Alcohol Intervention Plan for Young People in North East Lincolnshire ( NEL )

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Youth
  • General resources

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Young People’s Support Services

Local authority/local area:

North East Lincolnshire Council.

The context and rationale

The Alcohol Intervention Plan aimed to identify and address issues relating to alcohol and substance misuse with young people and to engage them through prevention, intervention and treatment rather than the use of law enforcement methods. The Plan also identified a professional locality based partnership of staff that was able to train to deliver early intervention and prevention to young people.

Alcohol Intervention Plan for Young People in NEL
The Joint Strategic Intelligence Assessment (JSIA) 2009/10 highlighted concerns within North East Lincolnshire (NEL) of young people regularly consuming large amounts of alcohol. This was resulting in increased numbers of young people being admitted to hospital A&E departments, committing anti-social behaviour (ASB) and criminal acts, and with poor attendance in educational establishments. 

The Alcohol Intervention Plan aimed to identify a number of areas of concern relating to alcohol and substance misuse with young people and address such issues as business locations, specialist team availability, staff training, sharing of information, IT and web based services, access to positive activities, accreditation opportunities, robust referral mechanisms, early identification of problematic young people, ‘hot spot’ locations, effective use of the law and ‘triage’ systems, and providing long term mainstream sustainability. The Plan also identified a professional locality based partnership of staff that was able to train to deliver early intervention and prevention to young people. The project aimed further to engage young people through prevention, intervention and treatment rather than the use of law enforcement methods, including the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2007, section 30, which introduced a new offence of persistently possessing alcohol in a public place. Young people under 18 years of age can be prosecuted for this offence if they are caught with alcohol in a public place three or more times within a 12-month period. The maximum punishment is a level two fine (£500). The project attempts to reduce first time entrants to the youth justice system and so uses ‘triage’ prior to any summons being issued.

Joint Strategic Intelligence Assessment (JSIA)
In 2009/10 JSIA identified five red (high risk) and nine amber (moderate risk) issues for consideration by the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP) executive, to inform strategic planning for the coming year(s). By 2011/12 the following high and moderate risk areas were identified.

• Local data on alcohol misuse in young people (particularly hospital admissions) is alarmingly out of kilter with regional and national averages, and with the adult profile.

• The area remains an outlier for all alcohol-related crime measures, when compared 
regionally and nationally.
• Alcohol misuse has far more local impact than drugs, but the strategy to combat it remains less well developed and funded, and thus more fragile.
• Recorded incidents of ASB have risen in the last 12 months.
• The new Government focus for ASB is on repeat victimisation. NEL’s strategy to respond to this change remains in its infancy.
• The Government’s new Drug Strategy (2010) brings considerable change to the structure and nature of service delivery – the likely impact on the CDRP will require careful assessment.
• The number of problem drug users in NEL has risen by 14%. Heroin use per 1000 population remains twice the national average.

Alcohol and hospital admissions 2008-2010
Alcohol-specific hospital admissions (under 18s)
• Rate per 100,000 = 91.0
• England rank (of 152, 1=lowest/best, 152=highest/worst) = 115 
Prior to 2008 the figure for North East Lincolnshire was 103 / 100,000. 

Alcohol and crime 
Alcohol-related recorded crime 
• Rate per 100,000 = 11.3
• England rank (of 152, 1=lowest/best, 152=highest/worst) = 119

The practice

The project aims to investigate all aspects of young people’s usage of alcohol both in public and private locations. It involves staff from a wide range of agencies including Young People’s Support Services (YPSS), the Restorative Team (RT),Humberside Police (HP), Youth Offending Services (YOS), the Family Intervention Programme (FIP), Intensive Surveillance and Support (ISS), the North East Substance Team (NEST), the Drug Action Team (DAT), the National Health Service (NHS), the Primary Care Trust (PCT), Operation ASGARD, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS).

Areas being investigated include:

1. Use of alcohol relating to crime

2. Use of alcohol relating to anti-social behaviour and criminal damage and sexual exploitation

3. Use of alcohol in private or unidentified locations 

4. Alcohol and its effect on education

5. The involvement of the voluntary and community services

6. Workforce modernisation

7. Partnership protocol

8. Marketing and media strategy 

9. Parenting

10. Triage

Further details on the above are available from the C4EO team at the NFER .

The aim is to ensure:
• A co-ordinated service to support young people at risk of entering the Criminal Justice System. 
• That young people have the opportunity to engage in a restorative programme rather than being formally charged. 
• That all young people have the best opportunities to achieve personal, social and educational development by being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well being.

The service:
• Offers young people advice, information and guidance and, where applicable, referrals to internal and external services.
• Promotes and supports inclusion - neighbourhood, school and home.
• Encourages participation in peer group social events and activities.
• Provides 1:1 support.
• Encourages young people to achieve their aspirations.
• Supports the positive emotional health and well-being of young people.
• Supports young people to access health services.

This section describes the projects that were undertaken by the partnership in an attempt to reduce young people’s alcohol and substance misuse within North East Lincolnshire. It is important to understand that the projects have perfect synergy with one another and do not act alone. In addition, there are three case studies in section 3 ‘Achievements so far’, which show the most substantial success in relation to key indicator reductions.

Data performance North East Lincolnshire
First time entrants and triage
First time entrants
2009 - 10 162 rate 953 per 100,000
2010 - 11 107 rate 656 per 100,000 showing a 32% reduction.

2009 - 10 0.97 against a target of 1.27
2010 - 11 1.59 against a target of 1.20, increase due to young people accessing the triage system and the cohort monitored were more prolific offenders.

Triage October 
2009 -10 140
2010 -11 159
2011 -12 88

Triage will need to be checked against the Police National Computer (PNC) to see if the young people concerned have committed another crime. To date, the NEL partnership is aware of six young people committing an offence and one refusing to engage at the start. The success rate based on these figures is 96%.

Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

Admissions to hospital and attendances in A&E for alcohol in North East Lincolnshire, Under 18s
Key Points
• Most recent data for alcohol admissions for under 18s shows the North East Lincolnshire rate has decreased from 91.8/100,000 to 67.97/100,000 and is no longer statistically significantly higher than the national and regional averages.
• The gap between NEL and the regional and national rates is closing for alcohol specific admissions in under 18s.
• Girls aged 10-14 are far more likely to be admitted to hospital for alcohol specific admissions and attend A&E for alcohol poisoning than boys the same age.
• Heneage Ward and South Ward have the highest number of admissions and A&E attendances for alcohol.

Whilst the main indicator relating to this case study is reducing the risk of alcohol misuse and ensuring that young people, through their own risky behaviour, do not end up in hospital and A&E, there are other factors that show the success of this work.

The information in section 2 (process, above) details a number of activities undertaken, all of which have a part to play in the reduction of local indicators relating to youth crime and ASB and in increases in local indicators relating to youth participation, contact and the gaining of accreditation through nationally recognised awards. It is important to understand that all the areas of activity interlink; collectively they have shown that, through partnership working, North East Lincolnshire now offers a safer environment in which young people can live and learn.

The ‘Use of alcohol relating to crime’ area listed above highlights work with a targeted group of identified individuals through the Deter Young Offenders (DYO) process (formerly known as persistent young offenders) of the Youth Offending Team. Work in this initial area went extremely well and evaluation was carried out in respect of the re-offending of the cohort selected. This was 10 young people, all ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ offenders on the Integrated Offender Management scheme. Over the 10-week period of the course, the 10 weeks prior to the course beginning and the 10 weeks following the course, only one young person committed an offence for which he was sanctioned. This showed an impressive 90% success rate. Although this area of work is staff intensive, due to its success the model is being replicated in the current financial year, with the support of all partners, to ensure that it is delivered to those young people who are identified as at risk of re-offending. The monitoring system adopted by the partnership looks into the history of all young people involved who commit crimes whilst under the influence of alcohol and engages them on programmes such as the fishing programme – Angling for a Change – detailed below. The delivery team of a YOS worker, Policy Community Support Officer (PCSO) and youth worker work together to provide a robust package tailored to accredit young people with ASDAN, and use screening tools to identify any misuse of alcohol.

Work in this area has not only reduced an individual’s risk of offending but has also increased his or her chances of earning and learning, as all individuals have built up their own portfolio and have been individually accredited with ASDAN awards.

Although the above is a targeted programme concentrating on a small cohort of young people, it links directly to the broader programme of activities – from targeted to universal initiatives - in a variety of locations across the borough. In the last financial year, these activities have attracted over 7000 individual young people aged between five and 19. The programme offers over 130 hours of activities per week and involves staff from the partnership including youth workers, sports coaches and Police staff. It complements the Police crime and disorder agenda and has shown considerable reductions in other indicators linked to alcohol misuse, e.g.:

• Overall youth crime shows a 61% reduction (1268 fewer offences) since 2008; 25% in the last year
• Youth crime as an overall percentage has reduced from 11.24% in 09/10 to 9.9% in 2010/11
• Youth incidents of ASB 09/10 = 3067 (45.97%), 10/11 = 2298 (41.22%)
• Youth related ASB has reduced by over 50% (2400+ incidents) since 2008; in 11/12 it reduced by a further 21%
• Young people as victims of crime has reduced by 36% (399) since 2008.

Although the data above is separated to show patterns of improvement, activity in this area is interlinking and complementary. 

Case Study 1, Use Of Alcohol in Relation to Crime
Angling for a Change Project , April - June 2011
Angling for a Change is a pilot project aimed at engaging young people who have a lack of attachment to any form of education, employment or training provision, placing them particularly at risk of offending, with the specific indicator of committing crime whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The initial pilot lasted for 10 weeks and the project aimed to encourage young people to engage in a positive activity (fishing) and make constructive use of their time. There was an element of education to the project, with young people being given the opportunity to gain an ASDAN qualification. This could be gained through practical skills and also involved an element of classroom based work which included:

• Communication skills
• Practical skills
• Participation skills
• Team building
• Health and safety
• First Aid
• Alcohol and substance misuse awareness through regular screening tools
• General Angling skills 
• Confidence

The venues were a number of local fisheries etc where the group were able to select their own fishing preferences. It was intended that the young people’s participation, voice and influence would play a pivotal role in the programme as they would all collectively decide on the type of fishing methods they would prefer to employ, the locations and the type of intervention from supporting staff members.

This partnership approach to young people’s offending issues was led by North East Lincolnshire Councils Youth Offending Service and Young People’s Support Services, supported by Humberside Police. The project provided all equipment, bait and support expertise through Level I and II supporting Angling Coaches. 

All selected candidates were subject to a number of limitations and boundaries in order to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to fully enjoy this inaugural project. These included Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) signed by all the young people prior to the programme beginning.

For the benefit of all candidates, the project was run with a view to everyone being able to achieve a formal national qualification through ASDAN. As a result, the project organisers expected all candidates to complete some paperwork when asked to do so. This was kept to the minimum required by the awarding body. Video and pictures were used as much as possible to support what participants were doing and, at the end of the project, all participants were given a copy of a CD filming their fishing experiences. 

Incentives were created to encourage participants to stay on the 10-session programme: 

1) All candidates completing the 10-week programme received an (up to date) £27 Environment Agency Fishing Licence which meant that they could continue fishing legally until the end of the financial year. 
2) The partnership also offered four candidates the opportunity to fish in a national competition at one of the best lake complexes in the UK. This involved an overnight stay in tented accommodation and participants were treated to a hog roast feast. 
3) ‘Get Hooked on Fishing’ provided a past young Peer Mentor who was a level I Angling Coach to help participants.

The project, funded through the Young People’ Support Service, was aimed at a target group of young people who were identified as the ones most at risk of committing crime through drug and alcohol misuse. The Youth Offending Service took the lead in terms of identifying suitable candidates for the project from the Deter Young Offenders (DYO) process and retained oversight of the project. The Project Lead is a YOS officer, employed by the North East Lincolnshire Youth Offending Service.

• Ten young people were accepted on to the course, with nine successfully completing the 10-week programme. Five young people represented the Grimsby YOS at a national fishing championship. 
• The course commenced on April the 21st and finished on June 23rd 2011. 
• The following offending statistics were collated at intervals two months prior to, during, and two months following the course:

• In the two months prior to the course starting a total of eight offences were committed between five young people. 
• During the course, only one offence (for which there was a conditional discharge) was committed by one young person, showing a reduction of 87.5%.
• In the two months following the course a total of two offences were committed by two young people, showing a reduction of 75%. 

In addition:
• One young person gained employment after successfully completing his order.
• One young person continued to attend college and moved on to a less intensive part of his order.
• Three young people successfully completed their order.
• One young person complied fully with his order.
• One young person had his hours of attendance reduced.
• One young person failed to comply.
• One young person (now aged 18) was returned to custody.

Five young people, including one reserve, were also selected from the programme to attend the inaugural ‘Get Hooked on Fishing’ national championship match. The successful participants were monitored closely during their participation in the 10-week programme and selected on the basis of their:

• commitment
• compliance
• skills progression and
• ability to remain offence free.

The project has now been mainstreamed and is being replicated three times per year.

Case Study 2, Youth Crime Prevention Patrol including Child Sexual Exploitation patrols (CSE)
Since 2009 a joint patrol has been going out every Friday and Saturday evening between 5 and 11pm. This patrol combines a Police Officer and experienced youth worker who patrol the streets of North East Lincolnshire in an attempt to reduce young people’s misuse of drugs and substances including alcohol, their anti-social behaviour (ASB) and instances of low level disorder and, on a bi-weekly basis, the patrol concentrates on young people being sexually exploited (CSE). The patrol vehicle is partnership led, that is, it is not a police vehicle. It is affectionately known as MAVIS – “the Multi – Agency – Vehicle – 4 Information – Sharing”. The patrol offers the ability to assist vulnerable young people, runaways and those missing from home by supporting mechanisms for emergency accommodation and, if significant harm is identified, powers under Police Protection Orders (PPOs) can be used. The patrol commenced under the guidance of the Youth Crime Action Plan in 2009 and, unlike in other areas of the country, dedicated its time to early intervention. As a result, in the last three years only eight young people have been removed to a place of safety; on all but one occasion, this was the identified family home.

The patrol vehicle is specially kitted out with sexual health kits, CSE safety kits, alcohol spiking equipment, testing strips, blankets etc and has made only one arrest in the three years since its existence. 

In 2011/12 the patrol engaged with 2320 young people in groups, and 726 individual young people on the streets of North East Lincolnshire.

This work is integral in designing the YPSS approach to CSE as it now links into “Stop The Traffic” an international approach to human trafficking.

Case Study 3, Use of Alcohol in Relation to Educational Attainment
Young People’s Support Services (YPSS) in North East Lincolnshire have built up an important relationship with the Oasis academies network. The marketing and media aspect of this work, which includes a spoof documentary named “meet the boozers”, was launched in a local Oasis academy in line with National Alcohol Awareness Week, and is now adopted within the academy’s PSHE curriculum. YPSS and the school work together to provide term time and extended services of positive activities for all the young people within the school and the broader community.

Activities provided include Cage football, climbing wall ASDAN courses and an established youth night that offers youth work and informal education surrounding health and welfare through CSE education. The programme attracts 30+ young males and females each week, and the whole process with the school attracts over 250 young people every year. The Oasis academy community manager for the school comments on the partnership working with the YPSS below:

“Oasis Academies is really happy with the working partnership that we have formed with YPSS. They realise that working together on projects with a joint outcome for young people has a greater impact than working individually. This has been demonstrated, for example, in the completion of ASDAN accreditations on the climbing wall. By working together, we have accredited 48 young people in the last six months during school holidays, with another 20 accreditations pending. The youth night works not only due to the great resources that can be offered in terms of academy facilities, but also because of the staff made available by both parties; they have spent time consulting with young people over the activities that they would like to participate in and have developed a plan around their needs, trying to link wherever possible to opportunities to give the young people life skills and accreditations along the way. This has had a significant impact on the young people attending; by using their voice and influence the young people feel that they own the night. They have written the rules and decided on the outcomes and they get to choose the activities that they take part in.

YPSS has also found that young people like the session because it is open to everyone, not just local Wintringham young people, and they all respect their surroundings. They are all working towards the same outcomes and the partnership appears to be proving that it can have an impact on young people.

Helping others to replicate your practice

The alcohol strategy for young people in North East Lincolnshire was introduced in February 2011, supported by some funding via the Humber Innovation Partnership (HIP). The strategy is relevant to all aspects of life and examines, in particular, how alcohol misuse by young people can have a dramatic effect on individuals and communities. It emphasises support for young people and their families to overcome issues they may be experiencing. This is coupled with a focus on prevention, utilising effective youth and community work, informal education and community-based provision.

As part of the strategy’s holistic approach, work takes place with parents and young people to put firm boundaries in place in an attempt to instil positive family values. The programme is multi-faceted and incorporates effective educational resources with a focus on supporting and enabling young people to achieve and address any issues they have.

The partnership which developed the strategy comprises a number of agencies that share resources and work together to support children, young people and their families to ensure long term sustainability of the project and its intended outcomes. It is co-coordinated by North East Lincolnshire Council's Young People’s Support Services (YPSS) and Humberside Police. A critical reason for the strategy’s success is that it covers the whole workforce across public, private and voluntary sectors. This ensures that all partnership staff present a consistent and clear single message to young people. Training for the workforce involved drug and alcohol misuse, sexual health awareness, effective communication, brief interventions and safeguarding. It involved police staff, youth workers, sports coaches, volunteers and youth offending staff. 

The governance of the process locally involves ultimate decision making from the strategic Drug And Alcohol Task group (DAAT) which meets quarterly and has membership from a considerable number of health, law and educational partners and the voluntary and community services. This group ensures coherence across the partners in relation to information sharing protocols and reduces unnecessary duplication of work and, more importantly, ensures that young people are not invisible to the service. The prevention arm of this strategic group sits within Specialist Health Care, Humberside Police and the YPSS. This group has responsibility for the early intervention agenda and uses this to underpin its policies and procedures. The group also plans and develops a tiered training package of awareness raising to both professionals and young people.

It is important to note that cross boundary working is key to the development of any project, especially in the area of alcohol misuse by young people, as this encompasses health, youth, police and education – all services that have historically worked with differing agendas, aims and outcomes, but have also always had the common aim of ensuring the best possible outcomes for young people. Key to success is placing the young person at the centre of any decisions made to ensure that information, advice and guidance is offered at every stage; one of the key performance measures is to ensure that, at all times, the young person is treated as a victim of his or her own vulnerability.


Within North East Lincolnshire, ‘tier three treatment’ for young people is offered by NEST, the North East Substance Team. This team comprises five staff all of whom have clinical experience to support young people. It is part of the YPSS and is provided through core management budget to a value of £130,000 per annum. Locally there is also a Specialist Health Promotions team which develops treatment education and awareness through level one and level two drugs and alcohol misuse courses run through the Community Alcohol Drug Education Service (CADES). The latter cost in the region of £30,000.

The remaining workforce costs are those for key mainstream staff that have an extra thematic responsibility for drug and alcohol awareness. This is completed by the identification of local neighbourhood champions.

‘Hot tips’ for other local areas

Most challenges and areas of concern in the development and running of the alcohol strategy for North East Lincolnshire have related to information around health and the sharing of information. This has been addressed by the partnership ‘alcohol and drugs misuse strategic group’, which works with the local hospital to enable information sharing to ensure that the correct information is disseminated so patrols and work undertaken are directed correctly. This is an area that continues to develop but which would not be successful without the focus on strong partnership development throughout the period of this work in NEL.

The work that has caused issues and concern relates to information around health and the sharing of information. This has been addressed by the partnership alcohol and drugs misuse strategic group, which is working together with the hospital to enable information sharing to ensure that the correct information is disseminated so patrols and work undertaken are directed correctly. This is an area of work that is developing, but which would not have been able to happen without the strong partnership that has built up.

Golden threads for others thinking about implementing similar programmes, strategies or initiatives
Remember the importance of:

• Partnership working at all times
• Universal and targeted responses 
• The holistic approach for young people as all are unique.


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