Preventative investment for youth crime

Date: 23 July 2012

Investing £145 million in youth crime prevention could save the public purse over £300 million, according to a report published today by The Young Foundation (25 July 2012).

It shows that such a programme of preventative investment now would assist almost 100,000 young people and return almost 200 million cashable savings for councils, police and prisons in the medium term, while avoiding 100 million of costs arising from damage to victims from injury, emotional trauma, and inability to work.

Reducing Crime: the case for preventative investment presents the findings of two years’ work with a range of agencies and social enterprises in the UK and overseas. The report identifies the barriers that are currently in place to taking this approach, highlighting how in times of austerity local services are concentrating on making cuts now at the expense of preventative interventions later. Organisational silos, shrinking budgets and an under-investment in analysis all weaken the potential and implementation of an effective prevention strategy.

The report makes four key recommendations:

1. Mainstream a focus on soft skills development. Soft skills development should be a priority for a range of services, not just seen as something for schools and parents to address.

2. Encourage greater partnership working and smarter budgeting arrangements. Local agencies need to take community budgets seriously. They should look to the development of informal common budget pools, which should be used for the dissemination of promising innovations that benefit a variety of local partners.

3. Expand investment for prevention in targeted programmes. Action now will produce substantially better outcomes in employment and education, as well as savings to the public purse.

4. Encourage analysis for prevention. Government should support the growth of analysis and research in this area, as well as encouraging professional organisations to work together to create and disseminate databases on the effects of preventative interventions on outcomes and savings for the public purse. This should include learning from past experiences with payment by results, and encourage experimentation. A well-established body of knowledge on metrics and benchmarks is needed in order to help set contractual targets.

Simon Tucker, Chief Executive of the Young Foundation said:

“Of course, we all intuitively know that prevention is better than cure and that the public supports this approach. In the current climate, changing the way we do things is both more pressing – as value for money becomes even more vital – and more difficult as the temptation is to cut those things that do not show immediate benefits. This report gives us some hard figures to work with.”

Notes to editors:

1. Contact: Alison Harvie on 07909 912 444 or

2. We are The Young Foundation and we are determined to make positive social change happen. We pioneered the field of social innovation with The Open University, UpRising and Studio Schools. We work closely with individuals, communities and partners building relationships to ensure that our thinking does something, our actions matter and the changes we make together will continue to grow. ( )

3. “Reducing Crime: the case for preventative investment” will be available to download from