‘Resilient’ St Helens Youth Justice Service rated ‘Good’

St Helens Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received an overall rating of ‘Good’ following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “This is a much-deserved ‘Good’ rating for the staff of St Helens Youth Justice Service. It was clear that the YJS has experienced a challenging period of high sickness and vacancy levels. Despite this, they are a strong, skilled, and resilient staff group. We found children are thriving, and efforts to deter them from reoffending are working, and I look forward to seeing them develop further.”

The inspection found that youth justice workers had positive relationships with children under their supervision and had made ‘colossal’ efforts to overcome the impact of being under-resourced. The result is that children are being managed well and have access to a range of effective interventions (to prevent reoffending) as well as health, education and training services.

However, we did find areas for improvement, not least in how the YJS is governed. The management board has seen a high turnover of members and poor attendance at meetings. This has led to there being a lack of consistent advocacy from partners for the service at a senior level and a lack of communication between the board and frontline YJS practitioners.

The report makes six recommendations to St Helens YJS, focusing on a need for a consistent approach to board arrangements, including the need to provide additional resource for staffing and the upgrade of the YJS building.


 Notes to editor

 This service works with children aged 10 to 17. The YJS supervise children with complex needs and some in the care of the local authority.

  1. The Inspectorate uses a four-point scale: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’, rating specific aspects of each service and giving an overall rating.
  2. 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). It also rated the quality of resettlement work as ‘Good’.
  3. The report is available on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website on 21 February 2023 00.01.
  4. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
  5. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in November 2022.
  6. For media enquiries, please contact media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)