Newham Council will bolster its Youth Offending Team following an inspection report that said the service requires improvement.
A robust action plan to improve the quality of the team’s work is being developed by the Youth Offending Team Management Board with oversight from relevant Cabinet members and chief officers.
The inspection report published today (13 September) by HM Inspectorate of Probation highlights many examples of good practice within the team, but said that the service overall requires improvement. It makes a number of recommendations with the aim of raising standards.
Councillor James Beckles, Cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “We fully accept the weaknesses found in our service and will take the inspectors’ recommendations on board when considering how we ensure the right improvements are made. We apologise to our young people who have been let down by the failings highlighted by the report. The inspectors have said our shortcomings can be rectified and we are moving quickly to make that happen.
“We welcome the examples of good practice found by the inspectors and we were pleased to see their understanding of the challenges Newham faces. We have the busiest Youth Offending Team in the country. Keeping our young people safe and away from criminality is a priority of this administration.
“We want Newham to be the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. We have already invested £1.4m into youth services to keep our young people safe, including the biggest expansion of youth workers in a generation.”
One change being made is the transfer in October of the Youth Offending Team from the Council’s enforcement and safety directorate to children and young people’s services. This will allow for better co-ordination across teams that support vulnerable children and families.
Amongst good practice recognised by the inspectors is a “skilled and knowledgeable workforce” that is committed at all levels to supporting young people who have offended. Overall governance and leadership is rated as Good and also recognised is the good range of partners and services to help children and young people with their needs.
Weaknesses identified as needing addressing include the handling of both court and out-of-court cases and high workloads that prevent staff from investing more time and attention in some cases.