Inspectors praise youth offending service

Liverpool’s Youth Offending Service has been praised by inspectors for its effectiveness in reducing re-offending.

A team from HM Inspectorate of Probation spent three days reviewing the team in October, looking at the effectiveness of work with those who offend, or who are likely to offend. Dozens of individual case files were examined to look at their quality and effectiveness.

It comes as the latest figures show that the service is making an impact in cutting the number of young people entering the criminal justice system. Over the last year, the number of young people entering for the first time has dropped by half – down from 265 to 132 over the last 12 months. There has also been a fall of just over a third – 34 percent – in the number of custodial sentences.

Inspectors found a “positive picture” since the last inspection four years ago, and said that “significant progress had been made in the quality of assessments and plans being undertaken by practitioners”.

They judged that staff were “committed and well supported” and that they produce “good quality reports, assessments and plans”.

The quality of pre-sentence reports was praised, as was the engagement of young people in assessments.

Mayoral lead for Community Safety, Councillor Peter Brennan, said: “Our Youth Offending teams carry out extremely difficult work, and have the tough task of changing the behaviour of some of the city’s most challenging young people.

“I am delighted that the inspectors have given the service such a glowing report. Despite the cuts to our city it is a terrific vote of confidence for the team, their hard work and the overall management of the service.”

Six out of the eight criteria were assessed by inspectors as above average, while the other two were identified as areas for improvement. They have recommended the reviewing of plans developed to manage the risk of harm to others and, in some cases, the management oversight of the quality of assessments and plans.