Youth Justice worker receives royal commendation

02 April 2024
Tony Kirk and Kathy Gill at St James' Palace with HRH Princess Royal

A Youth Justice worker who has overseen a 25% drop in young people entering the criminal justice system in Wirral has received a commendation. 

Kathy Gill, Manager of Wirral Council’s Youth Justice Service, received the honour at the Butler’s Trust’s annual award ceremony which took place at St James’s Palace, London on 19 March 2024.

Kathy was nominated by Anthony Kirk, Head of Service for Contextual Safeguarding at Wirral Council. In his nomination he described Kathy’s tireless dedication to her role as well as her work on some groundbreaking projects tackling difficult issues within her field.

Anthony said:

Kathy has led on several significant innovations such as Operation Inclusion – a deferred charging scheme aimed at preventing re-offending by young people who are vulnerable to gangs and exploitation. And more recently, In the Zone, an interactive youth support session for year 9 pupils. Covering peer relationships, substances, knives, exploitation, and gangs, feedback for the sessions has been extremely positive, with more than 4,000 young people benefitting from the project so far.

Under her leadership, the service has seen a reduction in re-offending rates and fewer young people entering the criminal justice system year on year. Last year saw a 25% reduction in the rate of first-time entrants into the criminal justice system.

Kathy works to her formidable strengths which are leadership, empathy, and emotional intelligence. She is a credit to the Youth Justice Service and thoroughly deserves this commendation.

At the ceremony, Kathy was commended by the organisation’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

Before presenting this year’s winners with their awards and commendations, Her Royal Highness praised the passion, skill, and professionalism of the workforce as a whole.

Kathy Gill (left) and HRH Princess Royal
Kathy received her commendation from the organisation's patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

Speaking of the recognition, Kathy said:

I am of course thrilled to be honoured by the Butler’s Trust – it really was a ‘pinch yourself’ moment. But what’s really significant to me is the spotlight on our work as a service.

Youth Justice has previously suffered from being ‘the place the naughty kids go’. But it’s been really important to me to lead with a ‘child first’ approach, where we support young people at risk of being exploited rather than criminalise them straight away.

Our preventative work also enables young people to be better equipped to keep themselves and their peers safe; and understand how to avoid situations which may lead to offending behaviours.

None of this happens in a vacuum. I am blessed to lead a team of professional, creative, and caring people – who translate those values into their work with our young people. I’d like to thank my team and our hardworking partners for all that they do day in day out to help improve outcomes for young people in our borough.

For more information about this year’s Butler’s Trust awards, visit: Awards - Butler Trust.