An Independent Evaluation of the Dyfed-Powys Bureaus

Katherine Williams, Dafydd Llywelyn

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The aim of this research was to conduct an independent evaluation and review of the implementation and adaptation of the Bureau system used for children across the four Local Authority areas (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys) within the Dyfed-Powys police force (map appears on DyfedPowys police website). Whilst there have been Bureaus
introduced in other parts of Wales, notably Swansea, at the start of the Bureau system in Dyfed-Powys it was the first such system to be operated in a largely rural environment. The system is designed to address offending in a child centred way: children first and offenders second. It operates promptly when the offense
is still fresh in the mind of both the child and any victim which ensures that both the child recognises the link between action and its effects and the victim can feel positive about their harm having been addressed. It aims to listen to children and give them a second chance by supporting them to achieve their full potential and enjoy their rights. It is a safe, informal place where children are helped to understand the consequences of their actions and supported to lead pro-social lives.

Our overwhelming finding is that the Bureau system works well for children, their families, victims and communities. Whilst there is not yet sufficient statistical data to categorically prove this finding (Bureaus need to have been operated for longer), the data we have supports it and all our qualitative data (observation
of Bureau, interviews with children and their families, workers, police and community Bureau panel members) also clearly confirms it. Another important and positive finding was the passionate desire of all the youth justice workers and police
we interviewed to ensure that the youth justice system provided positive outcomes for the children and their families as well as for victims and the local community. We therefore found a workforce which reflected deeply and critically on their work and its effects, they were constantly searching for ways to improve both the Bureau and their own performance within it. We were privileged to be trusted as they spoke openly about their work and this has enabled us to suggest aspects of the Bureau system which might
be improved to ensure an even more effective and efficient system. Some of the suggested improvements may require other agencies to provide more support to children when they are working towards a more positive life, these agencies may also need to improve the way in which they deliver the entitlements to
which all children in Wales have a right. There is a comprehensive list of suggestions found at the end of this document (Appendix 1). However, it is essential to recognize that each is a fairly minor change and, even if none of these is adopted, the Bureaus in Dyfed-Powys are providing an exciting improvement for
communities, victims and families in the area and, most importantly, are already ensuring that children’s rights are better respected by treating them as children to be reintegrated, rehabilitated and most importantly supported to achieve their potential.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWelsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice/Aberystwyth
Commissioning bodyWelsh Assembly Government
Number of pages88
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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