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Plans for Youth Offending Services to Merge

Plans have been supported to merge the youth offending teams of Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council into one authority body for the entire county.

There are currently two teams providing youth offending services for Dorset.

Bournemouth Borough Council covers services across Bournemouth and Poole, while Dorset County Council manages the rest of the county.

The new plans will create a single organisation to run the youth offending service for the whole of Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset.

Bournemouth Borough Cabinet Member for Education and Childrens Services, Councillor Nicola Green, has welcomed the move.

She said: “[It] will improve our ability to manage specialist areas of offending such as potentially harmful sexual behaviour and bring is in line with our partner services which operate at a pan-Dorset level.”

Bournemouth Borough Council backed the proposals at a cabinet meeting earlier this month.

The new service would have one manager but operate from two bases, one in Bournemouth and one in Dorchester.

They anticipate that the merge will improve their efficiency whilst grants from central government are being reduced with a predicted saving of £50,000.

Members of the Poole Cabinet approved that a single youth offending service could be set up to cover the county “in principle”.

Work will now begin on detailed proposals regarding the service, which will then be forward for approval by its full council.

Borough of Poole’s Portfolio holder for Families and Young People, Councillor Janet Walton, said that the new service would allow them to better prevent offending and re-offending young people.

She added: “Working in partnership brings many benefits, giving users a more consistent service and allowing us to share best practice.”

Though both of the current youth offending services have been recognised for the quality of their work with young people, Councillor Rebecca Knox thinks they can do better.

She said: “This joint service is great for young people and their families.

“It will provide seamless support for them giving greater opportunities to receive the help they need as early as possible to give them chances for better outcomes for their futures.”