The introduction of Asset as a common assessment tool for all Youth Offending Teams in England and Wales has sometimes been viewed as part of a ‘managerialist’ agenda which replaces professional discretion with an uncritical routinised approach to practice. 

This paper explores the challenges inherent in introducing such a tool into the complex world of youth justice, recognising that there can be both positive and negative effects. 

It argues that, if used appropriately by practitioners, managers and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, it is possible to combine the benefits of Asset – greater structure, transparency and accountability in assessment practice – with professionalism and a focus on young people’s individual needs.

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