Asset or liability? Evidence-based practice and measuring effectiveness in Wessex YOT

Rozmanowski, Nicole (2007) Asset or liability? Evidence-based practice and measuring effectiveness in Wessex YOT. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation examines the extent to which the specific aims of New Labour 'Respect Agenda' (2006) can be achieved within the Wessex Youth Offending Team. 'Respect' promotes the improved assessment of the risk factors posed by young people and the provision of "effective, swift and proportionate" enforcement action (Home Office, 2006a, p1) in order to reduce re-offending. National Standards for Youth Justice Services can help Youth Offending Teams to realise this ideal, as National Standards 4 and 8 have been implemented to provide greater structure and consistency in assessment and enforcement proceedings. The Wessex YOT provided the researcher with Asset data from all of the cases that practitioners dealt with in 2006. The results showed that Asset, the structured actuarial assessment tool that supports risk management, was not being completed in as many as 45% of cases in Wessex. The changes in Asset scores from the 'start' of intervention to the 'end' should indicate where improvements have taken place, or if particular court orders are underachieving in terms of failing to reduce Asset scores and consequently failing to reduce the risk of re-offending. However, this dissertation found that a significant percentage of 'end' of intervention Assets were either left uncompleted, or were copied, meaning that the success these interventions had not been accurately assessed. The 45% of unreliable data were removed from the data set and the remaining 55% were subject to a reanalysis. This indicated that the Wessex YOT might be underselling itself, in that intervention appeared to be more successful than the uncorrected results indicated. Furthermore, the individual intervention success rates varied substantially from the first data analysis to the subsequent reanalysis. Therefore, the quality of interventions can only be assessed if Asset forms are completed correctly. One semi-structured interview was conducted to pilot a questionnaire that was completed by 13 Wessex YOT practitioners. The results were indicative of the fact that practitioners felt that they did not always have enough time to complete Assets and comply with National Standards. In addition, some YOT officers expressed that working with young people should take precedence over bureaucratic exercises, such as filling in an Asset. There was some contention between the use of clinical and actuarial methods of assessment, with a minority of participants indicating that they felt that they could inform judgements using their own subjective judgements alone. Conversely, the evidence ultimately shows that using a combination of the two forms of assessment is the most effective form of practice. Therefore, this dissertation suggests that practitioners should be better informed about the benefits of using both objective methods of assessment and subjective judgements when working with young offenders and the importance of accurately completing Asset. It is unclear at this time whether non-compliance with National Standards is a product of a distinct lack of time and resources, or if there are specific individuals who fail to comply time and time again. Perhaps, this is an issue that needs to be further explored.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13

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