Camden’s ‘outstanding’ youth offending service puts children and families first

Inspectors have praised a North London service for its exceptional work with children.

HM Inspectorate of Probation conducted a routine inspection of Camden Youth Offending Service (YOS) in January. The YOS is based in Camden Council and brings together agencies who work with 10 to 18-year-olds who have offended or who are in danger of offending.

Inspectors looked at 12 aspects of Camden YOS’s work and awarded an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’ – the highest possible mark.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Camden YOS is one of the best performing services in the country. We rated nine out of 12 aspects of their work ‘Outstanding’ – this is a remarkable achievement for an inner-city service.

“We were impressed by the way the YOS builds effective relationships with children and their families. Staff are encouraged to explore the lives of individual children and to tailor support to meet their needs. Staff involve children and their parents or carers in making key decisions and in day-to-day activity.

“Camden YOS takes a collaborative approach, putting children at the heart of its work to ensure they have timely access to relevant services and activities that will help keep them safe and encourage them to turn away from crime.”

Inspectors noted that leaders set high standards for the YOS and empower staff to achieve positive results.

Inspectors also commended Camden YOS for its “inexhaustible appetite for improvement”.

Mr Russell said: “Leaders at all levels work enthusiastically and efficiently to explore and understand issues affecting children. The YOS draws on research and evidence, but also listens to input from staff, parents and carers, and volunteers.

“The YOS uses this information to develop appropriate services and activities, for example setting up a new team to work with children in gangs or at risk of exploitation and a dedicated team to provide better support to young people coming out of custody.

“The gathering of data is not seen as an end in itself. Leaders act on what they find to make improvements to services.”

Inspectors found children receive timely specialist support, for example help with their emotional well-being and mental health, speech and language problems, substance misuse issues or to access education, training and employment.

Camden YOS also benefits from strong strategic partnerships with the police, children’s social care and health organisations. The YOS has worked with these organisations to address priority issues, such as the disproportionate percentage of children of black and ethnic minority heritage entering the criminal justice system.




Notes to editor

  1. The report is available at on 12 May 2020 00.01.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  3. The Inspectorate uses a four-point scale to rate individual aspects of work and to award an overall rating. The ratings are: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’.
  4. This is the first inspection of Camden YOS using our current standards and ratings.
  5. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications Catherine Chan on 07889 405930 or (E-mail address)