Inspection of youth offending work: Warwickshire continues to perform well

Youth offending work in Warwickshire was good overall, some of it very good, said Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector of Probation, publishing the report of a recent joint inspection of the work of Warwickshire Youth Justice Services.

This joint inspection of youth offending work in Warwickshire is one of a small number of full joint inspections undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Probation with colleagues from the criminal justice, social care, education and health inspectorates. Inspectors focus on five key areas: reducing the likelihood of reoffending, protecting the public, protecting children and young people, ensuring that the sentence is served and governance arrangements.

Inspectors were pleased to find that, overall:

  • work to reduce reoffending was good and in most cases, both the frequency and seriousness of reoffending had reduced. Most of the children and young people had made clear progress in addressing factors linked to their likelihood of reoffending;
  • work to protect the public and both actual and potential victims was good. All reasonable steps had been taken to keep to a minimum the risk of harm to others in most cases;
  • work to protect children and young people and reduce their vulnerability was good, and youth justice staff were committed to keeping children and young people safe;
  • work to ensure the sentence was served was very good. Sufficient attention was being paid to ensuring that young people engaged with the requirements of their sentences; and
  • the governance arrangements were good. Board members scrutinised the work of the organisation through good performance data and there was a strong working relationship between the partners.

Inspectors made a small number of recommendations for further improvements, including focusing on improving the quality of initial risk of harm assessments and subsequent reviews.

Liz Calderbank said:

‘In Warwickshire we found that staff were committed to providing good quality services and achieving positive outcomes. Staff were well trained and supported. They had access to sufficient resources to address the offending-related needs of children and young people. This included good quality interventions, both in house and through partnership arrangements. There was evidence of effective engagement with children and young people and with their parents/carers. We judged that the governance of Warwickshire Youth Justice Service was good. However, a key area of development centred on the need to improve the quality of assessments and plans to address the risk of harm to others posed by some children and young people, and the management oversight of that work.

‘The recommendations made in this report are intended to assist Warwickshire Youth Justice Service in its continuing improvement by focusing on specific key areas.’

Notes to editors:

  1. View the report (PDF, 902 kB).
  2. The new inspection programme of youth offending work, based on a risk-proportionate approach, was agreed by Ministers in December 2011. Under this programme, full joint inspections are targeted primarily on areas where there are significant concerns about the effectiveness of youth offending work, based primarily on the three national youth justice indicators, supplemented by other measures, such as recent inspections. Occasional inspections are undertaken in areas that report high performance, in order to maintain a benchmark for good practice. In Warwickshire, national indicators identified it as an area that was performing well.
  3. These inspections focus on issues not subject to other forms of external scrutiny: work to reduce the likelihood of offending and re-offending by young people; the management and minimisation of the risk of harm that a young person may pose to other people; safeguarding young people from harm (from their own actions and others); and work to ensure they serve their sentence.
  4. The inspections are led by HMI Probation, with participation by HMI Prisons, Ofsted and CQC (and in Wales by the corresponding Welsh inspectorates, Estyn and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales).
  5. For further information, please contact Jane Parsons in HM Inspectorate of Probation press office on 020 7035 2123 or 07880 787452.