Top marks as inspectors praise city's Youth Offending service

February 11, 2016

 

Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team is working well to protect the public and prevent young people from reoffending, according to inspectors.

 

They gave the City of Wolverhampton Council-run service top marks in four of the six inspection areas, and the second best rating in the other two, making it one of the best performing Youth Offending Teams in the country.

 

In the report published today (Thursday 11 February, 2016), the Chief Inspector of Probation gave the Youth Offending Team four stars – the maximum possible – in the areas of reducing reoffending, protecting the public, ensuring that sentences are served and intervening to reduce reoffending, and three stars for protecting children and young people and for governance and partnerships.

 

Inspectors found the frequency and seriousness of youth offending in Wolverhampton had decreased and that their work to reduce reoffending was effective, with the team's interventions “delivered skilfully, enthusiastically” and with purpose.

 

The work to ensure sentences were properly served was also found to be good with inspectors finding that children, young people, parents and carers praised the efforts of the team. Its determination to protect the public and actual or potential victims was also highlighted.

 

In the foreword to the report, Alan MacDonald, HM Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation, said: "Wolverhampton Youth Offending Team and its partners placed children and young people at the heart of their work.

 

“Planning for work to reduce reoffending was impressive. Interventions were delivered to a high standard by dedicated and skilful staff. Their knowledge about the children and young people with whom they were working was being used to change lives.

 

"Overall, we found that Wolverhampton was performing very well; children and young people, and their parents and carers were appreciative of the service they were receiving."

 

Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "This is a very positive inspection and accurately reflects the hard work our Youth Offending Team does to prevent young people who are involved in crime from reoffending, and to safeguard members of the public.

 

"The lead inspector described our staff as 'amazing' and I'd like to congratulate them on this tremendous outcome which we think is the best received by any Youth Offending Team in the country in the last two years, during which only Wolverhampton was awarded the maximum four stars in four areas.

 

"The team won't be resting on its laurels, however, and is already addressing the small number of areas for improvement identified by inspectors."

 

Youth Offending Teams were set up following the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act with the aim of reducing the risk of young people offending and reoffending, and to provide counsel and rehabilitation to those who do offend.

 

The Wolverhampton team works with young offenders aged under 18, assisting them to avoid reoffending, and also works to ensure that neighbourhoods are safer.

 

The team supervises young people on community court orders and keeps contact with those in jail to help them improve their prospects of rehabilitation on release.

 

It is also committed to restorative justice and contacts all victims of youth crime, with a view to organising meetings between offenders and victims to encourage direct reparation.

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