Northamptonshire’s youth offending team (YOT) is in the top 25 per cent of inspected YOTs for its performance in reducing reoffending among young people.
The team has been praised by government inspectors for its record in the sustained reduction in the frequency and seriousness of offending by young people. The inspection also found that the young people under supervision are robustly safeguarded with appropriate action taken to reduce the risk of harm to themselves or others.
During an inspection last month, inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation reviewed a sample of 62 youth offending cases, considering how safeguarding, risk of harm and the likelihood of reoffending are addressed in the county.
Northamptonshire scored higher than the national average in each of the three categories, achieving a score of 80 per cent against a national average of 68 per cent in safeguarding, 68 per cent against a 62 per cent national average in risk of harm to others and 76 per cent against an average of 71 per cent on preventing young people reoffending.
Inspectors specifically praised the service for the “many examples of good work being undertaken in Northamptonshire”.
There was praise too for the excellence of the resources and the effective working between partner agencies.
Cllr Andrew Grant, Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said: “This report confirms that our approach to working with young people in the youth justice system does get results.
“We have a team working hard to support those young people and help them tackle and overcome the challenges that originally drew them them towards crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The YOT already holds the Investing in Volunteers Award, the national quality standard for good practice in volunteer management.
“The postive inspection is a testament to the work of the many organisations, local community groups and individuals who work with or alongside the YOT in suporting some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people in the county and equipping them with the skills and experience to turn their lives round.
“As with any inspection report, while we welcome the praise, we value the constructive criticism about the areas where we can make further improvements.
“Although these are relatively minor issues, we will address them immediately to ensure the service continues to deliver excellent results.”
The inspection highlighted a number of strengths, including children under supervision being robustly safeguarded, good initial assessments leading to effective intervention plans, the active involvement of young people and their parents/carers in delivering plans.
The areas for improvement highlighted by the report include the need for more consistency in case handling and reviews and for greater involvement of young people in the formal process of setting plans.