Region's youth offending service praised by inspectors

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Recycling centres, car parks and play areas will stay open during the lockdown. - Credit: Archant

Inspectors have praised the work of North Somerset’s youth offending and prevention service in a report published last month.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation regularly visits councils to learn about how they work with partners including the local police force, schools and colleges, NHS services and other agencies to support young people who are involved in the criminal justice system.

Its visit to North Somerset during September was one of the first ‘virtual’ inspections in the South West, undertaken remotely due to the ongoing restrictions relating to Covid-19.

The inspection team noted the 'outstanding planning and support', and the wide range of effective services available to children and young people to help them make positive decisions about their future. They also noted that the service listened to victims of crime.

The service received an overall rating of 'good' as its organisational delivery, court disposals and out-of-court disposals were reviewed.

North Somerset Council's executive member for children and young people’s services, councillor Catherine Gibbons said: "It is wonderful to see the work of this specialist service recognised by inspectors, and particularly given the very challenging circumstances during which the team visited North Somerset.

"While the team has told us that our services are good and our casework outstanding, they have also offered some areas for improving how we work together with partners, which we will be progressing in the coming months."

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The inspectorate requires an action plan to be submitted to address these recommendations, which will be approved by the local youth offending service management board.

Chairman of the board, Carolann James, said: "We welcome the positive feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the direct support offered to young people, and also note the recommendations about improving our partnership work. 

"We will use this report to ensure that we continue to improve the strong, effective network of supportive services for these vulnerable young people in North Somerset."

Inspectors recommended the service to plan for and deliver timely, appropriate action to address the specific concerns and risks relating to actual and potential victims and to work with the police to remove delays in the out-of-court disposal decision-making process.

The inspection report can be found at www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/inspections/nsomersetsmallyot/  

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