This book is key reading for researchers, professionals and students seeking effective understandings and responses to the long term social problem of youth offending.

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