Praise for Leicester’s youth offending service

Published on 18 May 2016

LEICESTER’S youth offending service (YOS) has been praised in a report by inspectors.

The multi-agency report – which was led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and included input from Ofsted – used a star rating system to provide a judgement on how effectively the service is operating.

Leicester’s YOS was awarded the maximum of four stars in the category ‘ensuring the sentence is served’ – that is, making sure that young people carry out any sentences handed down by the courts.

In the report, inspectors said children and young people were “overwhelmingly positive” about the support they received from workers, who were “persistent and tenacious in their attempts to engage them”.

Staff were praised for some “excellent work to try and engage complex and difficult individuals”, with inspectors saying “a real strength was the way in which parents and carers remained fully included.”

The service was awarded a further five three-star judgements, in areas including leadership and management, and protecting young people. In the latter area, inspectors said “there was a clear understanding within the city council of the vulnerability of children and young people in the service, and a strong focus on improving their life chances.”

There was also positive recognition of the restorative justice and reparation schemes the service runs, with particular praise for a West Indian community project offering placements for young people.

Assistant city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who is responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “This is a great result for our youth offending service and I’m really proud of the hard work that our dedicated staff put in to help these young people to turn their lives around.

“It can be all too easy to ‘give up’ on young people and write them off as a lost cause. But we know that if we provide specialist support and education opportunities, we can make a real difference.

“If we can show these young people that we want to help them help themselves, then the results can be extremely positive – not just for that young person, but for their families and for wider society.”

Inspectors found that 74% of young people had a positive education or training placement arranged at the end of their orders.

Young people who have been involved in the service also praised the YOS. Of the 29 young people interviewed by inspectors, all said they’d had a positive experience of the service.

One said: “They helped me with my anger. They talked to me about how serious it could be.”

Another young person said: “The best thing about YOS is them helping me to get my life back on track again.”

A parent added: “The case worker arranged for (my daughter) to meet the victim. I don’t think she understood until she was face to face with them – it was the first time she could see what her actions did.”