Borough’s youth offending team rated good by national inspectors

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wandsworth has joined only a handful of youth justice schemes in the country to have been rated 'good' by national inspectors.

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The borough’s youth offending team (YOT) has today (Thursday) been officially told by HM Inspectorate of Probation that the way it deals with young offenders and the work it does to prevent their re-offending has been rated as “good” overall with some aspects judged “outstanding”.

The YOT is managed by the council in partnership with the Met Police, HM Courts Service, local NHS, schools, the fire service and probation service.

It supervises young people aged between ten and 18 who have been sentenced by a court or have come to the attention of the police because of their offending behaviour but have not been charged, and instead are dealt with out of court.

Inspectors noted the strong focus on developing effective working relationships with children and young people, while planning for interventions to support them took into consideration their motivation and levels of engagement with the YOT. There was also good health provision for the young people.

The inspectors also recognised and praised the way YOT staff took into account territorial issues whilst arranging appointments and supervision with young people who may be involved with postcode-oriented gangs.

In its formal report the inspectorate noted:

  • The service, alongside the Ending Gangs and Youth Violence team, provides extensive group work programmes, including knife crime and county lines programmes.
  • Staff and managers are child-centred, know the children and young people well, and take account of territorialism when arranging appointments, in order to enable engagement.
  • The quality of assessments is outstanding, in terms of evaluating desistance and the risk of harm to others. 
  • The implementation and delivery of services to support a child or young person’s safety and wellbeing, as well as their risk of harm to others, are outstanding.
  • The multi-agency high-risk strategy panel arrangements are effective. 
  • Case managers are focused on maintaining an effective working relationship with the child or young person.
  • The quality of assessments, planning and implementation is outstanding across all three areas of desistance, safety and wellbeing, and risk of harm to others. 
  • Planning to manage risk of harm addresses concerns related to actual and potential victims.
  • A variety of group work programmes and access to specialist workers are helping to provide the appropriate interventions for the child or young person.
  • Case managers prioritise developing and maintaining an effective working relationship with the child or young person and their parents or carers.

Wandsworth’s cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The good rating awarded to the service is testament to the very good work being delivered in this very challenging and complex field of work.

“Staff in the YOT deserve the highest praise for the very difficult tasks they perform day in and day out on behalf of the whole community.

“Our focus moving forward is to continue to work alongside the police, schools, NHS services, the courts and probation service in tackling gangs and knife crime. This will need a cross cutting approach that includes early intervention and the strengths identified in this report shows that our Community Safety Partnership and YOT is well placed to do this.”