The Short Quality Screening (SQS) is a three day inspection running from Monday lunchtime to Wednesday afternoon.

We undertake these at short notice. They are announced to the YOT manager on the Friday two weeks before fieldwork commences. The notice period gives enough time for inspection arrangements to be made, while also making sure that the YOT is inspected ‘as is’ without the opportunity for undue preparation.

The SQS inspection is undertaken only by us. It is designed to provide a robust inspection of case management practice, while also being relatively low profile to maximize the opportunity for engagement with staff and managers on any required improvement.

Our team of inspectors assess the quality of practice at the start of the sentence in a representative sample of statutory cases that have been running typically for six weeks to three months. Each case assessment is undertaken with the allocated case manager present, to support increased YOT learning from the cases.

We wrote to all YOTs and local authorities announcing the start of the SQS programme.

SQS programme announcement letter (PDF, 68 kB)

Framework and guidance

The framework and guidance document provides further information on the SQS programme. It is essential reading for the YOT manager as soon as an inspection is announced. It is also useful for those who wish to prepare contingency plans in case they receive an inspection.

SQS framework and guidance – English (PDF, 210 kB), updated 23 February 2016
SQS Framework and guidance – Cymraeg (PDF, 353 kB), updated 23 February 2016

Inspection criteria

The inspection criteria set the boundaries for what is included in the inspection fieldwork. All SQS inspections assess work against the core criteria published here.

SQS criteria – English (PDF, 158 kB), updated 23 February 2016
SQS criteria – Cymraeg (PDF, 212 kB), updated 23 February 2016

The criteria and inspection report are organised according to four inspection themes, which are:

  • reducing the likelihood of reoffending
  • protecting the public
  • protecting the child or young person
  • making sure the sentence is served.

Inspection report

After the inspection a short report is produced for the YOT and local partners detailing the findings and identifying priority areas for improvement. The YOT is encouraged to develop an improvement plan to address the key findings. This report is published on this website and shared with other inspectorates and the YJB. It is also used to inform part of the intelligence base used to decide the locations for our Full Joint Inspections, and to inform periodic aggregate reports produced by HMI Probation and more widely publicised.