Wiltshire Youth Justice Service rated 'Good'

Wiltshire Youth Justice Service (YJS) has received an overall rating of ‘Good’ following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation as part of its programme of Youth Justice Service inspections.

The Service was 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 separately rated as ‘Outstanding’.

Chief Inspector of Probation, Martin Jones, said: “The staff and volunteers at Wiltshire YJS are the service’s most valuable asset, nurturing a ‘can do’ attitude with the children they support. Children’s strengths and diversity needs are attended to well, and parents and carers are empowered to take an active role in their child’s supervision.”

Inspectors were impressed with the work of Wiltshire YJS’ executive management board who work well to advocate for YJS children, taking the time to mobilise financial resources for the service in their own organisations. This was evidenced by the introduction of an additional substance misuse resource in response to a rise in the number of YJS children using substances. Children attend the executive board to provide testimonies of their experiences which enables strategic leaders to hear first-hand what children think of the services they are receiving.

The inspection found that despite the broad range of services available for children, work across court and out-of-court work was variable. Not all staff consistently understood or applied processes designed to keep children safe and prevent them from causing harm to others. The report identified some shortcomings in identifying and responding appropriately to concerns, such as children at risk of exploitation or domestic abuse – suggesting that this is an area that requires additional training, understanding, and attention by the service.

Mr Jones added: “The team and board at Wiltshire YJS are optimistic and ambitious. The significant management restructures over 2023 have impacted the quality of service delivery, but I trust that the three recommendations made in this report will help them to improve further.”


 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 14 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 February 2024.
  7. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications media@hmiprobation.gov.uk (E-mail address)