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  • Author or Editor: Chris Wright x
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The open public services programme outlined by the Coalition government challenges the default position that public services should be delivered by government or other public bodies. It encourages choice and competition to improve the efficiency and quality of services for the public, meaning that new providers such as charities, public sector mutuals and private sector organisations will play a much greater role in the provision of public services (HM Government, 2011).

This agenda has been discussed mainly in terms of what it will mean for education, the National Health Service (NHS) and probation (HM Government, 2013). Less has been said about what it will mean for young people and family services post-Munro, although it is encouraging that the government has launched a children’s services innovation programme which invites the most ‘ingenious and dynamic ventures’ to transform children’s services (Timpson, 2013). This chapter will explore what the reforms under way could mean for the design, commissioning and delivery of services for young people and families. Using the Munro principles as a framework, it examines how services could be designed differently, around the professional, to achieve better outcomes. It is written from the perspective of a social business with more than 200 years’ experience of working with young people, which sees the wider reforms as an important opportunity to improve current children’s services and free up professionals so they can focus on the needs of the service user, their families and carers.

There has been a substantial increase in the demand for children’s social care.

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This book is a collection of contributions from experts that examines government policy in the United Kingdom in relation to the incarceration of children and young people under eighteen years old. It remarks on the policy and direction of the government in the context of the ‘three track approach’ outlined in the Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP), and reviews the aspirations of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) over the last decade in relation to its strategy for the children’s secure estate. It explores whether the outcomes that impact on youth offending may be more effectively driven by children’s services, particularly in relation to educational attainment. It also considers the purpose of secure establishments and asks who should be held responsible for bearing the cost of custody and the resettlement of children and young people back into the community. These themes are examined with regard to current sentencing practice and decisions about the release of young people from custody.

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Managing the risk

Over the last decade, the reformed youth justice system has seen increases in the numbers of children and young people in custody, a sharp rise in indeterminate sentences and the continuing deaths of young prisoners. The largest proportion of funding in youth justice at national level is spent on providing places for children and young people remanded and sentenced to custody.

The publication of the Youth Crime Action Plan during 2008 and the increasing emphasis on early intervention provides a framework to consider again the interface between local services and secure residential placements.

This report brings together contributions from leading experts on young people and criminal justice to critically examine current policy and practice. There are vital questions for both policy and practice on whether the use of custody reduces re-offending or whether other forms of residential placements are more effective long-term. The report looks at current approaches to the sentencing and custody of children and young people, prevention of re-offending and a range of alternative regimes.

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How have Australian trade unions attempted to influence public policy development? In analysing union influence on public policy-making 1983-2013, this chapter identifies several distinct patterns of engagement by unions with the policy process during three very different political and policy environments. The chapter sees unions as ‘core insiders’ in the policy-making process under the Hawke-Keating Labor government, as ‘outsiders of necessity’ under the Howard conservative Coalition government, and as a hybrid of ‘specialist insider groups’ and ‘outsider groups of choice’ under the Rudd/Gillard Labor government. While these shifts in unions’ strategic orientation can be understood as responses to changes in the policy and political agendas of respective governments, they also reflect changes in the structure and organisation of – and strategic thinking within – the labour movement.

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