Lord Norton has already commented on the Government defeat over the abolition of the Youth Justice Board. I was one of the Crossbenchers who voted against the Government. The debate was seriously interesting, see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110328-0001.htm#1103289000828. I went into the Chamber quite prepared to vote with the Government on the basis that the YJB had largely achieved its purpose, that it is in many areas advisory only and it might well be time for a new style of initiative to carry on its good work. Rod Morgan, a former Chair of the YHB has argued just that, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2010/oct/26/youth-justice-reform-bold-steps. Lord Warner, a former Chair of the YJB, tabled the amendment. What I was waiting for was a plan from the Government about the new arrangements and a convincing strategy for continuing the successful reduction in young people going into custody and the support of local Youth Offending Teams. But the eloquence of argument was all from the Opposition, Lib Dems, Crossbenchers and some unconvinced Tories. The Minister for Justice Lord McNally stuttered, muttered and seemed to have lost all hope of turning the argument round. He had no plans. Perhaps he knew he was on a losing wicket but he seemed defeated before the vote. Not surprisingly almost all of the crossbenchers voted with Lord Warner.
It is the nature of politics that this decision will probably be reversed in the Commons; indeed it may well be right to do what the Government wishes to do, but it had better have some very coherent and well thought out strategy before the Statutory Instrument arrives to confirm the abolition.
If you want to learn about the work of the Youth Justice Board, go to http://www.yjb.gov.uk/en-gb/ but you better be quick, the Government is closing their web site on 4 April. That tells you everything about their determination to press on regardless.