The dynamics of multi-agency working in the Final Warning Scheme in the North East of England

Keightley-Smith, Lynn (2010) The dynamics of multi-agency working in the Final Warning Scheme in the North East of England. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis arose from an interest in examining from a critical micro sociological perspective the practice and procedure of a Youth Justice reform implemented at the beginning of a New Labour administration. Preventing youth crime at its early onset had been a key agenda for New Labour since their election to government in 1997. Their flagship Crime and Disorder Act 1998 brought about a raft of orders with young people that included the replacement of the juvenile caution with the Final Warning scheme that was meant to be at the cutting edge of multi-agency working in youth crime control. Engineered to send messages to young people that they could no longer go on offending with impunity it was anticipated that more uniformity and structure to diversion would not only „nip crime in the bud? but also reduce professional discretion and promote greater conformity in practitioners working on the ground. To date Final Warnings have received only limited attention from academics and remain theoretically under developed and in need of greater critical scrutiny. That research which exists has highlighted the tensions between New Labour's expectations set against the reality of operational Final Warning practice on the ground. Missing is the nature and causes of these tensions, how they arise and why. Using a combination of in depth semi structured interviews and observational data with police inspectors responsible for administering Final Warnings, YOT officers who delivered early intervention and young people who received a Final Warning this thesis examines the basis for New Labour's policy with young offenders and explores how the participants interpreted the reform and the ways in which this informed their actions. Enabling an understanding of the Final Warning from the vantage point of all who participate in the initiative may go some way towards the development of best practice in 'joined up thinking' in youth justice. It is the argument of this thesis that local organizational culture and practice can inhibit government aspirations for reform. The Final Warning in the study area continued to exhibit many of the problems of the previous caution system with juveniles but within a more prescribed system that can disadvantage young people. The conclusion suggests reform in youth justice is unlikely to succeed without paying greater attention to local dynamics and the transformational tendencies at the ground level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L300 Sociology
L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2011 16:41
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 13:34

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