August 20, 2019  

With violent youth crime firmly in the public eye, our latest NLGN Leadership Index focusses on how the issue is affecting local government and how the sector is responding to the crisis.
As with all of our quarterly surveys – this being the sixth – there is also the chance to review trends in confidence across council’s key responsibilities.
Here are five key take-aways from the NLGN Leadership Index August 2019.

1. Councils are significantly under-resourced to address violent youth crime

Asked the question, ‘are current levels of funding from central government to your council and other public sector partners sufficient to address violent youth crime in your area?’, 75 per cent of all council chief executives, leaders and mayors responded negatively. Looking at predominantly urban councils only (London and Metropolitan local authorities), the figure rises even higher: 85 per cent of council leaderships disagree that current levels of funding are sufficient.
Looking at the results according to region, concern over central government funding is greatest in Wales – with 89 per cent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing that central government funding permits councils and public sector partners to address violent youth crime in their area. Councils in the North West, Eastern Region and London expressed similar levels of concern about levels of funding with 88, 87 and 86 per cent of respondents from these areas stating that they disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have access to sufficient funding.

2. Violent youth crime is rising

When asked how violent youth crime has changed in their areas over the last five years, 61 per cent of respondents said that it had either increased or increased considerably. When looking at the responses from London and Metropolitan councils only, 85 per cent of these respondents stated that there had been an increase.
The regional differences are stark. Respondents from London, the East and the East Midlands reported the highest prevalence of increased violent youth crime over the last five years. Across each of these regions, 90 per cent of respondents said that there had been an increase. However, other regions reported that there had been less change: in the North East – as well as Yorkshire and the Humber – over 60 per cent of respondents said that they had seen no change, and over 50 per cent respondents from the West Midlands and Scotland also stated that they had not seen a change in rate.

3. Increasing violent youth crime is concentrated among certain types of offence

Respondents who said that they had observed an increase in violent youth offending in their council’s area over the last five years were also asked to select from a list of offence types which had risen the most. From this list, three offences were selected the most frequently, by a substantial margin over the others:

  • Anti-social behaviour – 33 per cent
  • Drug offences – 21 per cent
  • Gang-linked violence – 19

4. Prevention and targeted intervention would help councils

NLGN asked respondents to put forward suggestions in relation to a major change that would allow their councils and public sector partners to address violent youth crime more effectively.
Many of the responses received to this question highlighted the need for investment in prevention and early intervention. The need for more funding for youth services, for example, was highlighted. Effective outreach to individuals at risk of committing violent crime, to prevent this from occurring, was also raised repeatedly.

5. Social care

Confidence that councils will be able to meet needs in children’s services and adult social care have both dropped since the previous quarter: the former has dropped by 11 per cent and the latter by 13 per cent since the previous survey. Notably, at 38 (on a scale of 0-100 with 0 the least confidence and 100 the most), confidence in adult social care needs is the second lowest level recorded to date.

To read the findings in full, you can download the full NLGN Leadership Index August 2020 HERE.

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