Inspection of youth offending work: strong performance from Staffordshire

The work of Staffordshire Youth Offending Service was of a high standard and staff were committed to doing their best for children and young people, said Dame Glenys Stacey, Chief Inspector of Probation. Today she published the report of a recent joint inspection of the work of Staffordshire Youth Offending Service (YOS).

This joint inspection of youth offending work in Staffordshire 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 focused on six key areas: reducing reoffending, protecting the public, protecting children and young people, ensuring the sentence is served, the effectiveness of governance and court work and reports.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • work to reduce reoffending was satisfactory. Good quality reports were produced for the courts and initial assessments were of a high standard. Strategies for dealing with children and young people with low levels of motivation to change needed further development;
  • work to protect the public and actual or potential victims was good. Reports and initial assessments contained a thorough analysis of the risk of serious harm posed by children and young people. There was a strong partnership approach to work to protect the public. Victims were well served by the YOS;
  • work to protect children and reduce their vulnerability was good. Assessments were thorough and the YOS had appropriate multi-agency arrangements in place to manage vulnerability. However, the reduction in health secondees to the service may reduce the ability of the service to respond to vulnerable children in the future;
  • work to ensure that the sentence was served was good. The YOS and its partners worked well to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people. Compliance was managed effectively;
  • the effectiveness of governance and partnership arrangements was satisfactory. Operational management of the service was effective. The YOS Management Board met regularly but there had been a number of gaps in representation. Reoffending rates had risen and the Board’s response was unclear; and
  • the management and delivery of interventions to reduce reoffending was good. Staff had access to a wide range of resources. Outcomes achieved as a result of interventions had not yet been fully identified and evaluated.

Inspectors made recommendations to assist the YOS to make continuing improvements, including ensuring that there is an effective Management Board with appropriate representation, who have a clear understanding of key practice issues in the YOS and a full range of quality and performance information available to it.
Dame Glenys Stacey said:

“I was delighted at such a solid performance once again from Staffordshire Youth Offending Service. Staff there were really dedicated. I hope that our inspection and findings will help the management board and partners to reflect on how they best support the YOS.”


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  1. The report is available at from 2 June 2016.
  2. The 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. Inspectors chose to inspect Staffordshire YOS primarily because it was identified as a potential area of good practice.
  3. These inspections focus on issues not subject to other forms of external scrutiny: work to reduce 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. There are four ratings which can be given: good, satisfactory, unsatisfactory and poor.
  5. The inspections are led by HMI Probation, with participation by Ofsted, CQC and HMI Constabulary (and in Wales by the corresponding Welsh inspectorates, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Estyn and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales).
  6. For further information, please contact Alex Pentecost at HM Inspectorate of Probation on 0161 240 5336 or Alan MacDonald on 07917 073528.