Leicestershire Youth and Justice Service ‘Requires improvement’

Leicestershire Youth and Justice Service (Y&JS) has received an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

Leicestershire Y&JS work with children aged 10 to 17. The majority of children under their supervision are aged 15 to 17 (78%), male (89%) and white (89%). They supervise children with complex needs and some in the care of the local authority (Looked After Children).

The inspection looked at standards of organisational delivery (leadership, staffing and facilities), their management of children serving court sentences (court disposals) and children serving cautions or community resolutions (out-of-court disposals).

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “In 2019, Youth Justice and Youth Services in Leicestershire were combined, and this has proved largely successful – services have been expanded and staff are positive about their work. However, we found a number of areas of concern – mainly at board level – which led to the overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’”.

The inspection found issues in Leicestershire’s management of children who are serving cautions or community resolutions (out-of-court disposals). There are shortcomings in how the safety and wellbeing of children, and the risk they may pose, is assessed. In this specific area of their work, Leicestershire Y&JS were rated ‘Inadequate’.

Mr Russell continued: “There are failings in how children given cautions or community resolutions are managed – and the management board do not appear to have had sufficient oversight of this. A revised process is needed to ensure that a more thorough assessment is undertaken before decisions on cautions and resolutions are taken; that children and carers are fully involved in these assessments; and that contact with the victims is prioritised”.

On a more positive note, the inspection identified good partnership working with other services across the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland areas. In addition, children have good access to education and have opportunities for training. The services and interventions available for the most complex children are impressive. These include the Adverse Childhood Experiences project, which supports mental health, and Project Responsive, which provides a high level of support and intervention.

Mr Russell added: “We were pleased to see that both of these services for children with complex needs are integral to the resettlement policy. Leicestershire Y&JS builds positive relationships with the children it manages and there are good arrangements in place to enable the continuity of these relationships.”

The inspection made six recommendations to Leicestershire Y&JS including the need for improvements to be made to children’s access to speech and language services, improved oversight of out-of-court disposal procedures, and general improvements required to the oversight of assessments of  children’s wellbeing and their risk of harm.

ENDS

Notes to editor

  1. The report is available at justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation on 02 December 2021 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: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’. The Inspectorate rates specific aspects of each service and also gives an overall rating.
  4. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in August 2021.
  5. For media enquiries, please contact Corporate Communications Manager Diane Bramall 07929 790 564 or media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)