News, Events and Information

News on legislation and policy, NAYJ conferences and training events and youth justice news.

‘Child Friendly Youth Justice?’ Event, Cambridge 25th September 2017



AGM and Seminar 2017: The State of Youth Custody

In this section, please find information relating to our 2017 AGM, to be held on 10th May at Doughty Street Chambers, London.

NAYJ is delighted that John Drew, former Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board, will join us as one of the speakers at our annual seminar*. We are also grateful to Doughty Street Chambers for hosting this important event. The AGM (members only) starts at 1pm. The seminar will run from 2pm to 5pm, followed by a drinks reception. Places are free to NAYJ members and there will be limited number of places available to non-members at a cost of £60 per person, to register your interest please e mail

*Please note, that due to the pre-general election period (purdah), Charlie Taylor is no longer able to speak at this event. We are instead delighted to welcome John Drew, former Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board.

As in previous years, we are pleased to confirm that the event will be FREE for members, with excellent speakers relevant to your field of work.

• John Drew (Chair, Youth Justice Board)
• Heidi Hales Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, based at HMYOI Cookham Wood)
• Carolyne Willow (Director, Article 39) and Thirza Smith (Manager, Clayfields House)
• Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC (Doughty Street Chambers)

AGM Start time: 1pm
Seminar start time: 2pm
Event close: 5pm
Drinks reception: from 5pm

Below are documents for you to download, complete and send to us here at

Application form (members)
Application form (non-members)
Notice of motion form
Trustee application form

Announcement of New Chair

The Trustee Board of the National Association for Youth Justice is delighted to announce that Ross Little, who has served as our Deputy Chair for the past year, will take over as Chair of the charity following the retirement of Pam Hibbert OBE. For more information click here.



When: Wednesday 17th May 2016

Where: 54 Doughty Street, Doughty Street Chambers, London WC1N 2LS.

There’s a great line up of speakers, including Charlie Taylor, who is undertaking the current review of youth justice on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

We look forward to see you there!

Event: The costs of youth justice

When: Wednesday 14th October, 9.30-4.30pm

Where: The John Foster Building, 80-98 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5UZ

We look forward to see you there!

Response for Secure College Rules

Response to the consultation on the plans for Secure College Rules

The National Association for Youth Justice is a membership organization that campaigns for the rights of and justice for children in trouble with the law.

The NAYJ does not believe that Secure Colleges are the solution to the high re-offending rates of children in custody. The binary measure of reconviction used by Government has remained generally constant for over a decade. Given the welcome decrease in the number of children entering the system, and subsequently of those going into custody, it is unsurprising that we are left with a group of children with multiple problems and vulnerabilities who are frequently entrenched in their offending behavior patterns.

To expect any custodial institution, however good the education provision may be, to address this within the average 80 day sentence is unrealistic. NAYJ recognises absolutely the importance of education in helping children to change and progress. But given that currently we have no idea of either the content or quality of educational provision likely to be in place in a Secure College, it may be better to look at what evidence there is about educating troubled children. We would draw attention to a recent report by the Secure Accommodation Network (SAN) which shows that educational outcomes for children placed in SCHs are not only better than those achieved by other forms of custodial institution but also exceed those for children educated in PRUs and similar alternative education provision. We would also point to evidence from other institutions that achieve better educational outcomes such as the Ian Mikardo School in East London. This school takes children with a long history of behavioural problems, many of whom are in the criminal justice system. The school does not use punishments or physical force yet has been graded as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for the last three years; 97% of the children go into further education, training or employment and none has received a custodial sentence in the last 7 years.

The Government has expressed concern about Secure Colleges being described as ‘child prisons’. However, it is difficult to see how the College differs from a traditional YOI. The proposed buildings are remarkably similar to previous plans for a YOI to be built on the same site and the proposed regime bears all the hallmarks of a traditional YOI approach.

We note with particular concern that the draft Secure College Rules provide for the use of adjudications and permit the use of force for ‘Good Order and Discipline’. Such an approach is entirely inconsistent with the College’s educational aims. Moreover, the recent update report from the Independent Restraint Advisory Board expresses serious concerns about the risk to children from some of the techniques allowed under the draft Rules. The NAYJ regards it as wholly unacceptable that force should be used other than to prevent harm. Recent legal opinion sought by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) casts serious doubt on the legality of such use of force which it also says is not permissible under the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is a fact that any intensive services likely to have a real impact on the outcomes for troubled children – mental health, residential and foster care or therapeutic interventions – are costly, and the UK is not an outlier when comparing the cost of such services with other industrialised countries.
At a time of constrained finances for everyone, we would contend that funding the construction of a new custodial facility for children would be an expensive experiment with no evidence that the outcomes will be improved – indeed all the evidence suggests that placing children in large establishments, miles away from their home community will not work.

For any queries about this response please e mail: or telephone 07957 575480.

1. ‘Achieving outcomes and value for money’ Secure Accommodation Network 2014
2. IRAP report into the implementation of MMPR. Ministry of Justice. October 2014
3. Briefing on the lawfulness of the use of force provisions in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Children’s Rights Alliance for England. 2014

Yorkshire Association for Youth Justice seminar

Please find attached the flyer for Yorkshire Association for Youth Justice seminar on 15thDecember at Oxford Place Leeds
If you require a place please contact me as soon as possible  (link to the venue below)

It will be presented  by
Sean Creaney,
Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences, University Centre, Stockport
& NAYJ Trustee

‘The benefits of participation for
young offenders’

Oxford Place
9.30 registration,
Finish at 12.30 pm.

Sean Creaney is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences at the University Centre, Stockport College. Sean is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a PhD student at the School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University. He is a Trustee of the National Association for Youth Justice and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Safer Communities peer reviewed journal.

Link to venue

Please complete the application form (click here to download) and send it to to book a place.

Letter to the Times

On 14th November Lord Harris (Chair of the Independent panel on deaths in custody) expressed his view that too many vulnerable people are imprisoned. Sadly, his commission has only been asked to look at deaths in custody of those aged over 18. But the overwhelming emotional and mental health problems that prompt self- harm start much earlier and are particularly prevalent among those children we lock up. While it is to be commended that the number of children in custody has decreased, this means that those we do incarcerate are the most vulnerable. They will have experienced abuse and domestic violence, have learning or speech and language difficulties and untreated mental health problems. One fifth of them will have self –harmed and 11% attempted suicide before they went into custody. It should be obvious that these children are in desperate need of care, therapy and a regime that assists in their rehabilitation if they are not to continue to offend and move into the adult prison system. It is therefore of great concern that the plans to spend £87 million on a new ‘secure college’ are being pushed through parliament. How can an establishment, purposely designed to be a cheap option and holding over 300 hundred children aged 12 to 17, hope to address these complex issues? In particular, we learn that the Rules for this secure college will allow physical force to be used to ensure ‘good order and discipline’. Let us not forget that a 14 year old boy committed suicide in custody because he had been restrained for this purpose, a measure that was found by the high court to be illegal at the time.

All the available evidence tells us that warehousing children in a large establishment is more likely to increase the risk of self – harm and suicide and will do nothing to reintegrate these children back into society.

Pam Hibbert, OBE, Chair National Association for Youth Justice
Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
Peter Hindley, Royal College of Psychaiatrists

2014 Events

We would like to thank all the speakers, workshop presenters and delegates who attended our two events held in April and June this year (2014). To see the report and access slides and other papers, please click below to download.

Ali Wigzell PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Ali Wigzell ‘Who_works_rather_than_what_works’ PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Dragons Den PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Sam King Supporting Desistance in Youth Justice PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Sue Bailey Slides Prof. PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Sue Bailey & John Bache Paper Click here to view
Tim Bateman PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Youth Graffiti Solutions PowerPoint Presentation Click here to view
Report on AGM and De Montfort Events Click here to view



Hosted by De Montfort University, Leicester

“Transforming youth justice?”

June 24th 2014

For an non-student application form click here and for a student application form click here, a workshop application form please download by clicking here or for more details email

The day will comprise a mixture of plenary sessions and workshops with opportunities for delegates to participate.

Dr. Tim Bateman (University of Bedfordshire)

Professor Jo Phoenix (Leicester University)

Gareth Jones (Association of YOT Managers), Rapporteur 

Workshop topics include:

• Working with sex offenders

• Transforming the youth court

• Desistance

• The use Non Violent Resistance as an intervention

• Mental health services in youth justice

• The use of the Rapid English approach

• ‘Who works’ rather than ‘what works’

• Creating independence to reduce offending

• Participation by young people in the system

• Reparative activity with young people

NAYJ members £15 Non members £20

(There are some concessions for non – waged people. Please contact