It's a been a challenging time for us working on the Youth Justice Service project. We have got a focus for our work now, and are making some progress. We've been experiencing the popular challenge of Keeping Things Going in August While Everyone And His Dog is On Leave, and the much-loved Diary Co-Ordination Challenge. We still haven't nailed it, I shall be swanning off for a fortnight next week and we have sadly not yet found a date that both we and Leeds YOT can make to meet up and share their learning on engagement with young offenders. We are perservering!
However, we really must crack on, so what we have done is identify our first young offender to approach to see if they are willing to have their Youth Justice Journey mapped. We've also contacted the North Yorkshire Advocacy Service as a trusted body who we'd like to come and work with us to help us engage with this vulnerable and challenging user group. Data collection has begun, and work to plan out some ideas for our approach to journey mapping is now starting. I feel quite excited about the mapping work and while I don't think for one minute that working with this user group will be a walk in the park, I am looking forward to it.
I feel that we are a long way behind everyone else on the cohort, but I also feel strongly that with a user group like this you can't just go charging in. These are children who are vulnerable, they are at risk on lots of levels, their lives are volatile, they've been through and done some awful stuff, they are exposed to a constant stream of people coming in and asking them questions. We need to take care both for them, and to make sure we get the best results for the project. I also feel that our findings will be valuable to feed into our wider transformation programme in the Childrens and Young Peoples Service. So even though it feels like we aren't getting very far now, I think this one will be a slow burn but one that yields something new for the council, and one that we will gain a lot of learning from. We are definitely stepping forward :o)
And finally - if you know anyone who has applied Design Thinking to a youth justice service, please do get in touch. We are keen to learn from others wherever possible. Thank you.