Essex YOS – Outstanding work with young offenders in a large and complex area

Essex Youth Offending Service (YOS) has been assessed by HM Inspectorate of Probation as ‘Outstanding’, its highest grade.

Many aspects of its work to prevent offending by children and young people were found to be impressive and successful. Though it is one of the largest youth offending teams in the country, Essex YOS nevertheless achieved a consistent approach and performance across the whole area.

Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said: “The arrangements for youth offending work and the focus given to it by strategic leaders are clear and well understood. The work is led well by both strategic leaders and operational managers.”

Work with children and young people subject to both court orders and dealt with by out-of-court disposals was found in the inspection in October 2018 to be carried out to “an exceptionally high standard.”

Children and young people, together with their parents/carers, were involved meaningfully at every stage and, unusually, make a valuable contribution to quality assurance of cases.

Inspectors noted a few areas for improvement, Dame Glenys said:

  • Plans to implement an improved out-of-court disposal scheme consistent with best practice were at an early stage of implementation;
  • Barriers to involvement of children and young people in suitable education or training needed to be overcome;
  • And greater national support was required to help the YOS deal with gang-based drug dealing managed from outside Essex, often referred to as “county lines”. Inspectors noted that the YOS was undertaking creative work locally to try and address this problem.

Overall, Dame Glenys said:

“There is a sense of professionalism, commitment to achieving positive outcomes and effective working together, both within the Essex YOS and among its partners. Relationships at all levels are constructive, and healthy challenge is encouraged. Essex YOS needs to reflect on its strengths and put in place plans to make sure these are sustained and further developed.”

-Ends –

Notes to editors:

  1. The report is available at 00.01 on 6 December 2018.
  2. Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), which deliver youth offending services, supervise 10-18-year olds who have been sentenced by a court, or who have come to the attention of the police because of their offending behaviour but have not been charged and instead are dealt with out of court.
  3. Essex Youth Offending Service (YOS) is one of the largest YOT areas in England and Wales, with the fifth highest volume of post-court cases and the second highest population.
  4. This inspection is part of HMI Probation’s new programme of YOS inspections. Essex was inspected and rated across three broad areas: the arrangements for organisational delivery first, and then the quality of court disposals work, and out of court disposals work.
  5. We inspected against new standards and all services are given one of four ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate.
  6. Fieldwork for the Essex inspection took place in October 2018.
  7. For further information please contact John Steele, HMI Probation Chief Communications Officer, on 020 3334 0357 or 07880 787452, or at (E-mail address), or