Inspection of youth offending work: Cwm Taf staff doing some good work

Much of the work that Cwm Taf Youth Offending Service (YOS) was doing with children and young people who had committed crimes was satisfactory, but managers needed better strategic grip to improve further, said Dame Glenys Stacey, Chief Inspector of Probation. Today she published the report of a recent joint inspection of the work of Cwm Taf Youth Offending Service (YOS).

This joint inspection of youth offending work in Cwm Taf 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, making sure the sentence is served, the effectiveness of governance and interventions to reduce reoffending.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • work to reduce reoffending was satisfactory. There were clear and thorough assessments of children and young people to identify the work needed to reduce reoffending, though planning and the review of work did not always reflect this;
  • work to protect the public and actual or potential victims was satisfactory. Assessment of the risk of harm to others was good. Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) worked well, but the plethora of other multi-agency meetings and protocols needed improvement so that intelligence-sharing could be more focused. Oversight by managers was not always effective;
  • work to protect children and reduce their vulnerability was satisfactory. Some good safeguarding work was undertaken by case managers but the YOS was not yet making effective use of AssetPlus to support its case management. The immediate sharing of information between other agencies and the YOS about missing children did not always reach the right case managers;
  • work to make sure the sentence was served was good. The YOS made consistently good efforts to understand and respond to the individual needs of young people. Staff built positive relationships to make sure that engagement was good throughout, meaning compliance work was effective;
  • work relating to governance was ineffective. The YOS Management Board provided a good arena for sharing information and supporting the work of the YOS in meeting its priorities, but could not direct strategic planning sufficiently due to an absence of wider and more sophisticated data; and
  • work on interventions to reduce offending was satisfactory. The YOS was unable to assure itself that a suitable range of interventions was available. Interventions had not been mapped and evaluated and, therefore, their impact could not be demonstrated. Restorative justice work was good.

Inspectors made recommendations to assist the YOS to make continuing improvements, including commissioning and evaluating a needs analysis to identify what children and young people needed, as well as the staff and business of the YOS as a whole. Routine intelligence sharing between the police and the YOS should ensure that case managers receive timely information about all children and young people who are arrested.

Dame Glenys Stacey said:

“Cwm Taf Youth Offending Service works with children and young people with complex needs, who often pose a risk to themselves and others. We saw staff engaging well with these young people, and their parents and carers, and much of the work the YOS was delivering was satisfactory.

“But the YOS Management Board needs to focus on gathering data more effectively so that it can analyse, plan and steer the work of the Youth Offending Service. The Board especially needs to look at how intelligence is shared from other partners, such as the police and Children’s Services, particularly on missing children and those at risk of sexual exploitation.”

– ENDS –



  1. The report is available at from 5 July 2017.
  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 Cwm Taf YOS because its component areas had appeared consistently among the poorest performing youth offending services in Wales on a number of national indicators, and because inspectorates wanted to test the effectiveness of its creation through the amalgamation of two previous youth offending services.
  3. These inspections focus on issues not subject to other forms of external scrutiny: work to reduce offending and reoffending 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 Jane Parsons at HM Inspectorate of Probation press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452.