Inspection of youth offending work under the current programme consists of the following two elements:

  • Full Joint Inspection – targeted at a small number of YOTs each year where performance gives particular cause for concern, together with at least one where published performance is strong and worth sharing.
  • Short Quality Screening – targeted at approximately 20% of YOTs each year across the whole range of published performance. The focus of this programme is work at the start of the sentence, along with pre-sentence reports. This focus was chosen because our previous programme indicated that each aspect often required significant improvement.

Case assessment tools

The case assessment tool provides inspectors with a consistent structure to record their judgements.

The case assessment guide is designed to support consistent and appropriate judgements, irrespective of who undertakes the assessment. It is to be read in conjunction with the HMI Probation Case Assessment Tool for Inspection of Youth Offending Work.

The case assessment tool and guide apply to both the FJI and SQS programmes, with SQS using a subset of the questions.

The latest published versions of these tools are available below. Both tools may be useful to those whose work we inspect, to understand the quality that we expect and how we make judgements, and so support and encourage improvement. They may also inform the development of local quality assurance systems. Both documents are subject to continuous improvement so may on occasions differ slightly from that used on an individual inspection.

Case Assessment Guidance – English (PDF, 1 MB) – updated 23 February 2016

Case Assessment Guidance – Cymraeg (PDF, 909 kB) – updated 23 February 2016

Case Assessment Tool – English (PDF, 334 kB) – updated 17 July 2015

Supporting guidance documents

HMI Probation produces other materials designed to help inspected bodies understand what we consider to be good practice. Current materials directly relevant to YOTs:

Key principles for effective management oversight of risk of harm to others and Safeguarding/Child Protection (PDF, 63 kB) – This paper identifies some key principles that govern our approach to the inspection of management oversight.

Local assessors

Both of the programmes above (FJI and SQS) involve ‘local assessors’. These are staff who must have experience of supervising case managers. They are from a different YOT who join the inspection team to help us assess cases. Each local assessor will have been referred by their manager, received two to three days training from us and will be a full part of the HMI Probation inspection team. This work is coordinated by an inspector who, with a team of trainers and administrators, recruits, trains and allocates personnel to inspections. Please note that this role involves time away from home during the training and the inspection.

If you wish to know more, please contact us. We very much welcome interest from those with black and minority ethnic backgrounds who are under-represented in this role. Anyone with a disability or caring responsibility should not automatically assume they will be unsuitable.



The report presents findings from HMI Probation’s first annual eSurvey, undertaken with children and young people supervised by Youth Offending Teams. Overall, the survey presents a positive picture of the work undertaken. Hidden within the detail, however, are a number of challenges that need to be addressed at both strategic and operational levels.

HMI Probation eSurvey report 2014-15 (PDF, 195 kB)