Inspectors hail 'innovative' work with siblings of young offenders

By Neil Puffett

| 31 August 2018

Youth offending services in Derby have been rated as "good" overall with particular praise for work to reduce the risk of children and young people reoffending, including support for siblings.

Inspectors found that the youth offending service in Derby was doing good work to steer siblings of young offenders away from crime.

An inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation identified a number of "innovative" areas of work, with children and young people referred to the service found to be provided with an "impressive range" of support and services.

Inspectors noted that, unusually in youth offending work, the siblings of young offenders could also access support to prevent them getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.

"Particular attention had been given to supporting siblings, who were offered help to avoid becoming involved in antisocial behaviour or crime, or to minimise the impact of having a brother or sister who was involved with offending," the report states.

"We saw several examples where a referral had been made to the children's services for early help; this was good practice."

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Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said a new head of Derby Youth Offending Service (YOS) had been appointed in November 2017 and the management team had started to review and change performance and practice.

Although some of the intended outcomes had not been fully realised by June 2018 and some work had been undermined by staff sickness levels, Stacey said that at an organisational level, inspectors found a good picture.

"The chair of the management board was knowledgeable, and effective partnerships were in place," she said.

"However, board members should understand performance data and management information in a more detailed way, to challenge the YOS effectively, and to drive improvements.

"The board needs to maintain its success in reducing first-time entrants to the criminal justice system, and promising trends in reoffending rates and the use of custody so that they are closer to the national average."
 
However, Stacey did add that said Derby YOS "could and should do more" to assess and respond accurately to safety and wellbeing concerns, and the risks that some children and young people pose to others.
 
She said the inspection, conducted in June found that the YOS did not give sufficient attention to the needs of victims.

"Safety and wellbeing of children and young people and risk of harm to victims were underestimated," she said

Inspectors also noted that while planning to manage risk of harm to others was sufficient in almost two-thirds of cases, in two cases there was no planning at all.

"The impact of this was that there was not enough attention to keeping victims safe," Stacey said.

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