Leicester's youth offending service performing well after major restructure

A Leicester organisation that works with children and young people who have offended is performing well despite significant changes to its staffing, according to inspectors.

HM Inspectorate of Probation conducted a routine inspection of Leicester City Children & Young People’s Justice Service. Inspectors looked at 12 aspects of work and awarded the service an overall rating of ‘Good’.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “At the time of the inspection, the service had been through a major restructure and cost-cutting exercise. Although this had clearly affected staff morale, they had done well to keep service delivery going at a difficult time and had felt well supported by their managers through this process.”

The Inspectorate found some areas of outstanding practice at the service, which brings together representatives from the local authority, police, probation service and NHS.

Steps had been put in place to provide better support to children who have had traumatic experiences and who potentially have undiagnosed mental health conditions. Two mental health specialists have been brought in to work with these children, and to train and assist other staff.

Inspectors also found good practice in the service’s education, training and employment provision.

Mr Russell said: “It is essential that children have access to education and we found effective work, including with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“A fair access panel reviews cases where children could face exclusion because of their offending behaviour. The panel is made up of senior leaders from all the local schools so there is a common consensus for when exclusions should apply.

“Young people also receive excellent support with training and employment. Workers in the service motivate young people and help them to identify opportunities to meet their needs.”

However, the Inspectorate found several areas for improvement.

Inspectors found a disconnect between the Management Board’s strategic priorities and the service’s operational delivery. Membership and attendance at the Management Board also needs to improve, and not all members understand their role and responsibilities.

The Inspectorate found the standard of work with children sentenced by the courts was of good quality overall. The assessment and planning of cases both received ‘Outstanding’ ratings and the delivery of activity with children and young people was rated ‘Good’. However, inspectors found the review of cases require improvement and staff should have updated plans to reflect new circumstances.

Mr Russell said: “Following the restructure, the service now sits in the council’s Early Help and Prevention Team. Despite the recent financial cuts, the council’s vision is to expand its work to prevent young people getting involved in crime.

“We welcome the ambition to help children and young people move away from crime, but senior leaders need to ensure they have the resources in place to meet demand.

“Following the inspection, we have made a series of recommendations that will help the service to put further improvements in place that will benefit children and young people, their families and the wider community across Leicester.”


 Notes to editor

  1. The report is available at justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation on 07 November 2019 00.01.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  3. Youth Offending Teams, 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. In Leicester, this team is known as Leicester Children & Young People’s Justice Service.
  4. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in August 2019.
  5. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications Catherine Chan on 07889 405930 or media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)