Liverpool’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) has been rated as ‘good’ with some ‘outstanding’ areas following an official inspection.
The judgement means that Liverpool becomes the first Core City in the country to be classified as ‘good’ by HM Inspector of Probation.
A team of probation service inspectors and researchers visited the Liverpool service during March and looked at every aspect of its work.
The inspection report, published today highlights the work of the team in how young people are assessed, the delivery of services and the review process as ‘outstanding’.
Whilst the majority of other areas including leadership, staff, planning and the provision of information and services are all classed as ‘good’.
The report also sets out areas where the service needs to improve further.
Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell, said of the report: “Liverpool YOS has some real strengths and their best work is of outstanding quality. However, they need to bring the quality of their work with children and young people being dealt with outside the court system up to an acceptable standard.”
Liverpool’s Youth Offending Team supports children and young people aged between 10 and 18 who have either been sentenced by a court or who have come to the attention of the police due to their offending behaviour.
It is a partnership consisting of Liverpool City Council’s Communities and Children’s Services Children and Young People’s Services departments, along with the police, health and the National Probation Service.
Chair of the Liverpool YOS Superintendent Mark Wiggins said: “This is a great result for Liverpool and we are extremely proud of all the staff who work in the YOS.
“We are striving to get the best outcomes for all the children and young people we work with and while there are many positive points within the inspectors’ report, there are clearly areas where we must continue to improve. We are already working together to make sure the report’s recommendations are acted upon.”
In their report the inspectors praise a “clear vision for the service” and said: “There is a broad range of specialist staff within the YOS responding to the spectrum of children and young people’s needs”.
The report goes on to say: “Assessments of children and young people were completed to a high standard, drawing on a wide range of information sources.” And adds that the interventions delivered for young people are: “Of a good standard and an extensive range of programme material was available and used.”
The inspectors noted: “We were impressed with the quality of the work done with children and young people to reduce their likelihood of further offending. There was a good range of structured programmes available, and inspectors found clear evidence of children and young people participating in those programmes.”
Liverpool’s Youth Offending Service offers a wide variety of support to both young offenders and the victims of their crimes.
One of these is the Liverpool Skill Mill, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise which provides training, work experience and job opportunities for young people aged between 16 and 18.
In Liverpool there is a declining trend for custodial sentences being given to young offenders. The latest figures show that the number of young people in Liverpool who go on to re-offend after an initial offence is also down by almost eight per cent year-on-year. It means that Liverpool has the lowest average number of re-offences among young offenders when compared to Merseyside, North West and averages for England and Wales.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships Cllr Parsons said: “This is well-deserved recognition for the work of Liverpool’s Youth Offending Service and all the partners involved in the service.
“There are many different reasons why young people fall into offending behaviour – from economic deprivation and social isolation through to peer pressure, gang culture and involvement with drugs.
“In Liverpool we have taken the pragmatic approach that the best way to help our young offenders is to provide them with the support and skills they need to improve their chances in life. We look to limit their contact with the criminal justice system and make amends for their offending behaviour by making good on the things they have done both with their victims and the wider society.
“Thanks to the dedication, professionalism and passion of everyone involved with our Youth Offending Service this is clearly beginning to pay off. However, with a youth offending rates that are higher than the national average, we accept that there is more to do. These inspection results mark the start of our journey to do the very best for all young people in Liverpool, rather than the finish line.”