Charlie Spencer started a career in youth justice as a bail support worker in 1994, then progressed to become a youth justice qualified social worker in one of Birmingham’s five area youth justice centres. In 1999, he was awarded funding from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales to set up and manage a project to divert black youth from the criminal justice system, given their over-representation in the system. He then progressed to be the deputy team manager of the newly formed youth offending team in 2000. Charlie continued to develop local initiatives to prevent youth crime and led Birmingham’s Youth Inclusion and Support Programme (YISP) which was one of 13 national pilot programmes commissioned by the YJB in 2002. After a six-month secondment to Government Office West Midlands (GOWM) to work on the national preventing street crime initiative, where he progressed to become Birmingham Youth Offending Service (YOS) Prevention and development manager, he was very successful in identifying and bidding for funding from various government departments and other sources to enhance the local prevention programme, creating Birmingham’s first youth crime prevention team.
After the tragic gang related shooting of four young women on New Year’s Eve 2003, he was nominated to be the YOS lead to prevent gangs and serious youth violence in Birmingham.
In 2006 he became head of YOS in Sandwell, a role that subsequently extended his portfolio of responsibilities to include; YOS, youth service, Family information service, young people’s substance misuse provision, integrated multi-agency child sexual exploitation team, troubled families programme and North Sandwell multi agency early help locality teams, which Charlie helped to design, implement and manage. He was the strategic lead for Ending Gangs and Serious Youth Violence (EGYV) PREVENT, and was the Chair of the Channel Panel. After the riots in towns and cities across England in 2011, he became a Home Office associate of the EGYV team and led and participated in peer reviews and local area reviews (LAR) of the partnership responses in the priority EGYV areas across the country.
In 2013, Charlie received a community thank you award from Head of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, and was recognised by the Home Secretary, for his contribution to preventing extremism and gangs and serious youth violence respectively. In addition, he became a Director of the Association of Youth Offending team managers.
Charlie left his role as head of YOS in 2015 and set up Charlie Spencer Consulting. He now works independently undertaking a wide range of work linked to his vast and varied experience, including reviews (SCR and thematic), interim management assignments, service improvement, project management and development. He is exceptionally proud to have had three of the reviews he led and authored published in 2019, two serious case review 2 gang related deaths in London as well as a Vulnerable Adolescents Thematic review of 60 children, which was published by Croydon Safeguarding Children’s Board in February 2019.
He has recently returned to his roots in youth justice as the YOS improvement lead for Surrey County Council, again seeking to turn around a high-profile service that was recently judged to be inadequate.