Waltham Forest Youth Justice Service ‘Requires improvement’

Waltham Forest Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’ following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

The service was inspected and rated across three broad areas: the arrangements for organisational delivery of the service, the quality of work done with children sentenced by the courts, and the quality of out-of-court disposal work. The quality of resettlement policy and provision was also inspected and separately rated as ‘Requires improvement’.

Chief Inspector of Probation, Martin Jones CBE said: “The staff at Waltham Forest YJS show a genuine desire to listen to the voices of children and we were impressed with the collaborative efforts between practitioner, children and parents and carers when completing assessments for children subject to court disposals.”

However, the report noted the inconsistent police representation on the service’s management board and the effect this was having on the understanding and oversight of cases for those not subject to court sentencing. The inspection saw inconsistent engagement from senior police leaders, despite the best efforts of the management board to develop the local approach to prevention and diversion.

Elsewhere in the report, the YJS’s own work to support those subject to out-of-court disposals required strengthening, and practitioners showed an inconsistent understanding on the parameters for completing a high-quality assessment. Information available to the practitioners was not utilised sufficiently and assessments as to how to keep children and others safe consisted of too much description rather than analysis.

Mr Jones added: “Staff at Waltham Forest know what ‘Good’ looks like but need to demonstrate this more consistently in practice. If they can do this, I have no doubt that improvements can be made.”


Notes to editor

  1. 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.
  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).
  4. The report is available on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website on 08 May 2024 at 00.01.
  5. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth justice and probation services across England and Wales.
  6. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in January 2024.
  7. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)