Why we need, and intend, to inspect small YOS in a way that is proportionate to their size and makes best use of inspection resources.

Youth offending services in England and Wales vary greatly in size so we need to adjust our youth offending inspections especially for small services where adopting the standard approach would place a disproportionate burden upon them. Youth offending services are selected for inspection on a risk basis determined by a set of criteria including volume, performance information and the date since last inspection. Smaller youth offending services are less likely to be inspected in the early years of this inspection cycle using the above criteria so we have designed a shorter, more focussed inspection approach to make sure we inspect all services in the 4-year time frame.

Benefits of this more focussed inspection approach

We will be able to:

  • inspect YOS with small caseloads in a much shorter time frame against our three domains, and
  • report ‘regionally/nationally on the characteristics we discover of well performing and poorer performing services
  • report findings in a way that has value and impact

How we will do this

We will inspect small YOS in close geographical proximity to each other so that we can inspect two small YOS in one week. We will give some initial verbal feedback to each inspected area following this up with a brief written report and a composite report covering all the small YOS inspected in a particular region. We hope these varied methods of reporting our findings will increase the impact of these inspections and help promote improved practice and outcomes for children and young people.

We will use our existing methodology for youth inspections but will obviously assess fewer cases than for a standard inspection. We will not, however, rate the three domains given the small caseloads of what we call ‘small YOS’.

When will the inspections of small YOS begin?

We will undertake pilots in June/July & September 2019. We will roll out small YOS inspection from November 2019 onwards.

Please refer to HMI Probation’s documentation area for youth offending inspection for details of our general methodology and approach.