Praise is heaped on youth of­fend­ing team

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Et­ben­truslove

THE city’s Youth Of­fend­ing Ser­vice (YOS) is one of the best in the coun­try ac­cord­ing to a glow­ing in­spec­tion re­port.

In­spec­tors from the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Joint In­spec­tion Team vis­ited Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil to com­pile its re­port.

The in­spec­tors praised the depart­ment and found that it is per­form­ing above av­er­age in ev­ery area with only min­i­mal changes needed to im­prove.

Andy Smith, as­sis­tant chief in­spec­tor for the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Joint In­spec­tion Team, said: “We were im­pressed to find a YOS where the staff worked cre­atively and con­sci­en­tiously, un­der the ca­pa­ble guid­ance of a small but strong man­age­ment team to de­liver a good range of qual­ity in­ter­ven­tions to chil­dren and young peo­ple.

“As a re­sult, the chil­dren and young peo­ple’s risk of harm to oth­ers, like­li­hood of re­of­fend­ing and vul­ner­a­bil­ity were ef­fec­tively ad­dressed.

“Over­all, we con­sider this to be a very cred­itable set of find­ings.”

It came as a wel­come change for coun­cil­lor Sheila Scott, the coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices, who has come un­der fire in re­cent months for the depart­ment’s per­for­mance.

She said: “I am de­lighted with the re­sults of this in­spec­tion which re­ally high­light the great ser­vice which the Peter­bor­ough Youth Of­fend­ing Ser­vice is pro­vid­ing to our young peo­ple in need of sup­port.

“Across ev­ery sec­tion of the re­port, in­spec­tors com­mented that min­i­mum im­prove­ment is re­quired which pro­vides a real cause for cel­e­bra­tion for the coun­cil and chil­dren’s ser­vices.

“In­spec­tors com­mented on the flair and in­no­va­tion staff of­fer, along with a huge com­mit­ment to chil­dren. These com­ments are re­ally en­cour­ag­ing and are a real credit to the Youth Of­fend­ing Ser­vice, which de­serves great praise for all its hard work.”

The in­spec­tors vis­ited in March look­ing at youth of­fend­ing cases in the area. They judged how of­ten the ser­vice works to a suf­fi­ciently high level of qual­ity and re­turned a per­cent­age mark.

This is used to judge whether the ser­vice is per­form­ing av­er­agely, lower or bet­ter than av­er­age and in ev­ery area Peter­bor­ough was ranked higher than av­er­age.

For the cat­e­gory Like­li­hood of Re­of­fend­ing, which looks at work done to re­duce re­of­fend­ing rates, the ser­vice was graded as meet­ing the level of qual­ity in 86 per cent of cases ob­served. Na­tion­ally, the high­est any other coun­cil has achieved is 87 per cent.

For the cat­e­gory Risk of Harm to Oth­ers, which looks at ac­tion taken to pro­tect the public, the coun­cil’s YOS was graded as meet­ing the level of qual­ity in 77 per cent of cases ob­served, while the na­tional av­er­age is 62 per cent and the high­est is 86 per cent.

Mean­while the ser­vice was also rated for its Safe­guard­ing work to pro­tect young peo­ple and was graded as meet­ing the level of qual­ity in 83 per cent of cases.

The high­est na­tion­ally is 91 per cent and the av­er­age is 67 per cent.

As part of the in­spec­tion, ten chil­dren and young peo­ple com­pleted a ques­tion­naire re­turn­ing pos­i­tive re­ports of Peter­bor­ough’s YOS.

The young peo­ple said they felt staff lis­tened to them and took ac­tion to deal with their prob­lems.

All of the chil­dren and young peo­ple spo­ken to felt their lives had im­proved as a re­sult of their work with the YOS.

All felt they were ei­ther “a bit or a lot less likely to re­of­fend as a re­sult of the work done”.

One young per­son said: “Be­fore I did not bother with ed­u­ca­tion or any­thing, but now I am in col­lege and do­ing very well.”

In ev­ery cat­e­gory the in­spec­torate pro­vides ad­vice for im­prove­ment ranked as ei­ther min­i­mum, mod­er­ate, sub­stan­tial or dras­tic. Ev­ery cat­e­gory in Peter­bor­ough was min­i­mum.

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