Youth offending inspection

WORK in Cambridgeshire to reduce offending and help safeguard youngsters is above the national average a new comprehensive report has found.

An inspection of youth offending work in Cambridgeshire praises the County Council as well as advising on areas of improvement.

The inspection made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation focuses exclusively on the work undertaken by Youth Offending Teams with children and young people who have already committed an offence.

The report says in summary: “Overall, we consider this a creditable set of findings. We found an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed group of staff who were keen to deliver a high quality service and who understood the needs of the children and young people with whom they worked. Partnership work was effective and staff from a number of agencies were able to provide support to individuals and to their families. We are confident that if the recommendations in this report are implemented the improvement required can be achieved and sustained.”

The report also found that the Safeguarding and Public Protection aspects of the work as well as reducing risk of harm and reoffending were all above the national average.

Inspectors spoke to partners and examined case studies as well as surveying victims of crime as well as youngsters using the service.

The report’s purpose is to assess if the work of the Council is of a sufficiently high standard to protect both the public from any harm resulting from the child or young person’s offending behaviour and the child or young person themselves, whether from their own behaviour or any other source.

The report also highlighted areas for improvement including an increased focus on victim based work to ensure that the voice of victims of youth crime is heard throughout the service. The service has already increased resources dedicated to restorative justice and will be working to speed up risk management planning. Work is already underway to address these areas.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Brown, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “We are pleased with the report which puts us above the national average. The most heartening feedback was from the youngsters themselves explaining how the work we and partners had carried our with them was reducing re-offending. Changing these youngsters lives for the better and turning them from a path that could lead to further criminality not only helps them but the community as well. One of the positives of these reports is that it helps highlight areas where we can further improve and we are taking steps to address these.”