West Sussex Youth Justice Service rated ‘Good’

West Sussex Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received an overall rating of ‘Good’ following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “West Sussex YJS has all the hallmarks of a service which understands the needs of children under their supervision and is doing all it can to improve their lives and turn them away from further crimes. They have weathered a tricky period, from the impact of Covid-19 to changes in local children’s services, to continue to make improvements for the benefit of the children, victims and the local community.”

Inspectors were impressed with individual aspects of West Sussex’s work with children in the local area. Staff at the service were a significant strength, with a stable group comprising of many experienced case managers, confident in addressing diversity. Together, with a range of specialists, their work shows that they understand the trauma some children have experienced and the importance of safeguarding.

However, this inspection did find that improvements are needed in some areas, and there is a lack of provision to help children with their education, and speech and language needs. The report also notes that how the service delivers interventions and reviews their statutory work with children ‘Requires improvement’, particularly in relation to work to keep others safe and ensuring the needs of victims are always appropriately considered.

The inspection made six recommendations, including that West Sussex YJS needs to increase the proportion of school-aged YJS children who are accessing appropriate full-time education and develop services that better meet the needs of girls supervised by the YJS. The Inspectorate notes that, since our inspection, West Sussex YJS management board has fully accepted these recommendations and we are confident the service has the necessary arrangements in place to make these important changes.


Notes to editor

  1. West Sussex YJS work with children aged 10 to 17. The majority of children under their supervision are aged 15 to 17 (78%), male (78%) and white (76%). The YJS supervise children with complex needs and some in the care of the local authority.
  2. The Inspectorate uses a four-point scale: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’, rating specific aspects of each service and giving an overall rating.
  3. 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 sentences (out-of-court disposals). We also inspected the quality of resettlement policy and provision, which was separately rated as ‘Good’.
  4. The report is available on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website on 22 June 2022 00.01.
  5. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  6. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in March 2022.
  7. For media enquiries, please contact Corporate Communications Manager Diane Bramall 07929 790 564 or media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)