South Gloucestershire’s Youth Offending Services have been rated Outstanding by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) following an inspection in September last year. The report has now been published online here: An inspection of youth offending services in South Gloucestershire (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk).
The South Gloucestershire Youth Offending Team (YOT) works with young people aged 10-17 to prevent youth crime and reduce re-offending. It also works to ensure that justice is dealt with quickly. It is there to help young people who have offended to face the consequences of their actions and develop a sense of personal responsibility. The team works with young people to tackle issues that put them at risk of offending, helps to ensure that punishment is proportionate to the offence committed and works with parents and carers to provide help and support.
The YOT work with children and young people who have offended, that is those have been charged with an offence and have to go to court, as well as those who are convicted by the court and given a sentence.
The YOT is a multi-agency team and includes a Police Officer, Social Workers, Probation Officers and Health and Education staff, in addition to a number of volunteers. South Gloucestershire YOT works closely with partners in social care, housing and preventative services and has a strong focus on prevention. The new Young People’s Support (YPS) team sits alongside the YOT.
HMIP inspected and rated South Gloucestershire YOT across three broad areas of work, referred to as ‘domains’. These are the arrangements for organisational delivery of the service; the quality of work done with children sentenced by the courts, and the quality of out-of-court disposals work. There are 12 standards shared between the domains. Overall South Gloucestershire YOT was rated as Outstanding.
Some of the key findings from the inspection report included:
On Organisational Delivery, HMIP said: ‘South Gloucestershire YOT is a high performing YOT, with staff skilled in engaging with young people. The YOT has good partnership engagement and a range of services and specialist staff who can support the young people. Staff make good use of information and data to develop the service.’
On Court Disposals, HMIP said: ‘The management of court cases in South Gloucestershire was outstanding for planning, implementation and delivery of the sentence and reviewing; with assessment rated as good. YOT workers were skilled in engaging young people and creative and responsive to the young person’s needs.’
On Out-of-court Disposals, HMIP said: ‘In most out-of-court disposals, the work was completed to a high standard, with good decision making and joint working, assessment and delivery of interventions.’
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Samuel Bromiley, said: “I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of the South Gloucestershire Youth Offending Team has been recognised in this inspection, their dedication to supporting young people during some of the most difficult moments in their life, as well as balancing the need for justice to be served for victims and the wider community is truly exemplary.
“The inspection process is of course rigorous and important so that we can fully understand our strengths and where we can do better. The team should be proud of the work they do, providing vital help to young people who need it to build a better future for themselves and our whole community.”
The YOT will be submitting an improvement plan to HMIP, which will be monitored through the quarterly South Gloucestershire YOT Youth Justice Partnership Meetings, to address the areas identified as needing strengthening.